Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Naigen Blaze: The little horse that could.
I write this because although I tell the story frequently, I have never put it down in text.
This is about my little old rescue, Naigen. Shes old, a bit arthritic, going blind and too short for me to ride much. She offers something to the world no other horse in the barn can. She has the words to speak to adults and children the kindness and forgiveness many of us will never understand.
It was three years ago in July. A lady I know named Robyn took the $250 and saved more than a life. The farrier explained there was a cute little horse just wasting away on this run down farm that someone should pick up. He didn't say another word about her. Later that week she was inspected.
The man and woman that owned her had moved to tokyo and left her and her pasture mate at the farm. They were renting the house and the condition that the horses were fed. They didn't have hay or water but thank goodness they had regular farrier care or we would have never known about the events to come.
Naigens pasture mate had died a few years before. Probably starvation which was the road she was on too. The little paddock looked like a swamp. No buckets for water, not even a scrap of hay. We called out and heard a throaty nicker from inside the barn.
Upon inspection was a filthy grey old horse standing on top of a mountain of manure. Her mane was rubbed out where her body hit the rafters. Bones poked out at every angle painfully but yet there was a little spark in her eyes that was the tiny glimmer of hope we had come to give her what she deserved.
We were told very little about her. Mostly ignorance like she was old and couldn't gain weight and that up until two years before she was ridden daily and she was registered in Canada in 1988 with the arab cross registry with the name Naigen Blaze. She was 18.
$250 was her price. She was too small for us and we didn't even know if she was going to make it but at least we could give her a humane end.
She willingly lead down the slope in her stall and stepped into the trailer, looked back once at the hell she had lived in for who knows how many years. Everything was to be up from there.
Once we arrived home all the horses turned out nickered in anticipation when the tailer rolled into the driveway. They stood at the fences waiting to see the new arrival.
Naigen stepped of the trailer like a real lady. With all four feet on the ground she shook like someone had shot ice down her spine. I don't know if she was nervous or the fact that she hadn't seen another horse in god knows how long but she was home.
Putting weight on her was no easy feat. She would only eat a quarter of a flake of hay at at time, a side effect of vitamin E defficiency common in anorexic people. Grain was often left for the first month but surely and slowly she got her eating habits back
We didn't turn her out the first day. She spent the day eating as much hay as she could in a clean quiet stall, looking out the door to the pastures of horse friends she was to meet.
The next morning I was turning out the horses. She was to be turned out with two other ponies. I lead her out of the stall. She was a ball of excitement. As soon as her front feet hit the grass she tried to drag me to the paddock with all the strength left in her bony body. She was home, she had food and friends were on her mind. With minimal squealing and introductory sniffing she setted right in.
By January of the next year her back bone was only visible. We put a saddle on her and I started longing her to see what she knew. She was perfectly behaved for tacking up and longing. We had a bit of trouble with the bit: she hated it! Once it was in her mouth and she was strong enough to hold me (feb) I jumped on her bareback to see what she knew.
First she jumped away from me and the mounting block. I managed to scurry onto her fuzzy back. She walked and listened to leg very well and even knew how to neck rein. Two times around the arena and my friends came with their big newfoundland dog "kodiak". Kody, who adores horses gave a big hello WROOOF! that eccoed on the steel siding. Naigen picked up a canter right away in response to the terrifying bear dog and stopped four strides short, planting her feet and quakeing with terror.
That was the one and only time I have ever seen that mare spook. Kody promptly followed her around the barn for the rest of his visit there, ensuring she was not scared of him next time.
She moved on to teach a few kids to ride in the next time span and is bitless due to a breathing problem and her happyness.
Only two people have fallen off her and both times were not her fault. I recall her star pupil she taught having a tack malfunction. The cheap cinch's buckle shifted and suddenly swung out from off the saddle. She planted her feet the second it happened as I ran to the rescue. You couldn't have asked for a better teacher.
Today she teaches a two and a half year old and a three and a half year old to ride. Shes patient, spook proof and never minds anyone bouncing around on her back or kicking her in the butt when we do around the world.
Best of all she thanks me each and every day by meeting me with a happy welcome nicker and a chorus of neighs when it's hay time. This is one horse that will never have to find another home. Even when she is unable to be ridden and goes blind but still trusts me she will be loved by everyone around her and even when she is gone I will have the memories of returning the most gentle, well trained and trusting horses back to health.