SAM’S WISH CAME TRUE…






Many of you have heard me speak of my wonderful wild mustang mare, Sam (“Samantha” because she reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery from ‘Bewitched’).

Sam came to me 8 years ago as a very young, pregnant, wild mare who was in the slaughter line.  She was unhandled and very skittish.  I just knew I would be able to make friends… (You can read that story here.)

And make friends we did.  She was my friend and I was hers… as long as I didn’t ask for too much touch.  She’d let me handle her baby, she’d take a treat from me, but as far as grooming, picking up feet or haltering – uh, no.

A kind friend with an ‘in’ at Monty Robert’s Trainer training camp took Sam for 6 months.   They didn’t make any headway with her either.

Sam is very polite and does what I ask, but just didn’t see any use for humans.

C’est tout.  Fini.

We lived harmoniously for 8 years.  But, I always worried that she might become ill and I wouldn’t be able to help her.   A few years ago, she got wire wrapped on her foot.  We were able to undo it, but the time and worry involved was huge.

This was Sam just after she had foaled. I had had her for about 2 months at this point. Her filly was a mini-me and adopted almost as soon as she was weaned.

This was beautiful, wild, untouchable Sam – just after she had foaled. I had had her for about 2 months at this point. Her filly was a mini-me and was adopted almost as soon as she was weaned.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The opportunity was veiled.

If Sam got her wish, I would be very sad…

You see, it was known that I had a mare who was untouchable.  Because of this, she was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity.

If I would take 4 horses in exchange, Sam could run free on a 1000 acre mustang sanctuary here in California.

Wow!

…There was no way that I could take 4 horses.

But, they said, “Make us an offer, we want to help Sam.”

Hmmmm.

So, I thought about it.

My first thought was, “This is too overwhelming, I’ve just moved and I cannot even comprehend adding new horses into the mix.  No.”

But then I came to my senses and realized that Sam would never get this chance again.  And, was it fair of me to not even consider options?

I thought about it again.

She is a very good girl. I let her out to graze and she always put herself away without any worry or halter.

She is a very good girl. I let her out to graze and she always put herself away without any worry or halter.

MY SOLUTION

I felt that I could take on a donkey or two.  Norma lost her best friend, Slick, recently.   There is an empty place between Norma and Dodger.  So, I could feasibly take a donkey or a pair of donkeys.  I also could take a Shetland or a pair of Shetlands…  Or a donkey and a Shetland.

But that was still only 2 horses.

So, I said to them, basically:

“I am not a rescue and I am not set up for adoptions.  (Their premise was that they would take unadoptable wild horses from Rescues in exchange for young and gentled mustangs that would be very adoptable.)

OK, so I’m not a Rescue and I don’t have volunteers or trainers here to deal with young horses who are to be adopted out.  My way of helping to to write and bring awareness as well as operating the Drop in the Bucket Fund.  So, if they had an already halter broke and farrier trained donkey or a pair of donkeys… or a Shetland (or a pair of Shetlands), I would exchange Sam for those described small, trained horses.”

But they wanted more from me…

So, I said (gulp) or you can give me a small yearling or a small trained mare.  They HAVE TO BE friendly.

And they agreed.

(Gulp.)

WHAT HAVE I JUST DONE?!

I went outside and told Sam the news.  It was if she already knew.  For the last few days as I was contemplating this, Sam had stopped eating with her friend, Remi.  Sam had set herself alone.  Horses are amazing.

Anyway, I went outside to tell her the news.  I was bawling.  She looked at me with such calm.

Sam:  “It’s OK little human.  I’ve enjoyed myself very much here.  It has been very peaceful and I do love my friends.  But, to be honest, this new situation here isn’t as nice as the old place so I think I’d prefer 1000 acres and new friends.”

Me:  I know.  But I will miss you.  I love you.

Sam:  “Live in the moment, little human.  This is a new chapter for the both of us and I’m totally ready.  We’ve had great times and I’ve learned a lot, but it is time for me to go back to my herd.”

