The life of a domestic horse today is usually a journey with many stops. This tale, of a colt named Lucky, is one that doesn’t have an ending yet, a story still mid-book, awaiting your help, dear reader, to write the continuing chapters.
Chapter One; I Am Born. “Not much is known by the humans about how I began my life, but it was in the usual way around here; my mother was an appy and was owned with a small herd of other horses. I was born at night and my mom took good care of me. Supposedly I am an unusual color, and I was given a lot of attention, which I enjoyed. I liked people well enough, until they wanted to ‘ride’, a process that I learned to tolerate. There was a lot of discussion as I grew, and lots of poking of my private parts, and one day I had surgery and was very very sore. Soon after, I was sold. My new owner made much of me at first, but then seemed angry; what was the problem? I was growing, and had started to assert myself as the young leader I felt I was, but whenever this happened, I would get separated again. When people tried to hit me in the head, I started to fight back. I changed homes again. I found myself alone a lot, and that made me very unhappy. I missed my herd.”
Chapter two; The Sale. “One day last summer, as I chomped alone on late summer grass, the trailer was brought around. I had been on the trailer a lot and wondered if we were going somewhere fun. Maybe with other horses? When we pulled into the auction yard, however, I knew it was not a good place. Lots and lots of horses, all calling for friends, frightened, angry, or just standing dejected. I didn’t know any of them. I was frightened, but obedient to my owner. Maybe we would leave soon. I was taken inside and a sticker was put on my butt. I was tied alone. Many people came to look at me, pick up my feet, try and look at my teeth. After that bit had been shoved in my mouth I had never been good about my teeth and I resisted. I am pretty tho’ and so people still seemed to like me. When I was walked through a door and into a bright room, I was shocked; before me was an entire wall of humans, all staring down. I felt small and scared. Someone hopped on my back, distracting me, and kicked me to move. I did, and I did my best, being spun and walked, with humans crowding on all sides. It was so scary. A loud voice boomed overhead, and then just as suddenly, I was out another door, while I hand chalked my number. I didn’t know it, but I was sold”
Chapter Three; Rescue #1…”I don’t really know what ‘rescue’ means, but apparently I was sold to one. I was lead out of the auction house and onto another trailer, with a frightened black mare. We traveled a short distance and were unloaded in the dark, and turned out into a small field with a lot of horses. Wow the excitement! And the fear! Everywhere were teeth and hooves and squealing, and some of it was from me. There were too many to meet at once. It was a long night, but finally we all settled down, exhausted. The next day I was taken out, examined, and tacked up to ride. I can tell you that I was probably not on my best behaviour. I was so tired, so scared, I didn’t know any of the people and I didn’t understand them. But I tried, really I did. The cinch was pulled tight and someone was on my back, and a few photos were taken. I don’t think anyone enjoyed it, and I was put back soon enough, to resume the squabbles from the evening before.”
Chapter Four; The Unknown. “My time here was short-lived. Just a few days later, trailers began arriving and horses loaded up. What chaos. In the midst of it, I was showing off a bit, partly because I was just so scared. I had no horse or friend to connect with! If you can imagine yourself locked in a big room of strangers, and you don’t even speak the same language, and lots of them know each other and are glowering at you, and you are alone, you may understand how I felt that day. And I let it be known, I am not ashamed to say. I was not a ‘good horse’ that day. There was much discussion amongst the humans, and the word ‘crypt’ was put out as a question. Finally I was loaded into a trailer, alone, by a nice woman, and we drove off, leaving the remains of that collapsing rescue behind us. We drove and drove, and I could hear tearful phone conversations up front. What was to become of me now? Finally we stopped at a quiet barn, and I was lead into a big clean box stall. I did my best to walk quietly and listen, and let them know that I was grateful just to rest. And I did. The next morning, my journey continued, and we drove until we got to another farm. Another rescue. Rosemary Farm”.
