I have had a few names in my life on this earth… My last being Santana.
I am twenty three years old now – not exactly young for a horse but neither terribly old unless you’ve been through the wringer… and I have.
I’ll begin my story with the darkest hour, for me.
Most of my life I was loved. Ridden, Groomed.
I loved , truly loved, barrel racing! I was damn good at it, too.
To feel my own speed , my hooves churning and pounding in the soft, thick dirt of the arena, proud to have my rider aboard…
I lived for this! Sure my shoulder would bump the barrel sometimes but hey, who’s perfect?
I always knew when we were going , too, and looked forward to it.
The trailer always meant good things, to me so I readily hopped in when asked.
At this ripe age of twenty three though, I was asked once more to walk into it. I did, though I was tired. My body had not been right for a while.
I had become thin, and it was painful. But she asked, so of course, I did.
This was no barrel race, what I walked into. I stood amongst the hundreds of others listening to the bustle of people and the very loud man whose voice carried quite far. . . This was an auction.
Why on earth was I here?
She saddled me and I perked up , a little. Though tired, I still loved the attention.
Round and round that tiny arena …with the loud voice above me shouting numbers. Apparently, I was being sold.
Fear crept in , a bit.Taken from my friends, my home to this place.….what on earth would happen next?I’d heard other horses back there speak of kill pens…that they buy horses like
me. . .
And that this WAS one. . . This auction was taking place in a ‘kill pen’.
Round and round the tiny space ….God I was tired…Surely someone would see what I was once, not what I was now. . .
‘Sold!’ Seven hundred fifty dollars on the money!’
All in, all done.
She stepped off, unsaddled me and I waited.
Admittedly, I was a little insulted. If I were human, I would be resentful….. but that is not how we work. We do remember…but we do not hate.
A very nice woman came later, stroke my neck and said ” Well, old girl, let’s get you home.”
Once again I stepped into a trailer, because they asked.
This time though, there was a youngster in there with me. So full of nerves and fear and life.
It perked me, a bit but it was all I could do to stay upright on the trip. I’m a tough old bird, though, and I did. I
I stayed with this kind girl a while, being fed, petted. She told me I’d gotten something called ‘strangles’ in the auction barn. Well, damn…that is most unpleasant and really and not what any horse ever wants to go through.
I still didn’t feel well and had to lie down to rest…more and more often.
She didn’t seem to mind, though I saw some fear in her eyes.
She told me I was going to go yet one more place but it was wonderful, with a nice big stall, and new friends waiting for me. I trusted her.
One more trailer ride…thankfully not too long, for I was still weak.
This new place…wow!! The moment I stepped into the presence of the smiling girl who looked at me with concern, petting me so gently, running her hand over my bad eye ( for I was mostly blind on the left side)…I knew that this was where I would live out my remaining days.
I could barely walk, after the trip, but she was patient. She told me ‘I don’t know what happened to you, but you’re okay now’.
I’ll do my best by you’.
She did. THey did, all of them. My stall was roomy, soft, comfortable. My appetite began to come back. THe cool water on my back on those hot days helped.
They didn’t ask anything of me….I was allowed to run the place , honestly.
Time passed, and I felt stronger. Love is powerful…The day I felt like actually trotting…Her face was beautiful. So happy! I was, too.
The babies…oh, the babies. The beautiful foal Maverick born to Dallas, who, though she is a real pain in the ass, I liked quite a bit….
He was a gift. The orphaned foal brought in….they call her Tamsin. I call her a survivor. She took to me, and I to her. I told her stories, and though her life may have started out scary, these people would ensure it did not stay that way. I old her stories of my own life much longer life… and she looks at me with such curiosity it’s impossible not to love this one.
She is a joy to watch..even when she steals my food. I pretended agitation, but it warmed this old heart.
She told me I was a ‘Soul Horse’ now and that meant I was loved, no matter what had happened before. I was loved now and would always be.
My life was peaceful. . . Lovely, really. The hay was always there, sweet, warm. The buckets of feed the girl, Sabrina would bring me.
I had arrived here , as humans would say with ‘a body score of zero’.She told me I was now a ‘three’….. she was proud of me for that.
Still…I knew something was not right , inside me. When the winter winds blew in I found it harder to eat, to breathe, to shake the aches deep within me.
This particular morning, when Sabrina came out of the house I went to her. I told her, the best I knew how , that it was time.
She listened, as she always does. I knew, too that she would try to save me, again.
One last ride…
With her and her mother’s help, I stepped in one last trailer…One last time.
She rubbed a hand down my cheek and said ‘Now you hold on!’
I looked at her, knowing this time I couldn’t.
I dropped my head to be rubbed. How I wish I could have shown her the younger me. .. so strong, healthy. I think she saw it anyway, even now.
Pain set in,in my belly, quickly, and left just as suddenly. I had to lie down…
The kind man that looked me over , the vet, he knew.
And so, with tears in her eyes, she held my head…. and told me goodbye.. .
I think his was far harder for her than I, for I knew how loved I was. They both held me. . .
I loved her even more, in that moment, for understanding.
It is my sincerest hope that she knows how much I loved her. How I loved all of them.
Leaving her was the hardest part…..
But I will always, always be there in spirit.
Who else will keep those rambunctious babies in line? I will watch over them all…. from where I am going now.
Live well. Love fiercely. Never, ever change who you are. You are a gift to this world….to horses like me.
Thank you for loving this old girl. It was, and is, mutual.
Tell Tamsin, Maverick, and the wild one, Brodie….. I’m watching.
And I love them.
They are blessed to have you, as I was.
From this lifetime and beyond ,
Written by ~ Randi L. Collier
December 14th 2018