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BelleFormer School Horses


December 2018: As many of you are aware, Belle, has been retired at Three Gaits for the past year or so. Prior to that she had several tendon injuries that required extended periods of stall rest and/or limited turn-out and hand walking (thank you to the staff and volunteers that ensured that her daily, and at times, twice daily, mental health walks occurred over these long stretches!!).

When Belle told us that she could no longer be ridden, even by our smallest riders, we made the decision to retire her here on the farm. Since then she's had good stretches, where she was able to be turned out and enjoy being in a small group of mares, but we knew due to the combination of her metabolic and recurring tendon issues, the time would come when we would be forced to make the decision to end her suffering. Euthanasia isn't something that we take lightly - it's a decision made with many factors taken into account, but most important is the quality of life that the horse has.

Over the past few weeks, we noticed changes in Belle's behavior. She no longer wanted to walk outside in the morning, and her regular anti-inflammatory/pain relievers weren't working. We consulted with several veterinarians, and made the decision to end her suffering. Our hope is that some good can come from this - just like humans, horses can donate organs & tissue. The University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine has a research study on tendon injuries, and determined that Belle was a candidate. Following her passing, Belle's final gift will be to help veterinarians learn more about helping horses heal (and maybe even prevent) tendon injuries.

Many people have asked why we didn't retire her to another home - and our answer is fairly simple. When we take responsibility for a horse, it's for the duration of the horse's life. If the horse is a good candidate for a "next career" or has a friend (often our volunteers and/or the previous owners of the horse) we will re-home him or her. In the case of some horses, particularly those with very specific health care needs or those who aren't good candidates for the stress of moving to a new home, we will have them live out their final days at Three Gaits. At times I wish it was easier, that we could choose to abdicate this responsibility, but then I realize that with the joys of having these amazing animals in our lives also comes the incredible sorrow and pain of having to make the decision to say goodbye.

Special thanks to the Huggins Family for sharing Belle with Three Gaits - we are so grateful for your generosity. Goodbye, Belle - we loved having you as part of our 3 horse gang of Disney princesses!

  • Foaling Date: 1998
  • Breed: Quarter Horse
  • Height: 15.3 Hands High
  • Color: Buckskin
  • Markings: Star, snip, white sock right hind
  • Former Owner: Melissa Huggins (Donation)
  • Arrived at Three Gaits: July 2014
  • School Horse Specialty: Helping each of her riders build confidence in being independent.
  • Previous Life: She taught several girls to love horses. She’s done some fox hunting, pony club and dressage.
  • Did you know?: Buckskin is often a sought out color of horses – horses of this color can be registered with the International Buckskin Horse Association (IBHA)


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Three Gaits, Inc.     Therapeutic Horsemanship Center
(608) 877-9086     3gaits@3gaits.org
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 153     Oregon, WI  53575
Physical Address (No Mail):  3741 Hwy 138 W     Stoughton, WI  53589


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Page Last Modified 01/16/19