Chapter Five; Rescue, again. “I unloaded obediently, and stood while the newest people cooed and made much of me. I heard that word ‘crypt’ again and ‘caution’. But I liked it here and was good and quiet and friendly. I was lead to my own small field, with a few trees and grass, and I could see other horses in other fields. This was called ‘quarantine’ but I didn’t know that then. I knew I was still alone, but at least I wasn’t in a fight and the humans were kind and quiet. So I was as well, I was on my best behaviour. This was the place that started calling me Lucky. After a week, I was moved to another larger field, which was nice, but I was depressed. I enjoyed the human’s visits, but I so wanted to be with the other horses. I called and called, but they ignored me. I don’t know why. Another person came to meet me, a very kind woman who got a glow in her eyes when she looked at me. She so wanted an appy to join her small herd. It was decided that after I was done quarantine, that I would move immediately, rather then get to know the horses here. And so I did”.
Chapter Six; A New Home? “I knew very well how to trailer, and hopped right on. The ride was just 15 minutes, and there was a small herd of three horses, waiting to greet me. I was thrilled. I was put into a round pen adjacent to them, and we began meeting and grooming over the fence. There was one large older gelding, an older mare, and a mare just my age! We were both about four years old. I really liked them and they liked me. After a few days, I was allowed to join them. There was a bit of squealing, but we all settled in fairly well. It had been awhile since I had a herd and was still learning ‘the rules’. But things went fairly well. I thought I was at home, at last. Months passed, as fall became winter. I grew lethargic, lame, irritable. I was sick. Tests determined that I had lyme, and meds began. Also my sore foot was soaked, and my owner worked very hard to care for me and restore me to health. We grew close, she and I. But as I felt better, my restlessness grew again. I didn’t like the other gelding in our space, or even in the field some days. I picked fights more and more. I wanted to keep the mares to myself. I turned on the other humans. It seemed that as the meds made me better, my temper grew worse. In fact, it wasn’t a temper at all, it was just nature at work. There were more discussions, as the horses and humans became afraid. I don’t understand ‘ownership’ or ‘contracts’ or ‘responsibility’, but I did understand the day the trailer came. Despite all of our calls to each other, and my owner crying sadly, I was taken away, and back to Rosemary Farm.”
Chapter 7; The diagnosis, the solution. “Another solitary field, beside a strange group of horses. More needles and testing. I am angry and upset, I miss my family and I don’t know any of these horses. I want to fight. I break out, and I do fight, and then I go off alone to a corner of the field. This happens a few times, and the fences are repaired stronger each time. Meanwhile, the testing is proceeding. And yes, the humans finally learn for sure what I have known all along. I am a stallion. Or half a stallion. Whoever ‘operated’ on me did a very unethical thing, they only removed part of me, to make me appear to be a gelding. While I cannot get any mares pregnant, the testosterone coursing thru my veins will make me want to try and try. What is more interesting is the reaction of the new herd around me. If any proof was needed, just look at how the others geldings and mares react. It’s obvious to them. The geldings want to fight me and the mares want to be with me. I will not know peace as a domestic horse. And people wonder why I am sad, confused, and irritable. If they only knew the heroic measures I am reaching for in order to try and get along with them, in their world”.
Chapter 8. The humans get to speak. Yes, this tale is conjecture, but it helps us to try and look at it from the horses point of view. This is not his fault. Lucky has not been very lucky up until now. Just this weekend, he broke out again, mangling a gate and cutting his own leg. Cisco and he clearly fought, and then Lucky retreated to a far end of the 15 acre field. My heart goes out to this little horse and his plight, caused by humans. It is unconscionable to partly geld a horse and sell it. The usual path for a horse like Lucky is to be sold and re-sold, as new owners discover his ‘problem’.
This is where our collective force can change this boys life. Lucky is lucky because he has all of us. Lucky needs surgery. We will not be able to adopt out this young beautiful boy until he can behave calmly in a herd setting. He is only 4, he has training, and he truly is gorgeous. We cannot continue like this together. Crypt surgery is going to cost us $1,500, plus getting him there and back, plus time in recovery. Since I doubt any rich benefactor will foot the bill, we are going to hold a raffle and try, together, to raise the needed funds.
What will chapter 9 be for this colt? And Chapter 10, and 11? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give him the chance to live, in peace, with a close human friend?
Look for the raffle to begin tonight.