I couldn't get the black mare out of my mind. Standing in the mud, covered with bites and kicks, looking regal.
I had discovered out that she came off the track at a cheap horse sale and had been originally sold as one of a lot of horses sold to a dealer in Wyoming. She been handed around to 5 or 6 homes as a 'trail horse' and was generally labeled unrideable pretty quickly, so she was bred, produced a foal and was sold. I wasn't sure why she hadn't gone to slaughter already. Maybe luck. Maybe because she was a classic looking TB people thought her foals, even unregistered, would be worth money.
I found out through the trainer network that she and her current owner were on a downward spiral and the owner had been advised to sell her.
She was one bad step away from a very bad end. She was very skinny, very distrustful and might be nuts. She also still had a soft eye.
I went back again and asked to see her ridden. Her owner, with obvious trepidation but courage born of desperation, climbed on and trotted her around a little. I got on and found that she didn't know much, but wasn't totally crazy. I gave her owner less than the going price for meat and got a receipt.
I called a friend with a trailer and a few days later we went and got her. Watching her refuse to be led and refuse to get on the trailer should have discouraged me but when I took the lead she walked right on willingly, stood quietly and we waved goodbye to her past.