This weekend I took part in a rescue reminiscent of a fantasy novel. Where the Princess was taken by trickery and held in drudgery. Abused, starved, she no longer looks royal. But some stout lad recognizes there is something special about her, and through adventures, and help from brave companions, she is saved and brought to a place of safety and love.
Last week, a mare was spotted in a kill pen. I won't list any details, because she could have been any breed, anywhere in the USA. By some miracle a rescue group spotted her and asked for information. She was in her teens, in foal, and wonder of wonders, her papers were with her. In the photo it looks like her back has been shaved? Strange, but a rescue list moves into action, appeals go out, and a life chain is formed. Money pours in for her and others. Literally hundreds of people co-ordinate to save these horses. Homes are found, shippers lined up. Volunteers phone each other.
Saturday the mare is picked up by one shipper, brought to a connection point where she is put into a second trailer. By sat night she is in a stall munching hay, and Sunday morning I pick her up and take her to her new home.
This mare was beautiful, had been shown successfully, had produced several foals, had been well cared for and cherished most of her life. But Sunday I picked up a mare that had to be a 1.5 on the scale. I could not only see every bone in her body, even the skin between her ribs was sunken in. What we thought was a shaved back was matted fur lying flat next to her backbone, which stuck up several inches and I could feel every bone of. I don't see how she was walking, I certainly don't see how she could be carrying a foal. But, she walked out of the stall with her head up like the Princess she was. You would have thought she had silk ribbons in her hair, and gold on her halter. She loaded and trailered like a lady, and at her new home walked past lessons, Christmas decorations, and chainsaws without hesitation. We were met by teenager riding students who welcomed her like the returning royalty she was.
Here was a mare that obviously made money for her owners, but not only was she tossed away, they didn't even bother to feed her before they did. Her quality was there to see for someone who knew how to look. Her head was very refined, perfect ears, excellent bone structure (rather easy to see, actually) and 4 of the straightest, cleanest legs I have seen in a long time. Big feet, nice bone, broad chest, I could see what she must have looked like before.
I look forward to visiting her when she is back to her full glory. I also have no doubt she will be back in the show ring sometime too.
Welcome home Princess.
James Kofford at Dressage at Devon
1 week ago