A horse who was ridden for 700 miles across several states of America is recovering at a horse rescue after his owner was arrested.

Trigger had been ridden from South Carolina to Florida by owner Chris Emerson, who was stopped by police on reaching Miami-Dade County.

The 36-year-old is facing an animal cruelty charge after a vet found the horse to be underweight, with a body score of three. He is also suffering from a sore back and is blind in one eye.

Trigger was taken in by the South Florida SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) on Wednesday (November 23).

The charity had received several worried calls from members of the public who had passed the rider on his journey, saying that the horse did not appear in good health.

“The horse isn’t in any condition to travel that far,” SPCA spokeswoman Laurie Waggoner told ABC Local 10 News. “He is almost completing lacking in subcutaneous body fat.

“He has very little muscle and you can see the skeletal structure. You can feel all his ribs, and you can see the individual vertebrae and his hip bones. His back is very sensitive.”

In a later update, the charity said Trigger was now “enjoying plenty of healthy feed, hay and fresh, clean water in the safety of our ranch.”

It’s a very happy Thanksgiving for… – South Florida SPCA – Dedicated to Horse & Animal Rescue | Facebook

It’s a very happy Thanksgiving for Trigger. He’s enjoying plenty of healthy feed, hay & fresh, clean water in the safety of our ranch. Thank you all for your kind words, messages of support, and your donations toward his care. We are so grateful! Visit www.helpthehorses.org for links to media coverage and to help.


Emerson, who was taken in to the Broward County Jail’s psychological ward, told reporters he had left his home in Greenwood, South Carolina four months ago following a divorce.

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He told police “he did not have any money to feed his horse or himself” and was relying on strangers’ help to survive the trip.

He explained that he would ride Trigger all day, then stop to camp at the side of the road at night.