Marc Stuetzel carries a bucket of water to Harpo, who is grazing near the abandoned power plant on Riverside Drive, “Horsepower does not equate to traction,” he says, telling me about pulling a truck out of mud with his horses. “We have forgotten how to do things with horses, how useful they are.”
Stuetzel, a retired ER and family-care physician, is actively working on gaining recognition of his horses and their potential in disasters or search-and-rescue operations. He has formed Equine Disaster Relief/Search and Rescue (EQDRSR) to that end. Only a month into the process, he is working on making the group a nonprofit aid group.
|Stuetzel holds a rubber shoe which he puts on the horses hoof, “An addias for horses,” he calls it. His horses do not have metal horse shoes.|
His ultimate goal would be to use the horses to help in large-scale disasters, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and the like. “Horses, especially these Morgans, can go places faster and carry more stuff into a scene than lots of vehicles can,” says Stuetzel. “Properly trained horses can do amazing things.” He will be recruiting volunteers to go to disaster sites, and acquiring more gear. Much of the basic stuff he already has, at least the horse parts — ropes, harness, saddles and such.
A few years ago, Stuetzel retired from medical practice due to a series of traumatic brain injures. “I was not myself, it took me a long time to get back. Now I am a little slower, but I still have the same desire to help that I have had since I was a teen-aged volunteer in a hospital and an Eagle Scout,” says Stuetzel. “It is just who I am. Now I do it with horses. Ain’t that cool?”
His afternoon stop on Riverside Drive to let Puros, Harpo, Garnet and Harmony graze on some tall grass by the Cotton Mill site certainly got a lot of attention from passing motorists. Many slowed down and took pictures; some stopped and said hello.