My name is Scotch, and this is my story:
February 20, 2015. The hardest day my partner ever encountered. That was when she got the call from her mother that dad was in the hospital after a bad fall he took from his horse. Another fall. He had quite a few as she recalls growing up. This one was different. She got to the hospital. There he was, this man lying in the bed, on life support. She would learn later that day he would be pronounced brain-dead. So many emotions, anger, sadness, helplessness, guilt, and questions, why? She wanted to be angry at his horse. She wanted to be angry at dad, he shouldn’t have been riding any more, not with his health issues.
My partner’s dad had a very good mare, “Cowgirl”. He rode her in the El Cajon Police Mount, so her training was quite good. Her fault? No, she reacted in pain. Going on a preride, her dad and his trail buddies came upon a trailhead gate with a raised horizontal bar, Cowgirl merely hit her shin and reacted. Dad’s knees were in bad shape and weak and he just simply couldn’t keep his seat. He went down and hit his head with such a force his brain separated from the brainstem. He died that day.
After this loss my partner lost all her riding confidence. It took her two months to get back on.
She got on a temperamental little mare that took advantage of her vulnerability and threw her ass clear into next Sunday, fracturing her shoulder which later resulted in surgery. After being thrown multiple times in the past from this mare, she was rehomed (and is now a successful cutting horse). But with this additional loss, my partner fell into depression.
In March, 2015, my partner was talking to the woman whose team rescued me from certain death. You see, I didn’t mean to be placed in that section of the auction house. My former master got hurt and couldn’t keep us all anymore. He sent his son to haul us broodmares to auction with the intention of us being bought by private owners. My papers were given to the wrong man and I wound up in the kill section; me and my unborn foal. If memory serves me right, I think it was my 17th foal!
The next thing I knew, I was being hauled away into a trailer. I ended up at a ranch with lots of other horses with really sad stories. I didn’t know it at the time but soon after, my life would change, forever.
I have to admit, I was a crotchety sort. Not too many of the humans who cleaned the pens and threw us food wanted much to do with me. Trust was a little bit of an issue. All I knew were stallions, pregnancy, foaling nursing, and repeating that same vicious circle every year of my life. I was treated well, but not really loved or given other opportunities. I was polite but certainly had no reason to be lovable! Word got out that this lady was looking for a new foal to raise. She wanted something to take her mind off of all the pain she had endured. She came to my paddock, looked me in the eye and made promises. Although I couldn’t understand her words, I knew what she meant. I liked her.
Next thing I know, I’m hopping into another trailer and my new life began! Oh my God, a stall all of my own? I had to share space with 6 or more babies in my last place! I finally got some peace! No more brats chewing off my tail! Sigh. After a month or so, I felt some labor pains. My partner stayed up all night with me. I learned to trust her. We grew close. Turns out, I wasn’t quite ready to deliver. Then my partner learned more about me. She learned my actual breeding date. I wasn’t due for at least another month! So, we began some exercise training. It was hard but it felt good learning a new job. Well, time went on and I finally dropped down in the middle of the day, with no warning of course and slam dunked my last foal. I still shake my head when I recall my partner’s excitement and tears as she ran down to see! My filly was a strong one. I was lavished in hugs and kind words. As time went on, I loved the breaks I got when my partner came to play with filly, named Whiskey. I saw how loving and firm she was with her and learned to love my partner more. I finally let my guard down and planted my face in her chest. My partner cried. We connected. I was actually saying thank you.
Now my Whiskey is on her own. My new job is understood. I carry a rider on my back. I play and buck in happiness now when I get turned out. I’ve never done that before. I always approach my humans for lovin’ and sometimes even a treat. I feel respected. I feel valued. I feel… love.
In essence, my partner says I saved her in a time when she was hurting the most. The feeling is mutual.
Written by Leslie Reader