I remember the first moment I saw Remi tied up at the auction house with a wrinkled brow and hopeless expression. He was one of the first horses I saw that day, and he caught my eye right away because he looked pretty healthy. He wasn’t half starved like many of the horses there. Shane was walking around separately and when we met up he said he had already picked a horse. He took me to Remi. Sometimes you just know when you have found the one, and both of us knew right away. A heavy guy rode him bareback across the auction floor and we outbid a kill buyer to save his life. We then found out that he was only five years old, a registered quarter horse, and had papers and actually came from a line of sought after cutting horses. Why was he there? Who discarded him like that? It appeared he had been passed around from auction to auction for a while.
When we got him home, we realized he had a pretty bad limp even at the walk.
We had his ill fitting shoes removed and gave him some time to heal before we set up an appointment for x-rays. I was expecting the worst - maybe he would need an expensive surgery. However, the vet took one look at his x-ray, and shook his head. Remi had suffered a catastrophic injury to his fetlock (ankle), and he could never be ridden. He was likely started too young when his bones and tissues weren’t fully developed, and worked way too hard. He probably should have been euthanized, but there is money to be made for meat, so he was passed from auction to auction until he hit the end of the line. His demeanor with us was one of resignation. He expected to be treated unfairly and when he was shown kindness he was unsure.
So, here we were with an unrideable horse with a long life ahead of him. How would we find a home for him? As he settled in and his personality started to come through, he became the most loved little horse in the barn. He is curious, smart, so easy going and soaks up attention and affection. When we put the horses in the paddock in the evenings, the others run off to graze while Remi lingers behind to spend every last minute with us. Our hearts were broken for him as we talked about how he would have been so perfect if he had not been ruined at such an early age. I cried many tears while spending time in his stall with him thinking about what his life could have been. We put him up for adoption as a “companion horse”, but at such a young age that’s a long shot.
A few months ago, an Equine Gestalt Coach brought her business to our barn. EGC is an experiential therapeutic process that helps clients release the pain of past trauma and resolve unfinished emotional business. We met, and talked about the possibility of her working with the rescue horses for her sessions. She met our horses and said that Remi was too young to be expected to do “coaching”, but he could probably learn by watching the other horses. One day she happened to choose him for a session (after he pretty much volunteered himself). She was blown away by him. He showed up that day as a gifted, willing, and steady partner in the coaching process, responding to subtle emotional changes in the client and showing what he detected in a way that was wise beyond his years. He offered loving support to the client and helped the coach know when the client's emotional process was changing or complete. Maybe the coach could partner with him, despite his age? As the weeks went by, she found Remi asking to participate in coaching and herself choosing him more and more and she was so impressed.
Just as we were starting to have hope that Remi might have a future as a therapy horse, I got a call that someone was interested in adopting him as a companion for their rideable horse who was living alone. As I looked at the beautiful, peaceful property, I told Remi’s potential adopter that my one concern was that I felt like Remi had more to offer than just living in a field as a companion for her horse; that he had started work as a therapy horse and was helping kids who needed him. She looked at me and laughed. She said the reason they moved to that property and got involved in horses was because she has special needs children and horses were good therapy for them. And just like that, I was once again reminded that I am just a little piece of a larger plan here.
This little throwaway horse has a gift…it isn’t what I ever imagined or expected. He had to be injured and discarded to make his true gift known, and now, he gets to spend his life giving unconditional love to some very special kids who are going to give him the love he needs in return. Isn’t that the same with us? Thank you Remi for teaching me that being broken is often the only way to become who we were truly meant to be.