Monday, August 16, 2010

Goodbye is Never Easy

It is with tears in my eyes that I write this post.

As many of you know, the past month has been difficult for Faith. A few weeks back, she laid down in her paddock as she always did, soaking up the sun. However this time would not be the same as usual. She struggled to get up, but could not make it to her feet. Unbeknownst to us as the time, she had snapped the ligament in her left hip. She was down for three hours until the vets and five adults helped her to her feet. But she made it. She always pulled through.

We quickly learned of her injury, and at that time, I was contemplating saying goodbye to her. A horse of her age would not recover from that sort of injury, but my vet insisted to give her a week. Even though I doubted him greatly, I knew that if anyone could pull through, Faith could.

The next week was filled with oral medicine every 8 hours, and a big mare learning how to rebalance her hind end. As sure as heck, the old lady pulled through. Once again, I was amazed.

However, the last few weeks have been difficult. Each time Faith laid down she would need assistance getting back to her feet. And each time her hip became worse. She was just too old and too weak to be able to do it on her own any more. But I always gave her that one last try. At all hours of the day and night we helped her, rolling her over and encouraging her to her feet, at least a half dozen times. And each time she eventually made it to her feet.

Last Saturday morning I woke up early to go to a horse show. I looked outside my bedroom window and Faith was laying down in her paddock. My heart sunk. I rushed out to see her and it was clear that she was tired. She had done enough and it wasn't fair to her. It wasn't safe for the people around her. It was time.

Dr. George came out for one final visit. She laid there, with a full belly and surrounded by people who loved her. Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep one last time. Everyone was emotional, including the vet who had worked so hard for her over the past 18 months.

I drove to the show, holding back tears from my students. They would be competing all weekend and I didn't want to ruin their fun and excitement. They didn't need to know what had happened at that point. I did my best to hide my devastation. When we returned from the show a few days later, they learned of the news and broke down. Then one by one they wrapped their arms around me and thanked me for saving her and loving her. It meant so much.

I can't remember who it was, but someone had posted a while back that horses aren't afraid of death like we are, they are afraid of pain and fear. That quote helped me get through this, so whoever said that, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To my dearest Faith: Eighteen months with you went by too quickly, but the memories we shared will last forever. You were loved by many, and loved us back in your own special way. You touched the lives of countless people and animals, and for that I thank you. However your work is not yet done. Your story will continue to educate and help others. I love you very much, and I miss you even more. Rest peacefully, my dearest Faith.

Faith - May 16, 1982 - August 7, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nine Lives

Faith shockingly continues to improve. She has regained about 90% of the control over her left hind leg and appears comfortable and content.

I cannot express how amazed I am at this old girl. Just when I thought we couldn't do any more for her, she has pulled through another challenge yet again with grace and determination.

More coming soon - off to work I go!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

I hate to say this, and I fear that I may jinx myself, but here goes: Faith is making improvements. I was ready to make the dreaded decision, but my vet said, "Just wait, Julie. Give her a week." And for the first time ever, I doubted him. Thankfully, I followed that instruction.

Since she went down on Friday night, her left hind leg was rotating way more than it should (due to the stretched/torn/broken ligament in her joint) and because of that, she was constantly rotating her hind end towards the right side.

I pulled her out of her stall an hour ago to clean and rebed it, and I didn't believe it - she was almost standing straight. Her hip still rotates more than it should when she walks, but she seems at least 80% more comfortable and coordinated.

Don't get too excited though, she still has a long way to go. But if she can hold in there a few more days to see if her hip continues to improve, then maybe - just maybe - she can be comfortable for a while longer.

Just when I was almost ready to say my goodbyes, this old lady proves that's it's not her time just yet...

Now onto a fun update!

