Hannah and The Hale Bopp Commet
Back in the hey day of my life with horses, I had quite the reputation for taking in unwanted, unloved horses that nobody else wanted. I would give them a home with lots of love, medical attention and as much good food as they needed. Many of these horses came to me in such awful physical and mental condition it was hard to hold out hope for their recovery. As much as it would hurt me to look at their physical condition it hurt me even deeper when I looked into their eyes and saw the sadness of their souls. Such was the case when after receiving a telephone call I agreed to go look at a Pie In The Sky Mare which had been abandoned because after several breeding attempts she failed to settle in with foal.
When I first met the mare I would come to call Hannah she was in a stall at another local boarding stable. She was standing with her left side facing the door as I approached and I spoke softly to her as I opened the door. I could see beneath her seriously underweight frame that she was breathtakingly beautiful. Nearly black in color with dapples of chocolate brown I could tell she would be naturally muscled with proper weight. Her head was perfect with the crowning glory being her big brown eyes sprinkled with flecks of gold. She was a bit tentative but seemed friendly enough given the fact that I was a stranger and I couldn't help but wonder why no one wanted this mare. And then she turned around and I was almost sick by what I saw. The entire right side of her body was tore open with cuts and gashes with one long one running nearly the entire length of body from shoulder to hip. It was obvious several of the sites were full of infection with the worst being the major wound covering most of her body and it was obvious she had more than one crushed rib.
I looked at the stable owner and I asked what had happened to her. He went on to tell me her sad tale. She was a retired race horse with very good quarter horse blood lines and was purchased for breeding purposes. She was bred several times however she failed to conceive. Her owner was unhappy to say the very least and when she was picked up from the farm where the stud stood, she was thrown into the horse trailer and when they did the gate separating the stall was not secured. It was an old, rusty trailer in poor shape and then entire ride home the divider flew back and forth crashing into her side multiple times and tearing the flesh on her body. Her injuries were not treated nor did she receive any sort of antibiotics. She was sold with the intention of being taken to the place where all unwanted horses are sent to die and was rescued by someone equally unkind who thought that perhaps if she ever healed she could be passed off as a barrel horse.
I knew I had no time to waste getting Hannah home. She was in dire need of medical attention and the way the infection had set in it could not wait until morning. When I went to my truck to write out the check for her purchase I called my vet who despite the late hour said he would meet me at my barn. I knew enough to know I needed to hand write a bill of purchase and I don't know why but I included a clause that stated in the event she was pregnant the foal would become the sole property of me and I would be provided with all the necessary paperwork.
I wasn't sure in view of what she had been through, how Hannah would handle getting into the trailer, but she loaded without any problem. As promised my vet was waiting for me when I pulled into the lot and started working on Hannah immediately. He was just as sickened as I was at her condition and how she was allowed to suffer. Neither of us could believe that she was still alive.
The vet gave Hannah pain medication to numb the painful effects of working on her poor little body but I know it still hurt her terribly. Despite the pain she never complained and stood sweetly leaving me to believe that she knew we were helping her.
The road to Hannah's recovery was a long one and often painful for her. I lost much sleep getting her well, but I never noticed or minded. And as if to thank me for my love and care, on April 1, 1997 by the light of the moon, stars and the Hale Bopp Comet, Hannah gave me the most beautiful little buckskin foal I ever laid my eyes on. While I had foaled out many mares for other people, Hannah gave me the very first foal of my own. In honor of the first night the comet could be seen I thought it only fitting to call her Haley Bopp.
The picture above is of Haley and me when she was three months old. Hannah will forever be a powerful reminder that no life, human or animal, is worthless or disposable in God's eyes.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.