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The retired life
Whisper’s career as a police mount ended in late 2008, when he was kicked by another horse in the knee. Fortunately, the incident occurred across the parking lot from at the university’s equine center. It took nine screws and a steel plate to repair the joint and plenty of rehab work at the equine center and a farm owned by McDonough’s parents, Scheel said.
“Had I had the space for him, I would have taken him,” Scheel said. “He’s my baby.”
He became the first horse to retire from the then-five-year-old mounted unit.
It was at a conference for the Minnesota Alcohol Traffic Safety Association — a nonprofit that educates law enforcement, corrections professionals and election officials on keeping the roads safe from drug and alcohol abusers — that LaMotte, a counselor, learned of Whisper.
She had two other horses, five cats and two dogs. Whisper would fit right in.
“He had difficulty walking because of the break in his elbow, but at my place, I had a hill that was really good for him,” she said. “In the three-plus years I had him, we rehabilitated him completely.”
LaMotte says she used to ride every day, but her work as a counselor kept cutting into her recreation time with all her horses. In September, she sold Whisper and her other horses to Heig, a grandmother who often has children visiting her home near Princeton.
“I’d just moved to this new farm and it’s set up beautifully for horses,” Heig said.
“Whisper’s doing well,” she said. “There were the antics with the mare in heat, but he’s fine. When the other horses get spooked by things. Whisper’s the one that’s steady.”
Retirement seems to agree with the racehorse-turned-police horse.
“I’ve got some really nice horses,” Heig said. “But Whisper’s the gem.”
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419