“No philosophers so thoroughly comprehends us as dogs and horses.” –Herman Melville
Approximate 2002 Chestnut Quarter Horse Gelding
Horses With Hope met Teak in the farthest reaches of the New Holland (PA) auction barn, completely separated from the remainder of the sale horses where he’d been abandoned after his buyer simply disappeared. While our photographer spent several minutes taking photos of his skinny condition, he neglected to even cock an ear. Moving on, the HWH crew stopped at another horse boarded at the barn a few stalls away. Teak watched this interaction carefully, and by the time the staff passed by again, he had reassessed his position on these particular humans. This time, he leaned on his gate, urgently nodding for attention and pleading with his eyes to be released from the pen that had been his prison for more than two weeks. It was his intelligent, communicative eyes that arrested us—this horse clearly knew we were here to help, and wanted a chance to show us he was worth our attention.
Teak came home with us at the end of April, 2014, and after two months spent relaxing and gaining weight in turn-out, we gradually brought him back into light work. He was very footsore at first due to overgrown hooves and tender soles, but with new front shoes he continues to improve. Because Teak has low muscle tone and is very stiff overall through his body, we have focused mainly on long, slow out rides on our hills to gradually build strength and fitness. It is clear that Teak had previously been trained to ride Western, as he responds to neck-reining and stops quickly to a ‘whoa’ command. Teak has nice ground manners and loves attention. We have ridden him both English and Western, he lunges well and was unfazed by our assortment of potentially spooky ‘obstacles’ in the ring. Because he is a bit older and appears to have worked hard in his earlier life, we feel that Teak would do best as a pleasure horse and trail horse. He loves hacking out alone or with others and is naturally forward, yet also very responsive to his rider’s aids. He has yet to bat an eye at anything along the trail, and we think that with increased strength, suppleness and conditioning, he will make someone a lovely partner.
UPDATE: Teak has been adopted! Teak went home with a young lady on Friday August 29, 2014. It certainly was Teak’s finest hour as he was loaded onto the trailer to start his new life. Teak was a gentleman from the start and deserves to be someone’s partner and best friend. We are so glad that his person came along and wish them both the best of luck in all of their future endeavors!
UPDATE: After many happy years with his young owner, Teak was put to sleep due to the effects of old age and chronic navicular disease. His family made the heartbreaking, yet loving and responsible decision to end his discomfort before his quality of life began to deteriorate. We are so grateful for the years of great care and commitment they gave to Teak, and we know he loved being a cherished part of the family. Rest in peace, sweet boy!