All I Want for Christmas

December 21, 2011

It was a late spring day when Wild Card was unloaded from the trailer. He wasn’t able to be handled safely, always tossing his head and snorting when you so much as looked at him. He was a stallion with broad jaws and a muscled forehead that was reminiscent of the famous Quarter Horse Wimpy. Within a week he was interested in what was going on around him. He came to the gate when people approached, and started soliciting attention.

Summer came and Wild Card was gelded. He allowed us to halter him, brush him and pick up his feet. He nickered when people approached, and we found he had a soft spot for freshly pulled grass and cookies. Wild Card learned how to lunge and move away from pressure on the lead quickly. He licked his lips and his eyes softened. He now wanted to be friends.

Fall is almost over and we are merely days from the start of winter. Wild Card is still looking for a home. Finding him that home has proved a challenge. He has a leg with poor confirmation that can cause him to limp occasionally, which may possibly be helped with corrective shoeing. But Wild Card is only one of many horses looking for a home. Recent surveys by the Unwanted Horse Coalition found that the problem of unwanted horses is not only perceived to be increasing significantly, its detrimental effects are being noticed and felt across the country.

No one knows for sure how many unwanted horses exist in the United States, but the number exceeds the resources available to accommodate them. In this recent survey conducted by the Unwanted Horse Coalition, 63 percent of equine rescue/retirement facilities reported that they were at near or full capacity, and on average, turn away 38 percent of the horses brought to them. So what happens to these horses? And how can we help this one?

When I was 12 years old I wanted a pony more than anything in the world. I remember unwrapping a picture of a pony that had been put under the Christmas tree that year to find out it belonged to me. I remember hurrying to get dressed Christmas morning to go and meet her. It was a foggy, cold morning, and I couldn’t even wait to put a saddle on her – I jumped on bareback. I loved that pony, named Babe, and had continued owning and working with horses until just the past year-and-a-half. The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and fire. Christmas with horses has a very special meaning for me.

Today is December 20, and Christmas is in a matter of days. Wildcard needs his home for the holidays. He dreams of a warm barn, filled with the three months of hay that comes with his adoption. Wildcard dreams of being the picture wrapped under your tree. He says it’s all he wants for Christmas this year…

                                  – Heather Kite, KHS Shelter Director


Wild Card