Kina, I lost my mare, Allie Cat, to a sudden and unpreventable colic this past May and I was pretty devastated. It was a horrible scene because I found her sitting like a dog that morning and our vet treated her twice before we hauled her to the university hospital. We lost her in the wee hours of the following morning.
I decided not to even look for another horse until next year (yeah, right). Anyway, I saw an ad for a registered Morgan for $250 back in mid-June. I couldn't believe it. I have always wanted a Morgan. You don't see Morgans very often and certainly not that low, so I called. Details were that she was 22 years old and blind in one eye. The guy was pretty terse with me and grumbled about tire kickers. I told him that I would not be driving an hour out of my way to kick tires. I took my horse trailer because I had a bad feeling this horse was not in good shape and I know I'm a big sucker. I also gave hubby a heads up and prepared the round pen, just in case.
The skinny chestnut mare had a starry blue pattern in her right eye and did not appear to have vision in it. I had no idea what I was getting into, but she was so depressed. I wondered if she was drugged. This guy was a disabled jockey and he said he had trimmed her feet the day before (it was quite obvious that he trimmed off the beginning of slipper feet, so yeah, not trimmed regularly). There was a white powder mixed with the grain in her bucket, which raised my suspicions about her being drugged. I thought I'd better load her before it wore off, LOL! His place was a tiny sand lot with no shelter from the sun or rain, hence the bleached coat. I paid him cash and he handed me her papers, which had seen better days, but matched her markings perfectly. I was worried about several things. First when I asked him about her eye, he said it happened on the thorns in the back of his lot. He said the injury was a year and a half old and admitted he had never called a vet out. Secondly, I asked why his name wasn't on the papers and he said he just never bothered to register her. Oh boy. I loaded her up, (she went in perfectly). As I drove away, I knew the first thing I had to do was contact the previous owners on the papers and make sure she wasn't stolen.
Once we got home, I turned her out in our round pen, on the other side of the farm from our horses, with food, water and shade from the trees. She was spooky to handle and difficult to catch those first few days. She really wanted to be friendly but was too nervous to let me get close. I finally gained her trust on the third day, just in time for her vet check.
Meanwhile, I tracked down her previous owners. They had retired from their jobs at the local university and moved to a property in Virginia where they could not have horses. They leased their Florida farm out to some people they trusted. They left their Morgan mare with these friends to use for trail riding along with a donkey for companionship. They later sent the mare's papers because they trusted that she was being cared for properly. The mare could not be bred, so she was not worth a lot to other Morgan breeders.
When the rent check didn't come and calls were not answered, the owners became frantic. They finally got in touch with the renters through their lawyer. They had sold, not just the tractor that was on the farm, but also the horses and then moved to a condo. They refused to tell the owners who they sold the horses to. Since they were in possession of the papers, not sure the owners could have done anything.
This matched what the guy said that I bought the mare from. He claimed to have bought 3 horses and a donkey for $600 in a quick sale because these people were moving (the other two horses were probably theirs). The guy said all of the animals were very skinny (she had been skinnier?!). He also said he sold the other two horses and the donkey but the mare with the injured eye was more difficult. He had her for 1 1/2 years. The renters had her for 2 1/2 years so she was away from the previous owners for 4 years total.
When I spoke with the previous owners, they were so relieved that she was safe and that I had her. They helped me sort things out with the Morgan registry so she could be registered in my name. I have been updating them on her progress. My hubby and I had been calling her Libby, because it seemed to fit her. Her previous barn name was actually Shady. Through the previous owners, I was able to obtain her show history and riding history, which will be very helpful as I continue to work with her. She had not been handled at all since she lost vision in her eye. She is very affectionate, however, so things are going quite well and she is adjusting fine to being handled, even on her off side.
Our vet checked her out thoroughly and cleared her to go into the barn. She received all her vaccines because the guy had never had a vet out in the 1 1/2 years he had her. She was a complete lady for everything and she is perfectly sound. At our vet's suggestion, I took her to the university for a more complete eye exam (our vet couldn't quite see everything he wanted because we don't have a place dark enough here on the farm). Thankfully, her eye is stable, with no foreign debris and the pressures are very low. Because of the damage and time that has passed, even if the cataract was removed, she still wouldn't have any vision because her retina has detached. No doubt, it was a very painful injury and she suffered quite a bit without treatment.
Libby is helping me heal after Allie's loss. I had a young, well-trained AQHA or APHA mare in mind when I thought about the possibility of another horse someday, but that wasn't the plan. Working with her is exactly what I needed. I guess I needed a horse that needed me.
Anyway, that is her saga. She is safe now and they way she is responding to training wonderfully. I had a break-through with her on Sunday when she lunged with me inside her blind side. She is learning the verbal cues and trusting me enough to go around me on the lunge line without actually seeing me (Flequus is a tremendous resource for working with a half blind horse). Libby has a good mind and is intelligent. Boy, did I luck out with this sweet mare.
Edited by Little Cow, 08 August 2012 - 08:33 AM.