I was in the right place at the right time, talking to a killer buyer/dealer I try to keep in contact with periodically when I have room for another rescue at my barn.
In June of this year (2000) I asked him if he had any horses or ponies that were extremely thin and in poor shape. It just so happened he had one. He told me about an older pony mare he'd taken in on trade that was very thin. She had been locked in a small muddy lot with little or nothing to eat for quite some time and her yearling colt was still nursing on her. (He didn't know where her yearling ended up). So I bought the mare sight unseen. I had him deliver her the next day and put her in the empty stall I'd prepared for her. When I got off work that afternoon, I raced to the barn to see her.
I was totally shocked by her appearance. He hadn't been kidding. Right then I named her Sissy and promised her that she would never be hungry another day in her life. As emaciated as she was, I called the vet right then and there and paid for an emergency call to have her checked over. He honestly told me that she might not make it, but checked her over and thought it was wise to hold off on shots or worming for a few weeks till her system stabilized somewhat and she gained strength. He thought she was close to 30. We discovered that she had no back bottom teeth!
Poor Sissy's spine stuck out an inch, she had no hips, and her bottom lip hung down a mile. She was terribly swaybacked too. It was June and she still had most of her moth eaten winter coat still stubbornly hanging on. Everyone in my family told me I was nuts for getting her. She was a pitiful sight. . .no life in those dull brown eyes... until she saw two things... Tigger my almost blind 30+ year old rescued Appy Pony, and that small serving of Equine Senior. Sissy smacked her lips and motored to that bucket 90 miles an hour. I made sure to feed her small frequent meals, and for the first week she seemed to enjoy the pelleted feed. But then she started to just pick at them. I experimented with all kinds of things to spark her appetite once again. Finally I hit on the magic mix. A handful or two of finely ground sweet feed added to the pellets and mixed in well. Sissy adored carrots and apples just like most horses, hers just had to be finely shredded. Sissy also loved to "try" and eat hay, even though most of it fell back out of her mouth. She seemed to understand her tooth problem and never did choke once while I had her.
Two weeks after I got her, the vet came back out and gave her her shots and I wormed her. After a month, (in July) she had shed out all the winter hair with the help of several baths and hours of brushing. Tigger was her constant companion and though they had to be separated at meal times and bickered "like an old married couple" while there was pellets left in either bucket, after the food was gone, they would stand very close together and gently swish their tails, scratch each other's withers or just doze. It was a touching sight. By the end of August, Sissy was almost up to normal weight and was quite a little granny spitfire. She would have nothing to do with the horses at all. Whenever she felt one was too close, Sissy pinned her ears and wheeled around to kick. Tigger was the only one she would allow close to her.
One Month Later
By the end of August, through word of mouth, I met a really nice family that was looking for a dead broke, quiet pony for their 5 year old son Matthew. They came and looked at both Tigger and Sissy and fell in love. They adopted both ponies and soon after they moved to their new home. Sissy and Matthew the little boy bonded almost immediately. She ran to the gate to meet him each afternoon. While Matthew's mom announced a charity horseshow, Matthew would ride around the show grounds with his friends. Sissy was his best friend and protector. She still is. Matthew feeds and brushes her every night and rides when time allows after Kindergarten and weekends. He loves her and she loves him. This was a match meant to be.
Isn't it amazing how a worthless "throwaway" old pony has now become a priceless treasure who will be fondly remembered by Matthew his whole life. This is what makes it all worthwhile!!
As a side note, Tigger didn't adjust to the move very well and they brought him back to me 6 weeks after adopting the pair. He's glad to be back "home" and will live here for the rest of his days, secure where he is most comfortable.
Oh, and his "new" girlfriend is coming on Sunday - a rescued thin elderly black pony mare who was overused on a pony ring to the point of exhaustion and then dumped Halloween weekend. I am hoping that Tigger will bond with this mare as he did with Sissy.
SUBMITTED BY: Jill W. from Ohio on November 10, 2000.