Rio’s Story

posted in: Blog Entry | 0

This is Rio… happy in his new home. Rio is getting to be an older boy now and has just the family that he deserves.
But where did Rio come from?

After we became a 501C3, Rio was our first intake horse.
Rio was originally “donated” to another rescue. He had been a show horse and when his rider went off to school, he was donated to what his people thought was a good rescue.
But it wasn’t.
Long story short…Rio and a number of other horses were starved at this place. I believe that the intentions were originally good but things took a turn for the worse…expenses piled up, it was hard to say no and then denial kicked in…… Many horses died at this place…horses were found buried under manure piles, others knee deep in mud, no running water, no hay in the barn, horses were louse infested, various states of starvation….and when authorities were called, horses were hidden, excuses were made.. it went on and on..until finally one day charges were actually filed and something was actually done.
Except some horses were unaccounted for.
Rio was one.
We knew about him…had tried to get him before…but we had no luck.
Then out of the blue, some sanity kicked in to the person hiding him…and we were told to come and get him.
So we did.
A bag of bones, rain rot, very depressed…a sad sight.
We took him to the Jones Farm so he could rehab a while and get on his feet….
Then we took him home to Pony Up.
We had a young volunteer who wanted a horse of her own.
I told her I didn’t think he was the horse for her and suggested another.
No dice.
She had her mind set on Rio.
I had my mind set on another.
I said he was too much horse for her.
She said “let me try”.
I said “let’s do some lessons on the lunge line”.
She said Ok.
Off we went…
I had to eat my words.
he loved her from the start and she loved him.
They took lessons and rode through their challenges…neither gave up.
That girl is now an adult.
She still takes care of him and always will.
That is committment…that is love.

I will always be eternally grateful for this pair.

Poncho and Lady

posted in: Blog Entry | 0

I had an eye for horses at an early age.
At three and four I was using the toilet brush to brush horse legs and bellies. I learned that I could get up on almost any horse by scrambling onto the neck and then to its back.

In the car, I watched for any and every trailer behind a car or truck, knowing it could be holding a horse. It took me a while to realize that U-haul trailers did not, in fact, hold horses….but when I could spy a trailer with real live horses, my face was pressed against the window, hoping to see a tail or a flash of horse.
I entered every drawing for a “free pony”.
I cut pictures out of magazines of show horses and imagined having one of my own.
I collected Breyer horses and named each one. I had Ginger and Moonbeam and Dotty. My birthday money would buy more.
Sounds like a horseless kid?
We had horses.
We had several horses.
But it didn’t matter.
I had the bug.
At horse shows, I would haul water to them in my plastic bucket and go down the line of tethered horses, cleaning hooves and giving leg brushings because that is what horses needed. Why I was never kicked or stomped, I don’t know. I probably should have been mortally injured.
I was probably that kid you hated because they wouldn’t stay out of the way.
I spent countless hours riding on logging roads, with a saddle bag slung across my horse’s withers and my dog faithfully following behind. I was Lewis and Clark… Pocohontas… Vasco De Gama…
It was a huge expanse of woods, trails and creeks, leading to the beach – a paradise.
I mostly went alone because my sister was not quite the explorer I was. And she didn’t have the “bug”.
Until the summer I made a neighborhood friend.
Jessie. She lived a mile down the road. I ran into her one day while exploring.
She had a burro.
His name was Poncho.
And then it became us on the trails.
Picking blackberries, finding quail, looking for bears – and trying to stay on that burro.
We scouted the neighborhood for other horses because it was good to know what kind of horses lived on your road.
And then one day we found Lady.
Skinny, tied in the front yard of a very poor family, not getting enough to eat – and lame.
She hadn’t been there yesterday, we exclaimed to each other.
She needs to get out of there and get real care. Even we knew that.
But how?
We didn’t have any money…
We must get jobs.
We were ten and eleven. We washed cars, we babysat, we begged on behalf of the horse down the road.
In two weeks, we earned 25 dollars and offered it to the family who had Lady.
Done deal.
We proudly took the girl off her tether and ponied her home – me, Jessie and Poncho. An old TB mare, fused ankle on the back – but happy to go with us.
She went to my friend’s house to be the burro’s companion and quickly grew sleek and beautiful. She remained lame the rest of her life but spent the rest of her life with the burro and my friend. They were buried on the farm side by side. Poncho and Lady.

Lucky Lady.
Lucky Poncho.
Lucky us.
— Rosemary Collins