July 3, 2004. My life changed. My "pretty flowers and fluffy clouds" idea of horse ownership slammed head first into reality. My husband and I headed to the closest horse auction to see what kind of horses they sell there because that was not what we wanted. We thought that if we were going to follow the advice of the stranger of not buying an auction horse (see my last blog) then we needed to see what an auction horse looked like.
If you read my last blog titled "Finding the horse of my dreams" then you are familiar with my journey to the horse auction. If you have not read it... you really should. :)
We got to the auction really early so we could get a good seat. We walked through the pens and looked at the horses. I remember seeing my first draft horse, he was huge and the size of those feet amazed me. Several other horses were just crazy. A few horses could hardly stand, I later learned because they drug horses to make them look like calm well trained horses. A young colt stood in one pen with blood all over his leg, he had cut it on the fence earlier that day and rather than taking care of him they brought him to the auction. To think about all of this now just makes me sick. I didn't have the knowledge or the money to do anything back then but now I have the knowledge and I would really like to educate those people.
After walking through the pens we decided to get a bidder number and maybe buy some tack. We bought some halters and a few other things. Then the horses started coming through. The first one was the colt with the badly damaged leg. He could barely stand but they kept running him back and forth through the pen. It broke my heart. A few horses later I told my husband I couldn't stand to watch this any longer, it was time to leave.
The exit door was next to the show pen and next to that was a bulletin board with horses listed for sale. My husband stopped at the bulletin board to see if there was anything there that we would be interested in. While he was reading I turned around to watch another horse come into the show pen. The auctioneer described the horse, I don't remember hearing what breed he was but I heard him say "anyone can ride this horse; he has been there and done that". Our eyes met... the horse of my dreams!!! Nobody was bidding. I offered $100, another guy upped the bid, I upped it a bit more, I said $400 then SOLD!!! "Wait ma'am I'm sorry the seller has a minimum on this horse, would you pay $700." I said no, my heart dropped to the floor. After a lot of discussion I agreed on $500 and the seller agreed too.
My husband, who had his back to the show ring while reading the bulletin board, turned around and said "are you ready to go home, there's nothing here for us". I told him "we can't leave yet, I just bought a horse". The expression on his face... there's no way to describe it. We walked out to the pens to find the horse I just bought. I couldn't describe him; I just knew that he had the kindest, softest eyes I have ever seen. Luckily, I remembered the number of the sticker on his rump. When we found him I asked my husband "what breed is he". My husband walked away, maybe to keep from choking me. A lady walked up to me and said "are you the one that just bought the white leopard Appaloosa". I stammered for a bit, not knowing what breed of horse I just bought, and she informed me that I was. With tears in her eyes she said "we call him Harvey and he really is a good boy but my husband said he had to go". Then she was gone, she just disappeared. I didn't get to ask anything about him.
We paid for Harvey and found an older gentleman that was willing to haul him home for us. We lived next door to a very small boarding facility but had not made arrangements to keep him there. The house we rented didn't include the land. I was just going to keep him in the back yard all night and stay up with him. My husband convinced me to ask the stable manager if she could spare a stall for the night. I checked on him every few minutes through the night.
The next day when the sun came up I was shocked. He was so skinny! His hair was falling out from lack of nutrition. He was skin and bones. Then he walked up to me, dropped his head and let out a big sigh. I knew this was meant to be. Life is going to be full of "pretty flowers and fluffy clouds"... or is it?
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