“No malicious intent”, my ass

Let’s say your an 86 year old man who has a horse and doesn’t know much about it.  One day, your horse gets loose and, feeling frisky, heads over to a neighbors farm for some flirty-flirty with the stud-folk.  You need to get her safely home, what to do you do?

Do you

a)  Call a hauling service and incur the costs, but get your mare safely home.

b) Throw on some sort of headgear (halter, bridle, what-have-you) and walk her home, even if she is in an agitated state and you’re 86 and not exactly spritely.

c) Loop a nylon rope arond the horse’s neck and tie that rope to your pickup truck and pull/drag her home.

Well, which is it?

Dingdingding!  If you picked ‘c’, you’re correct!

For full details on this most recent horrific horse event, please check out this interview from Eyewitness News 3.

This wonderful specimen of a horse owner wants us to believe there was “no malicious intent” when he tied his horse to his pickup truck and drove off.  Apparently he couldn’t handle walking her and had no other way of getting her home to her breakfast and her apples.

Question: What kind of a person shows up to retrieve a rogue horse WITHOUT a halter?!

Now, here’s where my major issue with this story is:  If the owner really, truly, harbored no ill-will towards this poor mare, then why didn’t he stop when he saw the horse was pulling against the rope?  He must have known she was choking herself?  She was obviously resistant to the idea of running behind a truck and he should have stopped and come up with a better idea before continuing to the point where she actually felland was dragged.

But hey, alls well that ends well because after experiencing being dragged, the mare decided she didn’t like it and was able to be walked the rest of the way home.


Is anyone else wondering what would have happened to that mare if those people hadn’t come along and stepped in?  Would he have continued to drag her? Would he have let her get up and then tried driving off again?

You know what I find the most disturbing about this story?  That is, aside from the blatant disregard for the horse’s safety and well-being, as well as the owners apparent inability to handle the horse, oh and his obvious lack of horse knowledge and experience?  Is how he comes across as defensive rather than apologetic in that interview.  Where’ s the remorse?  The regret? My gawd, I lose sleep when I think my horse doesn’t have enough blankets on!

Unfortunately, the math of this man’s story looks something like 1 + 1 = 23.  By my calculations, I just can’t get there!


By the way, if you’re so inclined, an online petition has been started to, shall we say, encourage the prosecution of this alleged horse abuser.


About snarkyrider

We're snarktastic

Posted on April 23, 2012, in Horse News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I have a neighbor whose horse got loose and he brought it back home TIED to his bicycle. Dispite the potential for a horrible accident, the horse, owner, and bicycle made it back home okay and lived to tell the tale. Can you imagine a panicked horse running down the road dragging a bicycle?

    • Hyena Overlord

      I’ve actually seen that happen. Horse wasn’t tied to the bicycle thankfully. But the bicycle didn’t survive.

  2. I don’t know… He’s an old man. The horse clearly wasn’t banged up (the ear nick they showed was from a while ago). Yeah, he made a stupid mistake but the horse is fine now, obviously has a nice stable, and looks well cared for. She COULD have broken her neck, but she didn’t and, well, lesson learned. I am very surprised the neighbors did not offer to help walk the horse back down — from the video taken inside their tack room they are obviously horse people and only offered to help AFTER the old guy had tied the horse to the truck and started bringing her back down. Just my $.02.

  3. I have led horses from the back of a 4×4 before now however there was a person sat holding the rope, going at a very careful walk and if anything looked like it was getting out of control they could holler to stop. We also were on a private track – not something I would do on a public road. To firmly attach a horse to a moving vehicle of any kind is just not a good plan!

  4. OK, I used to know an old racehorse trainer who ponied horses from a truck…. but he held the lead rope from the driver’s seat, and nothing bad ever happened, though we had to catch a loose horse from time to time.

    This old man… what is he doing owning a horse? He obviously knows NOTHING. Can he be educated on the basics of halters & leads? Maybe. Probably not. Also it sounds like he is buffaloed by the mare’s attitude. *sigh* Instead of prosecution, maybe a nice legit. trainer should step in with a few “here’s how to halter, lead, groom and healthily feed your fat spoiled horse.” The barn itself looks nice. The people look affluent. There’s good raw material here, but no one’s ever taught this man anything about dealing with horses.

    And… um…. the mare was trying to “mate with the neighbors’ male horses”??? Now, that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms!!!!! Is this a case of a hussy mare in heat who will back up to any old gelding? Or are the neighbors running a BYB operation? Or are they also too ignorant to geld their stud colts? Or…. ?

    And are they in some kind of retirement village?? Looks pretty nice.

    This whole story reeks of weird and basic FAIL.

