Horses of Tir Na Nog

Chief Joseph

Gender: Gelding

Breed: Appaloosa

Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1976

In April of 2011, an emaciated Appaloosa gelding arrived at Horses of Tir Na Nog. The San Diego Humane Society & SPCA had been working with Chief's owner to improve his care for many months before he came to us. Unfortunately, the owner's health and property foreclosure prevented him from providing Chief with the care he needed.

When Chief first arrived, we described him as broken hearted and renamed him Chief Joseph in honor of the great Nez Perce chief. Our Chief had lost his interest in life and seemed resolved to letting go. That didn't last long. Once he had a few good meals and some long grooming sessions with our volunteers, his spirit returned. While always soft and gentle with our volunteers, he loved flirting with the girls in the next corral. And Chief's beautiful coloring turned a lot of heads at the ranch.

Sadly, on Sunday, July 7, 2013 Chief exhibit signs of abdominal distress. Dr. Smith, one of our wonderful veterinarian from ECLAP came directly to the ranch. Unfortunately the stomach tap he performed on Chief revealed that our special boy had probably twisted his intestine. While pain medication offered Chief immediately relief, there wasn't a treatment option, so as gently and with as much dignity for him as possible, we said our good byes. At the approximate age of 37, he was one of the two oldest residents at Horses of Tir Na Nog.

At Horses of Tir Na Nog we try very hard to avoid "favorites." Each of our residents is different and therefore develops connections to different volunteers. But there is little doubt that Chief Joseph was one of those extraordinary horses, one that everyone falls in love with as soon as they meet him.

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce once said, "It does not require many words to speak the truth." Our Chief Joseph spoke volumes about the true worth and value of old, unwanted horses, without any words. We are so grateful that our supporters and volunteers heard his truths. Your support not only provided Chief with the life he deserved, but continues to provide for so many other horses that call Horses of Tir Na Nog home.

We create a safe haven for horses that have few options remaining, thereby ensuring them a better quality of life.

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© 2021 Horses of Tir Na Nog, San Diego's longest-operating 501(c)3 equine sanctuary.