Like the winding trails in the woods, my life has also had many twists and turns. Some trails seem to be forever uphill; some an easy coast down. My trail began just 10 years ago in Ohio. I am a registered American Saddlebred born in a sprawling farm with beautiful, rolling green hills. Saddlebreds generally are tall, but I am extra tall. I stand 17.2 hands, I’m told. All I know is that I look over just about every horse I have ever met. Just because I’m big, it doesn’t mean I’m a bully. I love humans and other horses and am trusting to a fault. Sometimes that has hurt me. I have taken on my back little human girls just 4 years old and they have always been safe with me. I love those cute little girls. They are so sweet to me. I am a boy and have a black mane and tail and reddish dark brown fur. I think they call me a bay.
As a kid, they tried me in the show ring but it didn’t work out, either I was too big or didn’t pop my feet high enough to get the right attention. Either way, when I was five I was shipped off to Pennsylvania to an Amish family to pull their carriage. I’m big and strong and that carriage didn’t weigh much for me. But after while all the hills started to wear on me. I got tired; but for three years, I pulled their carriage in all kinds of weather. Snow, freezing rain, the heat; I did it all. Towards the end, I started to get really, really tired and my feet started to hurt more and more. Then they stopped feeding me grain and all I had to eat was old musty hay.
Soon I found myself shoved onto a trailer and sent to a strange place called an auction. There I was trotted up and down in front of a large crowd, but I guess I was either too skinny or my sore feet scared people off. No one bid on me. So there I was, put on another trailer; but this time, they whipped us to get us all crammed into one cold trailer. There was not room to even move. Everyone was biting and kicking each other. I could not wait to get out of there. When I came off the trailer, the people there took pictures and videos of each of us being ridden. I did my very best – like I always do – and was a real good boy. I really hoped they wouldn’t notice how skinny I was. Maybe the saddle would cover up my ribs. Maybe no one would notice how much my backside was sunk in under my tail. Maybe someone kind would buy me; maybe someone, somewhere, someplace warm. I was so very afraid of what would happen to me if no one wanted me. What would happen then? I felt very weak and very, very afraid.
A few days later, my trail took another turn. This time for the better! A nice lady in a trailer picked me up and took me on a pretty short ride. I was super scared because of the other trailers I had been in; everyone fighting for their space, the wind whistling through the trailer as we sped down the road. This trailer was different; we each had our own slot. This lady was different; she was really nice. I felt better already. Was I safe now; at least I hoped so. At the lady’s farm I met her husband. He was a short little man and I am extra big. Even though we seemed like an odd couple, we bonded immediately. He took great care of me and loved on me day and night. I trusted him. I trusted a human again. Back at the auction, there were a lot of sick horses; runny noses, runny eyes, open sores and wounds. A lot of horses there needed help. I just hoped that I didn’t catch anything. This smiling man gave me medicine every day; just to be sure that I wasn’t sick. I felt that I was getting better and stronger every day. But after about a month, another man with a big white trailer came to pick me up. The short man hugged me and cried. We both cried. Where was I going? Was I going to be safe?
The man with the big white trailer was also a nice man. His trailer was closed and warm. Each of us had our own slot and we also had our own hay and water. It was nice and warm inside. The man would fill our hay bags and water every time we stopped. In a couple of days, we got to our new farm. It was very warm there and I had my own stall in a big barn. A man in a leather skirt pulled off my metal shoes and took care of my feet. All of the pain that I had pounding those cold roads up north was quickly melting away. I made friends quickly – both horses and humans. I hoped upon hope that I was finally safe. Here my job was to teach little, cute kids how to ride, but I only had to do it a couple of times a week for what seemed like only a minute or two. That was so much better than pulling that carriage all day, every day! They also fed me lots and lots of treats and the hugs, I really love those hugs! In no time, I had my weight, strength, and energy back. That nice man’s wife is who named me Tucker. I was never called that before, but I liked it. It fit me. I hoped that I was finally safe, that this was the last turn in my trail, but unfortunately, it wasn’t.
I was soon adopted by a strange lady and her very sweet daughter. They seemed nice. They took me and a few of my friends away from that big barn with the nice, smiling man and his wife to their own house. At first it seemed ok, just smaller; but soon, she started to feed us less and less. Before long, she wasn’t feeding us at all. Those tough, miserable days at the auction lot were now coming back to me. I was quickly getting weaker and weaker. No one rode me, no one even visited me. No apples or carrots or little girls like at the big barn. I wish I could somehow tell that nice man that rescued me from the cold and mud that I was starving again and to please come and get me. Someone, anyone, please make this feeling go away! And it wasn’t just me; my friends were starving too.
What seemed like an eternity went by, but a nice little lady came and visited and YES!!! She took all of us out of there. Thanks be to the G-d of grass and grain!! As soon as we got to her farm, she started to feed us a bunch of small meals every single day so our bellies could get used to eating again. It was nothing fancy, but she fed us, loved on us, and really cared for us. I guess time flies, but a year went by and we were all feeling and looking a lot better. Then another nice, tender lady with sweet eyes came and visited us, rode me, and a few days later, came back and loaded me on a trailer and brought me to her place for yet another turn in my trail. I will miss my friends, but I know they are doing a lot better. There are a couple of other horses and ponies at this new farm. They all seem fat and happy. I hope that I would be soon too. Now she rides us and takes us on trails; you know, the kind that go through the woods. She feeds us delicious hays and grain - and is very loving to all of us. I hope I stay here for a long time. I think I’m safe now. I think I can trust again.
She’s one of the nice humans. For the life of me, I don’t know if I will ever figure these humans out. Sometimes, they can be very hard to read. I think I’ve experienced them all. Some are really sweet and treat me like a prince; treats, hay and grain; blankets when it’s cold, brushings and they give me my time – time to play, run, and bug my friends. Some just want me to work. Work, work, work and when you don’t work, no food and then off you go. Yet others are mean. They’ll whip you, they’ll hit you. They yell at you. I’m afraid of those kinds. Then there is that strange lady and her daughter; super sweet, but it only lasted a few weeks and then we were left almost for dead. Thanks to the G-d of grain and hay again, for sending my last rescuer. I don’t think I need any more rescuing. I think I’m safe now. Now my trails are just the kind in the woods. And this place called Florida; it’s very flat. No hills to climb, no carriage to hold back. Thanks again to the G-d of grain and hay… and nice humans!