We rescue so many different horses at auction, all of them with their own stories and their own histories both good and bad. In July we were at an auction and rescued 26 horses. One horse, later named Stormy, distinctly stands out to me. I don’t know his story before we rescued him, but I know he had suffered a lot and was very fearful of people, but at the same time he had such a willingness to connect with people it amazed me. Before the auction started we went through the auction pens in the back. When we saw him we took a picture of him and you could see the bewilderment in his eyes as if to say “Why am I here?”
We were absolutely delighted when we won the bid on his life, he was safe and coming to our shelter! We all hoped that he would be able to make it even though he was so skinny.
After the auction was over I went into his pen to put a halter on him. I soon realized this horse might be completely unhandled. He stood there snorting at me and would back away if I got too close. He had a brand that was made with a hot iron that said ET. I could just imagine him hogtied on the ground with somebody using a red hot piece of metal burning the letters ET into him. Whoever branded him definitely did not use an actual brand, and it would have been a particularly long and painful process.
I talked softly to him because in his eyes I could see that he desperately wanted to connect with me even though I could also see so much fear in his eyes. It took quite a while of me approaching him then backing up, him snorting and coming towards me and then backing away, but finally he let me touch him. As soon as I touched him I could see his eyes soften and his muscles relax. I gently stroked him as I was looking him over. I was sad to see he had so many bite marks covering his body, more than I could count.
I could feel every bone and rib as I rubbed my hands across him.
I was so happy when he allowed me to put a halter on him and allowed me to lead him out of the pen to get his auction intake photo done. He definitely had fooled me for a bit, I had thought from the way he was acting that he was unhandled but clearly he was just so mistreated that he was just trying to protect himself.
It was a long two and a half hour drive back from the auction, but when we arrived our veterinarian team was ready and waiting for all the horses. Finally it was Stormy’s turn to be evaluated. Stormy only weighed 600 lb at 14.1 hands tall. He was hundreds of pounds underweight and at 19 years old, our team was concerned if he would be able to recover. All we could do is wait and see if this beautiful horse with such a yearning to connect with people would recover.
We were doing a photo shoot for the reality TV show Horse Rescue Heroes and I knew just the horse I wanted in the photo shoot, Stormy! He did such a good job and you could tell that he knew something special was happening, he really loved all the attention too.
It wasn’t long and I could tell that he was going to make it. He was gaining weight and gaining his confidence. He was learning that nobody here at Horse Plus Humane Society would ever hurt him. He was always willing to try and please us whether it was having his hooves trimmed or a trainer evaluation done. When our trainers evaluated him they found that he is nicely trained to ride. Our head trainer was disgusted by his hot iron brand, who on earth would have taken a piece of metal and burned this poor horse repeatedly to make a brand that says ET? Stormy is such an amazing horse, he has so much forgiveness for humankind who has betrayed him in the past. He is such a kind and loving horse.
It breaks our heart to think what would have happened if we had not saved him, if we had not received enough donations to rescue him at the July auction rescue. It is amazing how far this horse has come in such a short time.
His before and after pictures say a thousand words, this is what Horse Plus Humane Society is all about. We make a difference in the lives of horses who are tossed away into the slaughter pipeline, we pull them out and give them a second chance.
We will be going to an auction in one week to save more horses just like Stormy, please consider making a donation right now. Our goal is to save 20 to 30 horses but we can only rescue as many horses as funds allow. Thank you so much for your support! Tawnee Preisner – President of Horse Plus Humane Society