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PostSubject: A Heartwarming and sad story   A Heartwarming and sad story Icon_minitime2009-09-27, 9:24 am

RAVEN WAS AN UGLY HORSE~Sent in by Wendy Asbell-If you want to email her about this story here is her

Our family's first horse was Raven. Everyone told me that "Your first horse will leave it's mark on your heart." That turned out to be very accurate. We had put an ad in the paper for a free horse for our farm so that our family could learn to care for one before acquiring others. We stated that "your burden will be our blessing!" Two weeks later, here arrives Raven, a big black horse.

As soon as we saw him step out of the trailer, we knew immediately that this animal was abused. He was stick thin with bones poking out, hair missing in some places and had open bite wounds all over him from the other horses he was kept with. Every joint he had was swollen. His mane and tail were matted and greasy. His hooves were in need of trimming. My first thought when I got a full view of him was "What in the world do you do with a dead horse?" Clint, my husband, later told me he was thinking the exact thing! It was one of the first things we looked into once he was settled in our barn.

The older couple that brought him dropped him off rather quickly without so much as a backwards glance. "He eats this," the man said as he held out a handful of sweet feed. "I think he's about 20 years old and he's good natured," he said as they left.

Raven didn't seem to notice when they left. He really looked terrible. I eventually read every book the library owned on horses and their care. I found a horse e-list and asked lots of questions. I was told by the e-list members, from my detailed description, that Raven was in the worst condition possible a horse could be in and still be standing. We called the vet out and asked him if Raven needed to be put down. "No, any horse that eats like he does can't be in pain. You'll know when it is time to put him down. You'll KNOW." He shook his head at his condition, but stated he was glad that we had him now. He explained older horse care to us and told us to call if we had questions. Then, he gave us a break on the bill!

Raven gained weight daily it seemed. We could see him fill out and it was a joy to see results so quickly. We bathed him and his shaggy coat eventually fell out and he was more attractive, but definitely not beautiful by any means. I spent the first two days just sitting in the barn for an hour at a time, talking to him, letting him get use to my voice and presence. The first time I led him, he started pushing me sort of like a firm shove. Uh oh, this was definitely NOT affection he was showing. Back to the e-list I went with a "What am I doing wrong?" I was told to stand my ground and show this large animal who was boss. OK. The next time he shoved me, I slapped him firmly on his side, wagged my finger in his face and said "We will not have any of that, Raven." That was the end of the shoving and our friendship grew from that moment on.

Raven's legs were in such bad shape that he could not be ridden and he could not run. He could only walk and that was rather slow most of the time. This limitation in his abilities did not alter our affection for him and it allowed us more freedom with Raven. We were able to leave him loose in an unfenced yard and he never strayed outside the 14 acre limits. He became much like a family dog...just a really, really BIG dog! He was gentle with the children and fond of their attention. He always showed the utmost patience with them. He loved Nala, our dog, and would even let the cats ride on his back!

Raven would always seek me out when I was working in the garden or doing an outside project. If he was ignored for too long, he would nicker for attention and if that didn't achieve the results he was looking for, he would come shove his big head under my arm. I would often just hug his neck while he rested his large head on my shoulders & back. He came to the front door or back kitchen window for a treat daily. The more time I spent with my ugly but beautiful horse, the more my affection grew for him. He was old and unwanted, but still was such a loving example of what can be found in the heart of one of God's creatures. The whole family was very fond of him, but as Clint said, Raven and I shared a special bond.

Sadly, the time came to put Raven down. He went down one day and I could not bring myself to do the "deed." Clint was due home any minute so I sat on the ground near him and sang to him & held his big head because it was all I could think of to give him comfort. Clint came home, assessed the situation and told me and the children to say our goodbyes. Later, we prayed together to thank the Lord for sending us Raven and the for time we were able to share with him. We have never regretted it and would do it again, even knowing the outcome.

We have had two horses since Raven and they were beautiful creatures full of life and energy. There is not much that compares to the beauty a horse when it runs. We were very fond of them also, but they did not compare to Raven. He could only walk, but he ran away with our family's hearts and our children still talk about him to this day. We learned a lot about horse care. More importantly, we saw firsthand that unwanted doesn't mean worthless, and ugly doesn't mean an absence of beauty.
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