When Lovey & Bride came to our attention via Facebook on February 28, 2020 we did not know their history or identities. The post read, “Thoroughbred mares, in their early 20’s, in Kill Pen three weeks, shipping AM”. The accompanying picture showed two dispirited horses. They had been entered into the USDA system, yellow barcoded USDA labels had been glued to their hips, and they had been cleared and sorted for shipment to slaughter. Across the border to be violently killed in a slaughter plant.
The stress of fighting for survival in the Kill Pen showed in Bride’s vacant stare. Careworn and defeated, Bride had all she could do to stand. After giving all that had been asked of her in life, a vulgar green X had been spray painted on her haunches. While teetering under the burden of so much unkindness, Lovey sidled close to Bride and kept watch over her faltering friend. When she lifted her head, long strands of mucous fell from Lovey's nose.
When over one thousand Facebook shares failed to secure a home for Bride & Lovey, another rescue set out to have them euthanized. In their rationale, it would save the mares a 36-hour trip to Mexico without food or water, and from suffering separation and slaughter. One way or the other, without a home offer, their lives would end unnoticed in the Kill Pen of Rotz Livestock in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
It was a miracle that Lovey & Bride were still together. They had outlasted hundreds of horses who had come into the Pen at the same time and had already been shipped out. On the night of February 29, 2020, thanks to the support of our loving community, Unbridled was able to step in and take command of the future for Lovey & Bride.
When Lovey & Bride arrived at Unbridled (after quarantine), they were bone-weary and emaciated. It was at that time that we learned Bride’s identity, and the Lovey was not a Thoroughbred, but rather an Arabian!
The tendons in all four of Bride’s legs were thickened from overuse and painful when touched. Scars encircled her fetlocks and hooves, and a patchwork of white hairs dotted her withers (the highest point between her shoulder blades), mapping the site of once open sores likely caused by the collar of an ill-fitting harness.
The symmetrical pattern of balding on the top and sides of her tail are consistent with the long-term use of a crupper. A crupper is a stiff leather strap that is looped under and around the base of a horse’s tail and affixed to a harness or saddle. It is terribly annoying to the horse. Its loop leverages their tail as an anchor point to keep the harness or saddle from slipping. It makes them want to kick. But the consequences of kicking are far more severe than tolerating the daily discomfort of the crupper. The collective pattern of blemishes on Bride are characteristic of a heavily harnessed Amish Road Horse.
For the first few months at Unbridled, Bride only walked, a trot asked for too much from her depleted energy. Her protector Lovey shadowed her every step. Day and night Bride would nestle into her bedding to rest for hours at a time. Whether in a stall, or out in the shed, a loyal Lovey stood guard over Bride when she would lay down to sleep. Flat on her side, with her hind legs laid one atop the other, Bride’s hooves frantically scrambled and scurried. In deep REM sleep, she vacillated between fits and jolts and complete stillness accompanied by soft nickers playing out the memories that ran through her mind.
Today, Lovey & Bride are unrecognizable from their former selves at the time we welcomed them home to Unbridled. They have gained many hundreds of pounds, and gallop, roll, and frolic in pasture play with a renewed youth.
With all that they have suffered at the hands of humanity, Lovey & Bride are generous and tender towards people. Whether it be volunteers quietly smoozzling with them, children learning to groom, young people practicing reading aloud, or budding artists decorating Lovey’s own coloring page – to know them, is to fall in love with them.
🤍 Lovey & Bride 🤍
Lovey is an Arabian. We are researching her lineage through DNA testing.
Bride is a Thoroughbred, her Registered Name is Spendid Bride
Born in Louisiana on February 8, 1998
Sired by On The Sauce Out of Battle Bride by Battle Launch
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