Horse Health

Trigger the horse recovers after being dragged behind a pick-up truck

by Jennifer Meckles as published on

He’s been working through his physical and emotional recovery at the Dumb Friend’s League Harmony Equine Center in Franktown, CO.

It’s a place for second chances.

It’s a place where one horse is learning to trust again.

“Trigger came to Harmony as part of a cruelty case,” explained Garret Leonard, the director of the Dumb Friend’s League’s Harmony Equine Center.

Trigger, a 12-year-old quarter horse, was abused in Grand County in late November and removed from the property by law enforcement.

“His owner tied him up behind a pick-up truck and drug him behind their truck,” Leonard explained.

Video of the incident was circulated on Facebook, drawing outrage. Two people were arrested, and the Grand County District Attorney announced they filed charges against them for animal cruelty.

Efforts to rehabilitate Trigger started immediately.

“First thing we did was x-rays of his neck,” Leonard explained. “To see if he had any cervical fractures, any spinal fractures, see if there was any dislocations.”

Leonard said Trigger’s x-rays came back clear, and his physical injuries were treatable. But the horse also suffered emotionally and mentally from the abuse.

“What we found was …  we just have to build some trust with him,” Leonard said. “Even this halter that we put on him is something he’s cautious about, and he’s cautious about it because the last time he had something around his head like this, he was tied to the bumper of a truck.”

At the equine center in Franktown, Trigger joins other horses recovering from neglect and abuse. The animals eat and play, and begin training again with the facility’s caregivers. Eventually, the horses will be adopted by new families.

“I think the perfect family for [Trigger] is one that has experience. That is very patient,” Leonard said.

It’s not clear how long Trigger will be in recovery before he’s ready to join a new family. His caregivers said Trigger will set his own pace.

“He just needs somebody who’s going to be patient and kind to him because, honestly, he’s a really nice horse.”

10 replies »

  1. There is a Judge in I believe Ohio that poses the same sentence on the animal abuser as the animal abauser does to the animal. That is a great idea and It would be wonderful to see this guy scream a while. I am so glad the horse is going to survive. I doubt it was the first time for the guy and that should be looked into, because an animal abuser is also a woman and child abuser.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One big problem is that a lot of people get a horse without very much (or any) knowledge of how to work with one. You really do have to have a good teacher to help you to understand and work with your horse. It is a lifetime pursuit, as even an experienced horse trainer will tell you. So many awful things have been done to horses that could have been prevented if only the owner had been given some good guidance and basics.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Part of the problem here was whoever was the “trainer” of Trigger managed to make him difficult to tie, which is why these people ended up buying him, thinking they could “fix” him with their superior skills. Or bigger pickup I guess. Trigger wasn’t born bad so this outcome is all human caused, and was therefore completely avoidable. The horse trainer world is full of “bad” horses who just get moved along until they end up in a good place, or a slaughter house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember a trainer “teaching” a horse to neck rein by tying his head to the stirrup..the idea was that it would teach the horse to bend. When I was in my teens there were a lot of “bit and spur” riders. Awful things have also been done to horses in the show world where the name of the game is winning. I have a book that I think is out of print now. The author of that book nailed all of the abuses that we read about here and firmly stated that “the horse that has it the best is probably the family horse that only has to work on the week-ends or holidays” Those weren’t his exact words but that was his belief drawn from a lifetime of working with horses.
      i would love to know what he would say about our wild horses..who still have the freedom that we so value.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I have to reply here I’ve seen plenty of “backyard, weekend-warrior” horses suffering substantial maltreatment, usually but not always out of ignorance. When I was a kid, for example, one of the neighbor’s pasture horses was found with a “bridle” someone had fashioned out of a stray piece of old barbed wire. Someone went joyriding and cut the hell out of the poor (and formerly gentle, kind and forgiving) horse.

        I think it boils down to animals of any species tend to bring out the best and worst of human beings.

        Liked by 2 people

      • A book well worth reading if you can find it.

        One of the reader reviews:

        John Richard Young is one of the finest minds and spirits dedicated to training our companions on the planet( he trained dogs as well as horses). The revised edition of his Training of the (Western) Horse is the single book needed by the neophyte who comes to horsemanship and equitation with an intelligent desire to make the horse a partner in pleasure and competitive sports alike. I wish the University of Oklahoma Press would bring out a new edition, and also gather his articles written for various horse publications into a third volume for the compleat JRY. His death was a loss to the equestrian community, but this book with its broad understanding of history and the varied styles of riding and uses of horses over the centuries is without a peer in the specialized literature of the Horse World, and remains as his monument.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I really value the feedback on these happenings of the good – bad – ugly stories that come our way. Ever so pleased that Trigger will recover to a degree enough to find a forever loving and understanding home. God bless you all for your efforts in helping abused horses and for this wonderful site that brings us all the honesty of news happening to all equine species in the USA. I am in Australia, but try hard to support via friends all you do as my finances permit (esp with the exchange rates) but sign as much as possible to help as well. Your work is well appreciated around the world RT and company of supporters!

    Liked by 3 people

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