Monday, April 13, 2009

heartache comes early

People often ask me why I spend my time, efforts and money on horse rescue? hmm....well, I have been doing it since I was a youngster. I felt the ache in my heart early on the first time I realized people did not treat their animals like my family did.

Our neighbors in the rural neighborhood we lived in were dirt poor and yet one day while exploring the neighborhood on my old trusty mare, I spied a horse in their yard. I must have been ten or eleven. I recognized the horse to be "sick" and I knew the neighbors had no money, no barn and probably no love for this horse. I went to my dad, who told me to mind my own business. I went to my mom, who told me to listen to my dad. I went to my best friend who lived down the road and together we decided that we should "buy" this best friend was also ten or eleven and she didn't have a horse....she had a burro, but I had a horse and since we were together mostly every waking moment, we knew she should have a horse too. But we needed money and we had none and zero prospects to earn any........still we would not be disuaded. We asked about the horse and we were told she was a race horse and worth a fortune. The horse was a mare. She nickered at us and strained at the end of the rope to come over to us. She was very thin and had long hooves. We whispered to her of our plot. We took carrots to her. She was tied by the neck in the front yard and had no shelter, no food beyond the scrubby summer grass. We plotted.. she had a swollen leg and I told the neighbors. Mary was the teenager who "owned" this horse and Mary wanted what most teenage girls wanted.........make up and clothes. Hmmm.......I had three older sisters, who just happened to have make up and clothes. How I would get those clothes and that makeup.....well that would take some planning. My friend had no sisters, no brothers but she did have a dad who doted on her. We offered to weed the garden and wash the car..we would give up candy for the entire summer. We babysat for the sheriff up the street. We wrote my grandma for early birthday money....and finally my friend's dad gave us twenty five dollars. My sister gave me her old high heels. Heaven sent and just in time. We walked more than a mile to Mary's house and offered her 30 dollars and my sister's old shoes. We proudly walked home with the mare. The mare was named Lady and she went to live with the burro at my friend's house. She was a gentle mare and seemed to appreciate the life we gave her. Her new home was an old loafing shed with a ten acre field, nothing fancy by today's standards but a million times better than being tied by the neck in a small yard..We took her for walks, sometimes rode on her back but always took it easy as she was permanently lame in her hind leg. She lived for many years at my friend's house. She fell ill one cold fall evening and my friend's dad had her euthanized when it was found she could not get better.

I have never forgotten that summer or the feeling I had when we were leading the mare to safety or the look in her eye as we turned her loose on the big pasture. I guess that is why I rescue.

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