    • I found the name in the assessor’s listing, appears they live on a quiet road on 146 acres if info is correct. Nice rural area. This is a case of ignorance / stupidity / irresponsibility and male ego. He needs an education and a hefty fine to graduate him to the ethics of owning a horse. I believe the male horses, from the looks of the video, are geldings. I doubt he knows the difference between a stallion and a gelding, seriously.

  5. Here’s a brief bio about the guy… who is a published author. Sounds like a stand-up guy, possibly in early stage of dementia and unable to think straight. So why is he president of the Land Conservancy, one might ask?

    About the Author
    Culver Modisette enlisted in the Navy at age 17, hunting German U-boats until the war’s end, and then spent four glorious years at Dartmouth College. Modisette toiled for two decades as an advertising/PR executive until opening an outdoor sports business devoted to ecology sports—sports that were self-propelled, no machines or gadgets. The company offered guided canoe and hiking trips through Canada, the US and Alaska. Over the years, he came to admire and sympathize with the Athabaskan Indian people’s fortitude in the face of extreme poverty in the Arctic Circle, rural Alaska.

    He eventually retired to be a tree farmer and Labrador breeder on 150 acres in Connecticut. Modisette is the president of the Northern Connecticut Land Trust and coaches the time-honored Indian game of lacrosse. He lives with his wife, Norma, and three exuberant yellow Labs.

    Guess this is an old bio…. they forgot to mention “and one traumatized horse”… 😉

  6. Thank you S&S for posting this! I started hearing about this at dinner time last night but couldn’t find the story until this morning. The investigators in our state are top notch and this will not be swept under the rug, I can guarantee that. When things like this happen in the next town, it seems much worse. Mr Culver has no explanation as to why he didn’t call for assistance when he realized he couldn’t lead the mare…according to him, it was Sunday morning. Like, so? If you called me I would’ve been there in literally 15 minutes!! I’m just one horseperson who could’ve been contacted through networking – police, Town, veterinarians. Everyone knows everyone in Stafford, someone would’ve been there in no time flat…with a halter and leadrope. He probably tried leading her with a rope around her neck which started this whole fiasco to begin with!

    Mr Culver needs to be educated and pay a nice, big, hefty fine to our Department of Agriculture Second Chance program. What a stupid fuck, hit him in the wallet hard.

    • Good to hear that his case will most likely not be swept under the rug as so many abuse cases often are. Not to be ageist, but when you are too frail to cope with a potential horse emergency, you need to recognize that and do what you need to do so that you have a support crew.

  7. Speculation of what might have happened does no good in any situation. I do feel this man has good intentions for this horse which is more than can be said for some. IF this horse where to be taken from him OR he were to be charged, I am sure he would simply get rid of the horse, a mare with an attitude… hmmm what are her odds elswhere to be kept that well fed and sheltered. I agree some training and tips are in order. I myself have run to the rescue of a horse and in my panic forgot my halter and used my belt from my pants! SO in all..bad but not the drama or abuse some are charging it to be.

  8. I’m not so sure, the only picture with the mare down shows the truck is stopped, the door open, and the man getting out. The people doing the accusing are the ones with the intact stallions who admitted that they weren’t willing to help out (the husband said “I wan’t going near that”) who got a camera when they saw this going on rather than stepping forward. Also apparently he started trying to lead her and she was being resistant and throwing him around. I’ll agree that this was a stupid idea and potentially dangerous but I see idiocy more than evil.

    Standards of care and handling differ, particularly across generations, there is a horse at our barn owned by an older gentleman who routinely does things that have the rest of thinking he is insane. However the horse dotes on him and he on it so we’ve learned to step back. (mostly, this last week when he used undiluted bleach as a horse shampoo we did step in and tell him it was a foolish idea and clean it all off) The horse is 22 and healthy despite it all. Finally dementia is a spectrum rather than a switch and at 86 there is a very strong possibility that his decision making skills are not as strong as they were. Over 50% of people aged 85 and over have moderate to strong dementia, no numbers exist for mild because it is harder to diagnose but they are much higher.

  9. designerchick2

    I just bitched somebody out on facebook – she bought into the “awww geez imma just an old guy who wanted to feed her apples” bullshit. Old age is no excuse for torture. Worse case scenario, leave her until you can find someone to help you. And yeah, arriving to fetch your frisky mare with a halter and lead line might have been a good idea. Sorry but if you are that fucking stupid, you should not own a horse.

  10. The apples comment made me o.O. Horses shouldn’t be getting apples as their daily meal.

    Also, what a bunch of bass ackwards jerks on that news site! Did anyone look at the comments section? Pathetic excuses for human beings not JUST defending the guy (there can be SOME way of being okay with that) but saying a horse is ‘just an animal’ and calling it funny to see it on its side. Dipsh*ts!