Me:  You are so beautiful and I have really enjoyed you.  I hope I’m making the right decision for you.

Sam:  “You are.  How could you not be?  I came from freedom.”

And so the decision was cemented.

Sam, part of the Mustang Gang, lays between Remi and Rojo. Gwen is on the end. Sam was very happy in Grass Valley.

Sam, part of the Mustang Gang, lays between Remi and Rojo. Gwen is on the end. Sam was very happy in Grass Valley.

NOT MUCH TIME TO THINK.

As soon as we all agreed, Valley View Rescue Transport was sent out the very next day to do the exchange.

At 10am sharp, they arrived – and Sam loaded up like she was ready to go.  No himming and hawing… just straight in the trailer.  She was mentally already moved on.  Off they went for the 4 hour drive.

I didn’t take any photos.  I didn’t want to remember this part of it.  I was conflicted and heartbroken.

Around 4pm, I heard that the driver was going to make a turnaround and come right back with 3 new souls.

Wow!  I hadn’t expected this.  But, they had.  They had gathered up my new 3 beings and brought them together for a ‘meetngreet’ before their trip home to me.  I was told that they loaded up easily.   It was if they knew, too.

All of our lives were about to change.

But is this new environment so great for a wild mare? ... when she could run on 1000 acres? I think not.

But is this new environment so great for a wild mare? … when she could run on 1000 acres? I think not.

THE THREE NEWBIES.

The trailer door opened and the most bright and happy donkey ever to set foot near me, emerged.  He practically skipped out and did a little jig!  He walked right up to me and looked me square in the eyes.  He is adorable.

Satchmo is a white BLM male, gelded 7 year old donkey. Hubby says, “He sounds like a really bad trumpet!”  hence the name.

The Shetland didn’t happen… they didn’t have any minis or Shetlands to offer.  Instead, I have a small, gelded, roan weanling – almost a year old.  I have yet to name him because he is a bit shy and I’ve not seen his true self just yet.  He will eventually be my size…

The last is a full grown (but small) coming 6 year old mustang mare who was born from a pregnant BLM mare rescued from slaughter.  This mare has a gorgeous face and eye.  Her face almost reminds me of MT.  She’s tiny, overweight and sweet.   She hasn’t had much training but she is very eager to be friends.  Her job right now, as she sees it, is to mother the weanling.  He loves her even thought they just met on the ride over.

Funny, I was so overwhelmed at the thought of 3 new horses… but now that I’ve met them, it is perfect.

Sachmo, The small, lovely mare and the tiny weanling gelding. Soon, I will name them all.

Satchmo, The small, lovely mare and the tiny weanling gelding. Soon, I will name them all.

 



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7 comments have been posted...

  1. Laurie

    Oh Dawn,
    I am so so happy reading this new endeavor for you!
    Your 3 new lovelies are breath taking!
    As for SAM….well I would say back to freedom with 1000 acres is a gift you gave her.
    Thank you Dawn for all your sacrifices.

  2. MorganG

    It must have been hard indeed but you showed the ultimate love for Sam by thinking of her needs. I’m sure in no time you will have the best relation with the newbies while never forgetting Sam.

  3. dawndi Post author

    No! YOU ARE THE BEST for arranging it all! Hooray for Shirley! Everybody please donate to NERN!
    National Equine Resource Network.

  4. Shirley Puga

    Thank you Dawn, for giving Sam the life you know she wants, and for giving a home to 3 more deserving souls. You’re the BEST!!!

  5. Angie Friehauf

    Oh Dawn….I was heartbroken for you and got tears in my eyes reading this. But you can take comfort in knowing that Sam was ready to move on, and this made space for other wonderful creatures to come into your life. Everything happens for a reason. Your new family members are adorable and already look happy to be home with you. Hugs.

  6. Kathy Johnson

    I wish you and your new charges all the best, Dawn, and I’m happy for Sam, too. The newbies are adorable and I’m confident you’ll figure it all out. What’s a little more change and chaos on top of moving, right?!

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