Beth + Blackbird

by | Feb 2018 | Story

Breed Tennesse Walking Horse

Age 12

Sex Mare

Color Black

Height 15.1hh

All my girls have been retired for five or more years. Two years after relocating across the country (again) to the Pacific Northwest, I felt I was settled enough to start a casual search for my next trail partner. I hadn’t ridden at all except for short rides on friends’ horses and felt the #righthorse would open up that world to me once again.

I started my search in the usual places, horsey classifieds and sale sites, before checking kill pen pages recommended by a friend. I wasn’t serious about these pages, however, as the risk and tricky logistics involved didn’t appeal to me.

One rainy day, I decided to watch all 31 videos from a particular kill pen auction near one of my old hometowns where I still had horse friends. I watched every video. Somewhere near the end of the list, I saw a ratty black mare who was being called a Morgan (and was clearly not). She took the rough handling in stride with a worried, yet thoughtful, look on her face. She rode confidently back and forth in the video in ill-fitting tack and had the kind of presence that just drew the eye. I contacted a local group who usually pulled gaited horses from this sale and let them know there was a gaited horse that had been misidentified. After the call, I vowed to put it out of my mind. I was in Oregon and this mare was in Pennsylvania. I wanted a known commodity and no surprises in my next partner and this mare was anything but that. She had no history, medical or otherwise.

Despite my best efforts, I watched with growing agitation as fundraising to rescue this mare went nowhere and her ship deadline loomed. After a final sleepless night, credit card in my shaking hand, I bought her. With all the hard work done by gaited horse advocates, she was purchased and deposited in quarantine. I slept like a baby that night, knowing I’d done the right thing. She arrived almost two months later, thin but healthy. She is a wonderfully well-trained girl who has clearly been loved in her life. She takes my breath away every time I look at her out in the field with my old lady horses; a shining, dark onyx amongst the dilute colors I had always felt were the most beautiful.

Shortly after her arrival, I was privy to a conversation between some horsewomen. They were shaking their heads at the phenomena of horses such as mine being purchased by the masses through social media, yet they couldn’t sell their proven equine after herculean efforts in advertising. I thought about this for some time. Buying from a kill pen through social media wasn’t the track I set out to take (and it’s not one I would recommend to people in my situation due to the unknowns), but it was one I had to take for this particular horse; a horse who reached through the internet and just wouldn’t let me go.

What #RightHorse means to me

I think the right horse is one who comes into your life for a purpose. It takes you on a journey and teaches you truths about yourself and life. The right Horse often isn’t what we expect, has its own timetable and elicits the strongest emotional responses.


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