My first-ever experience with horses I was really young and had no idea what happens to horses if they do not perform as requested of them. My first-ever experience with that came in the form of a red Roan Appy whom I called Redman. He was scared when they unloaded him from a old worn down trailer at my barn. It was early April in Louisiana. He was trembling from head to hoof, as they walked him to me. His heart rate was too fast to count, his eyes were white with fear, and he had a bad limp from where he had knocked his hoof on the trailer during loading. He had a large open wound on his hip from a horrible weekend incident that was of no fault to this poor horse. They had taken him to a trail ride in a very loud, very busy environment. They tied him to the horse trailer as many people there did, but they were drinking and forgot to either put him in the trailer or unhook from the trailer and drug this poor young horse for almost a quarter mile before the rope snapped. Frightened and in pain, this horse stood in the road for he did not know of what to do next.
A good friend of mine picked him up and tried to fix him up with little help from this young horse. He feared people and was very hard to load in a trailer. This horse and I spent many days struggling to get along with one another. I had gotten him all physically healed, but nowhere near mentally healed to trust again. It took months of endless days spent by his stall standing at the fence watching him interact with the other horses. I had almost given up hope that this horse would ever trust me, but one day out of the blue I had been finishing up working with a young stud horse in the round pen when I had let him loose in the field to run, he turned and went after me. Just when I thought this stud was going to stomp me into the ground, Redman come flying to my rescue to stand between this stud and me. At that moment I knew that I didn't get this horse by chance. It was fate. When the stud ran off, Red stared at me with this look that brought peace to my mind. I put the lead rope on him and walked him to the barn. My mind fluttered with excitement and nervousness, as I grabbed the saddle and put it on this horse who, just as I saved him, returned the favor to me. I tightened down the saddle as the voice in the back of my mind said: "don't do it". With a trusting glance toward Red, I stepped into the stirrup.
He let out a large breath as I sat in the saddle, only as if he was telling me to relax and trust him, as I had asked from him. Walking effortlessly around the arena, my confidence in this horse grew. Our trust was built as well. Now, you're probably thinking wow what a great feeling to have built this trust and friendship up from nothing! It was! Red and me did everything together. We spent many long years showing our trust and communication to other riders. The big day had come at last. You're reading this and thinking "She and this horse will grow old together." But you'd be wrong. My niece had just turned seven (the same age as Red), and the only thing she wanted most was a good horse who would take care of her. She had been riding Red and the more she rode him, the brighter they both shined. My mind was at wonder with how well they worked together. I made a hard decision. But it was a excellent one. This proud horse and this young girl were now a unstoppable team. This frightened young horse now a proud confident one, this young girl so full of cheer and love, and each now had a lifelong friend to share it with.
Now you're thinking "Awww how sweet" right?
They still love and work together as if it was day one. They enjoy laying in the field of luscious green vibrant rye grass and basking in the sun. They go swimming in the lake. I tell many people that if you find a good horse, even if it's the best horse, you go ahead and give them up for the right cause. Red was the first of my many rescues, but he was my favorite. The love between he and my niece is such a great turn on an otherwise sad tale.