  11. Oh, give the guy a break. Yes, he should have used a halter but he obviously was not driving very fast nor putting much pressure on the horse since she was able to plant her feet like that. Those self-righteous neighbours of his refused to help …the man said he wasn’t going near a horse that was lashing out. So here’s this old guy, in the pouring rain, his neighbours (the concerned horse people) won’t help, the horse is lashing out at him …other than the halter I think he did OK. You might notice that when the horse fell over (yes, horrific) he stopped and got out of his truck. The horse looks well cared for in her stall.

  12. I”ve seen a lot of comments elsewhere along the lines of “Leave the poor old guy alone” or “There’s so much other suffering in the world”. The latter part is true, but as I learned in a college class I took, our brains are wired for locality. It’s hard to encompass a million people starving an ocean away but easier to deal with the idiotic old guy dragging a horse behind his truck. To the people asking why the photographers didn’t offer to help-I’ve learned through talking with rescue organizations and Fugly’s blog that if you don’t have evidence, nothing gets persecuted period, unless you have something to make a stink over. Even if this guy wasn’t evil, intent does’t always matter to the law-the action was performed. It was illegal. I agree-hit him in the pocketbook. Even if it causes him to get rid of the mare, there is always the possibility that due to the attention she will be picked up by more of a horse person, someone with the sense not to tie a mare to a moving vehicle.

    • If there had been help, perhaps there wouldn’t have been anything to prosecute, so evidence wouldn’t be needed.

      I’m all for going after people who abuse or neglect, but this looks like someone who made a dumb mistake, which could have been prevented if someone had offered a helping hand instead of pointing fingers. There’s a huge difference between this and the guy who dragged the horse until its feet were worn off, and if you look again at the pictures, you can see that when the mare fell, he stopped and was getting out rather than dragging her on her side.

      I’m not saying what he did was okay, but I think if the neighbors were such great horse people, they would help an old feeble man who obviously had no idea what he was doing.

  13. There could be all kinds of background stories here. Why were the neighbors so unhelpful? If they did’t want to deal with the twit mare surely they could have at least suggested something else. Since they are obviously Experienced horsepeople. Their horse looked sadder than his.

    It was a stupid thing to do but he sounds like he had to get the mare off the neighbors property. He Stopped when the horse went down. Glad the horse only lost a few clumps of hair, glad to see they bagged it for evidence. My mare had more come off from a sweaty girth. Interesting that after her come to Jesus moment she walked back home.

    Of all the stories I hear about this is kind of low on the WTF list. Maybe the poor mare just needs a goat for company.

  14. Yes, lets all jump on the band wagon calling for blood, because ignorance is now against the law! I believe this was a stupid mistake. I honestly don’t believe the horse was injured. If you look at the trees you can see he only managed to move her just a few feet (I’m going to guess maybe 25, hard to say for sure) from the first picture to the last picture and judging between what was supposedly the picture before she fell and after she fell, I’m going to take a wild guess and say she flipped herself due to wet slippery ground. Have seen it happen to horses without human intervention. In the two “dragging” photos, his brake lights are on….. in the fallen over photo, he is climbing out of the truck. I do not feel that he meant to harm her. But why didn’t the neighbors try to help him????? Sounds like the other man is terrified of horses and he is extremely tense and possibly lying about something (his body language is way off). And why the hell did the reporter ask him if could have called someone like AC????? Ummm, he was handling the situation, just not in the best possible way. And who wants to bet that if indeed she is in heat and that grey was indeed a stallion (in a poorly maintained field and appears to be a little light for an intact stallion) that it won’t be her a-visiting next time but him? How will the neighbors handle that grey who is nothing but raging hormones when one of them is already scared of the horse(s)?? Yes, I think there is more to this story.

    I know that if it were me who was watching someone trying to handle their worked up horse and appeared to be having difficulties, I would ask if they need help. I also have no problem butting in and getting in someone’s face when I question the safety of the animal. I wouldn’t be standing there screaming and yelling and taking pictures.

    Not that I’m saying he did anything right, but I do NOT feel this was abuse. I honestly feel it was an mistake, a poor judgement call, etc. I do not feel this man meant to cause harm to his horse, but so many people are claiming abuse. And I don’t think he will repeat it. It seems a lot of people want to punish ignorance instead of trying to educate first.

    Ignorance is now against the law. Be warned. If you are found to be ignorant, you will be punished by the lynch mob calling for your blood.

    And that’s my two cents and you can keep the change. Oh wait… one more thing leaking out: Cross posted from the thread on this on the Connecticut board on

    “From what I have read and heard the horse is owned by the man’s wife who has become very ill. He himself is not a horse person, but the “neighbors” who were taking pictures supposedly are and there is a feud going on between them. So instead of being a good neighbor they wanted to make the guy out to be an animal abuser. Maybe he didn’t make the right choice, but he is not an abuser.” Trace

    The plot thickens. A mistake made, no injuries, a vindictive neighbor. I am still squarely in the leave the guy alone camp.

