Sunny and Beauty

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Today is the anniversary of when Sunny and Beauty went home.

I cannot find the original post of the story, but it is quite a story to tell. Perhaps one of our best.

In early 2015 someone messaged me and told me there was a Thoroughbred in the “pen”. (The kill pen)……and that although he had been left with a blanket, “someone” stole the blanket off of him and left him to standing in the filthy pen without cover. He was very thin, had no coat to speak of……standing on concrete with bits of snow and cold rain coming down.
I looked at a photo of him and thought to myself “this horse looks familiar”….but I didn’t know why.
I made some inquiries for him but nothing panned out quickly and so I called and paid for him over the phone. I then made plans to go and get him. Some other kind folks took him a blanket to wear until I could get there.
So the crew and I go to fetch him from the kill pen.
There he is … a tall older TB gelding, beat up and thin..we halter him….but he has been hanging out with an even older gentleman gelding who would not leave his side… a black Walker cross, white at the temples and sway backed from age.
So we all look at each other. No one speaks for an instant.
I clear my throat. Fold my arms. Kick the pavement.
I say…”well, I am not leaving the Walker cross..because I will go directly to hell if I do”.
No one argues.
We go in and pay for the old black gelding.
We halter him.
Did I mention there was an older pony mare?
When the pony mare is haltered……there are no more horses to be left in the pen…which is a really great feeling if you are the person who might have to leave someone there.
We have a smallish older trailer and I am not sure we can cram all of these guys in.
But as I always say…when it is time to leave the hellish kill pen, the horses know.
We opened the trailer door and it was a stampede……BOOM, BOOM, BOOM…..all huddled and crammed together…..but all in.
We shut the door.

I keep thinking to myself on the way home. I know this horse from somewhere…but I fail to find any memories of him. Perhaps I had seen him at a horse show. He is very striking and memorable…I am sad to see him in such bad shape. He must have been well loved at one point.

Now for the “twilight zone” parts.
A kind lady had donated the money to “bail” him and as I sometimes do, I emailed her and said she should name him…but I was already wanting to call him Sunny. We emailed back and forth. I noticed her farm name had Sundance on it. I emailed her back and said “can we call him Sunny, in honor of your farm?” She said YES! and so.. I was able to call him Sunny.
I let my niece name the black one…and he was christened “Beauty”.
The pony went home with a friend.

We got them home, cleaned them up, got a feed plan together and several days went by.

I get a lot of junk mail and a lot of mail from readers of my blog or followers of our FB page. I was at work, scrolling through HUNDREDS of spam/junk mail messages and spied one that said “my horse”.
I opened it.
A long message from a woman who thought we might have her horse.
I get those a lot.
A description that was pretty exact.
Some more details.
A picture of him in better years. (it was definitely him)
and at the bottom…….she said…..”his name is Sunny”.
I almost spilled my coffee and went back and read everything again.
I called her.
I told her about the name and about how he was so familiar to me.
We had a moment of tears.
I explained he needed several weeks of rehab as he was in bad shape.
Our vet had looked at him. A heart murmur, anemic, several hundred lbs underweight…damage to his jaw.

Cheryl wanted to take him back home when he was able to travel.
We exchanged emails several times and I explained his bond to Beauty.
I asked her to take them both and she agreed.

In March of 2015, Cheryl came to get them.

Some of these photos are from his previous life with Cheryl…one is at the kill pen, one is the pony mare who came with him, one is him and Beauty in the trailer.

His Name was Jack

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We had been alerted to a Thoroughbred in need. A quick group meeting…we decided we would take him. We made arrangements to pick him up on an early Sunday morning.

A long drive, lots of chatter and more coffee.

We arrived. A non descript place in the woods which was not set up for horses.

No shelter, no pasture, a mud pit. Hay mixed with mud, dirty water tubs, grain buckets half submerged in mud.

A woman came out to greet us.

“You here to get the horse?” she croaked.

She pointed him out. “He’s trouble, he’s dangerous and he should ship,” she said.

Ship means kill pen/slaughter truck… not a word we take lightly.

“He” was standing in the small muddy pen with several other horses.

A dirty, depressed shell of a horse. He was a tall bay gelding, I could not see his legs for the mud that covered them. and he feet were submerged in mud. We had been told he was 12’ish. Hard to know by looking.

As I approached, he did not look towards me, but stood with his head down, eyes half closed and I thought that perhaps he could be in pain. There was no spirit in him and I wondered if perhaps he was old and had been really used up.

I got a halter out and walked into the pen. I spoke to him softly and in that moment he turned away slightly. I knew in that moment that he had given up on people. I came closer and saw jutting hip bones, matted fur and tangled mane. I swallowed hard and stepped closer. You never know if a horse suddenly decides he means to not play nice when they are in a bad situation. He didn’t know me from Adam. I got closer and when I reached out to put my hand on him, he winced and I realized he expected me to perhaps hit him. His eyes were wide open now and I could see the whites of them.. he stumbled a few steps in the slippery mud to get away from me.

I reached for a peppermint in my pocket and rustled the wrapper. He brought his head around to face me and for a brief moment I saw hope in his eye as his ears came forward. In this hell hole, could someone really have brought him a treat? I spoke again and encouraged him to come to my hand.

He stepped forward… he stretched his neck WAY out and reached for the treat … as he took it, I scratched his forehead….and then patted him gently. He melted onto my side, sunk his head under my arm and just stood motionless. Someone’s baby..someone’s boy…He was filthy, he smelled.. his mane was tangled… but I saw potential… I saw a desperate living being aware of his present fate and the hope my gentle hand might provide.

We flipped his lip back and saw he was only seven by the tattoo left there. A life gone from good to bad.. and how many homes in between? A life once so full of promise and now so full of gloom. From riches to rags or worse. I wish I could say it shocked me… but it doesn’t shock me any longer…. But it always punches me in the heart. .. the ones thrown away. A heart busting at the seams Thoroughbred handed off to someone ill suited to own a pet slug. Not dangerous…simply misunderstood.

There was no way he was not going home with us.

Out of the mud, and into the trailer. No fuss.

They always know..