In the pre-dawn stillness of that Wednesday morning, I hitched the rig and drove to Denver. I had to get to the sale barn before the killer truck arrived. The slaughter house drivers were notorious for showing up early.
I had visited the barn the previous Sunday, saw the mare and made the owner a ridiculously low offer, which he turned down. I was relieved, since I had promised my husband I wouldn't bring home yet another racetrack reject. I drove away that Sunday and erased the mare from my mind.
I was surprised when the owner called Tuesday evening to tell me she was scheduled for slaughter pick up the following morning. I don't know what happened, but my ears heard my mouth raise my offer to $500.00. Still ridiculously low, I was shocked when he accepted. Finding some semblance of thought, I stipulated a caveat: The mare had to be vetted down in Colorado Springs before he could cash my check. Again, he agreed.
I hung up the phone thinking "Oh brother! What have I gotten myself into!" I turned to my husband; he'd overheard the conversation. He just gave me a look and then shook his head.
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Staring at the filthy, emaciated mare, standing knee deep in wet muck, I wondered again about my mental acuity. Just a few minutes before, I had the audacity to post date the check to the following Monday in case the owner got too anxious about getting his money. He didn't even blink when he saw what I had done.
The first drops of rain pelted around us as I led the mare to the trailer. I hurried her along as the wind whipped up dead leaves and debris. We were getting soaked and I thought for sure the mare would come unglued before I could get her on the trailer. She shook her head against the sting and trotted right up the ramp. She waited patiently for me to lock the butt bar and close her in. I checked to make sure I had all the appropriate paperwork and drove back to Colorado Springs, bucking the wind, the rain and the hail. I couldn't help but think that this was not a good beginning.
I drove straight to the vet's office, knowing he was going to have a fit when he saw how horribly thin she was. He met us at the huge electronic door and watched me run the mare through the marble sized hail. The noise inside the clinic was deafening, then the vet punched the button to lower the door and once again I thought the mare would come undone. She turned to watch the door close behind her, but she never moved. Someone, somewhere had put some training on this girl. It made me wonder what in the world had happened to her that she almost ended up becoming dog food.
Just as I predicted, the vet gave me a disgusted look. We knew each other well enough that he didn't have to say much. He nodded toward the wash rack and told his assistant to get busy. He wasn't going to examine a horse that was covered in filth. Then he took me a distance away and asked to see her paperwork. I pulled the soggy envelope from my pocket and together we examined her coggins and registration papers.
Both of us saw it at the same time. I looked at the vet. He looked back at me and asked if I knew before I bought her. Astounded, I said that I hadn't had time to look at the paperwork. We both looked again and there it was.
Her name was Carlisa Dee.
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This is the story of one of my horses. I call her Carli. She is a 20 year old, 17h OTTB. Would you like to hear the rest of the story?