We are so happy to announce that Austin was adopted yesterday!
We took Austin in last year because he had been abandoned by his owner and suffered a great deal of neglect. He was underweight, had little muscle tone, and had fungus all across his coat and legs. He had been standing in muck for so long that his feet were diseased and infected. In addition, because he had very little human interaction, he would put his ears back and threaten to bite people when they came up to his stall, especially with food. To top everything off, he was completely blind in his left eye.
Fast forward a year, and our Austin has done a complete 360 degrees! He is healthy, calm, and overall a pretty mellow guy! He still gets a bit grumbly when food is offered, but now he knows to stand with his head turned away when we feed him. He still has some scars on his legs from the fungal infection, but they don’t bother him at all. His feet are healthy and while he still gets a bit grumbly at times, he is a pretty solid guy.
Taylor came out a few months ago after reading about Austin on our website. She was interested in adopting him, but wanted to work with him first, and she wanted to see if he would get along with the other horse on the property. She came out a few days every week, getting to know him and working him in the arena. Eventually, we took Austin to meet the other horse, a cute little Quarter horse gelding, Wayland, who is very silly. Austin was cordial, and they seemed to get along well.
Taylor spent this last month getting Austin’s stall ready for him, and yesterday we took him over. He came out of his stall very nicely, and walked down the hill. When we took him over to OPA before, he hopped right into the trailer. This time, however, he looked at it and said, “No, but thank you for offering.” He looked back up the hill at Hanaeleh. “Let’s go back up there,” he said. “It’s safe up there. There’s FOOD up there.”
“Sorry, dude,” I told him. “That chapter has ended. It’s time to move onto the next one.”
Sometimes people ask me how I can give up the horses, especially as they’ve spent so much time at Hanaeleh. Honestly, it’s always difficult, as they become part of our family. At the same time, I liken it to sending a child away to college- it’s the next stop on their own life journey, and while we are a very important part of that story, often their final chapter is not with us.
And so it is with Austin. He has new adventures to begin, and so I tapped him gently on the side with the dressage whip. “All right, all right,” he said. “Don’t need to be rude about it,” and walked into the trailer without any other issue. And, to be fair- there was also food in the trailer.
I’m fairly certain it was a million degrees yesterday, but thankfully the ride was short. Austin did very well, and came out of the trailer very calm, although a little sweaty. He walked right into his stall, looked around, and then walked out to say hi to Wayland- who promptly bit him on the rump, so Austin walked back into his stall.
Taylor seemed a bit overwhelmed, albeit very happy to see him- it’s so wonderful that she was able to come out so often, so she and Austin already have a bond, and it will make the transition that much easier for him. We look forward to hearing about Austin and Taylor’s new adventures that they will have together!