In June of 2014 the San Diego Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol contacted Redwings. The agent was seeking a retirement home for Ozzie, a chestnut quarter horse gelding who had served as a faithful border patrol mount since 2004.
Ozzie started in the El Centro sector in 2004 and was transferred to the San Diego Sector in 2007 when the El Centro sector began to downsize. Ozzie loyally served his country until a degenerative condition called Navicular syndrome caused him too much discomfort to continue his rigorous workload. The vet advised the supervisory agent that it was time to consider retiring Ozzie. They tried for a year to find him a home with a private family, with no success.
The agents heard from the Tucson Sector that Redwings had accepted border patrol horses in the past. So when they contacted Redwings, we made a quick decision to bring Ozzie to our sanctuary. On August 19, 2014, border patrol agents delivered Ozzie to his new home at the Lockwood Sanctuary. He adjusted quickly to his new life of leisure and was very sociable with his pasture mate and neighbors. His gentle nature made him a favorite among volunteers and staff.
In January 2015, Tracy Owen of San Luis Obispo contacted Redwings to see if we had a gentle and quiet horse that might be a good fit for her therapy program. The staff immediately thought of Ozzie, and Tracy came out the next day to meet him. Tracy and Ozzie had an instant connection, and a week later, Ozzie jumped right into her trailer and was off to his new home.
Over the next few months, Tracy trained Ozzie as a therapy horse for Alzheimer’s patients and at-risk youth. By spring Ozzie had completed his training and began to travel to Alzheimer’s care facilities to provide love and therapy to the residents.
In January 2016, Tracy adopted Ozzie, and he enjoys life at her ranch in the hills outside of San Luis Obispo with his companion, an Arabian named Gus.