Leap of faith
Equus|Spring 2020
Leap of faith
When we first brought home our rescued pony, I thought I needed to teach her to trust me. Now I know that she was looking for me to trust her as well.
Karen Elizabeth Baril
The little chestnut pony would have to step over the shallow grave of her old herdmate if she were to get on the trailer and make her way to a better life. A fresh start awaited her, but sometimes after you’ve been let down, it’s tough to take that leap of faith, no matter how promising things may seem.

The week before I had called my friend Kim, a wild horse and burro expert, to ask for help with this rescue. Kim not only had a stock trailer, but she was also experienced at coaxing frightened, barely handled horses into trailers. Kim agreed to help but she had one stipulation:

“So long as you’re sure you’re going to take her,” she told me over the phone. “My husband will divorce me if I bring home another horse.”

“No, no,” I promised. “I’m sure. We’ll take her.”

Only I wasn’t all that sure we were doing the right thing---for us or the pony. The little mare had had no real contact with people for the last eight years. No brushing, no hoof care, no veterinary care. She hadn’t even worn a halter. My husband Dave and I had owned horses for many years, but I worried about our ability to handle a semi-feral horse, even a small one. How had I gotten us into this situation in the first place?

It was the pony’s advertisement on Craigslist: “Free horse. First one Who catches her can take her.”

When I saw the ad I realized it referred to a pony that lived on a vacant lot less than two miles from our farm. The field was hidden behind a dense thicket along a rickety fence line so we’d had no inkling of her situation until we investigated the ad. As any horse person knows, kill buyers love free horses. We couldn’t let that happen.


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Spring 2020