Years passed before I fell in love with another horse again. Of course, I was busy falling in love with a human being during that time, but that's beside the point. In fact, I had graduated college, married the love of my life, and begun my teaching career before I really interacted with horses again.
It was a cold January day when I got the urge to google North Texas horse rescues. I’d thought about horses a lot during the past few years, talked about them even, but hadn’t actually done anything about the fact that I missed them. The time had come, though, hitting me like a wave of desperation. One of the first search results that appeared was Remember Me Racehorse Rescue. I liked the name, so I clicked the link and discovered a site completely dedicated to gorgeous thoroughbreds who were done with their racing careers. Memories of my first horse, also an ex-racehorse, flooded my mind as I ogled the beautiful horses available for adoption. I knew I couldn’t afford to own one, but maybe I could volunteer . . . golly, I hope this place is close by! I found the address and felt a familiar horse-induced rush of excitement when I read Burleson, TX by the address. Burleson was just a few miles south of the school district where I worked!
I excitedly called the number, and a friendly voice picked up. It’s funny how you can tell a horse person just by the sound of their voice, but there was no doubt in my mind that the lady on the other end was exactly the person I needed to speak to. I explained my horse experience and my desire to help with their horses, and she invited me out to the farm that Monday afternoon. I couldn’t wait.
Monday finally came and the school day passed slowly. I don’t think my mind was on teaching much that day. I’d brought some barn-appropriate clothes with me to change into and raced to my car as soon as 3:30 hit. I followed the directions carefully, winding my way through lush tree-lined one-way roads. It was very country out here, and I started to feel right at home.
I pulled up at a pretty white fence enclosing a green pasture and a quaint farmhouse set back a little from the gate. Not sure where to park, I picked the most out-of-the-way place I could find and took a deep breath.
I stepped out and breathed even deeper- it had been too long since I’d enjoyed that sweet and salty, calming and invigorating horse smell. I stopped to pet the horse that was in the front pasture that I’d seen when I pulled up. Dragging myself away from his velvety nose, I reminded myself of why I was in this wonderful place. I needed to find the owner of the farm like we’d agreed.
I headed back behind the house to see several more white-fenced pastures and a barn. A pick-up truck filled with hay was backed up to the barn, and a pretty lady with long brown hair was unloading it. I trekked over the fifty feet that separated us and introduced myself to her.
She stopped her unloading to give me a tour and introduce me to some of the horses. We chatted and I thoroughly enjoyed the company of someone who “spoke horse;” it had been forever since I’d talked to anyone who even knew the difference between a bridle and a halter or where to find a horse’s whithers. The rescue horses I met were all beautiful and all different. I learned that most of these horses were young, having recently been retired from their racing careers for a variety of reasons. This rescue was delightful to me in the sense that none of these horses had experienced real hardship or abuse like the word rescue often implies. This was more of a holding place for them until they could find a new career with an owner who loved them, keeping them from the risk of being sold at auction and sent to slaughter.