Rescue Horse in Rehabilitation Gets Opportunity in the Show Ring

From potential hamburger to competition horse in training, Foster is showing off his skills


Reported by Gabrielle Plonka

A rescue horse, once destined to become hamburger, has the tools for a promising career in the show ring.

Rescued from the back of a meat truck in 2015, Foster was brought to Southlands Riding Club for rehabilitation, where staff were surprised to discover the wary dark bay gelding had the makings of a successful competition horse.

Galloping towards a new lifestyle

“I think people say that [Foster has potential] because he’s very flashy,” said trainer Marta Modzelewska, a volunteer at Southlands and has worked with Foster for two years.

According to Modzelewska, Foster has promising rhythm and confirmation of movement, which could win Foster high scores in competition. However, trust issues stemming from a history of abuse have made him nervous and difficult to train. “He’s wary and he’s very stubborn,” said Modzelewska.

“He’s not the kind of horse who wants to please.”

Natalie Naherney, Club Lead at the UBC Equestrian Sports Club, believes that four-year-old Foster will grow out of his nerves under Southlands’ extensive care. The key, she says, is patient training.

“He’s going to be a bit scared,” Naherney said. “It’s just about taking time as they’re learning about being handled.”

According to Naherney, it’s rare to find a rescue horse with Foster’s natural movement. Show horses, she said, are specifically bred with long bloodlines and are very expensive.

“Sometimes you can get really lucky,” Naherney said. “You get this star out of something you weren’t necessarily expecting.”

Foster is one of four rescue horses currently living at Southlands and receiving meticulous attention from volunteers like Modzelewska. The intention, according to club coordinator Dani Craig, is to prepare the horses to be sold. However, not every horse is intended for competition.

“We sell them as whatever the best fit is for them,” Craig said. “It’s like that with horses, you can’t force anything.”


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