Stacy + Emma
Breed Miniature Horse
My husband and I built our dream home four years ago. The property was large enough to accommodate a barn, as well. We thought we would add a cute three-stall barn and perhaps bring our daughter’s first pony home to live with us. (He is now 28 years old and our daughter is 22). As time marched on during the building process, my daughter, the equestrian, suggested we get a couple of miniature horses. We knew nothing about them, but I found the idea charming. Before I knew it, we had two that we purchased from an online sale on Craigslist. (Don’t judge just yet.) As it turns out, the two that we purchased were only two years old and we were their fourth owner. I realized right away that miniature horses are a dime a dozen and are often treated as such. Ours had been bartered in a deal with goats. For the last several months, they had lived outside in a round pen. We loved them and found them adorable. However, at this point, we were just beginning the process of building our house and barn and therefore had to board them at the barn where we kept our bigger horses.
About six weeks later, I received a phone call from the woman who we bought them from telling me that she was at an auction somewhere in the state of Kansas and there was a miniature horse going to auction the next day. She told me that it had a four-month-old baby and she didn’t know if they were going to separate the baby from the mother or not. I told her I wished I could help, but I just couldn’t since we had just taken on two and I was boarding them. She said she understood, adding that it seemed like I really loved them.
I couldn’t sleep that night thinking about the mare and her little baby – and the fact they might be separated the next day during the auction. I called the woman up and asked her to tell me what she knew about the mare. She said she didn’t know much, but would send me a photo of the mare. That sealed the deal. The little horse was absolutely the most pathetic horse I have ever seen. She had no life in her eyes, and looked 100% sad and miserable. I had to have her. I worried that I might be too late to get her and put all of my faith in the woman I only knew as Mary. I asked her if she would haul them to me if I bought both. She agreed to do so, and I gave her the okay to outbid anyone who bid on both the mare and her foal. Success. We got both and I couldn’t have been happier. The following week, they were on a trailer and brought to their new home in St. Louis.
We named the mare Emma because it is such a beautiful name. The image we saw of her at auction, amongst the cattle gates, proved that she was anything but beautiful. Now that she is ours, this girl is going to have a beautiful life, starting with a beautiful, sweet name. Her foal was a ball of fur and looked more like a baby buffalo. He had the spunk that Emma lacked. We named him Stanley, in loving memory of my father.
Emma proved to be the gentle horse that her name bestowed. She was of small frame and some say, they think at one point in her life Emma was somebody’s loved pony. Then life threw her a curve. We can only guess what happened to her, but we can surmise it wasn’t pleasant. We tried to put weight on her to no avail. The vet suggested checking her teeth, which we found were in terrible condition. Off she went to have dental surgery and hopefully come out of it able to eat her feed easier. The end result is that not only did Emma need to have several teeth extracted, but the vet also told us that she suffers from something called “Moonblindness.” We were shocked. We couldn’t believe that she was blind. He confirmed that, at best, she could see perhaps shadows. It made us love her all the more.
Once our property was finished, we were finally able to bring our horses home. Now that Emma and Stanley live with us, we have a completely new relationship with her. Emma is now completely without sight. However, it has not changed her sweet personality. She knows her name better than anyone in the barn and calls out to you the minute you say, “Hi Em!”
Emma and I have a sweet bond. If I could put her in my pocket, I would. Every day, when she is turned out in the paddock, she stands off by herself, as she doesn’t really have a friend to stand with. Because of this, I take my time with her, kneeling down and talking quietly to her while I rub her eyes or pet her neck underneath that gorgeous mane. I ask her, “Where do we want to go today, Em?’ Then I will suggest something like, “Let’s go to the park.” I then proceed to tell her what it would be like to go to the park to let butterflies land on her tail and listen to the ducks in the pond. I know it sounds silly, but it makes me feel like she knows she is not alone when we have our “dream outings” rather than what she is doing, which is standing by herself in a paddock full of other minis.
After we rescued Emma and Stanley, it started to snowball. We now have 11 miniature horses and two miniature donkeys in our barn. All rescues. The last four came from LongMeadow Rescue Ranch last summer. We had been approved to adopt one little white Welsh pony picked up by their Animal Cruelty Task Force. When we went out to finalize the adoption papers, we saw they had miniature horses too and ended up coming home with four. But those are all a whole other story.