Owner of Empire Equestrian Kaitlyn Harbour feeds Thor a treat. (Contributed)

Neglected horse finds new home in Maple Ridge

Second homecoming for horse at Empire Equestrian

A Maple Ridge equestrian centre has adopted one of 27 horses seized from a Langley property.

Thor, a dark, Arab Morgan cross gelding, was rescued by the B.C. SPCA on Dec. 15. The animal rescue society claimed the horses were suffering from a lack of nutrition, lice infestation, overgrown hooves, rain scald from inadequate shelter and a lack of access to water.

The agency said the horses were living in unsanitary and muddy pastures and paddocks with hazardous objects strewn about.

“These horses have been through a lot,” said Const. Eileen Drever, with the B.C. SPCA .

“Some have emotional and physical scars that will take time to heal,” she said at the time of the seizure.

Kaitlyn Harbour, owner of Empire Equestrian, on 132nd Avenue, said she saw a Facebook post about the seizures and immediately recognized the names of some of the horses.

Their owner had boarded the horses at her stables for a couple of years around a decade ago.

Harbour says the owner had operated a trail riding business and would allow Harbour and her friend to take them out for rides. There were no issues with the horses at that time, she said.

Among those horses was Thor.

“He was the one I sort of always rode,” Harbour added.

“Thor was energetic, but always a safe guy to take out. We think he would have been somewhere between 12 to 15 years old at the time.”

Harbour said that although Thor’s history was somewhat unknown, she did know that he had suffered a neglectful home in his earlier years.

“He had scars on his face from having a halter left on when he was young that grew into his face as he got bigger and was basically left in a field without care,” she said.

“Despite this, he was such a kind, gentle soul.”

So when Harbour saw the Facebook post, she immediately looked for her favourite. She estimated his current age to be 27, old for a horse, and thought that he might have already passed on.

“I specifically opened up the article to look and he was the first guy on the page,” Harbour said.

So she did some digging and found out that he was being fostered at another stable in Langley called Hayburner Haven.

Harbour got in touch, adopted him and brought him back to Empire Equestrian on Jan. 31.

He is “fairly emaciated” from not eating properly.

“He’s pretty old, so his teeth don’t work as well as they could, so he’s going to have to be fed a mashed type of diet,” said Harbour.

“Maybe that was part of the problem that he wasn’t receiving that where he was.”

In the past few weeks, he’s had his immunizations, worming, dentistry and feet taken care of.

Thor has been adapting well to his new home.

Harbour held a formal welcome for Thor, with students giving his legs and tail a bath, and put braids in his tail.

“They got him shined up,” said Harbour.

“It’s so nice because sometimes when horses have been mistreated or neglected or just kind of left, and they are a little bit wild and not easy to handle. The nice thing about [Thor] is he’s just so sweet and he doesn’t seem to hold a grudge, and perfectly safe for all of my kids to handle.”

Harbour hopes to rehabilitate Thor and integrate him into their program at Empire.

“He may be sound enough for light riding or trail riding. And along the way, we are hoping to use him for our theory lessons and hope for him to be a companion to some of our other horses on the property,” she added.

“As a person that uses horses as a business, I feel like horses do so much for us and it was the least we could do to give back and give him a safe landing so that he has somewhere nice and comfortable to live out whatever time he has left.”

Thor was also a favourite of the SPCA staff caring for him.

“One of the oldest horses rescued, Thor, has been through so much and yet he is such a sweet, gentle boy,” said Drever, noting his recent adoption.

“It is so wonderful to see these beautiful animals overcoming their challenges and getting better each day.”

The cost of intake for the 27 horses along with their medical treatment and care is more than $30,000 so far.

“We know that some of these horses will be in our care for quite a while, and we want to make sure they have everything they need for a better life. They deserve to be safe and cared for,” said Drever.

The B.C. SPCA investigation into the case continues.

• To donate, call 604-574-1711 or go to spca.bc.ca.

Thor’s journey can be followed on Instagram at @the.story.of.thor.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Owner of Empire Equestrian Kaitlyn Harbour with Thor. (Contributed)

From left, Empire Equestrian students Maggie Parr and Sadie Shipman, assistant coach and student Piper Richardson and owner Kaitlyn Harbour welcome Thor to his new home. (Contributed)

Just Posted

BC SPCA asking Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to take the No Hot Pets pledge

The BC SPCA receives nearly 1,000 calls a year about hot animals in cars

Free film for Ridge residents to mark Plastic Free July

The Story of Plastic can be viewed for free on any device

Seniors tennis society of Maple Ridge looking for new members

Club accepts anyone over the age of 55 into their ranks

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Most Read