Little girls have wished for horses for as long as there have been little girls and horses. Getting that wished for horse for a birthday or Christmas makes for an occasion that is not soon forgotten!
So what if that little girl's wish coming true was also a very deserving horse's wish coming true?
Enter the older, extremely well trained horse that, through unknown, unfortunate circumstances ended up being hauled to an auction with a load of other horses and put into a kill pen. This horse has had hundreds of hours of training, has likely done an extensive amount of showing, and then ends up thrown away at an auction.
#256 came in with other stock type horses, she was crammed in to an already full pen with lots of kicking and jostling horses. Knowing her sweet nature now I can't imagine what was going through her head. As we do with dozens of horses on the Fridays that we attend the sale we got her out and evaluated her. She was nice, good minded, did what was asked of her with a rider up. She went on our list. Depending on the order of how the horses go and what we are able to buy, horses that are later in the sale sometimes have to be let go due to resources already being committed to horses earlier in the sale. Two other horses that were on our list went before #256. I watched and saw that they were going to private buyers and let them go. That left funds for #256 when she was run in the ring. It was just the kill buyers bidding on her. How different things would have turned out for that mare IF we hadn't gone to the sale that day, IF the other two horses had not gone private so that funds were left for her... She had fortune's favor that Friday. The next morning a previously scheduled appointment for another CHC horse noticed the new arrival. Since I knew the woman accompanying her sister and niece we tried #256 out together. HOLY BUTTONS. I knew she was broke when I got her, but putting her under saddle and cueing her with spurs brought out a whole new level of 'broke!' This mare was amazing!
One of the better parts of doing what I do is enabling people to have a level / quality of horse that they might otherwise not be able to afford. Nothing brings me as much satisfaction as watching a 'throw away' horse and a rider (that didn't just step out of the pages of the Congress catalog) get to enjoy success in the show ring.
My view on showing horses is cynical to say the least, but when 4-H level riders have to have $10,000 horses just to be competitive my distaste turns to outright disgust of the "show world" and what it has become.
Little girls like horse shows though, and 'being in the ribbons' makes it fun. The little girl that came on the Saturday morning after #256 was pulled had her own rough path to get to that day, that arena, that horse. Open heart surgery at 3 months and learning difficulties made for obstacles that most people never have to deal with. This determined young lady brought her grades up and showed just how badly she wanted that 'wished for' horse. Her birthday was Friday - one week after #256 was saved from going for slaughter. We made it a surprise - blindfold and all.
This savvy sorrel mare has a lot to teach her young rider. They will have help along the way. There will be riding lessons at the CHC barn twice a week while #256 finishes out her evaluation. The show season looks bright for them! A deserving girl and a deserving horse. Because, 'every horse deserves to be loved by a little girl, at least once in their lives!' Congratulations Isabella on your wished for horse!