Remember Jag, the Thoroughbred gelding I took in last January? Well he is doing wonderful in his rehabilitation and is in search of a new home! Just in case you didn't remember him, this is what he looked like in December:

And here he is today:

If you know of anyone looking for a wonderful family horse, please send them his way! You can always reach us at!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The vet just left and the verdict is that Faith tore her round ligament in her left hip. It is a condition that will never repair itself, however blood clots that could be formed in her joint would be making it worse right now.

Dr. Barnes suggests giving her until the beginning of next week to see if there are improvements. He does not believe she is in pain right now, just trying to readjust to the way she now moves. She will still remain on stall rest with Banamine twice a day.

If we do see improvements, there's hope that she can become pasture sound again. If not, then next week will be a very difficult one. Please keep your fingers crossed.

And thank you all, once again, for your amazing support!


Monday, June 21, 2010

My Hero...

I know it has been a while since I have written, and for that I apologize. Life brings with it many changes, and for me, those changes meant an absolute lack of free time. The farm has been running smoothly, the horses and all of the rescues are doing well. I just haven't had a chance to update our site.

But tonight I'm asking - no, I'm begging - for your help.

Two nights ago, our dear Faith was eating her dinner in her paddock. She seemed content and enjoying the cool breeze after what was a fairly hot day. Two hours after dark I went out to check on her and found her down on her side and lathered in sweat.

As you know, Faith has always had a difficult time getting back onto her feet. Apparently Friday night was worse. Struggling to get her hind end underneath her, she exhausted herself.

When I approached her, she turned her head to see me. My heart sank. I checked her out - no gut sounds and a heart murmur so loud I almost didn't need the stethescope. A good friend of mine turned the truck lights on so we could see her, while I ran to the barn for Banamine. It had worked each time before, so it was just the matter of three or four minutes until she jumped to her feet.

While we waited, I sponged her off to cool her down and called the vet. She was an hour away.

Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. Nothing. A half hour. Nothing. I hooked her lead to her halter and gave her a tug. She moved her legs a bit, but didn't attempt to move. This wasn't like her at all - she had been a fighter since day one. I walked towards her head and did something I didn't want to do, but knew would work - I smacked her in the nose.

It was enough to piss her off and get her out of whatever mood she was in, yet I still felt horrible. She whipped her head up off the ground and sat upright. I pulled her front legs out in front of her as she was too weak to do so. With another smack on the butt, she lunged forward and attempted to get her hind legs underneath her. It didn't work; after a minute she began trembling, and we let her lay back down.

For the next half hour we let her rest. The vet showed up and evaluated her. Since she had been down on her right side for at least two hours, she suggested rolling her over. Two leadropes and three strong people slowly flipped her onto her left side. Faith sat up, and then stopped again. Another quick flick on the nose and she lunged to her feet, this time making it up.

She stood there trembling for a few minutes, quite shaky on her old legs. Dr. Eldredge listened to her heart and gut sounds, and sure as heck they were normal again.

We slowly brought her into the barn and into a stall. She was obviously quite sore from the ordeal, but she eagerly inhaled a grain mash and munched on her hay.

That was two days ago...

Tonight things took a bad turn. Faith is extremely weak throughout her hips, so much that she is actually walking crooked. She seems mentally aware of what is going on around her, but unable to control her hind end.

I am heartbroken.

I'm not really sure what to think at this point. It could be a neurological problem, it could be a fracture from Friday night, it could be a dislocated joint. I'm not really sure. Thankfully Dr. Barnes is coming out tomorrow around 4pm to look at her and let me know what he thinks.

I have always said that when the time comes and she is no longer comfortable, that I would do the right thing and let her pass peacefully. And I will - I made that promise to her an hour after I met her. And I know it's going to hurt just the same whether it's now or a year from now, but it's going to be so difficult to make that decision.

Of course it's pure selfishness on my part, but she's one special animal who is going to be very hard to say goodbye to. She has changed the lives of so many people, and countless other animals, just by fighting to overcome what she was put through. And for that, she's a hero. My hero.

Please keep her in your thoughts.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

January Updates!

