Pebbles: Love, the second time around

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We’re only a couple weeks away from the beginning of February, the shortest month of the year, which commemorates love.

Who besides me sees the irony in that fact?

I am well-loved beyond measure. Lee and John Major make sure I want for nothing in my daily life. Heather, my mistress, comes running to my side if I am ever out of sorts.

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I am unfortunately prone to colic, with my delicate system combatting big temperature fluctuations. Consider me a prize rose on four manicured hooves! 

Oh, it’s a gift to be so loved, and, as 2019 unfolds, we need to examine why Cupid’s month has so few days in the grand scheme of each calendar year. Is true love hard to find?

People ask my mistress, Heather, frequently how do you pour so much love and time into these horses and then let them go?

First, there is the heavy lifting of the rescue effort itself, raising the funds to purchase them. Then falling hard for their individual personalities.

It is evident that Heather enjoys the many steps to nurturing the steeds in preparation for finding their ideal new career. This in turns helps them find the right family.

Heather is very trusting yet careful, so much like me. One must be in order to let go, hand over the lead rope so each equine can find a real home. 

It is true parting is such sweet sorrow, and, in a very few cases, a horse returns to HERD to find them a better fit for an adoption.

As I recall, that was the case with paint gelding Chunky Monkey.

He was saved in December 2017 from Kaufman Kill Pen. An angel donor sent his entire bail to keep him off the slaughter truck. A family in North Carolina was looking for a handsome, stout horse for their young son.

Once Chunky was over his terrible cold, Heather asked Elizabeth Page to ride him and create a video to determine how easy going this handsome gelding was under saddle. Elizabeth and her mother, Amy Douglas Ferguson, operate a quarantine boarding service in Texas.

These two women have helped HERD for over two years, picking up horses from kill pens and nursing them back to health so they can travel to new homes. 

Elizabeth determined Chunky was a bit rusty under saddle but very quiet. He was certainly slow versus go.

After reviewing the riding video, the prospective family determined they would like him to come directly to their farm when quarantine was complete.

On Valentine’s Day weekend, Tim Riffe, HERD’s trusted transporter, drove out to Texas to bring Chunky Monkey to North Carolina along with two other horses ready to be placed. As luck would have it, Chunky leaped onto the trailer, jumping the ramp completely.

The result was a 10-inch gash on his forehead, requiring medical attention at once. Tim drove him to an emergency vet clinic about 30 minutes from Elizabeth’s farm and HERD attended to the bills for the stitches and a tetanus shot. Heather also notified his new family of the mishap.

Once ready to leave the clinic, Chunky walked calmly back onto the trailer.

Upon arrival, his new, young partner loved Chunky Monkey despite his scalped forehead. He led him everywhere, including creek crossings, through the woods and opens meadows.  In turn, this docile horse enjoyed the attention building a bond with his new friend. 

The family sent Heather lots of photos of the boy and his new horse to everyone’s delight.

However, this would not last. Chunky was not a good fit for a total novice under saddle. He needed more leadership as he wanted to return to the barn instead of riding out on his own.

A tearful-eyed young man waved goodbye to Chunky Monkey as HERD retrieved him.

Chunky’s first assignment was to temporarily keep a gelding company on Hunting Country Road for a month.  When this mission was accomplished, he moved to a farm HERD is invited to utilize during the warm weather months. 

Here, he quickly blossomed. He was in the company of his pasture partner, the young filly Stuart, named for her benefactor, Stuart Evans. He gained weight, muscled up nicely, his face completely healed.

Chunky went to work experiencing ground work training. By late spring, he was stunningly handsome and exercise rider Rebecca Drumgool had him performing nicely.   

Heather received a call from the Larsen family. They just lost a senior horse and their remaining steed was so lonely, having only a small donkey for company. They needed a big, mild-mannered horse to join their family so Pat and Bob Larsen could hit the trails again together.

They made an appointment to come meet Chunky Monkey the following day. Rebecca volunteered to ride him.  This allowed them to observe his movement and temperament in the arena, and out on the surrounding grounds.

Chunky was an ace. Impressing them with his handsome looks and demeanor, they adopted him on the spot.

Heather contacted Rick Millweard to help her with delivery to the Larsen farm.  Chunky Monkey was heading to a very good place to live.

He would have a big barn, nice pastures and a lovely Arabian awaiting his arrival. Oh yes, and a small donkey just about my size, too, would be among the welcoming committee. Everyone needs a sweet donkey after all, and I have two, Lily and Claree.

Rick unloaded Chunky Money into the expansive pasture and the donkey came over first to say hello. He reacted with a “Wow, who are you little one?” before the beautiful Arabian floated in with tail held high to make his acquaintance.   

No doubt about it, Chunky was in heaven. All the incidents he endured, from the kill pen, to the head injury, and a family that was not for him were behind him. He was in fine form and elated upon his arrival.

Cupid finally delivered on his promise. Chunky Monkey was now loved.