Celebrating Our Pets - Pony Pet Stories - thoroughbred horse Lilly

I dabbled in working at horse farms a few years back, but out of the three farms, I ended up buying horses from two of them.

The first was a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse filly; she was still a baby to me really, at three years of age. She was my favorite horse because the others were all cold and indifferent pushy types which probably come from too little handling, too much high energy feed and they are trained for work differently to your average plod-a-long pleasure horse. Lilly was her name, and she just had a sweet gentle vibe about her. I could handle her without worrying she would kick me and I didn't have to use strength or force to lead or handle her.

One day another horse kicked her or something, we don’t know, but she had a bleeding leg with a bone visible in two of the three cuts, and a piece of bone that came away loose, the chip in the vets hand was the size of a ten cent coin. The vet said she was fixable, but required bandages, changing them every day and needles for a week or two, and to be kept in a stable.

All well and good, but the owner decided that she wasn't worth the money to fix as it was about $20 a day in bandages and medication, plus extra feeding from being stabled, and then they’d have a horse with a big horrible scarred leg, who would be hard to sell.

These people turned ex racers into show horses, and no show person wants a horse with scars, to them she was damaged goods, and worthless. It was me who had been doing her bandages, and feeding her, and I couldn't let them drop this young horse into the ground just on account of having an ugly leg. So I asked to buy her.

They wanted $500 for her, so I called my husband Adam and asked if I could buy a horse on his credit card, which is really just a polite way of me saying to him, we are buying a horse today that has no purpose and will cost a lot to fix, but he knew better than to argue with me.

So I bought her. She looked terrible as she had lost weight and muscle from fighting an infection and being confined to a stable. I couldn't keep her where I kept my other horse because the other horses were bullying her, so flat broke and unable to afford horse transportation, I had to walk her several kilometers to my backyard (by then she was mostly healed) including alongside a highway, and over a long bridge with four lanes of traffic passing her. I was freaking out on the inside because this horse was young, and still strong and way taller than me! She was already over 16hh which makes her 160cm at the shoulder. I was singing her a song over and over to distract her, because she had wanted to tear away and bolt, which she could have easily have done. I had a good hold on that lead rope, I can tell you!

At home we discovered she had some quirks, she hated men. She would bite or kick any man, or indeed even boys and without warning. Not all the time either, just at random. That's when I figured out why no one at the farm would do her bandages, they all knew she was a kicker and just decided not tell me. I fixed her up and rehomed her with a breeder as she was a purebred, and her lineage I was able to trace back to the founding horses of the Thoroughbred bloodline. She was related to some real champion racers, I discovered through looking at her bloodlines.

Sadly, I discovered too late that a year or two later the new owner, who was an old man had sold her through the broodmare sales with some of his other mares, for the miserable sum of $350. If I'd known he planned to sell her I would have bought her back. For that price, I am terrified that the purchaser was a dog meat man, I will never know.

She was very similar in looks and coloring to my first horse Milo, and I wish I had kept her. I say that about a lot of horses. I am happy to rehome a horse if it ends up well but if it ends badly, I am haunted by it.

Celebrating Our Pets - Pony Pet Stories - Lilly a thoroughbred horse

Sarah Herbert

More Pet Stories coming soon...Horse Stories

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