In October 2018, my intention was to save one little mini from auction - I had seen dwarf mini Pixie in the pre-sale ad as being described as being born with a crooked foot and littles don’t eat much, so I thought could squeeze her in here. But when I went to get her, I found that there were so many other horses selling for meat - including some who were in rough shape, so 4 other littles, and a TW gelding (“Bronsen”) later, I was way over my plan to get just Pixie - and was at the till paying for the horses I had bought - and on my way out the door.
That’s when I heard the auctioneer’s typical quick, non-stop ongoing spiel of numbers and the current bid over the microphone cease - But i could hear the auctioneer trying to solicit even one bid; he said, “anyone?” And c’mon folks.” And it was rarely that quiet when a horse was in the ring. So I peeked in beside the bleachers and saw a huge grey percheron shaking - literally vibrating through her entire body - and coughing. No one wanted to bid on her - she looked like she needed a vet, like she wouldn’t stand up on a trailer. And I have never been able to save a draft sized horse at auction because meat buyers pay per pound and you usually had to get well over $1000 to outbid one. But this mare was quite different - no one wanted to bid but me. I paid $50 for her.
When the two auction workers were waving their paddles ar her, she was reluctant to get on to my little 2 horse trailer. But once Bronsen was on, she rushed on, and provoked the metal door to clatter. And with the 2 horses loaded, I could just get barely get the safety bar locked against the door. My little ridgeline was really put to the test because of the weight of them trailer and I was really pushing it because it was way after 10 at night and the one guy in the auction yard was giving me until midnight to get back to pick up the minis I’d bought. I had paid to overnight them in stalls with food and water just in case.
When I reached my approach, I did think I had just enough time to unload the 2 horses into their quarantine pen and rush back to the auction yard But the load has drained my little vehicle and the gas guage was teetering millimeters away from dead empty. And as I wondered if I had enough gas to make it up my road, I was also ready to place a midnight phone call to the vet.
But once the trailer door swung open, and this magnificent mare hooped off and was safely in the quarantine pen with TW Bronson, there were intervals where her body stopped shivering. And after she started munching contentedly on the hay, I was quite amazed and relieved at the change that fell over her. She began to breathe quietly, and the rigidity left her large frame, and it was like her whole being was infused with a relieved softness.
The next afternoon, I called the number on her consignment sheet - the person who had sold her at the auction and told them what had happened. And they dismissed any concern for her as if was an idiotic idea. And they said that she wasn’t sick at all - but that she was ‘just’ scared of small spaces. They confirmed that she had lost a foal this spring, and was successfully treated for a retained placenta. They said she was 12 and wasn’t even halter broke - that they hadn’t had her long; and she was treated for the retained placenta the same way a cow would be - restrained in a ‘chute.’
Luna was a underweight and extremely afraid of people when she arrived home. When her time in quarantine was over, I opened the gate for her to join the back group, and it took her a long time to venture out. It was like she was mentally ‘stuck.’ But since that truly fateful night at the auction, she is unrecognizable as that timid, underweight, sickly looking girl. She has filled out, and her heart has filled up dramatically.
And one thing is certain: Luna unknowingly played a crucial role in saving her life by being herself - by being petrified in the auction ring. And also, but for my being delayed while paying for the horses I had already bid on, I would have missed her. Sometimes, the ‘moon and the stars align’ and some outcomes just seem meant to be.
I think her name suits her so well: “Luna” means goddess of the moon.”