Sharlie is a 27 y/o Selles Francais with a heart of gold. A wonderful person named Casey saved Sharlie. Casey was a trainer at a lesson barn on Long Island and truly loves Sharlie and retired here at Spirit’s Promise; thank you Casey.

Here is her story: Sharlie was picked up by a lesson barn from a large-scale dealer in CT to be a school horse for them. They knew that she was clearly older, but once they put a healthy amount of weight on her, she started doing a few lessons and was working out great for a few months. Sharlie was actually the horse that Casey had personally ridden for pleasure. Unfortunately, she started looking a little stiff through the stifle at the canter, so she could no longer do advanced lessons, and she is much too strong to be a beginner walk-trot horse. She is extremely educated under saddle and loves to work, but Casey felt that she had done enough for various lesson barns in her career and deserved a happy retirement. Casey deemed her retired and started looking for homes for her.

At this point, Casey knew it wouldn’t be long before her co-manager would say she couldn’t stay if she wasn’t working. Casey, typically, doesn’t have much say in the final outcome of the lesson horses but, since Sharlie is visibly aged, she knew her fate would be grim if she went to auction. Casey insisted that Sharlie would be in her backyard before anyone was going to put her on a trailer to auction! Initially, she was hoping to be able to keep her at a retirement facility, but she simply couldn’t afford it. She then realized that a rescue was her only option, and was hoping to find one on LI, so that she could still have access to visit her frequently.

Enter Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue. Casey called and told me of her dilemma regarding Sharlie. She asked me if I could take her, but I had no room. However, we rescued a mare named Athena from East Moriches who was clearly unhappy being retired at Spirit’s Promise at 13 years old. I felt we could make a trade, Athena (a young horse who needed some guidance and would be great for lessons) for Sharlie, and old horse who needed to retire after many years of working. Some horses need to work, and Athena was one of them. The trade went off without a hitch.

Athena is enjoying a structured life at her new home at a lesson barn on Long Island, and Sharlie is so very happy in her new herd. This story makes me so happy. Spirit’s Promise is forming relationships with lesson barns all over the Island, so they are not so quick to resort to auction as their primary option. School horses are loyal and keep children and adults safely on their backs for years. The answer when they are older should be a happy retirement not a truck to their eventual cruel death.

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