Part Four: The Mare
Our mountain trail-crew includes our friend Ryan, a 17-year-old kid from the Yakima area.
Ryan works at the Toppenish Livestock Sale grounds, riding horses through the auction (this raises their potential value) moving cattle around, and generally doing whatever else needs to be done. More often than not, he finds a treasure among the animals up for sale--a horse with potential that won't be used if they win a ticket on the slaughterhouse bus.
Thus, he acquired Wendy about a year ago, with the intention of healing her injuries, teaching her some skills, and finding her a soft landing in a forever-home.
Wendy is a 1997 (that's a birthdate) off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) mare who won some money in her day under the name "One Sweet Song." She was dumped at the auction with two career-ending injuries:
This scar is left from a sizable chunk taken out of her butt, possibly by another horse. Obviously, a missing hunk of muscle might slow a girl down, even a girl with a lot of "wanna win".
She also had a fresh wire-injury around her right front foot when she showed up at the auction yard. Although a year later the scar is still impressive, Ryan says she was never lame on this foot.
After a week of watching this mare at work, I must say that I am very impressed by her nimbleness on the trail and her level head--an unusual attribute for an OTTB! Even when something managed to scare Wendy on the trail (it was her buddy Reno who got scared, but Reno's misbehavior scared Wendy) she regained her composure within a minute. Talk about unusual! She then went on to finish marking another 8 miles of trail, calmly and with her usual grace.
Wendy is currently too thin. Ryan has wormed her repeatedly, but she still needs more food--and probably a nice long visit with the equine dentist. Normally I would recommend a mare with this temperment as a children's mount, except that she is SO DANG TALL--over 16 hands.
I consider her a safe ride on trails, and think that she would make a lovely light-duty trail or pack horse for a timid rider or somebody who doesn't want to ride a drama queen.
She also has a terrific sense of humor (click to enlarge the photo and see that she has her tongue stuck out for this photo!).
If you want more information about Wendy, or know somebody who can give her a good home, please shoot me an email and I'll hook you up with Ryan's contact information. Wendy is located in the Yakima, WA area.