It was the summer of 2007 when we first met. Her registered name was Laundering Money and she was running in the twelfth race at Sonoma County fairgrounds. One could not help but notice the big bodied mare throwing an even bigger tantrum in the staging area. With no less than four handlers manhandling her in their futile attempts to keep her feet on the ground, a war was waging to get her tacked up in time to race. Fighting for her life, or so she thought, I watched her hurl herself every which way but loose in her attempts to loosen her handler’s grip on her mouth. As I watched I couldn’t help but notice the whites of her eyes literally screaming for help. But with all of the frenzied attention focused on slamming her squarely into a hole that did not befit her, no one cared and not one was listening. Her eyes caught mine and the whites glared out from under her panicked big browns. Finally saddled with grooms running alongside I watched as they jumped the jockey onto her back only to have her just as quickly hurl him to the ground.
As the Director of The Pony Express Equine Assisted Skills for Youth, an equine rescue that includes a life skill/leadership program for youth utilizing horses as both guide and teacher, you always go in search of happy endings. It is the ultimate gift and reward to be rewarded not necessarily in dollars and cents, but in the sense that you have made a difference in the quality of the lives of both the horses and riders that come your way. Such was the case this sunny Saturday in July.