Brandi is 16 hands tall. She is coal black in the winter and a bleached out brownish in the summer. Her eyes are kind and gentle and have started to show a hint of happiness. When we brought Brandi home her eyes were sad and distrustful. She had given her heart and her all just to be thrown to the trash as soon as she wasn’t useful any longer.
Brandi is an OTTB or off the track thoroughbred. She trained as someone’s best chance of winning big time thoroughbred races as a two year old. She was a beauty who sold for thousands of dollars at a racehorse auction because she was thought to have just what it would take to be in the winners circle. And she did win some races, I’ve found some pictures of her on the internet with her owner at the time and her proud jockey atop her back. She was the proudest in the picture. She was beautiful and confident with her head held high. This picture was a far cry from the sad, broken mare that I hauled home from the kill lot. Yes, you read that right, kill lot.
On Facebook I’m a member of several pages that try to save horses who are bound for the horror of Mexico. The horses are purchased by a ‘kill buyer’ at an auction. The buyer doesn’t care if the horses are great riding horses or sick old horses who were someone’s pride and joy as a young horse, and then striped of their right to a retirement just because the owner didn’t want to care for an old horse who was of no use. To the kill lot pounds are money. Brandi was neither of these she was a skinny, lanky thoroughbred who had had her shot at fame. She was not broke for regular riding only for running so she would have to be retrained. She wasn’t old but to her previous owner she was useless because she could no longer race or maybe she just hadn’t won them enough money. Whatever the case she had been sent to die.
The kill lot where I purchased her luckily allows people a chance to purchase horses before they are sent on their finally journey to hell. When I say hell, I don’t mean I think they are headed to a fiery underworld, I mean that these horses endure hell up until the moment where they are murdered for some human’s mistake and turned into dogfood or some European delicacy.
As I was scrolling through my newsfeed I saw an ad come up for Brandi. I could see that her eyes were kind but that she looked sad and defeated. I could see she needed her second chance, as do many others. I wish I had the ability to save them all but that just isn’t the reality of things. Her eyes spoke to me and her horribly emmaciated frame begged for just a bite of food. I contacted the kill lot and made arrangements to bring this sweet girl home. That is a choice that I will forever be greatful for. In her short time here it has brought me so much joy to earn the trust that someone else took for granted. I have so enjoyed watching her blossom into the kind, gentle soul that she once was.
About a month ago after I got Brandi’s weight back where it needed to be I sent her to my trainer for some retraining. Since she had only been trained for the track she had no idea what the cues for western riding mean. I got her back the day before yesterday and cannot stay off of her! She is such an amazing ride and so willing to please. It fills my heart with sadness to think of how close she was to making that horrible trip to Mexico stuffed into an over-filled semi trailer with other horses who were also getting ready to suffer the same fate as she. The fear those poor horses must feel about the uncertainty of what will happen next but I know they know it is bad.
I am so glad that I chose to give Brandi the second chance she so deserved and show her that not all humans are selfish and only want her when she is filling thee pocket book. Brandi and I give each other something that no amount of money can offer. The friendship, kindness, happiness and love shared between a horse and her owner are priceless and are something that every horse should know.