2021 Platinum Performance
Horse Welfare Award Recipients

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2021 Recipients

Official Name: Elmer
Birth Year: 2016 Gender: Gelding. Breed: Mule


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Shepard Meadows Equestrian Center
Elmer is a young rescue mule that came to the therapeutic riding center in May of 2019. We were told he was a five year old, but we later learned during a veterinary exam that he was actual two years old. When he arrived he was very untrusting. It was a struggle to put on a halter and he was very skittish and shy. He arrived after a winter of neglect where his ears were frost-bitten and he had little human contact since birth. He was very concerned about food, always "dancing" around when fed to be sure his food wasn't stolen. After he arrived he suffered from an extreme skin condition where his hair was falling out in batches, while there was no underlying disease, we believe it was stress related and the result of neglect. He has since grown and lost his coat very nicely.

In the two years that Elmer has been at the center he has become a visitor, volunteer, participant and staff favorite. He has a stall in our small barn with access to a pen around the barn so that he can move in and out freely. He has become a companion and best friend (over the fence line) to our very stable therapy horse, George. He keeps an eye on the entire herd, communicating news, such as dinner time and when horses are being brought to the barn for program. He is a good babysitter for those who might otherwise be alone in our barn for a short time between programming. His appaloosa spots couldn't be more special with his red coat.

His "whimper" is unpredictable yet adorable and welcoming. All guests who he calls to feel special. We have begun partnering him with our Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Program as well as with Youth Development and Equine-Assisted Learning. He is especially responsive to youth who ADHD and ASD. His movements and communications are very clear and youth often relate to him.

Elmer has come a long way in his two years at the center. He is now easily halter and leads well to and from the rings. The herd of ten therapy horses have grown to appreciate his uniqueness and enjoy watching him. We will continue working with him in our unmounted programs.

Elmer would benefit from Platinum Performance products as he grows and matures. We are planning on him being with us at the farm for several decades more. He is a special creature who deserves all the love and attention he gets. Go Elmer!

Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I am nominating Elmer as a staff member at Shepard Meadows Equestrian Center, Inc. He cam to the farm two years ago in May as a very neglected young mule rescue. -- Shelly W. Pope