Woman Refuses to Euthanize the ‘Dangerous’ Horse That Got Left Behind – Finds Out the Underlying Issue

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Oct 18, 2023

Woman Refuses to Euthanize the ‘Dangerous’ Horse That Got Left Behind – Finds Out the Underlying Issue

One woman from Northern Ireland, Molly Piper, experienced this firsthand when she shared some footage of a newly acquired horse. She received considerable online abuse, and some even went as far as to claim the horse should be euthanized. Yet, she never gave up on the horse known as Moonlight.

Moonlight’s Tough Start to Life

Molly Piper bought the four-year-old Moonlight in 2022. She knew he had very little training. However, she’d soon find out he also had several behavioral problems.

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Source: @MoonlightsJourney/Instagram

Molly was unfazed and was ready for a challenge. She said: “I was warned he was a difficult horse, but I was willing to put the work in.”

Horrible Comments Made Online

The young girl from Northern Ireland posted numerous videos to Instagram showing the occasions when Moonlight acted out. Online viewers soon began leaving a sway of hurtful and abusive comments about the horse.

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Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

They included, “If that were my horse, I’d have sold him for meat. There are too many good horses out there to waste time on ones like him. Poor horse incapable human. Dangerous. Useless. You’re risking your life and wasting your time for what.”

Getting to the Bottom of the Problem

Yet, Molly wasn’t concerned with the online comments. Instead, she wanted to get to the root of Moonlight’s problems.

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Source: @MoonlightsJourney/Instagram

The young woman admits it wasn’t all bad. She said, “There were good moments and rides but also awful moments, including a fall where he reared and flipped over backward.”

A Trip to the Vet

Molly believed that something might be wrong with the horse, and this was causing his moody outbreaks. So she decided to take Moonlight to the veterinarian, hoping a professional could help her better understand the horse.

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She said, “I pushed for X-rays of his back, and we ended up injecting him with steroids, but unfortunately, his problems weren’t explained to me fully, and I was told to continue riding away.”

The Problems Flared Up Again

The injections helped for a little while and even allowed Molly and Moonlight to have a successful summer competing. However, the problems soon flared up again.

Source: Vince Caliguiri/Getty Images

In September 2022, Moonlight began having severe saddle issues. Molly decided to give the horse more lessons and frequently took him to physical therapy, but nothing seemed to work.

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Typical Young Horse Behavior or More?

It got to the point when many were suggesting that the horse should be euthanized. Whereas once again, Molly claimed it could be nothing more than a case of typical young horse behavior.

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Molly was aware of the behavioral issues and subtle problems, including biting, clumsiness, and being rather jumpy. This led her to speculate that another problem was behind the frequent outbursts of bad behavior

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Molly Was Determined to Get Answers

Moonlight’s behavior got so bad that Molly’s parents decided they could no longer handle him. Yet, she wouldn’t give up and decided to take him back to the vet for further examinations.

Source: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

However, this time, Molly would finally get the answers she was looking for. Moonlight was diagnosed with a condition known as ‘kissing spine,’ which had been overlooked in previous examinations.

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Moonlight Was Living in Tremendous Pain

The veterinarian described the condition in simple terms as “when the vertebrae in the horse’s spine rub together and cause excruciating pain.”

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Thankfully, Moonlight finally got the treatment he needed. Molly said: “He had a ligament snip surgery at the end of May, where the ligament between the spinal processes is cut to allow them to move apart and create space, taking away the pain.”

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Moonlight Goes Through Extensive Rehab

After the surgery, Moonlight had to go through an extensive recovery process. Molly said, “He has to follow an intense rehabilitation program to build his core and strengthen his back. Kissing spine is a degenerative disease, so his future is still uncertain, and the rehabilitation is lifelong.”

Source: @MoonlightsJourney/Instagram

She continued, “I have not sat on him again yet, as I’m taking everything slowly and making sure he’s ready and happy.”

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Molly Finally Solved the Problem

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Center for Equine Health explained why a condition such as ‘kissing spine’ played a huge role in Moonlight’s behavior.

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They said horses with kissing spine “can exhibit changes in behavior such as hypersensitivity to brushing, grittiness, bucking, rearing, head tossing, kicking out, hollowing the back, resisting the bit, trouble with transitions, cross-cantering, and refusing or rushing fences.”

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Moonlight Is Making a Full Recovery

Molly said that Moonlight’s behavior has undoubtedly improved following the surgery, and he’s a much happier horse.

Source: @MoonlightsJourney/Instagram

Those who have read the story around the world admire the love and patience Molly showed Moonlight during his tough times. One comment summed it up perfectly by saying, “There’s no such thing as a bad horse, just one that’s misunderstood.”

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