  15. I agree with Logical. Well said. It was stupid. But, he didn’t drag her at all.
    Mare looks well cared for otherwise. I’m more mad at the couple who didn’t help him when they saw he was in over his head.

  16. agreed with logical… I have an 86 year old Dad. He’s sharper than many of you, it seems. Was this “horrific”? Hell no. Obviously horrific means more to me. The story of a COLT dragged until his feet were burned off? That’s horrific. This is just sad. Mare is in good weight, and the old guy wasn’t acting maliciously. Sure, it was a dumb thing to do. The neighbours sound like real winners, not even offering to help the old guy??
    Nice. NOT.

    oh, p.s. anybody know why my browser won’t let me on fugly? Says it’s an attack page now??

  17. I don’t know about this one. Apart from what was possibly the dumbest or the laziest attempt to get a horse back home, there are no signs of neglect on that mare. People who take good care of their animals aren’t prone to suddenly try to kill them. Maybe the old guy is an idiot, maybe he doesn’t know enough about horse to own one. But this doesn’t strike me as premeditated abuse.

    The neighbors were pretty quick to turn this into news, but no one even tried to help the guy. If hey were real horse people, they would have at least offered to help.

  18. Seriously ladies? You think that THIS rates on the animal abuse scale?

    What I saw here was a man who couldn’t walk the mare home (whether due to inexperience or frailty doesn’t really matter to me), so he tied her to his truck (aka, something the mare couldn’t overpower and “win” against) and proceeded to SLOWLY drive home – emphasis on SLOWLY. In ALL of the pics that the news station showed, the truck’s brake lights were on and the mare was able to brace against the truck, so I’d feel confident in thinking that he was going slower than 10 mph – probably closer to 5.

    Also, it’s worth noting that in the pic where the mare is down, the truck is parked with the driver’s side door open and the man has already started to get out. It’s not like he just kept going after the horse fell.

    I’d go after the neighbors before this man. I mean, yes, the pics would be useful if there was actual abusive intent in this situation, BUT THERE WERE TWO OF THEM. So one could take pictures and the other could at least OFFER to help the old man, not just stand there.

  19. I agree with why didn’t anybody help the old guy? This spring 4 horses from half a mile away came to visit, to the delight of my in heat mare, no stallions involved. I made one phone call to the people that own the property the horses live on and with in 15 minutes we had three families over to help round them up. The owner couldn’t come because of work. I made a pot of coffee and felt like firing up the grill. Gosh – be nice to your neighbors – you might be needing help someday. So thankful for the community I am in.

  20. I think this is a case of ignorance, rather than neglect. The news crews are there as he’s treating the mare, and she’s just standing there, calm as can be, as he’s doctoring her abrasions. Maybe we should be a horse -community- and educate the gentleman, kindly and politely, rather than jumping all over him and screaming for blood. All that will do is make him resistant to education. Give softly to get softness, yes?

    The article claims the neighbors were irate. If so, why didn’t they offer to help? Surely they could have loaned the gentleman a halter, at the very least, or helped him walk her home. They had enough time and energy to call all the people they did, and videotape it. There’s more sides to this story than the one that’s most obvious.

  21. We had neighbors whose recently-purchased steer got loose. It was not halter broke, so they tried tying it behind their ATV to lead it back home. They drove very slowly a few feet but the steer braced himself until he was being dragged along with his front feet sliding. They stopped, tried a few other things, but the steer was too wild. So, back to trying the ATV again. Again, the steer refused to be lead and braced his legs and fell over on his side. They stopped, got him back up, tried again, and again he threw himself over on his side as a way to refusing to be lead. It was not being pulled down. There were times when they were stopped and the steer could have just stood there, it still threw itself down on the ground because it couldn’t get free. At no time did they actually drag it while it was down. Everyone was out there trying to help them, but the steer was so wild, it was running people over and the fear was that it was going to try leaping up onto the ATV. My point is, there is a HUGE difference between someone doing this, and someone who is dragging their animal by it’s neck while the animal is flat on its side down the road. I know my own horses can be lead by a string, but put a slip knot around it’s neck to where it tightens down around their throat and you are going to have a an explosion as it tries to “save” itself. Since we don’t have all the facts, I won’t be one to cast stones. Not seeing it in person, I would assume that when the rope tightened around the horse’s neck, it pulled back until it was fighting for air, and then threw itself and when that happened, the man stopped and got out of his truck to cut it loose. Was it stupid to try it? Maybe. People at our local race track commonly tie up to 4-5 horses all around their pickup trucks and excerise all of them at once around the track at quite a fast pace. The difference is that their race horses are trained to lead from a truck, this man’s mare was not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: