Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Modern-Day Horse Story

by Amber Leigh Williams

It’s been some time since I’ve posted here at Sweethearts of the West. I apologize to my fellow Sweethearts and our readers for being away so long. I have a great horse story I hope will make up for my absence!

In the Corral

 My husband and I took a road trip with his brother and sister-in-law and two of their children a couple of weekends ago. It was a rescue mission. They are horse owners. Before our trip, they had three horses and room for one more. When they heard of a wild, abandoned horse on a large property outside Mobile, they decided to help.

The story of the horse unfortunately has a lot to do with the economic downturn. A family built a beautiful mansion in the woods outside Mobile. It’s removed from the city and sits on several acres. The family, however, couldn’t afford the house and were forced to give it up to foreclosure. Instead of finding their horses loving and caring homes, they left them to roam wild on the land that now belongs to the bank. It’s rumored that one of the horses died because by the time my brother- and sister-in-law got wind of it, there was only one horse on the property. The upside to this tragic story is that the bank was concerned for the remaining horse’s welfare, so much so that they offered it free of charge to whoever could catch it.

Several people tried and failed. One Saturday, my brother- and sister-in-law traveled with a horse trailer to Mobile to see if they could rescue the poor animal. They spent the better part of the day trying but couldn’t quite get the horse corralled. That night my brother-in-law called my husband, asking for his help. My husband agreed and the next day I tagged along for the ride.
Brother-in-law & Hubby in the Corral with the Horse

When we pulled through the gate onto the property, we spotted the horse lingering around the house. She shied at our approach even when my sister-in-law got out of the truck and tried walking to her with a bucket of feed. We parked the truck and horse trailer. While their youngest child and I watched from the house, the horse ran into the woods and the others did their best to catch her. It was a hot day, as most are on the Gulf Coast in July. Thankfully, the bank had left the back door to the house open so we could take advantage of the air conditioning and restrooms if we needed to. My niece and I watched as the horse ran from the woods and into the fenced-in pasture where it was once stabled. The others hurried to build a corral with portable fencing we had brought in the truck at the entrance to the pasture. It took them less than an hour after building the corral for them to corner her inside. The four of them were already exhausted from running across the large property, but now that they had the horse in the corral they were so close to their end goal of getting her safely into the horse trailer that they couldn’t stop.

It was now clear to everyone that the horse hadn’t had any human contact for some time. Her diet was poor and she was dirty. The fact that she was small took everyone by surprise. My sister-in-law managed to get a look at her teeth when the horse took a treat from her hand. They were so tiny, she couldn’t have been older than two years. Still, she didn’t make it easy for my husband and his brother to get her into the horse trailer. By the time they finally did so, their clothes were soaked clean through and everyone was in desperate need of some cold beverages.
Meeting her new family....

The ride back to our side of the bay was a long one, but we made it safely out of Mobile and soon brought the horse to her new, loving, caring home. It’s been a few weeks since she arrived at my brother- and sister-in-law’s house and she seems to be doing well on a healthy diet and in the shade of their front pasture. When my husband and I visited a few days ago, she even let me pet her face.

Thank goodness for people like my brother- and sister-in-law who are willing to go out of their way to help horses like this one. I thought it was an important story to tell because I know there are others horses out there who might have been abandoned or suffer from poor care. I personally don’t have much experience with horses, but I do know there has to be better options for those whose owners can no longer care for them. I also think it’s important to recognize everyday heroes like my brother- and sister-in-law, their children, and my husband who take action when an animal is in need.


  1. What a beautiful story. I enjoyed this as much as I have anything lately--and it does warm the heart and appreciate people like you, your husband, and his brother. The horse is very pretty--I'd like to see a photo later when she gets to eat more and fills out to hide those ribs. Heart-breaking, isn't it.
    Thanks for a good beginning to my day.

  2. This was such a heartwarming story. I'm so happy that you have a husband and brother-in-law who care so much about horses. On Animal Planet, they have animal rescue stories and one of them takes place in Texas which is usually about horses. some of the horses are so mistreated and neglected I have to switch channels to keep from breaking down into a heap of weeping.
    One thing I know for sure; it's a good idea to contribute to animal rescue associations either in money or time to help these poor critters. It's so discouraging sometimes to see what horrors humans inflict on animals. Some of it is out of ignorance, but most of it is intentional. The way people treat animals is a reflection of how they treat other human beings. I guess that makes your husband and his brother tops on the kindness scale.
    Thank you for the wonderful blog today. BTW, what did they name the little horse?

  3. what a dear story, Amber! Thank goodness for kindhearted folks.

  4. Amber,
    What a lovely story. The kindness of your husband and his brother just brought tears to my eyes this morning. You know, I don't have any experience with horses, but our own Tanya Hanson works at a horse rescue in CA nearby where she lives, and I have a friend who lives in Georgia who opened her own little horse/donkey rescue after her divorce. She now takes in dogs, cats and an occasional bird or two. Carol does all this with no government aid--all out of her own pocket. I am so happy to know that there is a wonderful happy ending to this story, and can't wait to see this beautiful animal after a few weeks when she has eaten and put on a few pounds and gotten used to her new, loving home. Please say you'll do a follow-up post! Give your husband and his brother both a big hug from me and a THANK YOU! They are real heroes in my eyes.

  5. Amber, this is such a wonderful story. Thank goodness for your husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. How sad so many animals are being abandoned with this economy when there are other options open to pet owners.

  6. Unfortunately there are a lot of horses that have been "left" due to the economy. I'm glad that your family could help this one. We've had huge confiscations of horses in the PNW where people with multiple horses upwards of 10 or more have walked away and left them. It is really sad.

  7. This is a great story. Where I live, horse owners have been contacted by rescue groups which are inundated with horses, many of them from out of state. The price of hay is beyond the reach of many people, especially if they are unemployed, and rescues are so swamped with cases that they're soliciting an extra stall anywhere they can find one. Sad times.

  8. You are so right - we are surrounded by every day heroes. How wonderful that your brother and sister-in-law have an open heart and have adopted this beautiful animal. Bless your heart for helping them. Some day that horse is going to show its appreciation when they least expect it. So nice to hear a happy story.

  9. Bless you and your family! It's a shame that pets are the first to suffer in a bad economy. They are so defenseless.


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