Thursday, June 11, 2009

The saga of Shadow

We are going through tough economic times. A lot of people can't afford to keep the horses they have, people breeding horses can't sell the babies. Horses end up in bad situations or on the pipeline for slaughter, and often the people who bred them either can't or won't do anything to save them.

You know, times really aren't that different. I know that's not popular to hear, but I have owned horses since 1981, and there have always been people selling out because they are broke, and farms that can't sell the horses they produce. Life can hit you hard.

In 1988 I had my mare Neysa, (Senator's Rebel Lady) and her 2 year old daughter Shadow (Wind's Shadows Linger). I found myself pregnant, with my then boyfriend (later husband) out of work. My parents lived 5 states away in MD and said 'Lots of jobs here, why not move?'

My boyfriend traveled to MD and landed a job in 2 days. The fates had spoken, we were moving to MD. But, checking on barn prices in MD, I realized I would only be able to keep one horse here. Full board where I was living was $100 a month, it started at $500 per month in MD! Of course there were cheaper options, but none that I could find long distance. Remember, this was before the internet was big. So I had to sell one of my horses. I thought my 2 year old Shadow had the best chance of a good home as Neysa was a typical ex show horse, snorty, brilliant, and full of go. Not many trail riders would be interested in her.

I put out ads, but there isn't much interest in a 2 year old barely under saddle. (2 short rides) Finally, the neighbor of some friend were interested. We struck a deal, they would make payments, and when she was paid off I would send the papers. They handed me a check, and off I went the next day to MD. Note* Yes, I did have a contract, spelling out every detail of the transaction, signed by both parties.
A couple weeks later, after we had everything sorted out, apt., bank, etc. we deposited the check, and it promptly bounced. I called them and they promised another check. Meanwhile I was setting up an apt. for a baby, arranging shipping for Neysa, and job hunting. I got another check, it bounced. This went on for 6 months. Finally, I called my friends and asked, do they love her? Are they taking care of her? "Yes, yes," I was assured, "They love Shadow." So I decided to let it drop. As long as she had a good home, I was happy.

A year later, another friend in the area went to see Shadow, and sent me a photo. They were not a horse person, and were just excited because Surprise! Shadow had a baby. The photo showed an emaciated Shadow, with backbone and hips sticking out, and the tiniest goat sized baby by her side.

These are old photos, so it is hard to see on the web what alarmed me so much, but this is a 3 year old, with a several day old baby. Her backbone is sticking up and every rib is showing. The baby should be starting to show some roundness and instead still looks newborn lanky.

to be continued...

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