Coming Home: Ethan’s Story Part 2

Last week, we shared the amazing story of our Network Administrator Kathy’s reunion with her horse Ethan. This week, we’re catching up with her about his return to his former home, and how he and the other horses have adjusted so far.

KathyEthanWhen Kathy got word that her application had been accepted and she could come pick up Ethan at Chester’s Promise, she didn’t waste anytime. She picked him up a week early.

“We went out to the barn, and yes, he was really thin, and I opened the stall and I went ‘Hey, Duffer! What’s going on?’ And I went up and gave him a huge hug, and hugged and hugged,” Kathy said.

She believes he knew that Kathy was his former owner, as he followed her around the barn until it was time to load up. When they reached Kathy’s home, where Ethan lived for years, he stood in the driveway taking it all in, looking at the mares, looking at the backyard, and at the barn, re-familiarizing himself with the location. Kathy decided he seemed comfortable and that it was time to get him settled.

“I opened the front door of the barn and I stepped in, and when you step in my barn it’s my mare’s stall, and the next stall up is his and then there’s two more stalls. And so I stepped in, and he just walked right past me,” Kathy said.

“It wasn’t like a ‘shove me out of the way,’ he just knew where he was going. He went right through that front door, right past Colors’ stall, halfway up the alley and he went right into his stall,” she said.

Ethan was home. It would take only moments for him to show his comfort.

“I stayed up in the barn and we were there for about ten minutes just puttering around, and all of a sudden I hear this sound,” said Kathy. “And he’s rubbing up against the walls exactly like he used to do when he was itchy.”

Over the next few days, Ethan showed that he truly knew he was back in his comfort zone. He stood in all the same spots, acting as “The Sentry” Kathy’s father knew him to be. Said Kathy, “Yeah. Yeah, he knew he was home.”

“And now you really know it because, you know, whenever you come outside to head to the barn, he whinnies to you, and that’s what he always used to do. So it took him like three or four days before he would do that and now it’s every time. He just had to settle into it, “ Kathy said.

After bringing Ethan home on Friday, the weekend appeared to be the adjustment period. By Sunday, he was letting himself out of his stall, just like he had always done.

Healthy Horse at Home

As we mentioned in our last story about Ethan, he had lost weight in his time away, probably due to stress. Kathy’s biggest challenge, she said, was getting that weight back on for winter.

Right away, she tried giving him Vetri Weight and Vetri Plus, but he wouldn’t eat them. Kathy speculates that’s because he hadn’t been on a supplement regimen in a long time. With the Digestive Support, she had an easier time because the micropellets blend right into the food.

After Ethan had been home for four days or so, Kathy started using a quarter of a scoop of each, and two weeks later Ethan is using a quarter to a third of a scoop of each supplement three times daily.

“The other night when I took his winter blanket off, I noticed the hollowing between the ribs is filling in,” said Kathy. “I mean, we’ve still got a long way to go. I bet you we’ve got another 350 pounds to put on him, but at least when I took his blanket off I’m not seeing that extreme ‘ribbiness’ that I was seeing.”

For his feeding program, Ethan gets about two and a half pounds of grain three times a day, plus second cut round bale hay.

“He still really dips down in the withers, his shoulder bone and the hips stick out. He’s lost a lot,” said Kathy. When Kathy’s daughter Mikayla saw Ethan for the first time, she said, “he’s so thin mommy. We’ve got to fatten him up.”

But after having a ferrier come check Ethan’s feet and getting his teeth floated, Kathy’s feeling much better about his eating regimen. “Now that he’s got his mouth happy, he’ll want to eat more,” she said.

Family Time

Kathy’s daughter and husband both seem happy to have Ethan back in his place, too. Mikayla is feeding him and letting him in and out on her own at night, and she’s taken a new role in caring for him.

Kathy’s niece is also helping, learning to brush him and care for the draft horse she calls “Big Stomper Pony.”

Said Kathy, “He’s just a big gusher. He’s a sweetheart. He just is. And you know what? It just feels right. “

“Now I look up there and I’m like ok, now this looks right again. You didn’t realize how wrong it looked until now that we have him back. Now it’s like, you know what? This is how it should be.”

We’ll continue to keep up with Kathy and Ethan as the winter continues and he gains the weight Kathy is trying to encourage. In the meantime, share this beautiful story with your horse-loving friends. It’s quite inspiring to know that sometimes, things work out just as they are supposed to.