I had been boarding some horses that had been previously mistreated. The realtor that had sold us the place noticed how well they were doing and asked if I'd consider taking in another one. I had an unused stall, so there was no problem with that.
Well, here came a trailer with Redman in it. His coat was dull, he was scrawny looking and walked with his head hanging like a whipped dog. It seems that he was spending his days where he used to live knee deep in mud. He had lost some 150 pounds and his interest in life in the 5 or 6 months that he was there.
I closed him in his stall for a few days to see how he got along with the other horses. They got on just fine, so I opened his gate after they finished their breakfast. He stood there and looked for a while, then shuffled over to look at the gate as if he couldn't believe he could actually go out if he wanted to. Soon, the other horses wandered out into the pasture to graze and Red followed them. When he found out there was green stuff to nibble on instead of brown stuff to sink in, his whole disposition changed. He gained his weight back, his coat began to shine, and the rest of the herd elected him to be the boss.
One day, the lady that owned Redman asked if I'd like to buy him at a price I couldn't refuse. I'm sure that big Red (he stands some 16.3 hands) understood the transaction that took place because he immediately bonded with me. The paint mare that we are boarding foaled last mothers day. Even though he's a gelding, you would swear that he's the proud father and our appaloosa is the doting aunt. He plays with the foal, grooms her and, when she was a week old, I saw him out in the pasture teaching her what to do with all that green stuff.
Now, Redman's eyes are clear, his coat is shiny and the color it should be. Every day when I go out to work around the ranch, he gives me a big whinny "hello" and he'll trot over to the fence to get petted. Where his only gate was 'mosey', he now races the other horses to the far corner of the pasture and back. Since that's about a quarter mile away, he usually lives up to his breeds reputation and wins the race. The rest of the time, he might let someone else win just so they'll feel good and want to race the next time.
When I think back to the despondent bag of bones he was, I can't help but be proud of him. By the way, I found out recently that, if I had not bought him, they were planning to send Red to the glue factory. I don't know how they could have even considered doing such a thing to such a good natured horse.