Rescued Horse Sworn in as Sheriff Deputy

By Noelle Phillips – McClatchy Newspapers

A GOOD NEWS Horse Story

Reserve Sheriff's Deputy Clifford Fisher talks about how Scout came back from near starvation to become a good horse who passed vigorous training. Scout, a horse who was once malnourished and sick, was sworn in as a member of the Richland County Sheriff's Department Friday.

Myrtle Beach, SC -Two years ago, Scout, an American paint horse, was so weak from starvation he barely could walk into a trailer.After months of care, he’s now strong and healthy. And he’s the latest deputy in the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s mounted patrol.

The 5-year-old Scout was sworn in Friday by Chief Deputy Wash James, and his first official duty will be patrolling today around USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium and the State Fairgrounds.

“It pretty much proves you can come from tough times and make something of yourself,” said Reserve Deputy Clifford Fisher, one of Scout’s owners.

When Scout was 2 years old he went to live on a farm in Lexington County with two other horses. The family had intended to ride the horse, but a year later, the Humane Society found the three suffering from starvation, Fisher said. One of the horses was in such bad shape it had to be euthanized. The other two were taken to Broad River Correctional Institute, which has a program that allows inmates to raise horses. The inmates fed, groomed and rode Scout to get him back to full health.

A year ago, Fisher and his wife, Margaret Fisher, bought Scout after identifying him as a horse that would fit into a mounted patrol unit.

When the couple was searching for a horse to train, they would shoot fireworks and launch balloons in the pasture. Horses that ran were not suited for the job, Clifford Fisher said.

Nothing bothered Scout.

The Fishers bought him and started training. The couple lives on a farm in Lexington County with a menagerie of animals, including a camel. Clifford Fisher owns a construction company, and Margaret Fisher is a full-time deputy at the sheriff’s department.

The mounted patrol unit has six horses, and all of their riders are deputies who volunteer their time. They donate their horses’ services to the county.

The test that must be taken to join the mounted patrol is grueling for both horse and handler, and few horses pass on the first try, said veterinarian Michael Privett, who leads the unit.

“Every horse that goes through the test has his nerves rattled,” Privett said. “It’s easy when life is all lovely. When it hits the fan is when you’re going to find out how well trained your horse is.”

The test includes 13 obstacles and challenges, such as pushing back a crowd that is throwing bags and cans at the horse and rider and walking through a narrow path while fireworks and other noises are ringing in the area.

Scout passed on the first try, Privett said.

So Scout should not flinch today when fireworks blast off at the stadium for Gamecock touchdowns. And the thousands of happy tailgaters should not bother him, either. In fact, he won’t mind a soft pat on the neck or nose.

“He has to be tolerant of being petted, too,” Privett said.

28 comments on “Rescued Horse Sworn in as Sheriff Deputy

  1. I love this story. It is so heartwarming to see a good horse pulled back from death to go on to a happy and healthy useful life. Kudos to all who helped Scout.

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  2. This story set me to wondering what had happened to the 12 Boston Mounted Police horses after the unit was disbanded in June, 2009. These 5 are “back on the job” in Plymouth, MA. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2010/06/27/new_plymouth_mounted_patrol_adopts_bostons_police_horses/

    From what I could find out, two went to a mounted patrol in St. Petersburg, FL (a pretty long ride!), and all the others have been privately adopted.

    Also found a picture of “Charlie”, a beautiful sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail, at a spectacular New England horse farm. What a life!
    http://postandbeamliving.com/2009/08/18/homes-i%E2%80%99m-loving-right-now-post-and-beam-horse-farm-barn-home-addition/

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  3. One of the best true stories about a rescued horse I have ever heard, is the story of Snowman. It was in the 1950’s. A master director of a riding academy in New York went to the New Holland auction to buy a horse for the school. By the time he arrived, there were only 8 horses left, that were being loaded onto the slaughter truck. He spotted one – underweight, with mangled mane & tail, bruised body, and chest scarred by harness straps. This grey horse, at only 7 years old, had already been used up by a hard & brutal life. However, there was something in the look of his eyes that captivated the trainer, and he saved this one right off the truck. “Snowman” proved not only to be a kind & gentle horse…he possessed a hidden, but incredible, talent. He was capable of jumping 7 feet! – which he did on his own, (with no rider) to the amazement of the trainer. Snowman went on to become a show jumping champion, and was later inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame…….There have been books written about this phenomenal horse. To read the story, and see pictures, go to

