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Waldo came to Duchess Sanctuary with four other horses in 2009. The group was abandoned on public land and left to fend for themselves. It took the caretakers at the ranch in Oregon many weeks to restore the emaciated group’s physical health. Waldo, and the others, took even longer to regain their trust in humans.
As a full stallion, Waldo needed to kept alone in a paddock instead of out with the herd, due to his hormone levels and associated behaviors. Once he was healthy enough to be gelded, the slow process of reintegration into the herd's communal life began.
First, three geldings were placed in a paddock across the fence from Waldo. Later, the geldings joined him in his pen. After that, the mares were placed in the adjoining paddock.
Finally, after monitoring his progress and interactions with all of his future friends for many weeks, Waldo was turned out with his new herd this August. He now has the freedom to roam over many acres with all of them.
While Waldo will never be the first horse to approach humans in the pasture, he’s no longer terrified of them. It’s taken almost three years to reach this point, but the patience of the Duchess caregivers has paid off.
Photo: Waldo (right) and a friend at the Duchess Sanctuary in October 2011. Picture (c) Jennifer Kunz and used with permission.