Life in Our Foothills – April 2024 – Black and White – The Rescue of Deco, Domino and Jasmine

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Some choices in life are fifty shades of gray, while others are pure black and white. There are snap decisions made with no variables and no question about the eventual outcome. 

This was so true with the pinto pair, Deco and Domino, along with sister filly, Jasmine. Born in Kentucky, Domino was the four-month-old son of Deco. Jasmine was the three-year-old daughter of Deco, sired by the same pony stallion. The trio left the only home they had ever known to be sold at a livestock auction in neighboring Tennessee. The highest bidder for all three was a kill buyer. He was sending 18-year-old Deco to slaughter along with her daughter, Jasmine. 

Why would this happen, you may ask? Well, Deco was a senior mare. Jasmine was halter broke and sweet but had no training or registration papers. Deco was also blind in one eye. She also possessed a large calcium deposit on one knee from an old injury. Oh, she moved beautifully despite the injury, but at the auction, she appeared skinny and worn down from years of birthing foals. And of course, Deco was pregnant yet again. Bred back to the same stallion that produced her pony colt, Domino, and her filly, Jasmine. I forgot to mention that Jasmine was sick and coughing as they attempted to show her to the bidders.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

People felt extremely sorry for the pitiful mother and son pair. Domino was tiny and nursing. He clung close to his mother. The innocent colt was seeking comfort from her with every step he took. He was fearful of this new, unfamiliar situation. 

Many individuals commented about the sad fate of all three horses. How terrible that they ended up as a family at this doomed crossroads. Yet the final day came, and no one was stepping up to help any of them out of this dark situation. It was a black-and-white moment. 

Should we turn a blind eye towards them? We could avoid all the work required to change their fateful outcome. We could let Deco and her daughter Jasmine ship to a sad and painful ending in Mexico and hope that the colt would find mercy and a way to survive on his own. Domino was too young and small for the kill market. He could not endure the long journey in a crowded livestock trailer of full-grown horses to Mexico. He would surely be trampled to death. We had a choice to make quickly. And without hesitation, we decided to get all three of them to safety in HERD rescue and change their futures. 

Observant a pony as I am, what I find amazing is that each of these horses is so striking and similar in appearance. They possess big, bold splashes of white over black on their bodies. They all have some form of white on their faces and tall stocking legs. Black is not a visible spectrum of color, as all colors reflect light except black. Black is the absence of light. Unlike white, which is made up of all hues of the visible light spectrum, pure black can exist in nature without any light. 

The word pinto, which means “painted” in Spanish, became a common English language term to describe a horse with large spots. The first pinto horses came to America thanks to the Spanish conquistadors. These equines often escaped to form Mustang herds. A pinto is a color type, not a breed like the paint horse. Many different breeds can sport pinto markings and coloration. Even knowledgeable equestrians often confuse the terms pinto and paint horse in conversation. 

Without the help of our rescue, these three pintos would have quickly ceased to exist. They could disappear from the light of life altogether. They would be in the black, finding total darkness, the absence of light. While “in the black,” has a positive meaning as far as finances go, in this case, it would mean an untimely meeting with the Grim Reaper. Throughout history, the color black has also been attached to fearful and mysterious things, like black magic, black holes in space, and the devastating black plague. 

This was not happening on my watch as the spokespony for Helping Equines Regain Dignity, (HERD.) We would bring them into the light of our rescue to find a positive outcome for the three horses. Let me correct myself right here. We were helping four lives escape the darkness, as Deco was confirmed pregnant.  

After purchasing these horses, transport arrangements were made to bring them into our fold in North Carolina. Jasmine was painfully thin and suffering from a bad respiratory infection. Although bright-eyed, baby Domino also showed signs of illness. Then in short order, Deco also became sick with a cough and nasal discharge. So, the horses were kept in quarantine for two full months. Kailey Greene at Shingle Hollow Farm in Rutherfordton took excellent care of our pintos for us. They were finally veterinarian-cleared to receive new Coggins tests and their annual vaccines.  

Spring delivers longer days, with emerging green grass and warmer weather, making it the ideal time for Deco and Domino to relocate to our ranch. Domino will be gelded soon. He can grow up with other colts similar in age that reside here with us. We have Sloan, Jupiter, Clayton, and Mia. They range in age from seven months old, to becoming yearlings in April. Deco can deliver her new foal in the safety of HERD. Volunteer Bill McClelland built Deco a lovely new run-in shed so she will have a haven, out of the summer sun and thunderstorms, to shelter her new baby.

Jasmine did not join us. She remains with Kailey to begin training this month. She is old enough to start under-saddle work to assist her in finding a career and a loving home. Overall, things are looking rosy now for this family of pintos. 

“The World is black, The World is white, it turns by day, and then by night.”