Not necessarily magical, but - at the barn I ride with - a few years ago a girl bought a tb - about 17, arthritic, skinny, cribber, but about 16.2 hands. After a couple of months, she abandoned him. My trainer rode him, found out he was a total gentleman on the flat and put him her lesson program. He was happy - he had a job. So, I start riding him in lessons, showed in a w/t class (champion!). He was also kind of accident prone. The first was he somehow ripped his muzzle open in the pasture - we never did figure out how - stitches, drain, etc. My trainer showed me what had to be done for him and I went out every day for two weeks to clean his nose. Healed up nicely.
Next, he somehow got a splinter or something down in one shoulder. Very ouchy, very lame on that side. The first night after we found it, after doctoring him up - he hurts, he hurts to walk. I go to put him in his stall and he knew the drill - I hold the lead, he walks in and politely turns to have his halter removed. There is a board ad the bottom of his stall - maybe 3 inches high - he tried, but could not pick up his off leg over that board and just looked at me apologetically. Well, I can't pick him up and lift him in - so I walked into his stall and he sucked it up and followed me in.
As he got better, my trainer told me he needed to walk around to move that shoulder - I could either ride at the walk or just lead him around. I had just done a lesson on a very tough sided mare and my legs felt like jelly, so I opted to just hand walk him. Took him into our little ring and unsnapped his lead just to see him walk. He stood at my shoulder and never moved. So, I walked away - he followed. I turned - he turned, I jogged, he trotted. I went around a tree, so did he. I went over poles - so did he.
I cried - I had never had a horse give me his heart that way.
One morning my mare got cast against the welded wire fencing near the pasture gate. I saw her as she went down, didn't get her stopped in time. As I was on the phone calling DH to help me get her turned over, my Dutch gelding walked up beside her, grabbed her by an ear, and PULLED her away from the fence! UP she jumps, shaking off and bucking-very embarrassed she was!
She still has a very tiny, but noticable, chunk out of that ear.
I don't know about magical, but I'm glad I saw it.
years ago my two haflinger fillies lived together on my land. they were half sisters, only three weeks apart and very bonded. once an animal communicator tried to 'talk' with one of them and she couldn't get just one--both were chiming in at the same time!
anyway, one day i'm upstairs in my room and i hear lady start hollering. i look outside and she's at the front gate making a lot of noise, and i realise her sister is nowhere to be seen. i go looking to see what's going on and spy summer lying cast under the trailer--which a new farmhand had parked in her favorite rolling spot---lady was calling for help and when i got outside started running back and forth from the gate to where her sister was stuck. she was very clearly summoning help for her sister.
lady died in spring of 07, and summer and i still miss her terribly.
I've told this on here before, so bear with me if you've read it in the past. My daughter's great old jumper had lived in retirement at our farm for 16 years and was approaching 32 years of age. Every Fall for 3 or 4 years, we'd take a critical look at his condition, decide that it was time to put him down, and then we'd put it off for yet another year. One night, daughter went down to the barn to see him, and she told him, "Norton, Mom and I just can't seem to do this. It seems like you're going to have to take care of it just like you always took care of me." The next morning, she found him dead in his stall, curled up like a puppy, nothing disturbed, no signs of a struggle, just a very peaceful scene. All the other horses were so quiet and the only word I can find is, respectful, that it is a cherished moment for us.
Several years ago I had a smallish farm in a very rural area. I had some issues with gates coming open and found out later that some boys down the street thought it was funny to open gates.
Anyway, one day I heard quite the ruckus coming from the pasture and went to investigate. My 3 year old haffie met me in the front yard silly little girl. I grabbed her and started back to the pasture only to find the gate wide open.
None of the other horses got out thankfully because my appy was standing guard at the gate, keeping them from coming through! lol
This horse has surprised me with his high level of intelligence many times but this one left me speechless and thankful.
I sold my once-in-a-lifetime horse when I went to college. I cried every time I walked past his stall for years after, and I still get a tear in my eye thinking about him. He paid for my 4 years of college, and we couldn't afford not to sell him, let alone buy him back after the fact.
I went to visit him 2 1/2 years after I sold him. Drove the several hours down to his new barn with my dorm roommate. I had no idea what to expect, since who knows how well a horse will remember you?
