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  • Writer's pictureAllen Bornscheuer

AKA Samson

In my life I have gone by many names, but my favorite is Samson. I’ll tell you why later. I was born May 2, 2003 at a big American Saddlebred breeding farm in Tennessee. I am a big bay gelding with a black mane and tail. I have a look about me. I know how to look at humans and get them to turn their heads. They called it my “smolder”. My breeder named me “Box Office Hit”. They called me “Hit” for short. I am the son of Merchant Prince, a famous world champion. My Grandmother was also a world champion, reserve grand champion and a reserve world champion, she was also famous. Needless to say, I come from a long line of Saddlebred champions. I had great potential; I was going to be a “Hit”. I had a big name because I had big breeding and big potential. They honestly thought and hoped that I would be a box office hit. Unfortunately, life often does not always turn out the way we’ve planned. When I was 4, I was shipped off to a world famous trainer in Kentucky. I was just one of 30 horses my owner had in training at that time. They worked me hard and taught me to be 5 gaited. That means that I can walk, trot and canter like most horses, but I can also slow gait and rack. My human owners liked that because they can sit comfortably on me while I move fast. The slow gait and rack in particular make me more valuable to them. My new trainer thought I was destined for the show ring. Just like my Dad, The World Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky, was my destiny. They thought I could win on the “green shavings”. Green wood shavings are what they put on the floor in the arena at Freedom Hall in Louisville; where the world championship is held. It’s an honor to show on them. It means you’ve reached the top of the top in the Saddlebred horse world.

Unfortunately, by the time I had turned 5, my trainer had given up on me. They told my owner that I was “uncontrollable”. They said my trot was ruined. I would have been fine with just 3 gaits instead of 5; but now they said I couldn’t even do that. My trainer told my owner that I would be a better “Amish Sunday Horse” instead of wasting more time and money training me. Sure enough, soon after I was sold and shipped off to the Amish in Pennsylvania. My former owner forgot all about me, buried my papers deep within a file cabinet. Nobody in Pennsylvania even knew my name. No one knew I was Box Office Hit. No one knew I had come from Champions, that I had great potential. Instead of the show ring, I spent nine very long years pulling Amish buggies all over the hills and hard pavements of Pennsylvania. After a few years, it started to take a toll on my back. I was often sore and had a hard time putting weight on my back legs. I became no use to the Amish and soon they sold me to a kill buyer at an auction. They threw me into a crowded pen with all kinds of horses – big ones, small ones, mares, babies, stallions, donkeys, sick horses; we were all together. I was very afraid of what would happen to me. It was a far cry from the green shavings of Louisville. What would happen to me?

Lucky for me, a couple of sweet ladies fell in love with my picture on the internet. I told you I have a look about me, my “smolder”. I guess it works well with the ladies, because those sweet ladies rescued me from that horrible place. They brought me to a quarantine farm nearby in Pennsylvania, where I had to wait a month before I could go to my forever home. They were afraid I had caught some dreadful disease at the kill lot from those other horses. At the Quarantine barn, they rode me and were impressed with my walk, trot and canter. I even showed off for them; I showed them a little slow gait and rack! They said “Wow, we’ve got a show horse on our hands”. Could it be true? Could I be going to the show ring? The same show ring that the trainers in Kentucky said I would never see. These people didn’t think I was uncontrollable. My back was even feeling pretty good. Might I see the green shavings one day after all?

After 30 days of quarantine, I was sent to my forever home in Florida. It was a nice farm. It was hot there. I hoped that the heat would feel good for my back. The cold winters of Pennsylvania did not do my back any good. They made it feel worse. Maybe this was my second chance. These people were great! Several really nice ladies loved on me all the time. I was groomed regularly and my mane was braided often. I had many acres of green grass, plenty of room to run and many nice horse friends. I would let kids ride me and I always took great care of them. No one ever fell off. Walk, Trot, Canter – you got it! Slow gait and rack – let’s do it! Uncontrollable? Ha; I’ll show you. I’ll make you eat those words! My Florida family was so impressed with me that they wondered who I was. I wish I could tell them but I couldn’t; so they did what’s called a DNA test on me. That means that they sent some of my hair off to a college laboratory to find out who I was. The test came back a few weeks later with a match! I was Box Office Hit again! But they didn’t want to call me Hit. That was my past and now I had a future! They picked the name Samson since I was so big, handsome and had a long flowing mane and tail. Since they loved me so much and treated me so well, I liked the name Samson too. So Samson it was. It stuck! They called my old owners In Kentucky and told them all about me and they found my papers in the back of the filing cabinet and sent them to Florida. I was becoming a show horse again!

As the months went on in Florida; my back started to hurt again. It hurt more and more. My new owners stopped riding me; they did not want to cause me any pain. I was examined by a Vet, and they put me on some medicine to help my aching back. That seemed to help for a while; but then the back aches started coming back and got worse and worse. I had trouble standing. When I did stand, I had to put a lot of weight on my front end to help take the pressure off my back end. They brought a chiropractor out to adjust me; to make me feel better but she said she couldn’t help me. The Vet came out again and they did an ultrasound. All they could find was deep bruising. They couldn’t find out what was causing all the pain. They tried everything; electro pulse machines, lasers, drugs. I had more beeps and flashes going on around me than a carousel horse. All I knew was I was not getting better. They prayed over me, they cried; then they prayed over me again and cried again. I wanted to get better. I would love on them and hug them, but I couldn’t fix myself. For weeks, this went on. I’d be better one day and not so good the next. Then one day, I couldn’t get up. My front legs which had been saving me; were now too sore to hold my weight and my back legs were just getting worse. For two days, I tried as hard as I could. They tried everything to get me up, but even with the medicines; I was in too much pain. The Vet came out again, and we all cried and had to say “Goodbye”. I wish I could have stayed with them and stayed for them. I wish they could have ridden me one more time. I wish I didn’t have to leave.

My pain was soon over and I found myself running again in the green grasses of their farm. Now I could trot and canter again and even slow gait and rack; all pain free. Where could these great dreams take me? Could I go to the green shavings of the World Championship, maybe with my loving Florida family on my back? I wish I could win them a World Championship. I’d like to do that for them for all of the love they showed me. Honestly, for me, I really don’t care about championships. Just Give me some green grass, a place to run, some horsey friends and a family who loves me and I’m in heaven – literally – I’m in heaven. Perhaps you doubt me and think that horses can’t go to heaven. All I can say is, at least in my case, you’re wrong. If you have humans that love you like My Florida ones did and pray for you like they did; then G-d will end your suffering and bring you to heaven. There I await my humans. Now it’s my turn; I am praying for them now.

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