There is a dark underside to the horse industry. For many people, horses are a business – nothing more. An investment, a means of increasing profit.

If an animal doesn’t perform as expected: run fast enough, breed the right offspring, or win competitions, it is sold. Or sometimes put down.

For animal investors, it’s all about the money. You don’t keep paying to feed an animal that isn’t producing. It’s as simple as that.

While I have great respect for the art of business, I cannot be in any kind of animal business. My heart is much too soft. You’ve probably already figured that out if you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all.

Long ago my husband and I made a commitment to each other and our animals. We agreed that Bud and Pepper would live out their lives in familiar surroundings, with their herd. I know there are people who don’t understand this stance, or agree with it. But it is how we’ve chosen to be in relationship with these two wonderful animals.

It works for us.

Where’s Baby?

For the last week I’ve noticed that Baby has been missing from the Herd of Oldsters. If you recall, she’s the little yearling that attached herself to Bud, Pepper, Red, Amigo and Chickadee. They became her family and provided protection when she was thrust into the large herd of young, aggressive horses. She was too young to fend for herself, so the Oldsters took care of her.

Love at First Sight

I fell for Baby in a big way. That first winter she was gangly, awkward, and totally endearing as she followed the other horses. She quickly learned that I was the snack lady and would nicker as she ran toward me. I loved that soft, throaty sound.

I only saw her people a couple of times, and frankly I didn’t like them much. The first time I commented how cute their little girl was, the young woman’s reply was, “I think she’s pretty ugly.” That ticked me off.

The second and last time I saw her was when she commented that she couldn’t figure out why Baby wanted to hang with the old horses. And that ticked me off even more.

Mostly Baby was left on her own. One other woman and I looked out for the now two-year-old. This was a hard winter for the horses, and Baby didn’t fare well. She was entirely too thin. As a young horse she needed much more nutrition than she was getting in the pasture.

Then she was gone.

A couple of days ago I saw the woman who was Baby’s other guardian angel and she filled me in. Baby’s owners were now in another state and planned to send her to auction. They weren’t all that invested in her day-to-day care and it showed. Baby was a little ragamuffin, but so darned lovable.

Apparently the people who run the boarding facility, took Baby into the barn for a few days to try to get some weight on her, but the plan backfired. She was so distressed to be away from her herd that she didn’t eat. They put her back with her friends for her last few days in Colorado.

That was the information that broke my heart. I keep thinking about how frightened she must be on that big truck, separated from her herd.

I sorted through my photos and put together this little slideshow, to help you remember this adorable little character.

And to help me grieve.

I hope you’ll join me in sending out a prayer that Baby finds a good home with people who recognize what a little diamond in the rough she is. This is a little horse that deserves to be loved.

Safe journey little girl…

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