He was being ridden in a lesson by his new owner when I arrived. We quietly walked up to the rail of the arena to watch. The first time he trotted by he craned his neck to get a look (not unusual for a horse to look at something new on the rail). The second time he got to where I was standing and pulled his rider to the rail and halted with his nose over the edge. She didn't know who we were and tried to kick him on, but he wouldn't move. I was bawling by that point and he was snuffling around my face ignoring his rider. The very BNT (who gained a lot of admiration from me that day) said, "why don't we call it a day and try again tomorrow? Maybe you should let her walk him out." I tried to recompose myself while I walked him around for the next 30 minutes. I finally thought I had control and hopped off to walk him back to his cross ties. I pulled the bridle off of his head and he DOVE at me with his teeth bared and his ears pinned back. His new owner shrieked as he made contact. I started bawling all over again. We used to play the "catch me if you can" game, which evolved to the "pin the ears and dive at me game." He would make a really ugly face, but never put even the tiniest bit of pressure into his "bite." So the new owner's trying to apologize and telling me she's never seen him do anything like that before and I'm trying to explain that it was our game (he never tried it with anyone else).
It broke my heart to visit him that day and it was devastating to have to leave him again. I will never sell a once-in-a-lifetime horse again for as long as I live.
That gelding was the smartest animal I ever knew, and he had such an obviously clear memory of everything (especially in contrast to the few I've had for long periods of time who probably forgot who I was 5 minutes after walking on the trailer to go to their new homes! ). I kept track of him through the years and arranged to take him back when he was ready to retire. He passed away from a bad colic episode shortly before he was supposed to come back to my farm. He's the only horse I've ever had that I can still cry about 16 years after selling him.
I'll never wonder if a horse *can* remember his or her person again. That one visit taught me so much and shaped how I deal with horses through this day.
Well it's not really my story to tell but she's otherwise occupied these days and probably wouldn't mind...
When FlashGordon came to meet Dan, the minute she looked at him she knew he was her horse. She had stalked him for months.. Gosh, maybe even over a year... She was never pushy but she was insistent, and she was right. What I learned about her later is that her stalking was very, very out of character and that she simply felt compelled to pursue him.
Seeing him recognize her as his person...it still tears me up to think about it, I cry every time. He had always been waiting for someone else and I knew that... They were like a magnetic force, being pulled together. It was truly amazing to witness.
Their time together was very short but even so he did not leave her until he had done what he was supposed to do. Sometimes when I think about him, I feel like anything that beautiful has to be fleeting, like the seasons or clouds or flowers. He was so beautiful I don't know how to describe him, it went beyond being a horse, he made you think of vast things, like redwood trees and still lakes.
When he shipped up to her i did not cry, I felt like I was sending her a present. Giving is so much fun! He had his own box stall and the shipper called me after he dropped him off to tell me that he came off the trailer exactly how he went on - as if he owned it.
Their days together were idyllic. Flash told me once that when she and Dan were together it was as if they were in a bubble and nothing else existed. It was a grand love affair without the courtship, they went straight to the honeymoon and stayed there.
I know Flash and Dan will be together again somehow, someway. When they met here it wasn't the first time, it was clearly a reunion. You can believe whatever you want about soul mates or reincarnation, I was on the fence, not any more!
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
A little over 2 years ago I got a random email ad for a "2-year-old warmblood (TB x Holst.) filly for sale" about an hour from my house. I was bored and decided to drive out and just take a look for grins.
When I got to the place (in the middle of nowhere) I was HORRIFIED at what I saw. There in 2 feet of manure and mud (in a tiny round pen) was the most pathetic animal I had ever seen. You could see her spine sticking up about 3 inches, all her ribs were showing, she was covered in rain rot, you could smell the thrush without even picking up her feet, and she could barely lift up her head.
Because I had to try to get her out of there I offered the lady a really low, low price not expecting her to take it. Well she did and I got that filly out of there the very next day. Took her straight to my Vet and he guessed her to be at least 300 pounds underweight. There was NOTHING physically keeping her from eating she was just being starved to death. But my Vet said she would not have made it through another winter in that body condition.
Fast forward to today. I named her Second Hand Rose (aka Rosey) and she is a beautiful dark dapple gray girl. She is the sweetest animal; when I go to catch her from the pasture she heads straight toward me at a canter whinnying the entire time. She loves being groomed and messed with.
I event and took her to a small one day schooling show in June and Rosey pulled a 22 in her dressage test!!! I could not believe it. She went on to go clean cross country and stadium and won her division by over 25 points.
All my friends tell me she knows I saved her life and she is just thanking me for giving her a second chance. I am so very glad that she came into my life. I plan on going to a recognized show this fall and could not be happier with how my "Rose Bud" has turned out.
I've posted this before.............forgive me if you are reading it again
When I was about 19, I was just horse crazy. I was at a VERY high end hunter jumper barn and I did NOT fit in - at all . I had my 1st ride at 18 and didn't own a horse. My parents didn't have $$ and I wouldn't be buying a horse from that barn. The girls gathered in little groups and discussed breeches that I could never afford and horses that I would never ride. And I worked my a** off at a restaurant to pay for two lessons per week on a horse that barely got a tack change between someone else's ride and mine. And all that I wanted to be was .....just like those girls.
