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!