We're freshly back from our drive to meet Mikey E. at the livestock market and help her get the object of her mission--a blind mare who has a welcoming committee waiting for her at Shiloh Horse Rescue in Nevada--trimmed up and into her trailer.
We arrived before Mikey did, so we were able to visit with Janet L., the auction-yard employee who's been taking care of the mare for the last two weeks. Janet had her safely in a large pen, with another mare there to act as seeing-eye-horse. The blind mare had come to trust Janet enough that she could lead her; above, Janet and her son bring the mare up an alley toward the exit area.
When I'd last talked to Mikey on the phone, she asked us to see if the horse would let her feet be picked up--so she could trim them before starting the return trip south, from Idaho. The mare was hesitant at first, but compliant when she knew what we wanted her to do.
It didn't take long to realize that she'd had lots of handling and training at some point in her life. What you see here is the the longest untrimmed foot I've ever seen.
Meanwhile, the FEARLESS rescue rig, Mikey at the wheel, pulled in to the livestock market. Mikey grabbed her farrier tools, and started in on the first trim job the blind mare had had in a very long time.
I held the mare while Mikey worked on her. When Mikey set the first foot down, the mare almost lost her balance--she was used to flinging the ski-like foot out in front of herself, just to feel the ground. But she stood remarkably still for the rest of her hoof work. In fact, overall, I'd say her manners were impeccable.
Janet told us what she'd found out about the mare's history. She said a young girl had owned her all her life, but had gone on to college and left the mare behind. "Kinda forgot about her," is how Janet put it. Finally, whoever was caring for her got tired of dealing with and feeding her, and hauled her to the livestock auction where I saw her get no-saled.
Mikey (red cap), Janet (orange tank top), and I paused for a quick picture with the mare, now wearing a fly mask (donated by Janet) as eye protection. Wow, that Mikey--not just FEARLESS, but a beauty to boot!
My husband, Ed, and Appaloosa Horse Club CEO Steve Taylor came along to help get the mare into Mikey's trailer. We did use their assistance, mostly just to help her keep balanced and going in the right direction as she felt her way from one kind of surface to the next.
I have to say that I had to work pretty hard not to cry when she finally found her way to the trailer's front and dove in to her hay. There was just something about the moment when I knew she'd been passed into another set of good hands, after Janet's....
Godspeed, you two. And Shiloh, you have a wonderful surprise on the way. This is one sweet, sweet horse--kind of an Appaloosa angel, with Mikey as her wings.