Gotta Have Faith - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Gotta Have Faith

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 *****ed 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.

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.

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post #2 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 01:30 PM
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Bless you and your hubby for giving her a brighter future! Enjoy the adventure of training her to be a good horsey citizen.
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 02:16 PM
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WOW! I've had my fair share of "stray" horses before, although I didn't keep them, so bless you for taking her.
She looks like a Faith to me!
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Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.-Gandhi
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post #4 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 02:27 PM
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At least now that you have legally purchased her, you don't have to worry about someone coming back and trying to take her!

She definitely looks QH/TB to me. Good on you for giving her a great home and a chance to grow up into a good horse.
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post #5 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 02:42 PM
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What a story! Adding this to my list of journals to follow :)
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-25-2016, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Originally Posted by GMA100 View Post
WOW! I've had my fair share of "stray" horses before, although I didn't keep them, so bless you for taking her.
She looks like a Faith to me!
This also isn't the first stray horse we've had either. About 10 years ago, an unhandled stallion wandered onto the property. He had broken out of his enclosure, presumably because one of our mares was in heat. We contacted the inspector right away because he was dangerous. He also went to auction.

ETA: This doesn't include some neighboring horses who have stopped in for a "visit" because a gate was left open. We've had a few of those over the years, but the owners have always shown up within hours.

Originally Posted by Mulefeather View Post
At least now that you have legally purchased her, you don't have to worry about someone coming back and trying to take her!
Agreed. I also take some comfort in knowing that if anyone did try to come and get her, there are security cameras with infrared capability, so if there was anything suspicious, it would be caught on camera day or night.

I kind of felt like there are so many things in life, where you just can't do anything and have to let due process take its course. When I heard that she was going to auction, I felt like this was one of those few situations where I had the power to do something and make a difference for her.

The auction was one of the saddest and misery-filled places I have ever been and I hope I never have to darken its doorways again. Even after I had the winning bid on her and I knew she was mine, I didn't feel happy. I was just relieved to be able to finally get out of there. I didn't think I would be so emotionally drained, but I pretty much went to bed as soon as I got home. It wasn't until I woke up yesterday and went for a long run that I finally started to feel a sense of excitement for the possibilities she now has.
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post #7 of 29 Old 07-26-2016, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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I was just looking through some of the photos I have and found this one. Faith immediately developed a very strong attachment to Lilly and stayed at her hip like a foal follows its mom. She also kept looking like she wanted to nurse, but would never quite follow through. I don't know if Lilly kicked her away at one point, or if she just saw there was nothing there to nurse from. She was obviously weaned late. Tomorrow I get to go pick her up!

She is also pretty tall. Lilly is just a smidgen under 15 hh and Faith is nearly as tall as her.

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post #8 of 29 Old 07-27-2016, 05:53 AM
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I've never been to a horse auction, but I can imagine it can be both heart breaking and at the same time, joyful.....

Faith is a great name.......and while I don't know for sure....I'd bet she's going to be a great companion.

After all, the three greatest things in the world, hope, and love.
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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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post #9 of 29 Old 07-28-2016, 03:33 AM
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what a fascinating story. I can't wait to see the updates. I hope things work well for you . she looks like a horse that will mature into a real beauty. she is most definitely thoroughbred in at least part.
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post #10 of 29 Old 07-28-2016, 07:03 AM
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Subbing, so glad all went well for your girl. You have a wonderful heart <3
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