This new year has certainly begun with a bang! Between assisting with more rescues, teaching lessons, retraining ponies, and working another full time job, I barely have time to think! So without much further ado, here are the updates everyone is looking for...

Faith - The namesake of this blog, she is doing simply wonderful!

I must admit, I was very worried about how she would handle another winter. The winters in our area can get pretty bad, making it difficult on our older equines. The cold weather and hard ground affects their joints. The temperature drop also makes them burn more calories to stay warm, which can lead to weight loss in older horses as well as those with medical problems. Due to her history, Faith was a huge concern of mine.

Faith has been blanketed all winter, kept inside on the cold days and turned out on the nicer ones. Thankfully, she has maintained her weight fairly well and seems comfortable and content. On the cold days, she is a bit stiff leaving her stall in the morning and it takes a while for her muscles and joints to get working comfortably. But once she has time to stretch out and get her body working, she seems to move around pretty well. She is on a joint supplement and I think that has made a huge difference in her rehabilitation and maintenance.

Pet - the blind Appaloosa Mare

Pet is also doing extremely well! Liz, one of my student's moms, has been working with her and riding her. They are quite a pair and are really clicking together. It's just wonderful for Pet to have a job to do - she seems very happy on the days that Liz spends time with her.

Pet is turned out each day with Faith and they enjoy each other's company. If she losese track of where Faith is, Pet nickers for her and Faith nickers back. I've never had a blind horse before and I have learned so much from her. It's amazing to see how she communicates with other horses and her handlers.

Stewie, the skinny Paint pony, is doing well. He has put on about 100 pounds so far and still has a way to go. He is groomed daily and learning the basics of walking on the lunge line. Hopefully within the next few weeks we'll start working with him under saddle!

Grace, the flaxen Welsh pony mare, is coming along under saddle nicely. Courtney and Nicole have both been working with her and she is learning how to canter. She has the funniest personality and is just too cute for words.

Penny, the pony mare rescued from a feed lot pen in New Jersey, is amazing! She is the sweetest pony and Miranda has been having fun working with her. "Penny Pony" has had basic training under saddle before she ended up in New Jersey, so her training has been progressing fairly well. We will be working on collection and balance over the next few weeks. Hopefully by summer, she'll be schooling over small fences.

Miranda and "Penny Pony" ~ January 10, 2009

On a side note, does anyone know anything about webcams? Someone suggested putting one in Faith's stall and I thought it would be a great idea! But I'm technologically-challenged and I don't have a clue how to start.

Have a great day! More pictures and updates to follow!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Victoria, the Incredible!

For those of you who are new to our blog, Victoria the piglet was the runt of our sow's last litter. She had a very hard time during the first few weeks of her life, and spent the better part of two weeks living in my house. For more info, you can read about her struggles here: and here:

I received an email in my inbox about Victoria, and laughed so hard I cried. Her new family keeps us updated on how she's doing and sent me a hilarious email recently. I hope everyone enjoys it!

"Julie, I had to share the latest and greatest Victoria story.

Yesterday afternoon Victoria was running around the barn while I cleaned out the horse stall. The middle aisle of the barn has a cement floor which was slippery with the snow I tracked in. Victoria came running towards me, stopped short and slid across the floor. I warned her to slow down but instead she went out the front door of the barn and came running back in and did it again. This time she skidded even farther. She was so thrilled with herself, she came into the horse stall and twirled around. She must have repeated this 10 times!

She had me laughing so hard, I sat down on the floor with her and she actually climbed up into my lap and fell asleep! What a baby...and a heavy baby at that!

Then this morning, we were on our walk with the dogs and the driveway had been plowed but was still snow covered. We were going down the hill and she ran to catch up with the dogs and stop short again and slid. That smart little girl ran back up the hill and slid down again!

Victoria piglet, the incredible skiing pig!"

I always knew she was a superhero!


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Latest Neglect Case

A horse-friend of mine on Facebook sent me an urgent message this morning. Two horses a few towns away were in a dire situation and needed to be rehomed immediately.

