Pennsbury is pleased to welcome a new addition to our “Living Collections”: meet Romeo!
Romeo is a 26 year old white Arabian horse who moved in on Friday, January 6. He comes to us after a long and uncertain road. He worked as a school horse teaching children to ride, which explains his calmness and sweet nature. He spent some time at Special Equestrians in Warrington, then retired about a year ago.
His next owner was, unfortunately, not responsible in the care for Romeo. In October the staff at Special Equestrians learned that he was to be sent to slaughter. One hero in particular, Kaitlin, rushed over and literally took him off the truck and loaded him into her own trailer for a return to Special Equestrians. Kaitlin found that Romeo had lost 300-400 lbs. and that his ribs were showing. Furthermore, he had rain rot (from not being sheltered properly) and an (thankfully easily treatable) fungal infection that was out of control. Kaitlin nursed him back to health, and special equestrians offered use of a stall. But they could only offer the stall until the beginning of January. Romeo’s future was more uncertain than ever.
A Pennsbury volunteer who also spends time with Special Equestrians told us about Romeo. With time running out, we went over to meet Romeo and found a delightful, calm, and people-oriented gentleman. Some generous donors offered to help pay for his upkeep, Romeo’s health was cleared, volunteers worked overtime to ready his new stall, and everything came together for the big move. At first, as Romeo walked off the truck, Maraaca (our current horse), took off in fear. But she soon remembered her manners and the two horses were instant friends. We’ve never seen such a smooth introduction!
Romeo was selected not only for his temperament, but for his looks as well. Arabians are small horses, and our research indicates that many of the horses in early Pennsylvania were under-sized. Romeo is also white and a gelding (castrated male). Records show that William Penn had 2 white mares and a white gelding at Pennsbury Manor.
It is a truly remarkable accomplishment that so many people came together to save a horse, keep Pennsbury’s popular animal program running, and ultimately help our visitors understand the strong link between early settlers and horses. Please stop by this spring (we re-open in March) to meet Romeo and the other residents of Pennsbury’s stables!
Written by Mary Ellyn Kunz, Museum Educator