Equinfinity's Horse of the Year! - Thor

click to enlarge

Thor, Now Happy & Relaxed at Home


Virginia residents can see Thor featured 
January 18th, 9 PM on WCVE and WHTJ (Charlottesville). Re-run presentation on Saturday, January 19th at 5:30 PM and again on Sunday, January 20th at 10:30 AM. 
The show airs different times across the state. 



click to enlarge

Thor Bucking Around the Paddock

Thor's Information Links

Read more about Thor at the Rio Vista Site

Read more about Thor at VetCentric "A New Leg Up On Life"

Read about Thor's prosthetic and the other animals being helped at Equine Prosthetics, Inc.


The Story......

Deb's Letter to Rio Vista
Originally written January 2, 1999, Updated December 8, 1999

Gentlemen and Ladies,

             I am writing to you concerning a single, extraordinary horse who has been abused and neglected.  Not much in the greater scheme of things -- I know there are thousands of animals desperately in need of help, but this individual personifies all that is noble in the horse, and all that can be good in humans.

            I first saw this horse when I was taking care of a friend’s horses in June, 1997 and instantaneously my blood ran cold in disbelief.  I have seen a lot of starving horses and a lot of injured horses, but this combination was beyond anything imaginable.

            He was standing in the front lot of a notoriously inhumane horse breeders premises -- an emaciated gray horse standing with his head down and his grotesquely distorted right hind leg waving a loose, floppy bandage in the air.

  “Oh my God.  Please let him die, please just let him die."

             As luck would have it he ended up in my barn instead.  In October two ladies who are members of the Central Virginia Horse Protection Association, a local equine rescue organization, said they needed a place nearby to that barn to put a very lame gray gelding because he probably couldn’t ship far.  From the description it had to be the same horse.  I couldn’t believe he was still alive!

 “Well, at least I can do something for him and give him a peaceful end.”

             Even though I had planned to insist that he be put down right away, in just the first week he was there I saw a glimmer of something incredible.  With everything that was done for this horse, every flake of hay, every fresh bucket of water, and with every kind word he seemed to blossom more and more -- despite the raging infection in his mangled leg.  After the first day or two he was curious, he put his head on your chest, he nuzzled the kids and seemed to purr when they brushed him (soft brushes because of the extensive rain rot).  After two weeks it was clear that he was not an ordinary horse:

 “Well, maybe we’ll just run with it and see what happens”...  

Thor, November, 1997 three weeks after arriving.  Our first attempt at supporting the right hind was 
to nail an extension plate onto a shoe and support the fetlock with padding.

             That was over two years ago.

             The horse’s name is Thor -- I don’t know if that is his real name.  According to the Va. State Veterinarian  he had been in and out of several big name barns and had competed at Gladstone as a jumper.

            Radiographs were done by the attending veterinarian had demonstrated a complete dysfunction of the foot and extensive osteomyelitis (bone infection).  She believed that all the tendons had been severed including the suspensories, probably from a wire accident.  At least one of the splint bones was also broken.  In addition, the PIII was also broken and consequently shed out through the bottom of the hoof after the first attempt to get his foot correctly back underneath him.


January, 1999

Spring, 2001  (click to enlarge)


  This horse could have easily given up and died several times so far:

                ·        Discarded to a starvation lot.

·        Caught in the wire and left to fend for himself with inadequate medical care for months.

·        Shedding the hoof capsule in May, 1998.

 But he hasn’t died, because he doesn’t choose to.  Instead, this horse has shown more courage than any living creature I’ve ever known.  He has put on 400 pounds, trifles with my old mare, and bucks and plays in his stall.

            We are not looking to cover his medical bills thus far; they are being worked on by the efforts of many dedicated people.  But, what this horse needs, and deserves, is a chance for the future -- he needs to have the mangled mess of a leg removed and a prosthesis fitted for him.

            Old Dominion Prosthetics and Orthotics has donated time and energy and fabricated a unique prosthesis for Thor.  This has given Thor a much brighter future, and at this point in time we believe that most of the leg can be saved with this customized prosthesis.

            Clearly, no one individual can help this horse; it will require a unique combination of people and talents and it has to be a group effort.  I realize that there are many horses that could be helped with the amount of energy and financial aid we need, but I can assure you, NONE have deserved it more, or been more patient in their acceptance of their fate in human hands.

            I am extending a personal invitation for your company representative to come and meet him and talk with us.  This horse deserves a chance.  He has fought so much and come so far and still quietly keeps on eating breakfast, flirting with the girls,

 and waiting...

                                                                                      Most Sincerely,


                                                                                    Deborah JB Galt, LVT  

Post Script Summer, 2000 / 2001

Thor has had his prosthetic foot for almost two years now and he is doing wonderfully!  He has been able to visit 4-H groups, attend the Adventure Camp for amputee children, helped educate at the Disability Awareness Day, and honored the riders at the Virginia Therapeutic Riding year-end awards.  We are looking very forward to going to the Celebrity Freestyle Challenge to benefit the Christopher Reeves Paralysis Foundation.  He has been invited to parade at the Foxfield Races this September…it will be his day!

The only difficulty now lies in keeping his prosthetic in good repair and current with his physical capabilities.  Our goal is to keep Thor happy and healthy so that he can continue to travel to these events and stimulate the imagination of children and adults who see in this beautiful horse -

- the possibility to do anything...

Post Script November, 2001

Thor at Foxfield in September, 2001 ... Deb's trying to hold him back!  (click to enlarge)

From Deb November, 2001: 
Thor has been to Montpelier Races and the Foxfield Races and seems to be "quite a draw". I hope we'll be invited again. The days were very full for us with thousands of people asking questions about Thor & his foot, and the kids are just great!

As a bonus, we also received a request for more information on him by Primedia Equine (publishers of Practical Horseman, Horse & Rider, Equus, Dressage Today). We should know more about that next year. Also, next year will be the airing on PBS Virginia Currents of his visit to camp with the amputee children.  All in all, a busy year for a horse with three feet.

From the Webmaven....Thor & Deb's story sent us into tears of both sorrow and joy.  Thor's joy of life and bravery indeed displays the most noble and dignified qualities of our equine friends.  Obviously, it has been a heart rendering journey for Deb, who's tenaciousness, understanding and very hard work gave Thor his second chance at a good life.  Hurrahs also for the other folks and organizations who have helped in his recovery.  What a wonderful spokes-horse for both humans and animals who have disabilities!  God Bless them both.  

We will be updating Thor's progress and activities - check back for updates!

Back to Equinfinity!

Questions about Equinfinity? - E-mail for more information.  
Equinfinity is not responsible for information in external links, animals, goods or services listed for sale. 
All contents copyright © 1999-2001 Equinfinity Enterprises. All rights reserved.