I made a few phone calls and learned a bit more about their situation. The gentleman who owned them died on Christmas Eve and his family couldn't take care of the horses. There were two geldings at the farm and they were both "skinny and in bad shape". A kind local lady saw their condition and dropped off a round bale for the two of them yesterday.

On my lunch break, I jumped in the truck and headed over to see them. I was greeted by a teary-eyed lady who used to own one of the geldings. She trained and showed him in his younger days and sold him to this man 13 years ago. He is now the ripe old age of twenty. Unfortunately, she wasn't in a situation where she could take him back and wanted to find a loving home that would rehabilitate him.

We stepped out back and my heart sank, again... Standing behind a round bale was a skinny, sad looking grey Thoroughbred. His spine was jutting out of his back, his ribs were all visible, his hip bones poking out.

Absolutely nothing I write here can describe the feeling I get in my chest when I see an animal in this condition. It's a feeling of heartbreak, infuriation, sympathy, sadness... the list goes on.

I took a deep breath, choked back the emotions and got to work. I started evaluating "Jaggar" and learned that besides his weight loss, he appeared overall healthy. He is approximately 250 pounds underweight and has a body score of 2/9. Not nearly as bad as Faith was when she first arrived, but not a whole lot better, either. He needs dental work and farrier care, but my first priority was to get a visit from our veterinarian to evaluate him and update his vaccinations.

His conformation was pretty decent for a man of his age. He was sweet as I worked with him and seemed to be an overall pleasant horse to be around. (Although so did Faith when I first got her, and we all know how that little princess's attitude just blossomed!)

As I talked to his previous owner, I learned more about his history and that he is a registered Thoroughbred and a son of the great racehorse "Affirmed". "Affirmed" was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, so his bloodlines are nothing but amazing. Jaggar, however, wasn't all that wonderful on the track as he was on paper, so they retired him as a 4-year-old and he was introduced to the Hunter/Jumper and Dressage world but his new owner.

After an early retirement from his show career, she sold him to this older gentleman who owned him for the past 13 years. He was a trustworthy, quiet trail horse and had always been well taken care of. However the gentleman's illness interfered with his ability to care for his animals, and his family didn't know what to do with them.

Besides him, there is also a 21-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse gelding that needs to be placed. He is also thin, but not nearly as thin as "Jaggar" is. There is a possibility that he has a home waiting for him, but we are not 100% certain on that yet. Jaggar, pictured below, does not. Keep in mind as you look at the pictures, that he has an incredibly long, thick winter coat that covers up quite a bit of his condition.

So after another one of my (all-too-frequent) financial conversations with Dan, (what a great guy he is, kiss kiss!), we have decided that Jaggar can come to live with us on a temporary basis for rehabilitation until we can find him a "forever" home. Finances are tight and we have decided to do a fundraising campaign to help with the cost of his care.

All money raised will go directly towards his rehabilitation expenses. If we are so lucky as to find him a new home before his fund runs out, the balance will be sent along to his new owner! You can click here to help us out: Thanks for reading and please pass this link along to everyone you know!


New Jersey Rescue Mission #2

My second trip to New Jersey was, (unfortunately,) nearly as exciting as the first one! We had a terrible snow storm here on December 20th - we were pummeled with about a foot of snow. I knew driving was going to be atrocious, so I decided to be safe and get a hotel room overnight in New Jersey. My friend Courtney tagged along, and as soon as the roads were salted enough to see pavement, we were off.

On the way down, we stopped in Connecticut at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. That is my all-time favorite restaurant ever, and if anyone has the recipe for the "Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake", I will gladly buy it off of you. Moving on...

We made it through New York and passed the New Jersey border around 10pm. Everything was going well... until my truck started shaking violently. After about 15 seconds the shaking subsided, followed by a loud pop. Even though we had already passed through the Bronx, I still looked at Courtney to make sure we hadn't been shot at. I glanced in my mirrors and didn't see any issues with the trailer. My brakes worked, my steering was fine as well. Thankfully we were getting off at the next exit, which was only 10 miles down the highway, and I could get a better look at it.

