“Some horses will test you, some horses will teach you, and some will bring out the best in you”...
Mosby was the horse we saved from the auction where we had to euthanize #106...the light in the midst of darkness. His soft, curious eye as he bent his head around to look at me from where he was tied up captured me. He was so thin, and I could tell he was young.
Within days after arriving at Nalani after his 30 day quarantine, he was falling down on his knees in the paddock. It took my breath away to watch. The vet came out and determined he likely had contracted West Nile Virus as he had not been vaccinated until we rescued him. We kept vigil at night and prayed for a miracle. Against all odds, he survived.
Next, we needed to get weight on him. He was so thin and riddled with painful ulcers, so he refused to eat grain until we got that under control. When the temperature dropped below 70 degrees he shivered, burning precious calories, so he lived in a blanket (and layered blankets at times) from fall to Spring.
Once he started feeling well, he became wild. He was strong with no ground training. He was afraid of his own shadow which made him want to jump on top of me. One day after holding him for the farrier and struggling the entire time, I broke down crying with exhaustion, thinking that I rescued the wrong horse. What are we going to do with a horse that I can barely handle? How will we ever get to the point where he can be trained, and who will ever want to adopt him?
And, then a few days later, as he was eating, head down in his feed bucket, the one time I could brush and blanket him, I softly pet his face and rubbed his ears. I saw that he had scars on the top of his head where a device had been clamped down and used to control him. No wonder he didn’t want to be haltered. I looked at his sweet eyes with the long lashes as he quietly finished eating.
It was then that I cried even harder because I realized that this horse had NEVER been given a chance. No one had ever found him worthy enough to invest the time to give him the basic ground training he needed to be useful and wanted. Even I wanted to give up on him because I was afraid of getting hurt and being stuck with a horse that no one would ever want. In that tearful moment, I vowed that we would be the first people to invest in Mosby's future; whatever it took.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kate Breiner, a wonderful trainer and friend who had seen potential in Mosby from day one. She offered to train him full time, working with him daily and helping him overcome his past and learn to trust. So, after a year of putting on weight, we took him to the farm Kate managed.
Training a horse like Mosby was a slow process: his body had all of the potential of a fancy dressage horse, but his mind had to overcome the demons of his past. Kate was patient and soft. He would move forward two steps and back one, forward three and back two. She never got frustrated. She showed him love, kindness, and grace. She gave him the consistent routine he needed, and he started to blossom. After a full year in her care, it was like his brain finally ‘clicked’ and he felt safe and secure. As she walked him out to the paddock one night she saw his confidence, and it was as if he told her he was ready to find his person.
We put him up for adoption, knowing it would take time to find the right situation for him. We posted a video of him, and the messages started pouring in. No surprise there; he is a stunner! I had conversation after conversation with potential adopters, but it was hard to find the right match for him. He needed a very experienced horse person with no set agenda. He had built such a strong bond with Kate...the bar was set high.
Jessica was just that person. She had worked with horses her entire life, including horses who had been through trauma, and she was specifically looking for a saddlebred when she came across a photo on Instagram that led her to Mosby. I had talked to so many potential adopters at this point, but when I read her initial message, I knew before I even talked to her that she could be the one. We arranged a visit, and she fell in love.
As I watched Mosby leave in Jessica’s trailer to head to his forever home, I closed a big chapter of my life. Mosby tested me and taught me more than any horse ever has. But more importantly, he forced me to face the reality of how hard this mission can be and find the resolution to never give up on a horse no matter what. Truth be told, he made me face my fear of failure, and trust that this mission is controlled by something bigger than myself. If it weren't for Kate, I may have failed; further confirmation that God will always bring me the right people at the right time. I don’t think this is the end of Mosby’s story... he may very well end up becoming that fancy dressage horse. Time will tell, but tonight, I will sleep well knowing that Mosby is now forever safe.