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Once busy caleche and Montreal police horses find retirement home

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"A Horse Tale Rescue" literally puts older horses out to pasture. Working horses, who used to pull a caleche or work in the Montreal police department (SPVM) cavalry unit live at the horse retirement home near Hudson.

Ulysses used to take tourists around Old Montreal in a caleche, and now he suns himself, enjoying all the hay he wants.

Executive director Mike Grenier said each of the 14 horses at the rescue have a distinct personality.

"As you can see, Patriot is known as 'pigpen' no matter how he gets groomed, he will always come out dirty," said Grenier.

Patriot, Sunny and Goliath used to work as SPVM calvary horses and are now adjusting to a much more casual lifestyle.

"It takes a bit of time introducing a new horse into the herd because they do establish a hierarchy, and then sometimes they want to determine who is boss, so we take time not to stress them out," said Grenier.

A Horse Tale executive director Mike Grenier with Ulysses. (Christine Long/CTV News)

Stress-free is the life at the rescue for the quadrupeds as hundreds of biped volunteers rotate care for them.

"They all stay outside 24/7 unless it gets really cold or freezing rain," said barn manager Caroline Handy. "You can see his coat is thick. They really grow a huge winter coat to keep them warm, they stay outside, they get hay, they get extra hay if it gets even colder."

Princess was surrendered by a farmer who couldn't understand why she was underweight. The rescue was able to detect and fix a problem with her teeth, allowing Princess to eat properly like a horse. She has since gained 600 pounds.

Animals at A Horse Tale rescue once worked as caleche pullers, police animals or other jobs. (Christine Long/CTV News)

Melanie Pellerin has been volunteering for years and said she gets as much as she gives.

"It's almost like you work on yourself," she said. "You have to be really calm, you learn about yourself, you learn about in life it makes you think about a lot of things, how people see you and how the horses see you. You have to act in a certain way for them to respond well to you."

The non-profit will hold a fundraiser on Dec. 9. 

Barn manager Caroline Handy works with a horse that has retired from working and now lives at A Horse Tale rescue. (Christine Long/CTV News)

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