Family out to save horse

LISBON FALLS — The horse is named Knotty, and it could be put down in a matter of days.

Dan Buck Soules

Former race horse, Knotty

But not if Dan Buck Soules has anything to say about it.

Soules and his family once owned the horse, a former racer they got in 2003 through a rescue outfit in Canada. They bought the horse for their daughter, but a year ago, the daughter went off to Alabama, leaving Knotty behind.

Dan and his wife were unable to care for the horse on their own, so they turned the animal over to RiverView Farm on Edgecomb Road, with the arrangement that they could buy it back if their situation changed.

Soules said they had been housing Knotty at the farm all along for $350 a month. It seemed like a good arrangement — the people of RiverView could use the horse to show or ride, while the Soules always knew it was in a safe place.

But Soules said he got a phone call recently from Lisa Bosse, owner of the farm, who advised him that Knotty was sick. It had trouble getting up and would need to be put down. Bosse told the Souleses that she'd already sunk money into Knotty's care, and there was just no other way.

Dan Soules disagreed vehemently. Through his research, he said, he learned that Knotty probably has Lyme disease. It's fairly common in horses, and it's treatable.

"He needs help," said Soules, who has suffered with Lyme disease himself. "He needs medicine, and he needs tender loving care. The horse is not sick enough to put down."

While trying to sort out the matter, Soules said he and his wife went to see Knotty at RiverView Farm.

"The horse came right out of the barn with no problem," he said. "There's nothing wrong with that horse. They just won't let us take it back. They want to kill it."

Whether it's that black and white is probably something that needs to be sorted out by the lawyers. Soules said he has contacted his own. He also tried the local animal control officer and the police. There was no help there — the matter is a civil one, police said, not a criminal matter.

Bosse herself could not be reached Friday and did not return messages left at the farm.

Soules said he's not looking for a big legal fight. What he wants is his horse back so he can try to make it well. Short of that, he'd like some kind of legal injunction to keep Bosse from putting the animal down.

"I'd at least like to get the horse somewhere safe," he said, "while this gets worked out."

Soules said he has a contract granting him right of first refusal if he decided he ever wanted Knotty back. But Bosse won't honor it, he said. The farm owner told him that he had fallen behind in his boarding payments, which may have nullified the contract, he said.

Soules insisted he got paid up and only stopped paying when he learned that Bosse planned to put the horse down.

Why, he wondered, would someone want to go through the trouble and expense of killing an animal when the original owner is perfectly happy to take over its care?

"It just doesn't add up," Soules said. "We'll go and get it. We're willing to take care of this horse."

Whether or not Knotty suffers from Lyme disease has not been determined. It remained unclear Friday whether Bosse had the animal tested for the disease. Dan said all of his research — with the help of a veterinarian service — points to Lyme as the exact cause of Knotty's suffering.

More common in the Northeast than elsewhere, Lyme disease in horses is said to cause lameness, low energy and arthritis, as well as other problems. The disease is typically treated with antibiotics.

RiverView Farm has been in business since 2000 and offers boarding and riding.

Soules said Friday night that he is waiting to hear from his lawyer. Attempts to resolve the matter with Bosse directly, he said, have failed.

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

The rest of the story.......

Upon reading the rest of the story, I see the difficult situation going on here. This is always hard on those involved. I've seen elderly horses, and I am also familiar with the damage cause to racing horses.
When a life has been lived, who is to decide that this life must end. Usually the decision is made by the one closest to the animal. Whether it's a horse, or a cat, the decision is never easy. Emotions have a way of convincing a person that there is still something left to try. I honestly feel it's a built in mechanism. Unfortunately if you let emotions take control of this situation, the only one your helping is you. At some point people need to accept the fact that even though the animal is standing there and looks fine, what your seeing isn't what it appears to be. Animals don't show pain and emotions exactly like humans do. You sometimes need to do whats best for the animal over you strongest emotions. You have to trust the word of the experts who know whats going on. and you need to ask yourself, would I want to live like this? It's never easy, but you MUST do whats best for the animal, not what would make you feel better........................

Matt  Eaton's picture

the rest of the story.

There is certainly more to this story. In fact the majority of this story is a misleading twist on the truths purposely depicted in a twisted manor to defame one of the best boarding facilities and horse women Maine has to offer. So The rest of the story begins now. This horse was brought to Riverview farm as any other boarder comes. The horse was boarded and visited by its owner said family's daughter for several months. Daughter moves to Alabama for College and is barely reachable for board payment and other horse owner decisions. Said family's parents are contacted for payment. Upon making ONE months board payment said family's parents decide to place an ad in the local wanted sites for a home for Knotty. Several people came to answer the add for free horse. One couple actually saddled Knotty (saddle backwards) and was intending to ride Knotty. Retired race horse with bad joints and Uveitis in both eyes. Several of the boarders at the farm took notice to the probable destiny of this retired race horse and decided to attempt to foster him, avoiding his transfer to a home with less than desirable conditions. Upon discussion with said family's parents Knotty was signed over (per bill of sale) to the farm owner Lisa Bosse. Along with several concerned boarders Lisa took on Knotty as a farm rescue case. Over the months that followed said family NEVER approached farm owner of Knotty to see his progress or offer any compensation for his care. The farm boarders all grew close to Knotty, spending time with him daily and Knotty enjoying the loving grooming and endless treats from all who enjoyed his company. Now lets not forget Knotty has Uveitis, look it up. Very painful and hard to treat. After several unexplained episodes and visits from the Veterinarians trusted at the farm, Knotty's condition has worsened. The lasting injuries of his racing career combined with a nearly debilitating case of Uveitis and simply old age have made everyday life for Knotty a challenge. Even getting himself up from a much needed roll in the dirt has become a challenge usually requiring the farm staffs assistance. Winter is upon us and those months are the toughest on any animal depending on outside activity to survive. So as a barn chock full of horse lovers look back on this summer of challenges for Knotty and see the impending cold, wind and icy conditions coming they heavy heartedly decided to do the honorable thing and have knotty put to rest. While the grass was green and the warm breeze was blowing. Knotty still pushes on through his days with strong will and a love for life as he knows it on the farm. The phone call to said family was simply a courtesy call for them to spend a few moments with a former family friend. At no point was this meant to be a debate, this story is simply one of honor and doing what is right for a good ol boy named Knotty. This family was prepared to give this horse to a free home and let who knows what happen to him. By returning this horse to less than capable people his care would certainly do nothing to better is quality of life. The many who love him on the farm have made the right decision so please support those who really care and see for yourself there IS more to this story

FRANK EARLEY's picture

There has to be more to the story.........

Why would Bosse fight so hard just for the privilege of putting the horse down. My family had horses growing up, and I know how horse people feel about their horses. Due to their physical size and the amount of care it takes to keep a horse, many times other arrangements are made. The original owner is always a big part of that animals life, where ever it's boarded.
I know that a lot of boarding or ownership problems occur due to money issues. I know several horses my sister had taken in over the years. There were many reasons for them to find their way to my sisters farm, money being the biggest issue among horse owners. My sister never let that stand between a horse and the owner. She always went over the top, to keep everyone happy. That's why I am having a hard time understanding the farm owner so stuck on putting the horse down. There has to be more to this story. I wish the Soules family the best in getting their horse back. I hope Lisa Bosse reconsiders her options...................


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