Traveller’s story is a heartwarming tale of a big city kid moving to the country and finding the love of his life……..
Named after Robert E. Lee’s war horse, Traveller came to the Hitching Post after a long and very successful show career. He lived in a hunter/jumper barn in Wellington, Florida, and was a loyal horse who won many competitions before he sustained a suspensory injury on his front leg. His dedicated owners were committed to taking excellent care of him even though he could no longer compete, and could only be ridden intermittently. After four years, his owners realized that although they loved him deeply, the life he was living was not his best life. Some hunter/jumper competition horses rarely, if ever, leave their stall except to exercise. Pasture turn-out was not normal in Traveller’s previous barn, and his injury would not allow him to have a consistent exercise schedule. Although he was no longer competing, all his barn-mates were, so he didn’t have any friends or space to go outside and play.
His loving owners began a rigorous search to find a better life for Traveller. When we heard his story and learned more about him, we thought he might be a good candidate to join our herd. The two biggest concerns were: would an easy trail life be the best solution for consistent exercise given his previous injury? and after so many years of not socializing with other horses, would he be able to integrate as a member of our herd out in their pasture?
After considerable planning, our wranglers made a trip to South Florida to meet this big, handsome horse. Right away, we knew his temperament would be a perfect fit. Traveller’s gentle, friendly, wise demeanor is a rare and special trait. One the trailer he went to make the journey back to Lake Louisa State Park. Once we arrived we had to face our first big concern….. Traveller would have to go out into the pasture and meet the other horses in our herd……..
To our surprise and delight, one of our seasoned trail horses, Amber, immediately came up to Traveller. Their bond was instant and profound. The most unlikely couple….big and little, city-boy and small-town girl, yin and yang, and best friends at first sight…… two very lonely horses finally found their soulmates. (read more about their story here). One very big check mark, and lots of relief. On to concern number two… would Traveller be able to thrive physically given his previous injury.
During his transition, we had many ups and downs with his physical well being. Transitioning him from shoes with pads to being barefoot and his body adjusting to lots of exercise and play outside, was at times a roller coaster for our team. We had faith in our plan and our vet, but rehabilitating a horse is always emotionally challenging. Looking back, every triumph and down-turn was simply part of the process. Now, Traveller is “as healthy as a horse”! With no signs of his previous injury, he is sound, comfortable, and truly living his best life at the Hitching Post.
Traveller, a Lake Louisa trail ride horse.