Coming Home: Ethan’s Story

Ethan’s Story: Part 1

When our Network Administrator Kathy Tobey stayed up just a little later to browse Facebook a few weeks ago, she didn’t expect to see something that would change the course of her relationship with a very special horse.

But that’s exactly what happened. Scrolling through her feed, Kathy saw that two of our other employees had liked a photo of a beautiful draft horse named Ethan, who was being housed with Chester’s Promise until he could find a permanent home.


The kicker: Ethan had been Kathy’s horse for years before she had decided to re-home him about a year and a half ago.

“I just happened to see it. Thank God I did. It wasn’t so much the weight ,”(Ethan had lost some) “but the thing that really got my heart is that his head is just hanging down, his ears are half back, there’s no life in his eyes. He doesn’t look happy. And he’s uber sensitive,” Kathy said.

Kathy did hear from Ethan’s new owners prior to his move to the shelter, but hadn’t seen any photographs, and didn’t know for sure if he was looking for a new home. The night she saw the photo, she stayed up late, tossing around the possibilities: “Do I bring him home? Do I not? Do I just provide products for him until they can find him a home?”

Then, Kathy said, her late father appeared in her dream. “(He had his) farm jacket on, favorite baseball hat, huge smile on his face. I woke up a half hour later and went, ‘That’s it, he’s coming home.’”

“Ethan was my father’s favorite horse. My father loved him. He called him the sentry, because he just stood right by the fence. I mean, everybody loved – you can’t help but love this guy. He’s a gentle giant.”

So it was that the next day, Kathy called Chester’s and asked if Ethan was still looking for a home. He was. She told the woman on the line, “It’s done, then. He’s coming home,” and explained that she was the original owner and asked what to do to make this happen.

After filling out an application, Kathy heard back the next day with the go-ahead to bring Ethan back home. Before getting off the phone, Kathy said, “Just do one thing. You put your arms around him, you give him a huge hug and you tell him, mom’s coming to get him.”

Ethan2The Challenges of Re-homing

Kathy’s choice to re-home Ethan originally was one based on the level of work and attention she could provide. She had many other horses and knew that Ethan, a draft horse, wasn’t getting the work in that he would like. After finding worthy owners for Ethan, they said their goodbyes.

Those owners were incredible caretakers and wanted to devote everything to their horses. But sometimes, life throws us funky circumstances, and they weren’t able to provide that type of care past the year and a half Ethan spent at their home. So, they spoke with Kathy and let her know they were looking to re-home. Then, Ethan ended up at Chester’s in the interim. And that’s where Kathy found him.

For a horse who has a sensitive, kind temperament like Ethan does, adjusting to a new space can be difficult. Kathy noticed that he was probably very stressed and likely depressed due to lack of work and lack of familiar faces.

There are other challenges for Ethan as he transitions. One such challenge is his weight. Because he tends to drop weight when stressed, and winter is a very important time for horses to maintain a healthy weight, Kathy is most concerned with how to help him gain during the process of adjusting.

She’s decided to use a product that Ethan had used before, Vetri Weight, to help support his weight gain, as well as a healthy skin and coat through the winter. She’ll also use Vetri Plus and Digestive Support to put him on the right track with nutrition.

In the past, Ethan has done very well using Vetri Weight. “I can hit him hard with it and it doesn’t crank his energy level up,” Kathy said.

Originally, she was worried about Ethan not having enough work. Now, there’s a different feeling about his needs: “I think it’s more emotional because I know him. I don’t care if you get ridden just a couple of times a week. If you’re home, you’re happy, we’re good.”

Next week, we’ll talk about Ethan’s homecoming and how adjustments affect everyone differently. In the meantime, check out our Equine products to learn more about how they support total health.