2019 Platinum Performance
Horse Welfare Awards

Nickname: Butters
Birth Year: 1997. Gender: Mare. Breed: Haflinger Cross.
Affiliated with Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy

Butters is one of the friendliest horses we have ever met. With those big doe eyes, PLATINUM blonde hair, and sweet disposition, it's hard to believe her life could have been much different if she hadn't been saved from slaughter. She came to us without much more history of her past. Her prior owner had her for a very short time after purchasing her from a kind person who saved her from a kill pen. Butters wasn't being ridden and didn't have a person of her own, so she reached out to Southern Reins to see if we would be interested in her as a therapy horse.

When we first saw Butters to evaluate her in the late summer of 2018, we immediately fell in love with her kindness. And that kindness shined bigger and brighter than the low muscle tone, possible PPID or EMS, and tooth loss due to older age that many would have walked away from. One look into her eyes, and you could see beyond the surface that this pony just needed a chance to show her potential.

Butters got that chance and joined our program in September of 2018. She was introduced to wheelchairs and walkers, adaptive equipment, and a purpose to her life. She began engaging with the staff and volunteers, and we quickly learned she loved being the center of attention and having people around her. Under the care of our Head Instructor & Equine Director, once her nutrition and body condition improved, Butters began her journey to help others as a therapy horse.

Over the course of her time at Southern Reins, Butters has served in all of our programs; including adaptive riding, Occupational Therapy incorporating Hippotherapy, Making Strides Recreation Therapy, Silver Stirrups, Unbridled Horsemanship and Equine Services for Heroes. She is a shining star in our program, and is always the first to meet you at the gate or at her stall door. What makes Butters unique is that she prefers to have a lot of people around her, versus being ridden independently. She thrives when she has her rider mounted, a horse leader, and two sidewalkers, and is even happier when a therapist is added to the mix!

In the spring of this year she suffered a hairline coffin bone fracture during turnout, and after many months of stall rest, she is slowly returning to work. Given her diet restrictions, age and recovering injury, we are nominating Butters for a Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Award. She would greatly benefit from Platinum Metabolic Support and Osteon to aid in her recovery so she can continue to serve her participants with disabilities who look forward to every moment they share with her.

Butters’ rags to riches story is one that so many horses don't have the opportunity to achieve. But it is also the story about how one pony's potential can change lives. Butters has given the use of her legs to children who use wheelchairs and walkers. She has encouraged boys and girls to say "walk on" and "whoa" when they don't typically speak throughout the day. And she has given mile-wide smiles to all her riders as the trot down the long side. Those moments were and will continue to be made possible, thanks to this kind and gentle blonde pony who could have been easily overlooked.

We are beyond grateful every day to have Butters in our program, and are honored to nominate her for a Platinum Performance Health Welfare Award.

Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I am the Executive Director of Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy. Butters joined our program in 2018 after a local trainer contacted us about her as a prospective therapy pony. They shared that she had been saved from slaughter, and though she was older, they felt she still had a lot to give. They were right....her story is below. -- Jill A. Haag

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