Enter Aamaraa. She wasn't the 16.2 hand bay hunter that I pictured. SHe was old and had a baby at her side and they were both emaciated and were waiting for the killer van and I knew that she was going home with me. The snobby barn wouldn't take her. So I found a neighbor that would rent a stall for $50/month and I brought her home in a borrowed trailer. And I unloaded her in all of her lice infested bone protruding glory and she exited that trailer with her head up and just screamed to let the world know that she had arrived. She sticked at 13.3 hands and her papers said that she was a 16 year old Arab mare out of imported parents that had fallen out of fashion.
She never thought that she was a rescue. She was the queen. And after she started gaining weight back and I had the vet out, I realized that I was soon to be the owner of three horses where just months before there had been none. Proper care for her required that I no longer ride at the snobby barn, but it seemed less and less important.
Aamaraa didn't let you make mistakes, she had no qualms whatsoever about dropping you on your rear if you bumped her in the mouth or didn't ask for something correctly. She taught me to ride for my horse and not for myself - a posed hunter position wouldn't cut it for her, you had to RIDE.
She would one day save my life on a trail ride where I thought that I knew better than she and turned off of the trail when a sudden Nov snow squall made visibility zero. She didn't need a trail to find her way back to the barn.
The foal that she came with (who matured to only 14.2HH) would get me a 2nd place ribbon against the snobby barn.
She would be the one to heal my sexually abused neice who wouldn't open up to anyone else.
She would earn the nickname "the babysitter" because any child could ride her and she would happily dump any adult in the dirt.
And when she colicked at the age of 28, I cried into her mane that it wasn't fair. That my son was only 2 and she still had to teach him how to ride.
And then I let her go.
Her halter wasn't framed. It hangs in the barn so that I can touch it any day and be reminded that what we want isn't always what we need.
If it wasn't for her I probably wouldn't have my husband. I would still be holding out for the 6'2 stock broker and have walked right past the slightly nerdy 5'7 engineer.....because you see, what you want isn't always what you need.
Yet another story that has been told here before, probably multiple times... but it's a good story and worth sharing again.
My first horse was a scrappy little arabx gelding. He was marvelous to me and we did it all together, really lived the quintessential first horse & horse crazy girl love affair. After a few years I was ready to get serious about riding and decided I needed something more challenging and fancy; I sadly listed him for sale.
A few weeks after putting him on the market, I woke up with a powerful urge to un-list him. I called and cancelled recurring ads and headed to the barn that afternoon, uncertain as to what my motivation was. I decided to go for a trail ride and have a good think. I had a good think all right- lost track of time and found myself pretty far out with dusk encroaching. I took a short cut across a field that looked familiar, but couldn't find the trail back out. Tiva repeatedly insisted that he knew the way, but I ignored him, certain he was just pushing for the path closest to the barn. It was fairly dark when I found what I thought was the right path and pushed him on. We were under water instantly. What had looked to be a grassy mown path was actually still plant life grown completely over a very deep swamp hole. I slipped off his side in the mess and found myself mostly under him while he struggled. I didn't bother going for air; I just wrapped my arms around his neck. As soon as I was latched on, he carefully went back the way we had come in, pulled himself out with his front legs spread wide to avoid stepping on me, and stopped on solid ground to allow me to let go. He stayed there with his nose by my side while I puked up green water, and when I recovered and re-mounted I gave him his head and he walked back home with no guidance from me. There is no question in my mind that he meant to save me before himself; I don't think he would have left the water without me hanging on.
I bawled most of the way home and told him he had a home for life, competition aspirations be damned.
About two weeks after that he broke his leg playing in the pasture and had to be put down; he was far and away the most rational critical injury case I've ever seen. He looked perfectly content, like he'd known this was coming. I don't know what whispering psychic wave caught me that morning, but I'm so glad I listened. He got to demonstrate his goodness and devotion one last time and die amongst those who loved him. Best horse ever.
okay I am reading these are work and my eyes keep welling with tears.
My story is not over yet. It's Opie's story.... Born with Scoliosis last year in March, he should not have lived. I got the call from the TB farm. The same farm where we had rescued a colt, who was supposed to be euthanized, three years previous. We got him in when he was 6 days old last year. No one knew his future. He is my fifth orphan, but my first with Scolosis. There is no research on how to raise a foal with Scolosis so I used all my training and common sense and we 'winged' it. He has flourished!!
