Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My reason for visiting the horse rescue

I've already blogged about my visit to the horse rescue and the draft horses I saw there. What I didn't explain was my reason for going in the first place.

Since my own horse is a rescue in every sense of the word, I feel pretty strongly about the need for horse rescues. I've been thinking lately about volunteering at one, but something that happened recently helped me to decide which rescue and when.

Up until recently, there was a very sweet Mustang at the barn where I board Panama. Her right rear lower leg had been badly injured in a farrier accident, and it was beginning to appear she might never heal to the point of being rideable. About a month ago, her owner decided to get rid of Pocono in favor of a horse she could train and ride.

As it turned out, "finding Pocono a good home" turned out to be giving her to a horse rescue. I was already disappointed that her owner was giving her up, but I was even more disappointed that she sent her to a rescue. In my opinion, buying a horse is the same as making a commitment to that animal; Panama is my best friend, and I would never give him up in favor of a "better" horse, no matter what happened to him.

However, I do have to say that I think Pocono is better off at this horse rescue. They are getting her the medical attention she needs, and although it may not make her any more rideable, I feel good knowing she is well cared for. It almost makes up for the regret I felt that we couldn't afford to "save" her, too.

Having lived the first 18 months of her life in the wild, Pocono is extremely shy and sensitive to even the most subtle body language. We had gained her trust while she and Panama were neighbors, but I wasn't sure how she would react to us walking right up to her in the pasture.

Just as I feared, she was a little skittish — she sniffed us and seemed to remember us, but wouldn't let us get too close.

Pocono, a 4-year-old Mustang

It turned out the vet had been down the day before. It had been a difficult experience for her, and possibly made her even more wary of people.

Michael and I tried for a little bit to get her to warm up to us, but eventually gave up and started visiting with the other horses. Before leaving, though, we went back over to say goodbye to Pocono — and she came right up to us! I was even able to stand next to her shoulder and stroke her neck.

Here she is watching us leave — she had followed us back to the gate:

Mustang at a horse rescue

The entire visit to the horse rescue was extremely satisfying, and I fully intend to go back — both to visit Pocono, and to volunteer more at the facility.

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