On March 29th of this year my Face Book feed was nothing out of the ordinary. Another horse at another kill pen - one day away from deadline. I try not to look. I am overwhelmed by the atrocities humans can inflict on the innocent. So I don’t look. At least not long.. but this was posted by simply one of the best humans I know, Betsy McCray...Betsy’s daughter (& mine now since the majority of her life is spent on my farm) Elizabeth & I kept going back to the photo..there is something about that mare’s eye. Mare?? Oh no way..but there is something about her eye. We couldn’t possibly bring in another horse. Then Betsy tells us “there’s just something about her eye, she touched me’.’ Betsy already had her ‘bail’ money together but she needed a safe place to land...So Elizabeth & I said what the hell & the ‘mare’ arrived after a 30 day quarantine.
Being that I am hardened to life in general and I am a dinosaur & a realist - I fully expected a crippled, crazy horse that I’ll be stuck with the rest of its life. Because that’s how it works. I have found all but a very few rescue groups to be well meaning but are crazy people (they have to be to do what they do) who do their best but typically wind up spending their meager resources trying to save the unsaveable while so many good horses, dogs etc. fall through the cracks. But then enter Herd (Helping Equines Regain Dignity & yes they have) they are a little different. Their reputation is to try & save horses that they really believe have a lot left to give & yes they splatter your FB page with photos of horses you can’t believe are headed for slaughter. That can be depressing - HOWEVER- you can help change that & quite possibly wind up with a storybook ending that can warm the frostiest of hearts, this I KNOW for fact.
The ‘mare’ arrived late one night. She unloaded off the trailer thin and somewhat disinterested in life around her. She had hauled from TX to SC with a Mustang stallion and not even a nicker as she unloaded. She went quietly into my riding ring and dropped her head into a pile of hay. I looked her over & saw that she had a dent in her left side you could put your hand in. I could feel the seam of broken ribs healed on their own. She tossed her head a little as I touched her face, but she let me. As I checked her gums I saw extremely crooked, sharp teeth. I looked in to slightly distant, but soft eyes... I grabbed a blanket & settled down with her telling myself it would be easier than getting up & down the rest of the night.
‘The mare’ went through a lot of name changes because I am saddled with Ryla, an 8 year old dreamer that wormed her way in to my farm with a Breyer collection, a love of sparkly things & a Disney movie ideal of the perfect horse. Insert eye roll here. Much like naming a child, you never realize how many people you dislike until you try to come up with names... Ruby was decided on by Ryla & I couldn’t come up with a reason to hate it. Ryla & Little Bit (her name in my mind) liked each other from the beginning. For some reason this chatterbox of a child quieted with the mare. The first week the mare was here I popped Ryla up on her bareback for a very short pony ride - I know, but I had seen videos of the mare ridden by Herd - & I’m confident in my ability to snatch a child off an unsuitable horse if the need arises - it didn’t. Had her checked over by our vet & amazingly enough - she was sound.... our wonderful dentist, Jeff Hurst, was coming in a week so we waited to have her teeth done. They were a mess. Never seen such crooked teeth. Upper 3rd molar on the right was cracked with a piece broken partially off & imbedded in her cheek. Teeth in general were very sharp & Jeff did what repairs & reshaping he could for her first dental work. Poor girl had been that way for a LONG time...no wonder the head toss.. after Jeff finished he was rubbing her head & she pressed it into his body & stood quietly. Jeff said ‘she’s a daisy isn’t she’.. thus she became Daisy forever.
She shows spunk now. Just enough that I am relieved. She has gained weight & is more loving & interactive every day. She accepts every new thing thrown at her with quiet dignity.
Daisy has breathed new life into our farm & charmed us all. For me personally she has warmed a jaded heart. She makes me want to talk Betsy into saving another. In doing my part to help these beautiful women & this amazing rescue save this little mare, quite possibly I might have saved more than a horse. --Ann Hamilton