    http://horsehints.org/Snowman.htm

    All horses have so much to give – each in their own way – if only they are given the right love, care, and acknowledgment of each one’s propensities. I have been distraught and sickened by the whole mustang issue….the wisdom and strength of these horses… I have made calls, etc.., but there are times when the issue of not only the dear mustangs and burros, but farm animal abuse, other animal abuse, and the increased rate of wildlife extinction, makes me terribly depressed. I feel we are too swiftly going down a road that, well……..there are no words. However, it is stories such as these, that elicit hope in the heart….. I volunteer at a horse sanctuary….my little contribution in helping to make a difference.

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    • Oh my, I have wonderful memories of Snowman and have told advocate friends about him. I still have a photo from LIFE of him looking out his stall door through a frame thick with colorful ribbons from his jumping career. He was grand. I am happy to hear he has a book coming out. mar

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  4. Audrey C., I know what you mean and concur with all you said. I, too, volunteer and help at a horse sanctuary in Perris, CA. I got started at a Sanctuary in Ventura County where they had a beautiful Arabian that was saved that could not be ridden. It was love at first sight. For one and one-half years I drove one and one-half hours to walk, wash, and groom him. It was not able to be ridden due to a hock injury by his previous owners. I would say something to him and by his response, I knew he understood what I said. Last May, he died of a heart attack. Needless to say, I am devastated. I cry for him on a daily basis. But I feel he is guiding me in helping at the Perris sanctuary, which is half the distance from my home, but it is not a “Rolls Royce” facility as the Ventura COunty one is, it is a “Chev” facility. Every day, the owner fights to keep going as her donations have dried up due to a woman stealing her donation list. She was helping her to send out to her donation list and now is keeping the list. THis woman lost a previous rescue or sanctuary and I believe she would love to see this happen to this sanctuary as well. Two weeks ago, the owner of the Perris sanctuary got a call of an Arabian going to auction where his stable fees had not been paid for two years. She said she couldn’t take him but she thought she knew someone that would. That someone was me. I’ve had him for three weeks now, the owner sanctary is keeping him there for me. We have fattened him up, he’s been wormed, and in the near future he will get his feet trimmed. He’s the same color as the Arabian that died and a little smaller, but I think the Arabian that died has been instrumental in my future direction, helping horses in need. I’ve put in a request for two or three at a rescue in Oregon and hope to get them in the spring. I’ve always horses but due to my mother’s health, didn’t get the Arabian that was promised to me as a 12 year old girl. Fifty hears later, I now have an Arabian.
    God Bless all who work to save the BLM displaced horses, the rescue horses, but please let’s all work to keep our U.S. horses from being transported to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. THey deserve a new home where they will be cared for, nurtured, and loved. THis is the way meant them to be.

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    • Your story was very touching and I can certainly idenfy with you, to a certain extent. It also took me 50 years to own a horse of my own and I now own a two year old Arabian Filly that I rescued in June. It’s amazing the joy she’s brought into my life, too. It truly has been a win-win for both of us. She’s very happy in her new surroundings and even has a new friend,(-: I wish you much success with your new Arabian …sounds like he’s going to be a very luck horse.

