Meet the Red Girls and Pretty Precious
The Red Girls and Pretty Precious came at the perfect time. Having spent all night watching the auction streaming live online, we won the bid for #’s 126 and 204, Chiquita and Ruby, and #152, Precious, at 12:30 in the morning. It was such a relief to know that soon we would connect with them and tell them that they were safe!
Monday couldn’t come soon enough. The Santiam Pass had been snowed-over but Monday proved to be warm and wet, and the pavement was bare for safe driving. I had not been to the auction yard before and its storefront was neat and tidy enough. The red gingham curtains in the Stockman’s Cafe portrayed a homey feel and the employees were kind and helpful. But the auction yard and holding pens were a different story. The corrals were small and enclosed with worn-out, chewed-on wood panels, making it appear dilapidated and obsolete. There was mud everywhere. Few animals were left as most were moved the day after the auction. A kind man collected the horses for us one at a time, and as each one was walked out to the trailer, the energy emanating from them was palpable: fear, anxiety, confusion and alarm. It took me by surprise and in that moment, I realized the depth of the horses’ despair. We had work to do.
The trip home was uneventful. The three mares rode quietly, with the exception of Ruby, who loaded first and was clearly agitated. I could hear her pawing on occasion when we stopped at traffic lights. Everyone had full hay nets to nibble on, but most were left untouched. Precious, the white Arab mare, loaded last and she was frantic to turn so she could see her trailer mates. She rode the entire trip facing forward. We made it to Bend and dropped her off at Dianne’s house in a lovely paddock with attached yard. She looked forlorn and I wished that she could have a companion during her quarantine period. More on that later.
The Red Girls came out of the trailer with force and lots of anxiety. Heads up, snorting, searching the horizon for something familiar and comforting. I led them to their pen and offered fresh hay. There was lots of pacing and confusion, as I knew it would take time for them to settle in, but their first night was uneventful. They had a dinner of warm alfalfa mash and although they pretty much ate it all, Ruby pawed at her feed bowl frantically and tipped it over. Sigh.
Fast forward to today, Day 4 of their New Life. I am greeted at the gate by the 2 friends who have become inseparable. They eat their morning mash quietly, together from the same feed bowl and there is no pawing or pacing. They snort and roll. They allow me to halter them (although still with some trepidation on the part of Ruby, who is more cautious than Chiquita). I halter Chiquita and take her for a short walkabout and she strolls behind me, relaxed. Ruby, left behind in the pen, calls out and trots around the perimeter so she can keep us in sight. We don’t wander too far. When we return, Ruby allows me to halter her and we do the walkabout in the paddock with Chiquita by her side. Haltering without fuss is the goal- mission accomplished. I release Ruby and they turn to me for scratches and nuzzling. I whisper to them, “good girls, you’re going to be alright, you’re going to be brilliant.” I believe it, and I hope they do too.