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Creature Feature: The Long Way Home

A unique partnership is giving horses rescued from slaughter a second chance

A unique partnership is giving horses rescued from slaughter a second chance

Many Parelli enthusiasts say the horseman’s gentler training methods have made their horses eager to spend time with them. Miss Judge warmed up to Pat Parelli after only one session. MICHELLE RILEY/THE HSUS
As Miss Judge paces nervously, she keeps a cautious eye on Pat Parelli. With his expansive mustache, fringed leather chaps, and big hands, the horseman looks like he might have been cast as a hardened cattle boss in a John Wayne movie.

He’s certainly not the type of guy Miss Judge got used to in her years at the racetracks: tiny, lean jockeys who were constantly whacking at the Thoroughbred with a crop, urging her to move forward, forward, forward as fast as possible.

“Most horses like her, they don’t have a future. They only have a past,” Parelli tells a crowd of about 1,000 people as he watches the dark bay mare step uncertainly into the ring alongside her handler from Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue, the group that saved her from slaughter.

That past—which clings to Miss Judge as she takes in the crowd, the smells, the man in the cowboy hat—is what Parelli is determined to help her move beyond.

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