That for which every horse longs in their sweetest dreams–a horse-crazy teenage girl to love them.
Photo by Jerry Waters.
This is Patriot today.
Click here to see what Patriot looked like six months ago. Four horses were found wandering loose, abandoned by their owner, starving, in Ohio on September 11, 2011. Patriot was the most emaciated of the group. Six months of rehabilitation later, the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue has him back to weight and up for adoption.
He’s a 10-year-old gelding, and so sweet, you’d almost put a baby on his back. I got on his back, which says something since I don’t know how to ride and wasn’t sure whether or not I might even be afraid of horses. But I wasn’t afraid of him.
I want a gentle, easy-going horse for Morgan. She has riding experience, but still. I’m very protective of her. I don’t want her to get broken. This horse hardly wants to do anything but walk. I said, THIS HORSE IS PERFECT!
We went to Kentucky to see Patriot, just over the KY/WV line to a beautiful farm owned by one of the rescue group members. Horses are rescued for many reasons, involving neglect, abuse, and starvation. They’re rescued from farms, auctions where horses are sold for slaughter, or from the streets–wandering loose and abandoned, like Patriot. Especially in today’s economy, there are a lot of sad stories. Today’s rescue horses are most often financial problems, not behavioral problems, combined with people who either don’t know how–or refuse–to do the right thing when they can no longer afford their horses.
But there are also happy endings for some horses, the ones that are fortunate enough to be rescued, like Patriot, loved back to health, and put up for adoption.
When Morgan asked to ride Patriot, he was brought out of his stall and saddled up.
Morgan took riding lessons for about four years. Her lessons included not just riding, but care and grooming and, yes, they made the kids muck out the stalls, too.
Patriot ran off a little energy in a ring first before he was brought to a larger enclosure where Morgan got on his back.
She was in heaven but–
Patriot didn’t want to do anything but walk.
While nothing is really known of Patriot’s background, they believe he may have been trained as a trail horse because of his behavior under saddle. And he’s not a lead trail horse, either. He’s a follower. Morgan’s friend, Felicia, spent the weekend at our farm and came out to see the horses with us. Eager to go a little faster, Morgan talked her friend into playing the lead to Patriot’s follow.
It was hilarious the way he’d follow and go faster if someone would run ahead of him. Here’s a little video:
Adoption is a process, so of course we left without taking a horse home with us.
We’re exploring the possibility of giving Patriot home. I’ll let you know if we get him!
In the meantime, you can find the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue at the following links, and even if you can’t give a horse a home, you can still donate to horse rescue if you like.
Meanwhile, Morgan spent two hours yesterday “cleaning out” the stall she has set aside for her horse. I say “cleaning out” because I’m not sure what she was cleaning since the only animals that have been in the stall are the goats, a few times when it snowed this winter, but I think she just wants me to know she’s ready to work for her horse!
She’s pretty much in love.