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  5. Audrey C., I know what you mean and concur with all you said. I, too, volunteer and help at a horse sanctuary in Perris, CA. I got started at a Sanctuary in Ventura County where they had a beautiful Arabian that was saved that could not be ridden. It was love at first sight. For one and one-half years I drove one and one-half hours to walk, wash, and groom him. It was not able to be ridden due to a hock injury by his previous owners. I would say something to him and by his response, I knew he understood what I had said. Last May, he died of a heart attack. Needless to say, I am devastated. I cry for him on a daily basis. But I feel he is guiding me in helping at the Perris sanctuary, which is half the distance from my home, but it is not a “Rolls Royce” facility as the Ventura COunty one is, it is a “Chevy” facility. Every day, the owner fights to keep going as her donations have dried up due to a woman stealing her donation list. She was helping the Perris sanctuary owner to send out to her donation list and now is keeping the list. THis woman lost a previous rescue or sanctuary and I believe she would love to see this happen to the Perris sanctuary as well. Two weeks ago, the owner of the Perris sanctuary got a call of an Arabian going to auction where his stable fees had not been paid for two years. She said she couldn’t take him but she thought she knew someone that would. That someone was me. I’ve had him for three weeks now, the owner of the Perris sanctary is keeping him there for me. We have fattened him up, he’s been wormed, and in the near future he will get his feet trimmed. He’s the same color as the Arabian that died and a little smaller, but I think the Arabian that died has been instrumental in my future direction, helping horses in need. I’ve put in a request for two or three at a rescue in Oregon and hope to get them in the spring. I’ve always loved horses but due to my mother’s health, didn’t get the Arabian that was promised to me as a 12 year old girl. Fifty hears later, I now have an Arabian.
    God Bless all who work to save the BLM displaced horses, the rescue horses, but please let’s all work to keep our U.S. horses from being transported to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. THey deserve a new home where they will be cared for, nurtured, and loved. THis is the way meant them to be.

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    • Lynne – Your story is very poignant, and believe me, I can both understand, and empathize with, your experience with the rescue horse that first captured, then broke, your heart. However, it was not in vain. I believe that those animals who make an impact in our lives, choose us (not the other way around). My heartfelt best wishes for you with this new Arabian, as well as the rescue horses from Oregon you are working on. Re: Non-profit sanctuaries – some do very well, while others end up in precarious positions. NOT easy. The key is a knowledgeable and devoted board of directors, non-stop grant writing, lots of fundraisers, EXCELLENT marketing & PR strategies, and tons of support…..oh, and also – a bit of luck….which I sincerely hope for you and this sanctuary with which you are involved…..Blessings!

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  6. In reply to Lynne Jones – Very poignant, and believe me, I understand, and can empathize with, your story of the Arabian that captured, and then, broke your heart. However; it certainly was not in vain. This horse called to you – as, I believe that those animals who have made an impact on our lives – choose us (not the other way around). Many blessings with this new Arabian, and heartfelt best wishes for the rescues from Oregon you are working on. Also, in regard to non-profit sanctuaries: Some do very well , while others end up in precarious positions. The key is non-stop grant-writing, fundraising, excellent marketing strategies, a knowledgeable & devoted board of directors, and tons of support…..(oh, and also, a bit of luck- which is what I sincerely wish for you and this sanctuary with which you are involved).

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  7. I can’t remember the exact date but many yrs. ago (70’s/80’s) a Beautiful White Mustang mare left the Burns, Oregon BLM correls to go to Washington, DC. She became the mare that lead the funeral procession with the empty boot.
    Though this mare was never to see wild freedom again she found a good home I hope & got a 2nd chance.
    All animals deserve that right even if they can no longer be ridden. There are so many people who just want compaion animals if one will just look for them.

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  8. Congratulations Scout, on a job well done, you are a beautiful paint, and so very happy that you found someone that will love and care for you for the rest of your life. I can never understand why anyone can be cruel to any animal. I am so happy that you are here to prove what the will to live can do….Your owner is very lucky to have you…Many years of good health, and happiness to you..
    Much Love,
    Sharon

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  9. What a nice story, R.T. and thanks for sharing it with all your horse advocates, We all know how valuable most horses and animals in general can be, when given the opportunity and a second chance in life, Thank God, Scout was one of them and he has certainly proved himself. A wonderfull ending for a beautiful horse!

