A South Carolina man’s planned horseback journey from Greenwood to Key West ended in Miami Wednesday when he was arrested for animal cruelty. The South Florida SPCA says it received multiple calls about Trigger, the tired and hungry horse being ridden by 36-year-old Christopher Emerson, ABC reports. Police say the horse—and Emerson—were malnourished and he told them that he didn’t have money to feed the animal and had to rely on strangers for assistance. He tells the Miami Herald that his journey south began five months ago after his life hit a rough patch. “I was married. Had a truck,” he says. “Got a divorce. Wrecked my truck.”
Trigger is now being cared for at a horse farm and Emerson will have go to court to get him back. Laurie Waggoner, who runs a rescue stable, tells the Herald that the malnourished horse is about 20 years old and is blind in one eye. She says it has almost no body fat. Emerson, who says he has had Trigger for around eight years, had been feeding it roadside grass during the 700-mile journey, when what the animal needs is 25 pounds of quality food, including hay and grains, every day, Waggoner says. “The vet said the horse was not in any condition to be ridden, much less from South Carolina all the way down to Miami,” she says.