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Former School Horses

1988 - 2005

November 23, 2005:  Unfortunately we were faced with a reminder that too often our time with our horses is too short. McAllister, our very personable retired police horse, died in the pasture late Sunday afternoon, November 20, 2005. 

Born on April 13 in 1988, he certainly wasn't our oldest horse, but we count ourselves fortunate to have had him for the past year. Edie Brogan, his owner of the past ten years, used McAllister as her mounted police horse before donating him to Three Gaits in September of 2004.

McAllister spent Sunday with his pasture buddies - he and the other Three Gaits horses spent a lovely fall afternoon, outside, playing in their field. Missy was here at the farm and McAllister, with his usual "in your pocket tendency," watched Missy and Jeremy, Missy's husband, work on the new paddock's fencing. Missy went into the barn to begin to bring the horses in for dinner. When she opened the gate for the Three Gaits horses, she immediately saw McAllister laying in the field. Within the span of those few minutes, McAllister's heart had stopped beating.

Edie Brogan sent the following note to her friends and family to share the news of McAllister's death:

"Hi all my horse friends. I feel strange having to put out another e-mail so soon, having just lost Gypsy last March, but I need to do this. If you are receiving this e-mail, you all knew my police horse from 1993-2004, McAllister. He was undisputedly the most beautiful horse I have ever had the privilege to own - a Khemosabi grandson by FF California out of a 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saddlebred Nigazon-bred mare.

I purchased McAllister as a four-year-old in 1992 - drove all the way to Wilmar, MN to bring him home after seeing his training video-tape by Marilyn Schwister at Bomar Arabians. He was a bit of a project, but became a good police horse and worked for the UW Police Dept. for over 10 years. He was the first horse in the Dept. to have his own trading card, which is STILL on our website under the mounted police info. section. He was an extremely photogenic guy and was featured on three different promo. posters for the UW Police Dept.

McAllister always LOVED children and he was a real "attention-hound." When I started to use HotShot in 2003/2004, he would become visibly upset and try to come between us in the pasture, trying to get me to take him, instead. He always looked at every outing as a potential social event to meet new horses and people and really loved it.  Unfortunately, he developed an intestinal issue that resulted in severe diarrhea under stress (even the good kind), which is why I was phasing him out of the mounted police program. My first intention was to keep him, as he was a great trail and kid's horse, but after the one day he got out of the gate behind HotShot and jumped into the trailer by himself, I realized that he needed more out of life.

I decided that I did not want to part with him to just anyone, or have him far away from me, so I donated McAllister to the Three Gaits Therapeutic riding program in Stoughton in September, 2004 (15 minutes away from my home). By doing this, I knew he would have a very useful second career that would suit him perfectly, and I was assured that I would have "first right of refusal" if/when he got too old/lame/whatever to continue that work. My plan was always to then let him come home and live out his days as a pasture ornament. During the pre-donation health check (they do a more extensive one than most), we learned the McAllister had a heart murmur that he was probably born with. This had not revealed itself in any other way, and the vets didn't know whether it would or would not be problematic, but Three Gaits decided to take him on anyway. 

I received LOTS of cards and cudos over the past year from different people regarding him and his wacky, loveable personality - he was doing a fine job. The times I was able to visit, he seemed very content. He created quite a fan club of volunteers, several of whom took a personal interest in him and rode him regularly (even the vets said that regular exercise was good for his heart). He was groomed regularly and loved a lot. Probably the neatest thing I experienced regarding his donation was when I ran into a mom and daughter who had a developmental disability while on mounted patrol this past September. We were watching the UW Marching Band practice, and this mom and daughter came over to pet the police horses. The mom began talking about her daughter learning to ride at Three Gaits, and how "she is so excited - we are going to start riding McAllister!" I asked the woman if she knew that he was a retired police horse (and mine) - she had no idea. It was a definite reinforcement to me that I had done the right thing by donating him.

I received a message from Dena Duncan of Three Gaits on Monday, and after playing phone tag until Tuesday afternoon, she told me that McAllister's heart stopped on Sunday evening. He was out running and playing in the pasture with his buddies when a volunteer walked back to the barn. Five minutes later, when she came back out, he was dead. I have had very melancholy and nostalgic feelings over the past 24 hours, but I can't say I'm sorry for McAllister. I'm sorry for the volunteers who lost him and the other people whose lives he touched - that they won't be able to benefit from all the wonderful things he has to offer.

I'm sorry for myself, because I didn't get to say goodbye. I would have loved to see him excel at his new career for 10+ years, but I guess God has other plans for him. Maybe he'll be the the only dark horse who gets to accompany Christ on his return - there couldn't be one better.

Thanks to all of you for listening. If you feel the need, please send sympathy cards to Three Gaits, c/o Dena Duncan. If you feel the need to do more - well, Three Gaits is one of the most wonderful charities you could give to, and I know McAllister would agree. God Bless all of you and your horses!"

McAllister and Edie Brogan

  • Registered Name: CA McAllister
  • Date of Birth: April 13, 1988 
  • Breed: Arab/Saddlebred
  • Height: 16.1 Hands High
  • Color: Black Bay
  • Markings: Star, 3 Socks
  • Former Owner: Edie Brogan (Donation)
  • Arrived at Three Gaits: September 2004
  • School Horse Specialty: McAllister is still new, but we think his specialties will come from his forward, swinging gaits and fun personality!
  • Previous Life: McAllister was a UW-Madison Police horse during Badger football games.
  • Did you know?: McAllister was once drinking out of Lake Mendota and he became stuck in a bog. He had to be removed by a tow truck. He also has been featured on his own trading card!


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Three Gaits, Inc.     Therapeutic Horsemanship Center
(608) 877-9086     3gaits@3gaits.org
Stable Address:  3741 Hwy 138 W     Stoughton, WI  53589
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 153     Oregon, WI  53575

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