Welcome our new Christmas Colts, Comet and Blitzen!
December 22, and the car is packed and ready to travel 6 hours to my sisters for the holidays. But before I hit the highway, I have a stop to make, at the hospital where ‘Mini B’ is recovering from surgery. He is doing really well, but we are new to each other, so I spent about an hour with him in his stall, making friends. Now it’s getting late, about 4pm when I am on the road, and now I am passing by the exit where the regular horse auction is held. On the very night it’s being held. Two hours before a sale begins. I give myself all of the reasons I should not stop; we are full at home, I am not even headed home, money is tight, medical expenses are up, winter is beginning, etc, etc, etc. But I stop. Just to use the bathroom. And take a peek.
I head inside and straight to the horses. The first pen I look into holds a pair of weanling colts, baby brothers. Shaking and staying away from the gate, they are thin, neglected and unloved, and only about 6 months old. They are covered in rain rot, and their long little hoofs show the lack of either trimming or a place to exercise. Halter marks are smashed in their faces but were removed. They are covered in dried poo. They are adorable.
I get some hay from a nearby trough, and bring it to them. The smaller of the two comes forward, and his taller shy brother tentatively steps up behind. They are hungry. I hold the hay for them, and after they start chewing, I gently pet the head of the one nearest me. He curls a little, leaning into the touch. Of course I am besotted. I decide I will wait, and watch the auction, and make sure they don’t sell to the kill buyers.
There aren’t a lot of horses at auction, but not a lot of buyers either. I am proud to share that there were three other rescues present, so I am not alone, and the horses here tonight are not alone. There is a third colt, also about six months, in another pen, and when the auction begins, another rescue steps up for him. I wait and watch; Our pair doesn’t come onto the floor until the end of the sale. They are announced as brothers, and we all watch and listen as the opening bid drops and drops. I wait. If a private home wants them, I won’t bid. The auctioneer has lowered the opening to $10, and the floor is quiet, everyone watches for any bid. Even the kill buyers aren’t interested in the tiny thin pair, so what will happen to them? I raise my card, before he declares them ‘no value’ and they leave the floor. “Bid!” and we are in…The auctioneer searches the crowd for anyone else, even pointing at a few folks, but no one else wants the skinny colts. They are ours, for $10 each. I am thrilled.
Our regular hauler agrees to hold them for me for a few days, since I really, really need to be in Maryland! I get a halter from my car, and find the boys again backstage, now my boys. I enter their pen quietly, they are so scared. Gently I sidle up, and slip the halter on the smaller colt, and begin to lead them out. Or I try to; they don’t know how to lead, and the auction guys want to go home. But they are patient with me, and one gets behind and just clucks to move them along, which is very gentle for them. I walk the babies thru and out, into the waiting trailer. My hauler reassures me that he will put them in a stall and feed them well until I return, and I believe him. He was so good and gentle with Jed.
Finally I get back on the road, hours and hours late. But my heart is full and happy. By 11 pm on the black highway, I give in and stop at a hotel. Eight hours later I am driving again, and soon with my human family. Part of my brain is back with the new colts! The holiday passes quickly, and I rush home, awaiting the christmas colts arrival at the farm. And then they arrive, just as thin and full of promise as I remember. They are beginning a new life, as we work to get them to health and happiness. We have named them Comet and Blitzen. Comet is taller, with a beautiful white patterning and a partial blue eye. Blitzen (which means ‘lightning’) is smaller, more friendly and feisty, and is also being called Zip for his spirited frolicking within his first hour here.
This is what we do. I am so happy that I stopped. It was the best christmas present one could ask for.