As I pulled off, I glanced at my mirrors and saw what I had dreaded - there was rubber flopping from underneath the wheel well of my trailer. It didn't just pop - it was shredded. Ugh...

We pulled into the nearest hotel and I called AAA. I explained that one of my tires had blown and I needed help. I was then overwhelmed with happiness when she told me that my membership only covered the vehicle I was driving, not trailers. Wonderful. (If anyone who reads this hauls horses frequently and has AAA, call them and upgrade before you get stuck like me!)

I forgot to mention that the tow truck driver didn't show up until 1:00am and it took him the better part of a half hour to change it. And it was 5 degrees outside. And we needed to leave by 5:00am.

My hot shower was wonderful, but 5am came way too quickly. We checked out of the hotel and headed over the auction house. We were picking up two horses, a chestnut mare and a bay mare. The chestnut loaded up beautifully, but the bay wasn't nearly as willing. Of course, the guy who works there and was "helping" us by cracking her repeatedly on the butt with a whip wasn't making her trust us any more. Eventually she made the smart decision to jump on with us rather than stay with him, so we loaded up and headed out.

The ride back was definitely better as far as driving conditions went, but there was quite a bit more traffic. We opted to take the scenic route through New York City. Courtney was having fun with my camera and took some fantastic shots of the New York skyline!

And below is the George Washington Bridge. Note the crazy traffic, snow on the vehicles and the immense amount of salt on my windshield.

The horses made it back safe and sound. They rode fairly quietly and seemed pretty content to munch on their hay nets. We arrived home around 1pm and unloaded them. You can see the green kill pen tags on their hips. I don't know if they realize how close they were to getting on the wrong trailer, but the look on the bay mare's face says it all.

They will live to see another day and hopefully will provide years of enjoyment to their new families!

Also, I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated towards our cause! We received a few donations towards our travel expenses and they were well needed and extremely appreciated. It's so wonderful to have such wonderful followers!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Quick Update on the Slaughter Bound Horses...

All 35 horses this week were placed in homes! It was a close call, but we spread the word like wildfire and none needed to be loaded onto the "bad" trailer.

Tomorrow evening, weather pending, I will be leaving to transport a few more horses north. Their pictures are below.

Unfortunately this auction is weekly so there will be a new group of horses looking for homes beginning Thursday morning. If anyone wants to be put on my email list, just let me know and you'll get a complete list of available horses, ponies and donkeys.

Also, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated towards our cause! We raised over $200 towards shipping fees!

It is 10:00pm now. I have to head downstairs and make sure all of the horses are snuggled in for the evening. Their buckets are topped off with warm water, their hay racks packed full. It's going to be a long, snowy evening.

Before I shut the aisle lights off each night, I check on Faith last. I like to spend a few extra moments with her, sometimes just watching her munch on her hay. I pull a treat out of my pocket, give her a kiss on the nose and tell her, (jokingly and lovingly of course,) that she started all of this crap for me. And I wouldn't have it any other way...


Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Latest Rescue Mission

I am sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I have been working around the clock trying to find homes for the next group of horses who are currently in a kill pen in New Jersey, awaiting shipment to the slaughter house in Ontario. They will ship Sunday night at 9pm, so time is of the utmost importance!

Again, I will be shipping as many horses out of there as we can raise the funds for. We are currently working with other farms and rescue organizations to raise money for the horses' bail and shipping costs.

If anyone is interested in donating towards our cause, donations can be made via PayPal to:

Thank you for your continued support!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Rescue Journey

The trip on Sunday was successful, despite absolutely horrendous driving conditions. We were hauling five horses from the kill pen in New Jersey to safety northbound. Two horses were being delivered to a farm in Connecticut, two horses were spending a layover at my farm before heading north even further, and then there was our special pony that was coming to live with us.

