Sunday, April 22, 2012

Catching Up With My Friends

I hadn't been out to the barn for almost two weeks until yesterday. Unfortunately, I do have a real job which allows my to have my horses and spring is one of my busier seasons. So when I arrived for my normal barn day I had almost forgotten we had a schooling show on the books. Oh well, there is nothing happier than the sound of happy people around the horses. Since we had visitors from another barn, several people wanted to know more about our rescue program.

Nineteen months ago BSRA joined with several other mid-Atlantic rescues to save horses from a supposed rescue in West Virignia. The lucky three who came home to Georgia that September day were Ella Grace, Sterling, and Connor. I have written quite a bit on our newest horses, but tonight I want to brag on the West Virginia 3.

Arriving at the barn the first morning the 3 were at BSRA I wasn't truly prepared for the emotionally diverse animals we had been entrusted with. Connor was a baby, around eighteen months old and unattached to the others. He accepted the alfalfa tea and hay offered with all the manners of one who had been kicked down the seniority line. Only after noting that Sterling and Ella Grace had their own piles to eat from did he settle in. Connor's life hasn't been blessed, ten months ago he impaled his chest on a fence post. The deep, life threatening wound healed slowly, keeping Connor stall bound for almost six months with minimal hand walking. Too much activity might open the wound again and set his recovery back.

To help Connor with his 'imprisonment', Sterling was voted his steady friend. When Stir-fried arrived he was more than three hundreds pounds underweight, a two year old with a vicious cribbing problem. A crippling dependency on Ella Grace made it hard to get the scrawny Thoroughbred into a stall, but soon he began eating and growing, a process which he has repeated in many cycles, now standing more than 16 hands and still cribbing despite collars, herbs, special hay nets and grazing muzzles. While never a speed demon, Sterling is graceful, his long legs delicate at the trot, and his foster mother loves him with a ferocity and depth of heart this wonder pony needed.

Ella Grace, the mother of the West Virginia 3, is a twenty-something Thoroughbred who was never raced, never tattooed. Feminine and lovely she endured the obsessive Sterling and worried over Connor until she was slowly worked into the mare herd. She moved smoothly and can jump cross rails with the grace her names implies. But she isn't truly a lesson girl, Ella misses a special person to care for her. While several of our riders love Ella, so far there hasn't been just one for this beautiful little mare.

Three lives, intersected and joined by the whims of men, to be on that farm at that time to be placed in our care. One mare, two geldings, three stories - how far they have come since that first Saturday when I met them. Ella has been in the program and is currently up for possible adoption to the right person. We love her, and don't want her to leave, but know she deserves that important 'one person'. Connor's chest has healed, and overnight he has turned into the sweetest little cow pony anyone could ever desire. His attachment to Sterling is iron-clad; when his buddy is in the ring, Connor stands right outside the door to hear how Sterling does. Once they are together in the pasture, Connor will go his way, but one eye is always out for the cribbing bay gelding, no matter what fence post he is worshipping at the moment.

And Sterling? Well, in some ways he has hit the proverbial jackpot. With one loving foster mom, Tiff, and under the instructions of our two fabulous trainers Kristina and Sami, Sterling is winning classes and divisions in the Hunter / Jumper competitions around Northwest Georgia. At the true age of almost 5, Sterling is finding his groove in life.

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