METHUEN — Juliet, a tall chocolate-brown thoroughbred with a winning past, has watched a dozen other horses be adopted in a year while she stays in a grassy pasture at the MSPCA.
At 16.3 hands — that's nearly 5-1/2 feet tall — Juliet won some of the most prestigious races in the South before being brought up to Massachusetts to be a surrogate for a foal without a mother. Three more horses from the same property followed that year.
Juliet was purchased after the stand-in job was done, but her new owner had too many horses and surrendered her to the MSPCA in Methuen in May 2018.
Her caretakers at the barn off of Route 28 aren't quite sure why 14-year-old Juliet hasn't been adopted.
They're hoping it will happen this weekend during a national effort to clear shelters in which adoption fees are waived.
In Juliet's case, her $1,000 adoption fee will be dropped in a bid to find her a worthy home.
"She's happy to work with her person," said Ellie Monteith, manager of the equine and farm animal program. "She just needs to find her person."
Monteith said Juliet comes with emotional baggage from being moved around so much, but she warms up to those who consistently care for her.
"She’s a horse that warms up to new people, but at her own pace, and that can be misconstrued as aloofness, when really she’s just exceedingly sensitive,” Monteith said.
She described Juliet's strong natural physicality, which was on display recently when she was taken off-site to jump over hurdles at a nearby equestrian farm.
She’s in the prime of her life, according to Monteith, and loves nothing more than to work hard and hone her skills.
Juliet's ideal owner is a seasoned rider who can handle her height and athleticism.
"She's lived a couple lives already," Monteith said. "And it's past time for her to find a permanent home."