The ride down was fine - we made it to the auction house by 11am. The place was eerily quiet. I parked my trailer in the lot just outside the barn doors, right next to the auction house rig. That trailer was one that would be leaving at 9pm with the slaughter bound horses...

I walked into the barn and quickly scanned the horses who's hip numbers matched those that I had jotted down on a piece of paper. Four of them appeared to be in OK shape, but one Saddlebred did not look well at all. (Pictured at the top of this post.)

The horses were led out individually and eagerly climbed aboard my trailer. It was almost as they knew that this trailer was their ticket to safety. At the head of their individual stalls, a fresh hay net hung in front of them. Fresh, fluffy wood shavings under their hooves gave them a comfortable place to stand.

I made the decision to load the sickly-looking saddlebred last. His legs were atrocious, he was underweight, and from what I could tell in my 90-second evaluation of him before he was loaded, he was extremely foot sore. I've never seen a horse quite like him, he just looked like he was in pain all over. I gave him some banamine orally and pulled over to check on him a half hour later. He seemed more comfortable but still not right.

On our way back North we ran into quite a few problems... First, we were stranded on Route 684 for over three hours. It was 34 degrees out and raining; the rain was freezing to the road surface creating an absolute nightmare for travelers. We had to wait as tow trucks and emergency crews pulled cars back onto the road. Some people ran out of gas; I was lucky to have filled up just before we got on that stretch of highway. However, I wasted a 1/2 tank of gas sitting there, but couldn't shut my truck off because it would have shut the power to the trailer down. We kept a close eye on the horses; oblivious to our worries and frustrations, they happily munched away on their hay nets. They may not have known what their fate may have been, but they knew they were safe.

Once moving again, our top speed was about 15 mph. At one point, going about 5 mph, my entire rig started sliding sideways into the brakedown lane. I straightened it out and got it back under control quickly, but it was enough to still send my heart racing. We finally got to the farm in Connecticut and unloaded the sickly Saddlebred and a Standardbred. They unloaded well and settled right into their stalls.

Then it was back to the interstate, topping out at about 40 mph the entire way back to New Hampshire. Our journey began at 5:30am and we spent 18 hours in my truck, not including the collective hour to load, unload and eat dinner! Ughh....

But the horses are safe and sound, and that's all that matters!

Pictured below is our little pony mare, who is still nameless! I have a few that I'm considering, but I honestly just have not had time to think about which one is most suitable for her. Our hope is to evaluate and train her and then find a safe, loving home to adopt her.

She is very sweet and personable. The one "odd" thing about her is that when she walks up to greet you, she walks past you a bit and stops with her shoulder right next to your body. Then she leans into you as if she wants a hug. I've tried scratching her on her back, neck and shoulders but that's not what she wants. She just wants you to wrap your arms around her neck... How a sweet, young horse like her ended up heading with a one way ticket to a slaughter house is beyond me.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Slaughterbound Horses

This post is going to be a short one because I need to finish preparing my horse trailer for a big day tomorrow.

Accompanied by my good friend Liz, I will be hitting the road around 5:30am to go to a well-known livestock auction in New Jersey. There, we will be picking up five horses who have all found homes in just the nick of time. What's the rush? They were all scheduled to be sent to a slaughterhouse in Canada at 9pm tomorrow evening. I'll pause while we listen to those collective hearts break...

Of the five we're hauling, two are being delivered to a farm in Connecticut. They consist an aged Saddlebred gelding with leg problems and a 24+ year old Standardbred ex-racehorse who won over $300k on the track. Nice retirement, huh?

Two more are scheduled for a layover at our farm until they are both picked up by their new owners. The first is a Saddlebred going to a farm in Vermont, and the other is a Standardbred is heading to a foster home just south of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

The last one? She's the one pictured at the top. She's a 13.3 hand pony mare, just 4 years old. She'll be coming to our place...

