Thursday, April 12, 2012

Meet Mystery

Mystery is my 21 year old Arabian gelding. If you've read Unbound, you know that Anora also has a white Arabian named Mystery. Now you know why ;) I bought Mystery when I was 16. My current horse, Sundance, was getting old and had pretty bad arthritis and wasn't able to be ridden as much as I liked to ride. I had been on the hunt for a horse for a while when I heard about Mystery.

He went by a different name then (based off of his registered name). He was currently living with his second owner,a  woman who showed him in dressage and did pretty well (I got to see a few dressage test scores). His owner got in a non-horse related accident and was no longer able to handle Mystery's springy and bouncy strides. She got a new gaited horse that was smoother to ride. Mystery lost his stall in the barn and was forced to live outside in the middle of a hot summer.

Mystery became an inconvenience and was no longer wanted. On August 28th, a truck was scheduled to come and pick him up and take him to an auction that sold horses to the slaughter house. (This was back before it was made illegal.)

I saw Mystery once and fell in love with him. I offered the owner my hard earned summer wages and bought Mystery on August 27th.

Mystery is registered and has impressive bloodlines (The Real McCoy is his great grandfather). He has the sweetest personality of any horse I have ever met, and I've been around horses for over 20 years now. We say that if he could crawl in your lap and cuddle with you, he would. He stands perfectly still for grooming, shots, doesn't mind getting his ears clipped, loads into the trailer like a dream, gets along great with other horses, and I do not have to put a halter on him to give him wormer or when he gets his shots. It still baffles me that he was going to be thrown into the kill pen.

Mystery got his name because I couldn't think of anything to call him. I didn't like his current name and felt that he needed a fresh start, including a new name. For the first few hours I owned him, I called him my 'mystery horse' because he was nameless. Then I though, hey...Mystery is a cool name. And so it became his.

Now, that isn't to say Mystery and I haven't had our struggles. I'm convinced that along with dressage, Mystery was used for gaming, particularly barrel racing. I used to only be able to get him to stop if we ran into a fence. He was hyper and LOVED to run. When he saw barrels, he got worked up and knew the pattern, hence me thinking he used to run them.

Mystery hated going slow. He didn't like hunter pleasure classes, I really think it bored him. He was only 15hh but was an amazing jumper. We got one good jumping show season in my senior year of high school. If you're not a horse person, I don't think there is a way to get you to understand how strong of a bond you have with your horse. You trust your horse with your life. You put so much time and effort into caring for them and even more when you're training and showing. My life was literally spent at the barn.

Poor Mystery has had just about everything go wrong. I wasn't told he was prone to colic when I rescued him. He's coliced more than I can remember, one time resulted in a twisted gut and he had to go to Purdue in the middle of the night for emergency surgery. (Thank you Dad for paying that vet bill!) He's chocked twice, both times needing the tube to clear the obstruction. He cribs like a fiend. He's had gravels in his hoof, parts of his tail hair ripped out, allergic reactions to just about anything, swollen legs from fly bites (he's now the 'nerd horse' b/c he wears a fly mask, a fly sheet and fly boots in the summer), cuts, pulled muscles, and ulcers from nerves.

Flash forward seven years. Mystery is older, has hock and stifle issues and can't be ridden. I will occasionally get on and walk/trot bareback. He is every bit as sweet and lovable as ever. He is great with kids and is the calmest horse for 'pony rides'. I think my niece 'rode' him before she was a year old.

I've gone through a lot with that horse. He's taught me even more. He's been there for me when no one else was, he knows all my secrets and will never ever tell. He's tested my patience, my pride, and my willingness to work for what I want. He's taught me responsibility and dedication. He will never judge me for what I look like; he only cares how I treat him and reflects that respect.

It still upsets me when I think that he could have been hung upside down and had his throat sliced open to slowly bleed to death. (If you don't know the disgusting, brutal ways in which horses are know a bit now. I'll warn you, it's tough to watch, but I think education is a key to getting people to take action.) Though he is far from a perfect, push-button horse, Mystery is perfect to me. I will always love you, Mystery.

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