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  10. One of my meighbors have 2 horses, plus 2 dogs. She was let go from her job app. 6 months ago, and is currently struggling to find another job, as am I . Her husband still has his job, thank God. However, these neighbors, as myself, reside in a humble, rural area. One day,approximately 8 weeks ago, her farrier came to trim her two barefoot horses, and mentioned a horse that was “somewhat thin”, and in need of a home, or else the owner was going to drop him off in the desert. My neighbor immediately stated to the farrier to bring the horse – perhaps, if nothing else, she could “foster” this horse for the time being. The farrier dropped off the horse. My neighbor called me to come see….this dear, sweet soul, was emaciated to the point that it was evident he was days away from collapsing – and, if taken to the desert – hours away from death. We were both astonished at seeing him – large head – mere skin (with lots of fungus), barely covering his body, bloated stomach from tons of sand, a nose scarred by his attempts at scouring the desert ground in search of some substanence, and two back legs that set back when he stood, and, frighteningly, wobbled, when he walked. When the vet came, he stated, “If the horse dies, we will know why”, thanked my neghbor profusely for taking him – as all of the sanctuaries are full, and said that – if a rating of 1 – is that of a horse collapsing from starvation – this horse is a 1 and 1/2. We thought he had enlarged lymph nodes in his neck – but the vet said that what we felt was his skeletal structure. The horse also had a heart murmur – perhaps, according to the vet, a result of the body- totally depleted of fat and muscle tissue – now eating up the organs in the desperate attempt to sustain itself. My neighbor took him on……an incredible story. Almost eight weeks later, this sweet boy, named “Spirit”, for his will to live, is thriving. He is a sorrel paint/quarter horse – with 4 white socks, and one of the sweetest one will ever meet. My neighbor takes him for walks around our “neighborhood”, and I will accompany her on occasion – with my dog in tow. Spirit does not even need a lead rope – as he will stay close to my neighbor, his “mom”, and savior…..He has put on a lot of weight, which can be scary, as sometimes a body that emaciated, has trouble accepting, and metabolizing, food…but this sweet soul is doing just that…..a miracle, for sure..just in time for Thanksgiving…..Needless to say, Spirit is not just a “foster”, but has found his forever home.

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    • Thank You Audrey C for your very special story of Love and rescue !!!! Your Right just in time for Thanksgiving !!!! Special Thanks again to you for sharing this Heart Warming Miracle……………. It makes me believe again that there is hope for The Wild Mustangs !!!!! What a wonderful name for this Horse SPIRIT ! He inspires us with his Spirit ……………………..

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  11. I have not had the privelege of having a horse, but, from your stories and love of animals, I live vicariously through you all. I am so pleased to see that this horse and others shared by all of you have made such a difference to the world. God Bless you all. All animals are meant to be treasured, not abused for human abuse. Thank you for being part of a community that loves and cares for those who give love so freely.

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  12. I’ve mentioned my Ginger horse story before, so I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, she was on the verge of being auctioned. With a fractured pelvis and horribly uncared-for feet, her excellent bloodlines would mean nothing to a breeder. I took her in because I loved her from the moment I met her. She’s healed and is an absolute angel. Perfect ground manners, wonderful around people.
    I offer Equine Guided Coaching (when I’m working 🙂 ) so all the reflective learning that clients do with my horses is on the ground. Ginger girl is a wonderful, patient teacher for people. No riding. No breeding. All Heart, which she shares generously!
    There are those who think a horse is useless because she can’t make babies or be ridden, without ever seeing that she has so much else to offer.

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    • All should be able to see and feel the Wonderful Gifts all the Horses are to us , Thier love is freely given with such trusting Hearts, they amaze me everytime i am near one !!! Bless all who have the ability to see and feel the love and complete trust that they have to offer our Souls……………. They heal are bodies and minds……………

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  13. What a wonderful story to read right before Thanksgiving!! 🙂 It really makes us stop & think of all those things in life that we may take for granted, that we should be grateful & thankful for, instead of dwelling on all the bad or negative things that life may throw at us!! If only we could have the will, strength, & forgiving nature of our wonderful animal friends! I am so happy for Scout, & grateful for those that helped him overcome all of his obstacles. Oh, &, “Happy Thanksgiving” to all my horse loving friends.

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  14. Thank You for this awesome wonderful story of these two Percheron horses, restores my faith !!!! Bless all here for all they do for the LOVE of these beautiful gifts entrusted to us…………….The Horses !!!!!!

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  15. There is a petition to sign on AMERICAN WILD HORSE PRESERVATION CAMPAIGN:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is targeting 50 wild horses living outside the Augusta Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in north-central Nevada for permanent removal in a roundup scheduled for January 2011. The agency is claiming that these horses must be removed because they are living outside the invisible boundaries of the HMA.

    However, AWHPC has recently learned that the horses are actually living in an area that was once designated as an HMA, but was “zeroed” out as wild horse habitat in 1986 even though livestock grazing was allowed to continue. BLM has the clear authority to leave this small herd in place and reinstate the area as wild horse habitat.

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