I had thought my days dealing with young horses, teaching basic ground manners and handling were over and that I'd transitioned into the early stages of teaching tack and preparation for riding with my filly Elsa.
And then, a few weeks ago, at about 1:00 AM, my mom woke up to incessant neighing and squealing by our mare Lilly. Thinking that she was in some sort of trouble, she raced out to see what all of the commotion was about. It was pitch black outside but every once in a while, she could see a streak of brown hair and hooves go by in the beam of her flashlight. She assumed it was a stud that had escaped and not knowing if the horse was dangerous, she decided to wait until morning to deal with the situation, if the horse stuck around.
She came out the next morning, and the horse was still there, nosing with our mare across the fence. Contrary to what she had thought the night before, it was a female and a very young one at that. A neighbour stopped in because the entire neighbourhood was calling him about this horse, thinking it may be one of his. It wasn't, but he thought that perhaps it belonged to my mom. With his assistance, they managed to herd her into the corral so she wasn't wandering the countryside. My mom put them in together. It had occurred to her that this little thing could carry diseases, but they had already been sniffing over the fence all night and the only other pen is right beside anyway, so either way, they were going to make contact. A risk, I know, but it so far, it has worked out.
We discovered that she is completely unhandled. She doesn't seem afraid of people because of any mistreatment though, but more because instinct tells her to be. She is very curious and will come up to the fence to check us out, or cautiously sniff and nose me if I am in the pen with Lilly.
She showed up just before a long weekend, so my mom thought she would wait a few days in case her owners had gone away for the weekend and didn't even know she was missing yet. In the mean time, she had called all of the neighbours, with and without horses to spread the word that she was there. After a couple of days, no one came forward to claim her, so I started posting advertisements and spreading the word for her via social media and lost livestock sites. I didn't get any response.
In our area, we have what's called Livestock Identification Services, which is the government body that deals with stray livestock, among other things. After about a week with no sign of her owner, my mom contacted them and filed an official report on her. They also posted advertisements about her. My mom told the inspector, that she didn't mind having this little lady around and if no one came forward, was there any possibility of keeping her. We were informed that, by law, she had to go for sale at public auction. She was picked up last Thursday to go for auction Saturday.
I was absolutely sick when I found this out. She appeared to be so bright and inquisitive, but I knew a horse with no history, registration or training of any kind is a likely target for meat buyers. I decided that I couldn't let her meet what would almost certainly be an unfortunate end, contacted the inspector to find out where she would be auctioned and decided I would try to buy her back.
My husband came with me and we waited over 5 hours (he is a man with endless patience <3), watching the "featured" group of riding horses first and then the "others" following. It was absolutely gut-wrenching as we watched horse after horse, including 4 mares and foals being purchased by the meat buyers.
When she finally came through, there was almost no one left at the auction. The only ones who bid on her were the meat buyers and me and even they didn't try all that hard for her, given her young age and size and I was able to buy her back for a song.
Since I didn't have much notice to make arrangements for transport, she will be staying at the auction grounds until Wednesday, when a very good and understanding friend of mine with a trailer will pick her up to arrive back at my mom's.
Now that she is legally mine, I've decided on the name Faith since I am taking a huge leap of faith that she isn't going to end up being crazy or dangerous and that she can be trained into the bright and intelligent girl I truly believe she is. Once we've gotten halter training and basic groundwork down, I hope to rehome her with someone who can continue her training. I do have a few interested parties. I wish her forever home could be with me, but unfortunately, I already board one horse and cannot afford to board a second. A good home for her is an absolute must and I am in no rush to send her anywhere and my mom said she is welcome to stay for as long as needed at no cost to me. I am not terribly worried yet since I have had several people show interest in taking her once she's had some training.
I plan to document how her training goes and if any of you have any suggestions, please feel free to share. She seems to be quite smart and level headed. My mom was discarding some old tarps last week and made quite the ruckus shaking them out. Lilly took off bucking and snorting. Faith just stood calmly and watched her, ears pricked but made no attempt to run away. I'm truly hoping that my gut is right and that she turns into a great little filly.
Where she came from is a complete mystery. When she arrived, she had a few cuts and scrapes and looked like she had run through bush, but looked to be in otherwise decent condition. She is perhaps a little on the thin side, but I wouldn't say overly so, especially for a growing youngster.
Here are a few photos we took in the weeks leading up to the auction. If you have any guess on her breed, feel free to share that too. Quarter horses are most common in my area and I suspect that she is a QH cross of some kind - the long neck makes me suspect Thoroughbred or even possibly Arab, but she doesn't really have any other Arab features.
These two were taken 2 days after she arrived. 20160630_101505.jpg 20160702_182351 (1).jpg
These were taken a few weeks later. You can really see how her coat has so much more shine and colour to it and she's put on a little bit of weight. IMG_1070.jpg IMG_1254.jpg