This letter was written February 1, 2018

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[PART ONE] Excuse of Choice aka Rebel came into my life a week ago, and after he finally came home, I wrote him a letter.

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY KILL PEN RESCUE

 

First, I want to say I am sorry.

I am sorry for what you had to go through before I found you. I do not know what happened, or why. I do not have papers to show the vet and you cannot express yourself in words. I can only decipher sighs, knickers, and ears. If I get something wrong, please be patient, I promise I’ll get it right.

I only know of one way scar tissue develops, and I am sorry you were put through that trauma.

When I was looking at horses, I didn’t know I was going to see you. It was a long walk to the back pasture, and on the way, I passed dozens of horses who were looking for homes, too. Most came from similar backgrounds; neglect, abuse, starvation. All here for a second chance, not by any fault of their own.

I was told you were an extra on the trailer, and were overlooked by the others. You were standing with your head down, and the scars proved you were the bottom of the pecking order. Your ribs and hips were bulging out; you looked weak. You didn’t stand tall, and you walked very slow. You were a big, mysterious bay.

I came back another day, and to be completely honest I was nervous to ride you; your withers protruded so much, I was scared I would hurt you. You were easy to catch, a little stubborn to walk but a little tug and encouragement you eventually, slowly, moved. It was a struggle walking up to the barn, but when we got there you put your hind hoof up, let me put my saddle on you, and waited for my cue to move.

It was a gamble to see how you would ride under saddle and I think you could sense my nervousness. Something happened when I swung my leg around, we were both nervous but I could feel that fire from you. You were ready to go, I wanted to let you, but we were confined to a pen. Your walk was smooth, and it put a smile on my face. We tried trotting, and you were a little off balance which also could have been my fault, but you still did what I asked. I couldn’t see over your head when we started, but eventually you lowered it.

 

[PART TWO] We did a last look over, and to our surprise we discovered your lip tattoo! You were a race horse! Another mystery added to the list. Afterwards, I brushed you down admiring the white on the whither, and on the base of your tail; some would call this roan. I unclipped you from your cross ties and started on our long walk back to your field. This time you were in stride with me, like we were singing the same cadence.

The ladies at the tack shop reminded me of the countdown of your arrival every time I stopped in to get last minute things, for the third time. Needless to say, you were spoiled before you came, and I was excited! I didn’t know what kind of brushes you would like so I bought 5. You’re a gelding and I couldn’t put you in pretty things so I picked a handsome houndstooth and plaid blanket, which I got in a bigger size because I know you’ll grow into it. Three different ointments for different things but they all do the same thing; help you heal. Please don’t be offended by the pink hoof pick.

The day came, and I was running through emotions when finally, you were coming home! Seeing the horse trailer behind the truck brought a wave of emotions from the past, for the present, and the future. I was so happy to see you. I wanted nothing but to get you on clean shavings, under a blanket, and feed you hay; safe, warm, and all mine.

Rebel, cowgirls don’t cry, but I couldn’t help it.

You see, I too have scars although you can’t see them. We’ll save that for a long trail ride, but I can tell you, although you have only been in my life for a short time, you have already changed it.

Dwelling in the past will do us no good. We must look forward now; you’re in good hands, I promise. Trust may or may not come easy, but I will do my best to assure you I will not lead you down the wrong path.

I believe things happen for a reason; a month ago, you were saved from a kill pen in Texas by a gracious soul here, and I was looking for a barn who wanted a helping hand. Something told me I needed horses back in my life, and you walked right in.

Written by Michele Barkhurst