Ralphie – 3.5-year-old gaited

Precious spirit, huge heart, off to a great start

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If you’re looking to adopt a gelding with a gentle spirit and level head, Ralphie is your man! Swingin’ D Horse Rescue saved Ralphie from slaughter around Christmas of 2017. Several people told us he couldn’t be saved, that we should humanely euthanize him. He was too abused, too sick, too starved, too terrified to ever recover and be useful.

After months of loving care, Ralphie grew to be an amazing horse with a limitless future.

About 3.5 years old, broke to ride, gentle disposition, level-headed and very smart, Ralphie will be available for adoption in the spring of 2019.

If, after reading our adoption contract, you’re interested in adoption Ralphie, contact us here.

  • 14 hh, small frame for a lightweight rider
  • Great ground manners
  • Gets along with other horses
  • Healthy, trimmed feet
  • Up-to-date on vaccines
  • Up-to-date on dental
  • Stands for farrier
  • Stands to groom
  • Easy to catch, halter and saddle

We envision Ralphie with a child who will take lessons and grow up with him, or a smaller, more experienced rider.

Ralphie's "Tale"

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Christmas Day Haul to Hell Thwarted by Love

It was Christmas, and Ralphie was the last of the horses that had a shot at Facebook salvation before the trailer departed for hell. Only 2.5 years old, he was scrawny and barely broke. He didn’t fit the ideal profile for people looking for a cheap horse: 8-year-old, dead-broke, babysitter gelding that saddles, rides, trains and grooms itself. No, Ralphie would take some TLC and commitment, so there he sat on Christmas Day.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Ralphie’s life was spared, and we paid his ticket to Swingin’ D, where he’s been ever since.

So traumatized by life before the ‘D, Ralphie ran from us for weeks before he would allow us to touch him, so it was 45 days before we realized he had e. Coli-infested lesions lurking under the hair on his tail. Our first order of business was to deal with his spiritual wounds, which took months; then we could start treating his tail.

$3,000 for Treatment, and Counting

When I say we’ve tried everything to heal Ralphie’s tail, I mean we’ve tried EVERYTHING. Every time we think we have it under control, we unwrap the dressings and it’s flared up again. I have personally spent nearly $3,000 (and counting) on veterinary care, lab work, x-rays, medications, lotions and magic potions trying to save Ralphie’s tail. You can see in the photos, the improvement is negligible. Following is a list of what I’ve purchased so far. 

  • Natural remedies (essential oils, clays, poultices, etc.)
  • Colloidal dressings
  • Silver sulfadiazine
  • Manuka honey
  • Vet wraps by the hundreds
  • Gauze by the thousands
  • Laser treatments
  • X-rays
  • Iodine, chlorhexidine, gentle cleansers
  • Unimprim
  • Doxycycline
  • Penicillin

On February 6, 2019, concerned Ralphie hasn’t improved after more than a month on powerful (expensive) antibiotics, the vet took x-rays and found the infection has reached two vertebrae. She recommended amputation.

After religiously dressing Ralphie’s tail every day for the last 9 to 10 months, and paying almost $3,000 to try to save it, I’m just not ready to give up. 

There are treatments that might save Ralphie’s tail, but he would need to be hospitalized for a week. As with everything involving horses, the treatment will be expensive. For Ralphie to have a chance at being adopted, it would be best if he had a tail. (If he’s not the right age or size and doesn’t have the right experience, how far do you think he’ll get with no tail?) If you’d like to help save Ralphie’s tail, please donate here, or on our GoFundMe page.