2012 - 2016
Sterling arrived at the Equine Welfare Society in January of 2016, in collaboration with White Bird Appaloosa Rescue. He was part of the Sparky Project, a large herd surrender in northern Virginia. We had to make the very difficult decision to say goodbye to Sterling. After 9 months of kind, patient and thoughtful training, it became clear that Sterling was not going to be able to safely enjoy life in any capacity, and was a danger to himself, other horses, and his handlers. We diligently searched for reasons behind his behavior, but with consultation from vets, farriers, equine bodywork specialists and fellow professionals, we were unable to find a solution to his pain.
We were so hopeful that we could help him find trust and safety in our world, but he lived in fear, unable to process tasks or retain relationships with people. Something in his mind or body caused him to explosively buck in a way that we have never before experienced. Panicked, fear-driven and violent, his behavior was dangerous to himself and everyone around him.
While we would have been happy to let him live out his days in our sanctuary, Sterling also struggled to have appropriate relationships with other horses, repeatedly attacking our other herd members with extreme aggression and an intent to grievously harm them.
To a horse, living alone in perpetuity, experiencing uncontrollable fear multiple times a day and repeatedly lacking understanding or comfort in any part of life is the definition of cruelty. As our mission is to provide happiness, safety, and serenity to both horses and humans, the kindest measure in this situation was to let Sterling cross the rainbow bridge. We will miss his kind face and we are grateful to have been able to spend time with him.