Reprinted from TB Friends with permission of Joe Shelton, who makes life better for so many horses, (ottbs mostly!), and people. Please visit his blog. I have followed Joe for years, and wish I had posted about him sooner... If you're looking for a horse related way to donate money this holiday season, his tb rescue farm is a fantastic choice :)
Wednesday, December 22nd...
She came to us in the spring of 2008, with major race track injuries. Her name is Top It Off, so we called her Topper. A small chestnut filly with a big white face. Topper could barely walk. A broken ankle, torn tendons, pastern problems, and a sore back.
The perfect patient. Legs wraps, ankle bandages, gulping her medicine, cold water hosing on her tendons, and daily walks. Topper especially loved those daily walks. As we neared the end of her rehab, the lead rope should have been around my neck. She was leading me. Topper was moving like Bristol on that dancing show.
Topper spent several months on green grass at a foster home. This past year she has been living in our north field. Her best friend is the dark gelding Bandit. Topper also enjoys smooching with Champ.
A 16 year old girl near the town of Yuba City. She came to us one year ago, asking for help in finding the right horse. I introduced her to a riding instructor, and every Saturday morning the girl has a lesson. To help pay for her lesson the girl cleaned stalls, and groomed horses. Once a week she feeds the barn, so the regular person could have a day off.
The key ingredient to all of this is supportive parents. You take away supportive parents, and the process usually comes to a quick halt.
There is no dad, but the girl has a very supportive mom. One year ago mom told her daughter, you want a horse, you figure out a way to pay the expenses. And you need to become a better rider. Which is when the girl began riding lessons. And started helping at the barn.
Earlier this month mom phoned and said it is time. Mom has been saving money for the initial cost of the horse. The girl has made boarding arrangements with her riding instructor.
Mom said this past year, her daughter is different. Her grades are better. She comes home from school and goes right to the barn. Before it would be right to the mall, hanging out with friends, getting in trouble. The girl returns from the barn and does her homework. She talks about horses constantly. The girl hopes to one day work at a rescue ranch.
And by now you have figured out, her new horse is Topper. The girl had several options, but with Topper it was love at first sight. She jumped on Topper without a saddle, leaned forward, and began kissing her soaking wet neck. It was raining. The girl began crying. Mom was crying. Riding instructor was crying. No one has been on Topper in almost 3 years. Yet Topper stood quietly.
The girl phoned last night. She and Topper went on their first little trail ride. Not far, only a few blocks. Topper was perfect. Back at the barn, Topper sniffed the big red bow on her stall door. There was a Christmas card taped to the bow. The girl opened the card, which said: Merry Christmas. I am so proud of you. Love, Mom.
She has a brand new silver blanket. A sack of peppermint candies all to herself. Topper also has her very own person. What a Christmas for Topper.
Enjoy your is the rain ever going to quit Wednesday, and be sure to hug your horses. Fifth Dimension on the oldies station...