Today he is a yearling, with his "mama" Tango, my grand dam who has raised 3 other orphans, helping him along they way. She dotes on him and protects him from the other youngsters she watches over. His growth is amazing, yes he still has a humped back with the curvature, but in every other way he's NORMAL. He has astounded my vet and being so healthy.
I know this young horse will grow and defy the odds. He amazes me every day. He is our ambassador for our farm, for our therapeutic program and for animals that while they have special needs, they have just as much right to be given a chance to live.
These stories are giving me chills, teary eyes and a lump in my throat.
Before I tell my little story, I was wondering if some of you could maybe post pix of the horses in your stories?? What the heck, it's worth asking.
So forgive me for being long-winded, I can't help it!!
I was a horse CRAZED girl, Dad was a very practical Irish immigrant, long story short, we had the money to have a horse but he just decided it was not a practical use of it, but he did get me and my sister riding lessons for a year until the instructor abruptly stopped teaching and that was that.
Years later I am in my mid thirties when an elderly friend 'chooses' me to inherit her 6 year old arab gelding. I am in heaven~ I can't believe my luck. We begin meeting at the barn while she mentors me in things horse. The problem was my friend expected me to be able to ride her green gelding on my own, me a total novice... with just a couple lessons from her here and there. Well I could not really handle/ride this horse on my own with no help, and often she was out of town for months. Later on I ended up moving him to town and enlisting the help of a trainer, then another... who both had a bad attitude towards arabs (dressage barns), so me and this green gelding were not having an easy time of it. Meanwhile, don't ask me WHAT I was thinking, but I ended up buying a 2 year old Straight Egyptian Arab filly, she was grey and gorgeous and very sweet, and what I thought I had always wanted. I had a low-income job but managed to make her payments. My elderly friend kept quiet but I could tell she thought this was not the brightest move for a green rider like me. Meanwhile, I did not feel the best connection with the gelding, he ran off with me a few times so I began to be afraid to ride, granted it was also my 'fault' for being such a novice and not knowing how to be the one in charge. He also knew how to take advantage of my green-ess, like just about any horse, and was none too forgiving of it, but he was charming in a rougue-ish way and I did care for him. I kept them both on my small income and meant to make it work, when he began bullying my filly regularly to the point where she constantly had cuts and scrapes. Finally he kicked a big hole in her flank, the BO saw him do it. They had been in the same pasture and I had to separate them which cost even more money.
I really longed to work with her and just never got the sense that he was 'my' horse. Finally I admitted I did not want to keep them both, since he was a liability to her. I had him moved back to the ranch his owner always kept him on and told her I had called it quits. I could tell she was terribly disappointed.
One day she wanted to go on a trail ride with me, and I hesitantly agreed, I wondered if she was going to try to see if she could get me and the gelding 'back together'. So she put me on him while she rode a loaner. I was immediately ill at ease since this horse was not well trained and had run off with me a few times, but she was a very salt-of-the-earth, stern and no-nonsense horse woman, and I didn't want to disappoint her, after all she had been my mentor. So off we went (the gelding could barely stay still enough to mount!!), and for some strange reason I felt sick as a dog the entire 3 hour ride. My head was splitting with a headache, I had godawful cramps in my gut and I felt flushed and hot with a fever. There was no explanation. She constantly barked commands as to how to get the gelding in line and of course, great horsewoman that she was, when I did as she said, he got in line. The ride went well yet I was sick as could be through it, and she was grimly silent for most of it. I felt that I had let her down by getting the filly and not accepting the gift of her beloved gelding. Moreover I was such an obviously inexperienced rider and horse-person, I knew she must think me rather foolish for choosing a 2 year old filly over her 6 year old gelding who at least has some training and could be ridden out on trails. We parted with some solemnity and I felt like sh_t. I was about to drive home when I decided to go see my filly who was an hour north. As I drove up to her home, still feeling just sick as a dog, I made a little prayer that if she were really my horse, the one meant for me, that there would be a 'sign'.
