Ashley + Sky
Sky was bred and raised by my aunt who passed away July 12th, 2016 from a brain aneurysm. My mom and I owned her full sister who we had to put down July 1st, 2017 due to severe founder. I helped my aunt imprint Sky hours after she was born.
Fast forward to February 10th, 2017 my oldest aunt, who was in charge of her estate, decided to have an estate sale. After months of looking for a place to keep my two horses and my aunts four horses. My aunt’s horses included my retired show mare’s last foal, my late uncles last horse and my cousins retired show horse. With that many horses and limited funds, it was not easy to find somewhere to board them until we could try to buy my deceased aunt’s farm. When, a week before the auction, I told my aunt I finally found a place to keep them all, she told me she was not removing them from the sale and I’d have to show up that day to bid on them.
So, I did. In 10-degree weather with my husband and three kids in my van, parked down the road, I waited four hours to bid on them. Frantically in contact with my cousin, who is the son to my deceased aunt, the time came to buy them. I bid money I didn’t have but all four horses sold in a group for $1500 to a horse trader who is well known to take difficult horses they can’t resell to auctions. I left devastated after hugging, kissing and telling them how sorry I was that I couldn’t save them. When I called the horse trader the next day asking to buy all four back, I discovered that one of the horses didn’t even make it to the farm because they had sold him off before they left that day.
Months later, in September I woke up to get my oldest two children off to school. I picked up my phone and was scrolling through Facebook. When I saw Sky on my newsfeed I KNEW it was her because her facial markings are VERY unique. She got her name Sky because she has little white lightning bolts coming off of her almost bald face. After comparing pictures to confirm that it was her, I called, private messaged and texted Rebecca at FOCUS equine rehab and rescue. Later that day I went to my aunt’s old house and found copies of Sky’s registration papers to confirm it was her and that my story was true. We waited two long weeks before we drove the seven hour round trip to get her.
While speaking to Rebecca I learned she had been sold 30 days after the auction to someone in northern Ohio. She had a horrible case of strangles, which she got from the horse trader’s barn. She was at a boarding facility where she couldn’t get rid of the strangles. She was then moved to another barn, to isolate her to get over the strangles. She escaped from this barn, because she was stalled 24/7 without food. She was in traffic, almost hit several times when an elderly gentleman saved her. He put her in his barn in a stall, the owner then asked if he could keep her there for a week until they made repairs to the barn she escaped. The gentleman agreed, but the owner never came back for her. She had no hay or grain, and the gentleman could not afford to provide any. He had no fence around his pasture to turn her out. Going to a neighbors’ house who adopted a horse from FOCUS, he asked for help. She was signed over by the owner to FOCUS. They had her for about 4 months, rehabbing her. She was extremely lame and thin. The trader trimmed her so short that we are still finding bruises in her soles as they are growing out.
FOCUS agreed to give her back to me. I made a donation that was equivalent of her adoption fee, which was only what felt right to me. Their help with Sky inspired me to get involved in another rescue that focuses on draft breeds. I am now in partnership with my mom in rescuing and rehabbing draft horses. We’re currently saving our second Belgian. Sky was my six year old daughter’s birthday present. She is happily boarded not too far from us and I believe she is happier to be back with people she knows!
What #RightHorse means to me
She means more to me than anything. She is a piece of my aunt. I still don’t know where the other three horses went. I hope they got great homes that love them.