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  • Writer's pictureAllen Bornscheuer

Rio's Rescue Story

Updated: Feb 1, 2018

My name is Rio, but it hasn’t always been. In fact; I’m fourteen and it’s been Rio for just this last year. I like it, though. Mainly because the people that care for me now, like it; and they like me. But it wasn’t always this way.

I was born in London, Kentucky at a big farm, with many, many horses. There was plenty of green grass and rolling hills. We had a warm barn to sleep in. For the first six months I slept and played with my mother. We were all Saddlebreds; American Saddlebreds. We have long necks, long faces, long legs. Come to think about it, everything about us is long. My Dad was a big black stallion and my mom certainly wasn’t little either. She was a Chestnut with a white blaze and two white socks on her back feet. I got my black coat from my dad and a tiny white star on my forehead from my mom. Also, I got her white socks. Otherwise, I’m black as night. I was trained for the show ring with humans on my back but also trained to pull a buggy and pop my feet really high. I did okay, but never won any big prizes at the big shows.

After a few years, my owners sent me to auction. There, I was paraded in front of a crowd for a few seconds. Because I was big and black, an Amish family bought me and brought me to their farm. They wanted me to pull their buggy - and pull I did. I pulled that buggy every day everywhere, up hills and down, winter, rain, and summer. They fed me well and looked after me, but it was hard work. One day, we were coming over a hill at a full trot and before we knew it, we came upon a car coming the other way. I tried to jump sidewise off the road, but there was no room. We hit and I got hurt bad. My family brought me back to their farm and gave me time to get better. After a few months, I felt pretty good; I could walk okay, but pulling that buggy really hurt; especially after a few miles. My limp got worse and worse. After a few months, I found myself back at auction. Auctions are scary places. You don’t know any of the horses there and none of the humans. Some of the horses - and some of the humans - are not so nice. We all get thrown in together in a muddy pen. Because of my limp; no one gave me a second glance at the auction. After the auction was over, I got chased with a whip into a big truck with all of the other horses no one wanted. It was crowded, cold, and scary in there. No food or water, just everyone kicking and biting; fighting for space.

They off loaded us at a Kill Pen; I’m not sure what that means, but I have a feeling that it’s not very good. They trotted me, sat on me, took my pictures, and made a video. A few days later, a nice man with a soft voice and a tender touch comes to lead me and loads me into his trailer. His trailer was much nicer than that Kill Pen trailer. It was closed in with windows and each slot had water and hay. The wind didn’t whistle through it as we drove on the highway like in that other trailer. Every time we stopped that nice man came into the trailer and checked on us; petted us and gave us more hay and water. It was a long drive, but that night, me and the other horses that were on board got off and he walked us to our own stalls in a cozy warm barn with more hay and water. The next morning we loaded up again in the trailer. This time, the longer we drove, the warmer it became until it was summertime again. That night, we got to another farm with a lot of horses and a nice lady that cried when she saw me. The nice man and lady who cried put me into my own stall and gave me more hay and water. The next morning, I had lots of visitors and met some more horses. They all seemed so nice. I got peppermints and met some cute little girls that petted me and brushed me until my coat was clean and shiny again. My shoulder was still bothering me from that buggy accident, but that didn’t bother the nice people. They would often trot with me for exercise and one day, another nice lady visited me and rubbed my shoulder just right so it wouldn’t hurt so much. I was feeling better and better every day! Soon, little kids would get on me and ride me gently. I can tell that some of them really love me by all of the brushing, petting and treats that I get. Sometimes I pull their carriage, but we only walk and not very far. The people in the carriage look nice, with long white dresses and black suits. They often cry; I don’t know why. Once, I even had a lady in a really long, white dress who sat on me. She cried a lot.

Anyway, my life is a lot better now. My shoulder almost never hurts. I graze on green grass with my new friends almost every day. I only “work” weekends and then little kids love on me dearly. I hope I never have to see an auction again or one of those scary trailers with horses all jammed in. One last thing; my name. It’s Rio now. That man said when he saw my pictures and my video, I looked so big, black and bold; that he named me Notorious. Then when his lady saw me at their farm; she said “He’s not so notorious!” That stuck “Not So Notorious” – Rio for short. I like it.

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