Not Just a Horse!

The CHDC wants to share with you this story that Marie Dean wrote to honor the work that Paradise Stable Horse Rescue and Anti Caleche Defense Coalition do to help horses.  The horse world brings people together from all parts of the globe showing we all are connected with each other due to the love of the horse, either by rescuing horses or an anti caleche organization to a group campaigning to end horse slaughter.

Unfair work conditions – time to end slavery!

By: Marie Dean

“Hello, my name is Gus.    I am tired.  I am very tired and worn out.  I am retired now, out of the trade, thank goodness.    This is a true story. 

My life has been a long and difficult one.  I have spent most of my life working almost 7 days a week.  I am 20 years old, I think, maybe older, and I have been working hard since the age of 2. 

I received very little pay with very little reward for my hard work.  I have worked for 12 months out of the year, in the blazing summer sun and the bitter cold of winter for hours on end, all day long.  

Gus in his working days

Gus in his working days

Due to my line of work I was confined with straps and belts and chains, I spent my life between bars.   I was subjected to smoke and dust and dirt and car fumes and loud noises and crowds of people tugging and poking and pulling.  I was not permitted to see where I was going and would have to wait standing for hours before being able to move. 

My mouth was gagged and tied and muzzled and I was alone.   I was not given the luxury of lunch with a drink and I walked constantly on hard surfaces.  I walked so much my feet and legs were always sore and then when I got home after work I did not have a bed to lie down on, it was always too small for me.

I never felt like I had a family or friends and I never felt like I was loved – just did not feel like I belonged anywhere. 

I worked in Montreal, Quebec for most of my life.  I then worked in Ontario for a while until I retired and moved to Saskatchewan.  I finally found love and I now know what it is like to be cared for and appreciated, and what a real home and a real life is.

(If this sounds like a horrible life for a child, a human being – it is a horrible life for a horse as well).  I live at Paradise Stable Horse Rescue and I am a horse, retired from the horse drawn carriage tourist business.”

Gus is a horse who was subjected to the cruel hard life of a carriage horse.  He spent most of his life in Montreal walking the streets and then in the Toronto area.  In  the early 1990s Toronto saw an end to horse-drawn carriages on Toronto streets. (See flyer below)

Gus was then sold to a smaller carriage business in Kenora, Ontario where he continued to work on the streets as well in wedding services, and was used as a therapeutic riding horse when having “down time” “unusable time” they call it in the industry.   He was worn out and tired and unable to perform his duties.   It was time for the auction for him, for horses that are no longer useful to “the business”, which means being picked up for slaughter – it was time for his cruel inhumane death.

He had one last chance, so he and his carriage were put on Kijiji for sale.  There was interest in his carriage but not him.  He was sold with his carriage and moved to Saskatchewan, but he was “unwanted”.  He was in pain and he needed help.   Paradise Stable Horse Rescue gave him that help.  Paradise Stable gave him a life.  Paradise Stable Horse Rescue gave him his freedom!

Dave and Gus - Happy in Paradise

Dave and Gus – Happy in Paradise

Gus required surgery and still requires experienced foot care due to the trauma on his legs and feet.  He also is a special needs horse where he cannot be adopted, his lonely carriage horse life has made him unsuitable to be a companion horse to another.  This is just fine with Bunnie who founded and runs Paradise Stable Horse Rescue.   Gus is loved and appreciated now and has a forever home with her.  It’s time for Gus to just learn how to be a horse for the first time in his life. 

Gus is sponsored by Charlotte Uhrich and her hubby Dave Hennig, who provide extra love and attention to Gus as well as financial monthly assistance to Paradise Stable Horse Rescue to help care for Gus.

Sponsorship of a horse at a rescue is a special gift because it allows the rescue to continue to save other horses; it helps alleviate some of the expenses.   Gus has been loved at Paradise Stable Horse Rescue for approximately 1 year now and he is doing great!  This sad story has a happy ending, which does not happen often for the horse drawn carriage horse.  We couldn’t be happier for Gus!

Paradise Stable Horse Rescue was established in 2001 by Lawrence and Bunnie Harasym. The rescue is located northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on a beautiful, scenic, and peaceful 80 acres.   Paradise Stable Horse Rescue currently has 23 horses in its care.  Some are permanent residents due to age and health conditions, while others are available for adoption and are looking for forever homes. 

Paradise Stable Horse Rescue is dedicated to giving horses a second chance.  Lawrence and Bunnie work as a team to rescue these horses and they provide the care and medical attention that so many of the neglected horses desperately need upon arrival.  The rescue feels that responsible horse ownership includes not only raising horses during their lives but the euthanasia of horses at the end of their lives as well. They believe every horse has a purpose and they are NOT disposable.

Rescuer’s Creed describes well Bunnie and Lawrence Harasym of Paradise Stable Horse Rescue perfectly –  “I shall be a believer of all that is good in people and of all that is deserving in animals. I shall plead for their lives, campaign for their safety and uphold their right to a natural death. I shall seek out the injured and the maimed, the unloved, and the abandoned and tend to them in their last day.”

Please visit Paradise Stable Horse Rescue and say hello to Gus and his new forever family.  As well as give a great big thank you to Paradise Stable for opening their hearts and their home to Gus!

anti-caleche logoAnne Streeter and Jean Lemarquand are unstoppable activists who campaigned endlessly for many years to get a ban on the calèches in Montréal.  Anne co-founded “Action Anti-Calèche” in the late 80s which has now joined forces with “Anti-Caleche Defense Coalition”.   Anti-Caleche Defense Coalition are the guardians of 65 calèche horses in Montréal.   This coalition will be the horse’s voice until they are all free.   


