Severely Abused Horse Enjoys Retirement in the Sunny Florida Keys

When Trigger was confiscated from his owner in November of 2016, he was emaciated with severe, painful saddle sores on his back. 

He has just finished a 700-mile trek down the Atlantic coast, starting in South Carolina and culminating in Miami. He was plagued with terrible sores in his mouth. His owner had been riding him with the bit in his mouth backwards, he said to “give him better control”. 

The owner also said he had no money to feed himself or the horse on the ride south, accounting for the lack of body fat on the horse and the fact that all of his rib and back bones were prominently showing.

The treatment of Trigger earned the owner, 36-year-old Chris Emerson of Greenwood, S.C., a criminal animal cruelty charge. It also earned the horse a second chance at a new life. 

Today, Trigger, who the South Florida SPCA believes is about 20-years-old, is beautiful and happy and is the newest resident of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm. SPCA delivered him Monday afternoon.

In a  press release Wednesday by Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Rick Ramsay says “We are happy to be able to give Trigger a home here in the Keys. He is a wonderful addition to our farm; the kids and families who visit will love him.”

Trigger is blind in one eye, "so we have to make sure we talk to him to let him know where we are when we are close by,” said Farmer Jeanne Selander, who is now charged with caring for the horse. “His wounds are all healed now. He has been eating well and all the loving care he has been given at the South Florida SPCA shows.”

When South Florida SPCA took custody of the horse, the agency described him as “almost completely lacking in subcutaneous body fat. He has very little muscle. You can see the skeletal structure. You can feel his ribs. You can see the individual vertebrae, his hip bones and all the bones on the horse. His back is very sensitive. He gets very mad if you touch it because it is very sensitive to him.”

As part of the final settlement of the criminal case against the previous owner, Trigger can rest easy in the care of people who will treat him properly. 

The last few months of tender loving care has restored Trigger to health and now, he can retire in his new home in the Florida Keys.

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