I found an ad for Sunny in a local horse sales magazine, I think it was called Horse Trader or something like that. He was bred by a lovely lady in Zillah, WA and as soon as she started talking to me about him I felt a connection. I scheduled an appointment with her to go see him a few days later and then made the several hour drive out to see him. I think I barely got out of the car when we pulled up and knew I had to have him. It was love at first sight. It was disclosed to me that he had a pretty bad club foot, but I didnt care. I figured if he couldnt be the hunter I wanted him to be he could be the best friend I needed him to be. And that he was. He was this huge horse, with a lovely long neck, gorgeous head, wonderful kind eyes....he was just amazing. I spent every night with him at the barn, brushing every hair on his body, giving him lots of kisses, and showing him off to anyone that would look and listen.
After a year or so I was offered a job at a local hunter/jumper barn as a groom and Sunny was able to come along with me. Part of my salary was training on a horse so I figured it was a great opportunity. He loved it there.....and I loved going to work everyday where I could stare at him in his stall or while he was out to pasture. Several months into my job the trainer I worked for had a talk with me about his foot.....he had been seen by a few farriers and vets who didnt think he could hold up to jumping. I think the trainer was more disapointed about this than I was. He sat around with me at the barn for a while, getting lots of love but not much work and months passed again....and again I was offered another job but this time out of state. Lots of tears later I made the choice to sell him and a local dressage trainer wanted him, so off he went with her. I think she tried to fix his foot, but there wasnt much to be fixed. He basically stood upright on his coffin bone when you looked at the x-rays, and all the pressure from the years had made his coffin look kinda like an elf shoe with the tip totally turned around. I eventually got a call from his new owner that he was being turned out to pasture and retired forever. I was fine with that, I knew he wouldnt mind being a pasture horse. He loved being out and it was best for him. Years went by, I traveled all over the US being a groom and thinking about him always. I even tried several times through ads on Dreamhorse, equine.com, Craig's List, etc to find him....I wanted to make sure he was ok. I didnt find out anything about him until a year or so ago when I got a call from my good friend Jessica and was told he was in Brush Prairie, WA which was very close to where I lived (I was back in Oregon and a stay at home mom by then). She said he was in a nice barn, happy, but had a past that was sketchy. I went to see him once, cried all the way there, and all the way home. But happy knowing he was ok. He was being used as a kids lesson horse, kinda a shock to me, but I was told he seemed to like it and was good at it. So I left it alone. A month or so after I saw him I found out he was for sale, he wasnt working out for some reason. And this I will kick myself for now knowing where he ended up at, but I didnt buy him back. I was a new mom, a stay at home mom, with a husband who didnt support me having a horse. I thought the people he was with would find him a great home, since he seemed so loved. But that's not the case. It wasnt until this last week that I happened to connect with him again. This time through a random Craigs List post. I was up late one night searching through horse ads and came along one titled "Do you know these horses?". I clicked on it and to my shock was a picture of my horse. Skin and bones. Sadness in his eyes. A horrific sight. He was at a feed lot and about to be shipped out for slaughter. I lost it. I was awake all night and as soon as I was able to get on the phone and start contacting people about him I did. There was a forum writing about him, as well as a few other horses on the feed lot with him, trying to round up all the funds needed to rescue them all. I wrote to them that I knew him and used to be his former owner and wanted him back.....no matter his condition, no matter what. I wanted my horse back. I started getting email after email from people trying to help him, trying to get him out and back to me. The most amazing random acts of kindness came from total strangers. A local WA rescue posted his $400 "bail" (Second Chance Ranch). A woman close to where he was went and picked him up and fostered him for a few days. Another wonderful woman donated her entire Saturday to haul him to me. And many, many other people donated things from hay, blankets, brushes and money for his vet bills and rehab. He has been home for the past 3 days and doing well.
Its funny how things come to be.....he is home with me after all these years, and I am SO happy about that. I just wish I had been able to save him before this happened. I wish I had taken him when I had the chance last time. I am a believer in fate and I think he needs me as much as I need him right now. I am devastated his life led him to a feed lot, and part of me feels very responsible for that. Like I should have done something different. I tend to think people who have horses will love them as much as I do, but the sad thing is they don't. It sickens me. I never in a million years thought anyone who has been around this horse would EVER think of treating him badly. He has such a kind heart and wonderful soul. I just want to give him a good life. With apples and carrots daily. Lots of grass to munch on. And kisses whenever he wants them, I know for sure he will be more than happy to give me kisses in return.
Check out his FB page, he needs as many fans in his corner as he can get!