The new pony mare we're getting will need a name. I like naming my horses after songs - any suggestions?!

I will be on the road for about 10 hours tomorrow and probably won't post again until Monday morning. Keep your fingers crossed for us that everything goes smoothly tomorrow!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Courtney's "Squishy" Pony

Courtney has a love for hunter ponies, not to mention quite an extensive history competing them when she was younger. For the past few years she has been hounding me to get a project for her to work with. When Courtney first saw "Grace", she said, "That's my new pony. She's adorable and so squishy, I just want to squeeze her!"

Everyone asked to see her, so here she is! This is the little mare we went to see, and the only one who was supposed to come home with us, ahem...

Who couldn't love a face like that?!

She's a registered Welsh pony mare, about 13 hands tall. Between her flaxen mane and tail, her high white stockings and that adorable face, she is just perfect!

Good luck Courtney with your new project pony! You two look adorable together! :-)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 Second Decision

My friend Courtney was going to a horse sale to look for a new training project. I made the mistake of going with her.

I was certainly not in the market for another rescue. But, as you all know, I am a sucker for the underdogs. Not to mention that we currently have two open stalls in the barn, so I should have known it was only a matter of time.

Halfway through the sale, the auctioneer called for the next horse to enter. Before us was a homely looking gelding, the size of a large pony, covered in mud and manure, with a defeated look on his face. He didn't appear to be anything we were interested in, so I glanced back down to my booklet, waiting for Courtney's prospect to come through.

The bid started out extremely low and remained there. The arena was quiet, with no calls for bids ringing out. The silence caught our attention. As they walked him around the arena, we both looked up and saw why no bids were being placed. His ribs were visible beneath a ratty winter coat, his shoulder blade and withers all jutted from his little body. He looked terrible.

His conformation, however, was decent. But it was his calm demeanor that really caught my eye. I was even more impressed with him when the auctioneer said that he was only 4 years old.

When the bidding stopped within range of a kill buyer's price, Courtney and I exchanged worried glances. Granted, kill buyers normally do not attend this auction, but you can never be certain. Regardless, I had about 10 seconds to weigh my options, 10 seconds to make a decision. And that decision could change the pony's life.

My number went up. My bid was in. The auctioneer glanced around the room, but no one else raised their hand. With a drop of the gavel, the pony gelding was safe. But I wasn't...

Courtney looked at me and calmly said with a smirk on her face, "Dan is going to kill you...". No, probably not. But I'm more than likely never going to be allowed out of the house unsupervised with Courtney again.

I went through the paperwork that came with him and learned that he is a 4-year-old, 13.3 hand Paint gelding. He is registered with the American Paint Horse Association and even has decent bloodlines. On paper, he seemed like a great prospect to rehome. His condition was what worried me.

We went to his stall to get him. I opened his door and he eagerly walked over to me. He followed Courtney and I out to the parking lot, jumped onto the trailer like he had done it a million times before, and we headed back home.

He didn't come with a barn name, so on the ride back we decided that he looked like a "Stewie". And yes, he is just as sweet looking and adorable in person!

I am pleased to say that there is really nothing bad about this little guy. He is an absolute gentleman to work with and has wonderful ground manners. It's clear that he doesn't know a lot, but he is patient and willing to learn. We were told that he has been ridden a few times, but we won't be doing anything with him under saddle until he puts more weight on.

His weight is the biggest, and really the only, concern to me. His ribs and hips are visible in the picture above, although he is certainly not in as bad of shape as Faith was when she arrived. Overall, he appears healthy, but we'll know for sure when our veterinarian comes to check him out. That won't be for at least a few more days due to a horrible snow storm we are getting right now. (Have I ever mentioned before how much I hate snow?!)

Our plan is to have Dr. George evaluate him, update his vaccinations and float his teeth. Once he has put enough weight on, we'll start training him and see where that brings us. I can totally see him being an adorable kid's show horse by next summer. Keep your fingers crossed that nothing gets in our way!