Earlier this month, I rode one of our former Bell Run Equine slaughter rescue horses in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition at the Equine Affaire in London, Ohio. I wanted to show people that rescue horses are great, that age is just a number, and that senior horses still have a lot to give.

This is Foxy. She is 30 years old, and I would like to tell you a little about her.

We rescued Foxy four months ago. A friend and I were at the Sugar Creek auction in Eastern Ohio. A man came by and quietly told us that if we were buying horses that day, we should check out the old dun mare he’d just put in the kill pen. We looked her over briefly and immediately knew we had stumbled on something special. She was auctioned off loose, kill buyers bidding, without a word said about her. We took a chance. She was underweight and unhealthy, but for $350, made her ours.

Two months of good food and care brought Foxy to the point where she could be ridden, and for some reason, I decided to apply for this obstacle course competition at Equine Affaire… on a horse that I had ridden for a total of ten minutes… and in a bitless bridle. We were accepted and had two months to prepare. Foxy made me work for every ounce of respect she now has for me, and I got nothing for free. Let’s be clear, I wasn’t training her, I was learning about her. This mare and I were equals—and we were a team.

When we walked in that arena Friday, Foxy brought her A-Game. Our pattern was absolutely not perfect (see below… I made more mistakes than she did!) and we timed out, but her effort was amazing.

I have learned a lot about Foxy and hope that her new owner can love her as much as I do. I won’t lie, she’s a little nutty, but I’ve put a lot of time into learning how to be a teammate for her, and ask that whoever loves her for the rest of her days do the same thing. She doesn’t like her face petted, she loves jogging in hand (no matter how slow you walk), she doesn’t like her hay under her water bucket. She also expects respect, and don’t you dare tell her she’s old!

I’m in love with Foxy. I’ve found myself discouraging anyone from adopting her, yet I know she must move on. Please know that if you inquire about her I will be picky, and perhaps a little hesitant to tell you about her. It took me two months to learn her little quirks and “requirements”, and I expect whoever ends up with this phenomenal mare to be willing to invest at least that much time developing a relationship themselves. This isn’t a mare that you can pull out and expect that she will perform for you. She works for no one, but she will work with a rider that will meet her in the middle.

Words can’t describe how proud I am of this little horse. She met me more than halfway and gave me one thousand percent.

About Bella Run Equine: Bella Run Equine in Athens, Ohio is a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of slaughter-bound horses. Bella Run makes a commitment to do right by each horse that passes through their doors. To learn more, visit bellarunequine.com or their Facebook page.