Once upon a time (as all great stories begin.) About 22 years ago there was a black baby boy born in a stable somewhere in LA. He was a dream baby, the kind of horse born with purpose and value. The horse of little girl’s dreams. Through the years he learned to carry his dressage rider. He was loved, he was a star. A horse a little girl somewhere in the heart of Oregon had dreamed about for many years before he was even born. She did not know but he was the one that she talked about owning her whole life. He carried himself with pride. His coat was shiny and sleek. This horse loved to be in spot light. His class was unmatched as he loped pass the stands. So beautiful, he was ridden in parades the crowds would cheer and little girls would swoon. As happens with horses and little girls time ticks by. No longer was he the prized show horse ridden in parades. He was now carrying children as they learned to keep their toes up and heels down, their spine straight like he did his. He was forgiving and kind to them. Happy with their treats, kisses on the nose, and soft brushing. He thought well this is not a bad way to retire.
Retirement and rest was not yet to be his. He got new homes and met new families. Each time he was ready for his forever home. He had been ridden hard, his feet now hurt. He no longer was the colt of his younger years. He knew tricks and his heart was kind, though. He loved to get attention, but was tired. Finally he landed in home in Oregon. He has a new mommy and Daddy that told him how loved he was. He carried his new mom for hours of rides. Each time he was given pain medications so he could do his job. Then one day, His mommy got a new show horse. He was turned into a trail horse for dad. One day (all lives are changed in just one day) Dad stopped coming by to see him. He was not the show horse any more. He was pushed out in the pasture. He missed the attention and the spot light but the rest was good. He still had his mom. His vision started to fail, his feet hurt more, he could no longer bow or give rides, but he could smile. He would smile big for treats and love. What he did not know was mom could no longer pay board for two horses. She could not provide him care and keep her show horse up. She reached out to a rescue. The rescue said no we are full, try to find him a home, we just turned two away in better shape than him. The rescuer was sick and tired too. She was just a girl that had dreamed of a big black horse, so much she had saved one to call her own. She was sure she did not need another old tired horse that would never find a home. Would there be funds to feed another? She could not possibly fit just one more. Somehow through the power of angels her heart was touched. Sick and barely out of the hospital she loaded up in a truck. All the way down she dreamed of what she might see. Would he be in better shape that she thought, worst, would there be an third eye they forgot to mention. A long 5 hours does not even share the pain of this trip, physically, mentally, how tired can one soul be? Each turn of the tire was another added doubt.
Walking into the barn, a nicker of thrill was heard, by the rescuer, as Daniel’s mom entered the barn and he thought “she is coming for me”. Lead out of his stall he almost stumbles. He is black, he is old, though his feet hurt he tries to hide the pain in each step. His mom asks for tricks and He does his best to show the star he once was. The awakening of sadness and fear comes over him in a wave. He has been here before. He begs his mom not to send him, He smiles, one of her favorite tricks, to prove he is still a good boy. He calls to her as he is loaded in the trailer. He stomps and rocks, slamming the trailer. Through the window he hears “It will be alright, I am so sorry Danny Boy,” as his rescuer fights back the tears. How could his years of service end in the hands of an old tired woman. Once she dreamed of this horse, now her heart broke for him. Home he would be forever now, though a rescue is never truly the home a horse like him deserves. His trip of protests, kicks and stomps is long. The trailer pulls in. He hears the other horses, his ears perk up. The trailer door opens, finally, free of his metal prison he burst forward. His eyes full of worry and fear. His nose is softly kissed and offered a treat. “My Daniel, I will give you all I have,” he is promised. His rescuer knows this is not the dream ending to a life of service and kindness. She also knows many horses never get a chance at this end, and his is lucky in his own way. She cries tears for his heart and a person who had to send him away in his later years. She knows he was discarded. She knows he is her treasure. Whatever tomorrow brings he will be protected, until it is time to go to greener pastures . He is loved. He is valued. He is safe.