They are members of Horses Without Carriages International, which is a coalition of many diverse organizations and individuals throughout the world with the common goal of exposing the injustice, cruelty, and inhumanity in the urban horse-drawn carriage tourist trade.

A horse should not be forced to work between the shafts of his carriage for many hours per day, with a metal bit in his mouth, a diaper tied to his rear, blinders blocking his view, ear plugs, and sometimes a muzzle. 

Many horses used to pull these carriages are not even workhorses, but smaller breeds, often broken-down horses from the racetrack who must work far more than their physical capacity can safely allow.  They work amidst buses, cars, taxis, emergency vehicles, motorcycles, and garbage trucks, they often serve as anachronistic entertainment for a few privileged tourists, denied their natural instincts just so these tourists may take a 30-minute ride.   

When they can no longer make the grade working on the street, they are often sent to auction on their way to slaughter, discarded like trash.    

We need to move into and embrace the 21st century and leave the 19th century horse-drawn carriages behind. It is time to put an end to many forms of cruelty to animals; this is but one small step towards this goal.

It takes time, pressure, and consistent awareness and attention by dedicate horse welfare advocates to bring change to an industry that has no respect for the horse’s natural needs as well as its safety.   

The success of the Toronto ban dates back as early as the 1970s where a young lawyer in Toronto, Tim Trow, spent many evenings perched on benches outside stands offering horse and carriage rides to tourists. He documented the outside temperature and the hours the horses worked, and he tracked police reports of traffic accidents involving horses. He took his findings to city council, and soon the city began to regulate the industry so aggressively that it essentially collapsed.    Along with Liz White, a director of advocacy group Animal Alliance of Canada campaigning hard in the 1990s, the freedom was awarded to the horse with a ban in Toronto of the carriage horse industry.    Absolutely fabulous work – Congratulations!

Gus, who told us his story, would like to give a great big heartfelt thank you to Paradise Stable Horse Rescue for saving him, loving him, and giving him the last years of his life in security and freedom, and he also sends his love to Anti Caleche Defense Coalition for bringing attention and awareness to the horse welfare issues with this industry in Montreal and for speaking up for him and his fellow equines caught in this institutional legalized slave trade.  

“If you think it’s ‘just a horse,’ then you will probably understand phrases like ‘just a friend’, ”just a sunrise’, or ‘just a promise’.” ~ Unknown

Gus, is not “just a horse”!

Click image to enlarge:



  1. Tim Trow? TIM TROW?? The psycho who ruined the good name of the Toronto Humane Society?? Please. I wondered who was to blame for the instant unemployment of carriage horses.
    Thanks. Now I know. Clearly, y’all don’t know how crazy old Tim really is. Did you know, he never neuters his own animals? Did you know he kept a vicious dog alive, against the owner’s wishes for almost two years?? He kept the dog in a cage the whole time? Yeah.
    Sorry. I read the name Tim Trow, I dismiss the rest of the article.

    1. karen123 · ·

      Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But the reason Tim sometimes does not neuter his own animals is because when he adopts them, they are already neutered. Yes, he kept the vicious dog alive and made advancements in socializing the dog. Tim felt that since men who abuse women aren’t destroyed, neither should the dog. Many people, especially Tim, made headway in socializing this dog. As for Gus, the people of Kenora would have put a fund together for his retirement, but we were never given a chance.

      1. ” Yes, he kept the vicious dog alive and made advancements in socializing the dog.”. No, he didn’t. Not EVER. The dog continued to bite people, seriously injuring a cat in the process. Ridiculous. The man is unstable. Your “facts” are utterly wrong. He bought a Dalmation, and did NOT NEUTER it. This was direct from someone who was working at THS at the time Tim was keeping Bandit alive, for no other reason than Tim was d’uh boss. Bandit put 200 stitches into a child’s face. The kids’ grandmother pleaded with Tim to have the dog euthed. (shaking my head…)
        I give up on you people. You take away an animals’ job, and then cry that the animal has been sent to slaughter. WHO TOOK THAT ANIMAL’S JOB AWAY?! YOU DID.
        You people won’t be happy until all horses are either extinct, or starved in some farmer’s field somewhere.
        Am I to assume that riding a horse is also considered “slavery”? According to your laughable logic, we should have NEVER “enslaved” ANY animal.

        Animals have no chance of ANY improvements in their welfare, with this type of extremist bullshit thinking.

      2. karen123 · ·

        This article is about Gus the Horse. Gus served the town of Kenora and was part of the town. We were always told that Gus was being taken care of. Had the people of Kenora been told about Gus’ fate, we would have set up a fund to send him to a horse retirement farm in Ontario. Instead, the “owners” sold him along with his precious carriage and shipped him to Saskatchewan. I’m glad things worked out for Gus, but I don’t think the previous owners ever intended to give him a comfortable retirement.

    2. Your response to this article is extremely uncalled for. Horse welfare advocates care about the horse and speak up for the horse. If the industry crumbles and a ban becomes law, does that not tell you that there was abuse and cruelty inflicted on the horse. Thank god there are good people out there watching to make sure the horses are care for while they work. Horse welfare advocates do not want horses to lose their “good” jobs. We understand that in the hands of many if they lose their jobs, they lose their lives – does that should like a good job to you?

  2. Mary Croft · ·

    A special thank you to all who rescue animals….



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