Meet Marcus – Our Equine Therapist

Marcus aka Marc is our herd leader. He is big. He is black. He is handsome! Marcus came to us about six years ago. In fact, his life was saved a couple of times by other people. The earliest information we have of him is that as a healthy gorgeous 3-year old he was standing in a feedlot waiting to be loaded onto a slaughter truck. This was in south Texas were large warmbloods like Marcus are rare as the predominant breed are quarter horses. Being much taller than the average quarter horse, Marcus stood out from the crowd. An employee of the company operating the feedlot saw Marcus and spontaneously purchased him for a few dollars as a gift for his girlfriend who enjoyed riding dressage. Of course, he was nameless at the time. The reason the healthy beautiful black horse found himself heading to slaughter in the first place, is most likely due to the fact that his extremely sensitive nature did not work for the local cowboy community which prefers very calm and via training dulled, breed of quarter horses. Being a highly spirited warmblood, Marcus’s temperament quickly proved too much for the girlfriend and Marcus (at that point called ‘Bubba’) was given away. His new ‘home’ was a family who also found themselves in over their head with such a sensitive large horse. As a result, he was turned out indefinitely to ‘pasture’. The only problem is, the pasture wasn’t so much a pasture as it was an old car junkyard. Marcus roamed for food among rusted discarded vehicles and their parts. How ironic to think the junkyard was a place of slow death for the vehicles in a similar fashion as it was to be for this horse. Marcus starved.

Arrival at the sanctuary! Thin Marcus on February 16, 2011.

Some caring passerby noticed the desperate horse climbing over sharp edged metal trash in search for grass. She inquired about the horse and asked if she could take him off the owner’s hands. The owners smelled a bargain coming and charged her a high sum for a starved sicklish horse. However, she couldn’t turn away and leave him there. The caring woman promised them what they asked for, left for home, and came back with a horse trailer. The procedure of getting Marcus into the trailer took over three hours but eventually, the exhausted horse was loaded and on his way to a better place. To make some light of a horrific situation, the offensive name ‘Bubba’ was changed for ‘Marcus’ because his rescuer joked that she paid as much as if she had shopped at the store ‘Marcus Nieman’.

About a year later, Marcus’ rescuer fell on hard times and had to give up most of her horses. This is when she contacted our sanctuary. We were able to take Marcus and one other large horse from her and promise them lifelong care. Having Marcus around has been a blessing every day since. He has a wonderful personality and is extremely playful. He wears the massive deep tissue scars from his previous life on his left side and those running down his chest with pride. Nothing can stop him from embracing every day with an attitude of excitement and joy.

Marcus is now working with recovering addicts and other humans trying to overcome traumatic life events. His story of survival helps them heal. Please consider contributing to his care. You can do so conveniently at our online store. Will you be Marcus’ bestie?

Despite his now advanced age, he plays relentlessly with his best friend ‘Hank’. The two of them are seen galloping and jumping up high all the time. Marcus embodies the two seeming opposites of being a strong herd leader and a highly sensitive easily scared individual. We love him beyond measure and are privileged to give him the life and care he deserves!

Enjoy some pictures of handsome Marcus:

Marcus playing with Diana. The goal of the game is to have the horse navigate a row of cones in a zig-zag pattern without touching the horse. Only body language is used. Of course Marcus likes to attempt this at high speed! His Motto: why walk if I can run?

In this game, Diana asks Marcus to do with his feet what her feet do. Look! They both seem suspended in air. This game makes Marcus go wild with fun!

Marcus today in 2017 galloping in the lead followed by his bestie ‘Hank’.

One comment

  • Hi Marcus! That’s so great. Connecting animals with addicts. I love it.

    My wife is an occupational therapist and is really into the notion of animal therapy for the disabled.

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