Horses graze in River Arts District

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.

Look for Stuetzel and his red horse trailer around town. If you are interested in helping, you can contact him at or watch some of his videos on YouTube



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Horses graze in River Arts District


    EQDRSR is designed to respond to disasters and participate in relief work in conjunction with other agencies. Unit is designed to bring food, shelter and medical supplies in and patients out. Equipment includes radio coms and some basic mountineering supplies. The equine are a passionate part of me and can be of unique assistance in special situations.
    Blessings Marc……… EQDRSR.Org

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.