Friday, May 7, 2010

Tolo-- A Story of Patience and Reward

The Second Race welcomes another story by one of our members, Tarra and Tolo what a great team they have become...Enjoy!

It all started on January 24th of 2007, my 8th grade year, when I woke up to find my 3 year old Quarter Pony (my first horse I ever owned, I had saved up all my birthday money and all from when I was little) on the ground showing very severe signs of colic. Had the vet out, trailer hooked up ready to get her to vet and all. 3 hours later, after many attempts to get her up and a clueless vet my pony was put to sleep. I had only had her for 11 months and was heart broken. It had taken me so long to finally buy my very own first horse that I lost hope in finding another one any time soon.

Fast forward 4 months later. I went on a trip with one of my friends I had met in 4-H to go see two horses she was going to look at to buy one of them, of course I went along, I always love a good horse adventure :) We made the 3 hour drive to Bend and 'patiently' waited around for the trailer to arrive. We got the call around 12 or 1 am and headed outside to see what two horses awaited us. Although it wasn't the two horses that were supposed to come one of the others came up really lame before and the one that was supposed to come who my friend really like came off the trailer 3 legged lame. But when Tolo (then called Splendor) walked off the trailer I told my friend that's the one you should get.

So what was so special about that skinny, neglected, not halter broke, not people friendly horse that was on a feed lot headed to slaughter? I honestly couldn't tell you but the minute my friend decided she didn't want him I was on the phone with my mom (who wasn't with me!). For just $300 I could take home this almost wild horse, I said why not?! Whats there to lose? Later down the road I find out there was absolutely NOTHING to lose from this special horse at all.

Four weeks after we got him and many frustrating days of him not letting me near him he somehow unlatched his gate and got loose. Not trusting me yet he ran full speed around our property and earned himself a 3 in deep cut in his neck, missing his jugular (and dying) by less than 1/2 and inch. The next day, while trying to cold hose him like instructed by vet we tied him up ( I will never, ever do this again). Before we even did anything he freaked out reared up got let caught on lead rope, de-gloved the back of his leg, punctured his nostril all the way through and sliced right above his eye. One emergency vet call, 4 days at the vet clinic and 3 months of stall rest/hand walking, and one summer spent solely at the barn later I had a sound, much for friendly horse from being handled at least 3 times daily to apply his meds, and one summer spent solely at the barn.

After being started on ground work he never had any set backs and we had our first ride on February 5th of 2008. Tolo has more heart than what he knows what to do with! Originally he was going to be a re-sale project because he was so small when I got him, about 14.3 hands at 3 1/2 years old but now stands almost 16 hands at 6 years old! Although he is still small for me, what he lack in physical size he makes up for with the size of his heart. This guy will do ANYTHING for me. We go swimming, run on the beach, compete in high school equestrian team in events from dressage and jumping to reining and pole bending and place good in all of them. At his first real dressage show this month he got two 70%'s one in First Level! Tolo will also be competing in two recognized three day events this summer including Inavale Farms and Caber Farms horse trials along with other dressage shows and such. Our goals for next year include qualifying for ODS Championships and USEA Championships.

Tolo has shown me that hard work and perseverance really does pay off in the end. Not only did I get a great horse who everyone has come to love and adore he has taught me so much. He has also helped continue my love for saving slaughter bound horses and since him I have helped rescue 3 other horses. He has been a great ambassador for horses on the feed lot and his story is shared with anyone and everyone that asks about him or comments on how nice of a horse he is. He is a prime example of how not only good but GREAT horses can end up on the feed lot because someone else didn't want to send the time with him to make him into the horse he is today. He truly was a diamond in the rough.

After all, one mans trash is always another mans treasure.


  1. One man's trash is indeed another man's treasure. My OTTB, Bar (Calabar, 2000), has given me the biggest challenges as well as the biggest rewards.

    I wouldn't trade him for anything.


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