My friend and the crazy people make the deal to swap Cat for Leggs (TB mare). Their trainer, thinks Cat is sweet, and of course she'll be a great dressage horse. Mmmmm K. Can anyone here say 'job security'. The term 'unscrupulous bitch' also comes to mind.
Three months later I get a call from the mom. It's close to midnight (clue #1). She tells me their dog needs surgery, the vet wont do it without cash up front. They need to sell Cat right now. They knew I liked her so they thought of me first (clue #2). I tell them I don't have $3500-$5000 for this filly right now. She asks me how much I have on hand. I tell her I have like $500. She says that's fine, she'll take $500 (giant clue #3). I have to come and get her by the weekend though (it's Wed), oh and she wants cash.
I am to meet her at her house. I can pick up Cat's papers, and the file on her vaccines, and trims etc. Oh, and bring cash. So, I do as she asks. Ask her if she's going to follow us out to the barns. Nope, it will just be too upsetting for her. She wouldn't be selling her if it wasn't such an emergency. So, this is all feeling pretty weird to me now, well even weirder.
My friend (the breeder) and I head out to RA to go take a look for Cat. I can't find her. My friend spots her right away. The only way I recognize her is her half white eyelashes over one eye. This is not the same filly that was delivered just over three months before. My friend is almost in tears.
I'm at a loss. I can't believe this is the same horse. I exhale, and push my bangs off my face with my right hand. It scares Cat so bad, she flies backwards and hits the back wall of the pen. The pen is 32' deep. I'm standing 3-4 feet on the outside of the pen.
Cat's hip bones are hanging out, you can count every rib. She's stocked up on all four. Has dried crusted sweat all over her, and she's lame. Fabulous. My son is tiny, 2 at this time. I'm thinking there is no way I can do this. I tell my friend, that I'm not sure I can do this at this time. She says, just take her. Please get her out of here. If it doesn't work out, I'll make it good somehow. Okay, she can go be a pasture ornament. What the hell, right.
So I take her home. I call the vet. Yup, she's lame. Sore tendon, no rips or tears. He figures it's bruised. What was making her really appear lame, was they had done her feet 4 times in three months. She had no feet, and the soles were paper thin and horrible bruised. I have no idea what the hell they were trying to do. Cat has a slight rotation on the left front (worse after their spectacular foot care). The leg is straight, it rotates up high, it's like she holds that elbow in, she travels straight.
Fast forward 2 months. Her weight is looking pretty good, she's sound. I have my friend Sheri meet me up at my place. Figure I should have someone there for the first ride. You know, just in case. They told me they'd been riding her, and she was fine. I have Sheri hold the lead, while I tack her up (she was the set back queen when tied, I think she broke 5 halter and leads before I switched to hope halters, with no hardware). I still have one halter with the ring that's bent where you hook the lead. I groom her, and put the saddle pad on. Her back raises, and she gets big eyed. Sheri gives me the look, and says, "She's broke?" I say, "Yes, they said she's broke, that's she's fine. Give it a rest." Sheri loathes these people. I put the saddle on, reach underneath her to grab the girth. As soon as the girth just brushes her belly she catches three feet in the air off all four. I grab, and steady my saddle. Sheri looks at me all calm, with the rope still loose and says, "Yeah, she's broke." I think I said something really deep and meaningful like, "Up yours."
So I lunge her a couple circles, and she seems fine. So I get on. She hardly moves. You have to have a 40lb pull on the reins, and your legs on like a vice. Then she can walk (sort of) with a tiny stride. If you release any pressure, from leg or rein she wanders and halts. Lovely.