When I got to her field, I pulled out a lawn chair so I could just watch her in the field with her friends. This little 2 year old girl who barely knew me yet, came marching right over. Then the strangest thing happened. She stood over me, while I sat in the chair, and rested her chin on top of my head. She rested it lightly so that it felt good, and she stayed like that for 20 minutes or so. I closed my eyes and almost went into a semi-sleeping state, I got a sense that she too was closing her eyes and going in and out of some almost-sleep state. As I sat there with the cool refreshing spring wind blowing against my flushed skin, and the sun sparkling all around the big green pasture, I felt the soothing, light weight of the filly's head resting on top of mine and there seemed to be some kind of very palpable energy exchange going on with her. I began to feel the heat and pain draining out of me, and not only that, but I also felt the emotional angst and despair draining out too. What replaced that was this coolness and lightness, lightness like flying or floating. The filly was healing my body and heart, as hokey as that sounds, it really and truely happened. Finally after what seemed a very long time but was probably not so long at all, she stepped away and went back out into the pasture. I got up from the chair feeling cool and refreshed and light as a cloud, I can only describe the feeling as being one of physical and mental bliss. There was no trace of a headache or stomach cramps or fever. I floated away as if on a cloud. I will never forget that day and how my filly showed me that she was the one meant for me, my heart horse.
About a half a year later my elderly friend decided (I think with mixed feelings) to meet my filly. It was awkward, she had really wanted me to be the one to accept the gift of her gelding, she had had great hopes for us. She said the filly was real nice and watched with some interest as I put on her blanket, yet I still felt the sting of some kind of coldness and disapproval coming from her, which I am sure she could not help. I was crouched at my filly's chest and being clumsy and fumbling with the blanket, feeling stupid and miserable again because of my friend's steely vibes, when my filly arched her neck over me and rested her head on mine again and she stayed like that, in an almost protective gesture it seemed. My friend saw this and made some kind of remark: "She really has a bond with you." After that the energy completely shifted and my friend and I were able to move on.
Said filly is still my heart horse, we are doing well now in our dressage lessons, we found the perfect trainer for us... and she always comes marching towards me in the mare field when I come to fetch her for our lesson, meekly putting her head right into the halter every time as if to say 'let's go!". My trainer says that she looks like pure sweetness, trying so hard for me in our lesson. Many times when things were not going well for me, she has nuzzled me in this same way and taken away my heartache and sadness. The gelding had an unhappy time of it for awhile, being shuffled from owner to owner including being moved to a big fancy barn in S. California, the kind of barn, however, where the horses get no turnout (shudder). I just heard from a friend that he finally found his own very true person, a little 13 year old girl who lives out in the country not far at all from me, who is an amazing rider and does EVERYTHING with him, showing and competing etc. The friend who told me this said that he is lit up when he is with his little girl and they were made for eachother.
My 19 yr old mare, Libbey had been a rescue and was a chronic founder, cushings horse. She also had DSLD that wasn't diagnosed until she tore a suspensory. After about 4 months of intense care and rehabilitation, the deep flexor tendon in the left front ruptured and her fetlock collapsed.
The vets who saw her gave me the options of course to put her down or to go to great lengths to wedge and shoe the bad leg to let it heal as much as possible. It would take many months of complete stall rest - likely a year or more. She would be on pain medication daily and there was no guarantee that another limb wouldn't "go." She had many lesions and mushy spots on the deep flexors and suspensories of all 4 limbs.
She was healthy and happy otherwise, her attitude was great, she ate perfectly fine, and seemed like her old self, she got around ok as long as her foot was wedged up properly and she was on some bute.
I was struggling SO BADLY with the decision. I cried every day for a week, and was out in the barn at all hours of the day and night retaping her wedging to keep the foot and limb aligned properly. It didn't "have" to be a life-ending catastrophe - it was up to me and how much time and $$$ I was willing to spend. And how much risk I wanted to take that this might happen on another limb.
I was so sick over the decision - what to do - I broke down bawling at my computer. I told myself - I'm going to load equine.com. I'm going to search for Paso Fino and if there is a dark sooty buckskin that looks just like her for sale, that will be my sign to let Libbey pass on from this earth.
With equine.com up on my screen, I searched for Paso Fino and the very first horse on the page was Amadeus. He was almost an exact look-alike. (Libbey: http://www.hphoofcare.com/Libb%20(4).jpg and Deus: http://www.hphoofcare.com/Amadeus1.jpg) He was on the other side of the country but I had no choice. The minute I saw him, I knew it was ok to say goodbye to Libbey. I made the arrangements to buy Amadeus, and Libbey crossed the bridge surrounded by love and all the treats she could eat. My boy arrived within a couple of weeks.
A few days after Amadeus had been here, he "went missing." We thought he had gotten out and taken off somehow but all the fencing looked ok. We found him way back in the back corner of the back field, standing next to Libbey's grave. For several days he kept going back there and standing under the pines by her. We don't know his reasons and I'm an atheist that doesn't believe in the supernatural. But I do believe in the energy of the universe and I feel there was some type of energy exchange between the two of them.
"There's a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you...." lyrics I sing to Amadeus all the time. I miss Libbey desperately and still cry over her loss but Amadeus has become a part of my life has helped heal the hurt.