On the night of New Year’s Eve 2016 Adelia died in her box stall alone and hurting. They say it was a colic. We say it was years of abuse that led to her death. She was an old horse, over 25 years spent serving humans. And like most caleche horses, she was not granted a retirement, instead she worked to death. She was driven by a coachman nicknamed Pyscho Phil, and we understand why after witnessing his violent tantrums and screaming in the ears of sweet Adelia as she pulled and did the best she could to serve her master...
Just a few days before Christmas, Mayor Coderre had announced a $500,000.00 + $90,000.00 investment into the caleche industry. The public doesn’t know this, but that public money will not be used to build a stable but a tent for the horses! It will also be employed to dress the coachmen in fancy uniforms, which they’ve stated they will refuse to wear. Must we remind the Mayor that the current bylaw already requires them to wear a uniform among many other more relevant things?
So what’s in it for the horses you might ask? Absolutely nothing. The bylaws will continue to not be enforced. All will remain the same. No improvement or protection for the horses’ well-being.
In the meantime Adelia died. MAPAQ and the City inspectors were not aware of her death until we informed them just like many other horses that have die unreported.
Adelia had been sick for years. She had many physical injuries, caused by her work pulling caleches and standing in a narrow box stall, where a cable once provoked a deep wound in her leg. She was rehabilitated at A Horse Tale Rescue and then returned to work as you can read in the following account on their blog: http://ahtrescue.org/2015/05/20/goo...
We don’t understand why an old and suffering horse was not retired. Who is to blame for this? I’d say first and foremost the City of Montreal, guilty of negligence and responsible for allowing these sensitive animals to be perpetually abused.
We want to thank the volunteer Mike who gave Adelia a chance at love and compassion. He shares his story and many photos of Adelia. (http://ahtrescue.org/2017/01/08/ade...)
Adelia came to AHT as a result of an injury to her rear left ankle. An injury which to any other horse would have been the end...the vet had very little hope for her.
In stepped AHT.
Through the help and perseverance of Kerri Fenoff, Adelia was nursed back to health over 5 months, her recovery was truly a miracle, but then again we came to soon realize that Adelia does not give in, ever.
I remember all too well my first day and crossing paths with this "tiger". As she would stick her head out of her stall, luring me closer, to then lash out with a nip if you got too close. We were given strict instructions not to go into her stall or paddock without help.
This went on for several weeks. Many were frightened to go near her and often threw hay into the stall or her food bowl, like a wild caged animal, "She's crazy!"
But I could see through her facade, there was lady buried under that pain.....
Fast forward 2 months, I continued my courting routine with Adelia, showing her that it's ok to be cared for and loved. I told her that yes she went through a traumatic experience and her trust was broken, but it's ok to let your guard down. Little did I know the reward I would experience in gaining such a trust.
Many cringed at the thought of moving her from stall to paddock, her erratic and sudden movements easily overpowering many that tried to lead her. One time I foolishly thought Adelia could be moved into her paddock with simple halter and lead rope attached to the loop under her chin. As we exited the barn doors, I motioned to turn left, there was a sudden sharp pull against the rope. I turned back and gestured to her, "Let's go left my girl".
She would have none of this....She turned her head right and briskly walked around the back of the barn to the manure pile out back, all the while my heels where sliding across the snow. There was no stopping her. She climbed the manure pile with me in tow and looked around then looked down at me. Our eyes met and we had a stand off in the making. Needless to say I got her in her paddock, but learned a vital lesson that day..... never take Adelia out without a chain. Give her an inch and she will take that mile!
Through walks down Murphy road, showing her how to respect instructions and let me show her the way, our bond grew stronger. Her head began to lower down, falling back slightly to let me take the lead, my girl was coming around. She realized that she didn't have to be as strong, that someone else had her back now. When you looked in her eyes, she would be looking right back at you. Her soul was deep and strong. She had lived a thousand lives and could tell a thousand tales. Her inner strength was strong, nothing could break her.
This bond grew stronger with each encounter, I could take her for long walks down Manson, across railroad tracks and to the waters edge on Main. It was a whole new world for both of us, each relying on each other for strength and guidance. I look back now and realize that she, this wild and crazy horse, helped me find myself like no one else has. Our bond was sealed for life.
Adelia eventually healed and returned back to work. My visits now entailed early weekend visits with apples and carrots with walks in the downtown waterfront park. Seasons passed, but our time together did not. Yes there would be times where it may have stretched to a month, but when I would arrive at the stables, her head down eating, I would call out from a distance, "Eh la grosse!", and her head would bolt up, turning to the side to see me as I approached. She would give out a low rumble and flutter cry of affection in anticipation of me coming into her stall. Yes there were times where she would then turn away from me "Where have you been?!?", but that only lasted a second, which followed by head to head nuzzles and sweet Adelia kisses. She was such a tease...
Well I received a call last night from the owner of the stables, Adelia has made her last caleche ride.
Following complications of colic over the night of New Year's Eve, Adelia passed away during that evening. My crazy, wild, loving girl was no more.
This was not meant to be. I had been preparing for the day she would come back to me. There was no doubt in my mind this would come true. After all the times we re-encountered at the stables or on the streets of the old port, I always reminded her of what was to come and be patient for me, I would find a way.
I'm sorry to say that this is really hard for me, never in all these posts did I ever envision I would be writing one for her. It was never meant to be...... we were to retire together, ride together, enjoy life together. I had so much more to show her, to tell her. But now she is gone.
She was good girl, a strong girl. She was my girl.......
I've shared some pics to help remember her. She was one of a kind.
While three caleche horses, Ulysses, Blanko (the horse who spooked in Place d’Armes jumping a bench in 2015), and the very frail Charlie, were rescued in 2016, Adelia unfortunately was not one of them.
Farewell, sweet Adelia.