Sadie was found at an auction in Ontario in August 2018 by one of our many volunteers. Brynne represented us at the auction then agreed to foster, working hard to ensure Sadie felt loved and safe and understood there would always be free access to food and water. It was clear life had not been kind; Sadie was fearful, grossly underweight, making her food aggressive, and had several marks/scars. If only this beautiful soul could help us understand what she’d been through.
Although foster families have the first opportunity to adopt, it very quickly became clear that Brynne could not keep Sadie. It was so hard to admit, but Sadie’s time with Brynne would need to be temporary. But we cannot stress how important a good foster home is. Sadie was able to be safely quarantined, then join a herd of Brynne’s older mares, allowing Sadie to “just be a horse” for a while. Meanwhile, Brynne worked with her daily, helping Sadie learn – or relearn – that humans could be safe and kind. Brynne also managed to find Sadie’s original owners, and let them know of Sadie’s plight ……they were devastated.
We had many adoption inquires for Sadie including one from members of the Rescue board. Right from those very first days, Sadie spoke to Elaine and Sarah from across so many miles. The Rescue did all their due diligence, responding to all inquiries, reviewing all applications, and involving Brynne – who knew Sadie best – at all stages. Although we knew Sadie wasn’t ready for a cross country journey, Sarah and Elaine’s application was the strongest; they were approved and the planning for Sadie’s cross-country trip began.
This did take some time as everyone wanted to be certain Sadie was healthy enough – mentally and physically – to make the trek from Ontario to BC’s lower mainland. Five weeks later, once her care team approved her for travel, Sadie was off. It was a late September evening when Sadie arrived in BC’s Lower Mainland….and the calmness of Sarah and Elaine’s other horses helped her to settle in nicely.
With the help of Deb Harper, a dear friend, and huge supporter of the Canadian Horse and the Rescue, Sarah and Elaine learned how to safely put weight on an emaciated horse. It took time but Sadie began to appreciate her special treats and her excitement was clear whenever she heard her grain bucket being stirred. Sarah and Elaine also learned what Sadie didn’t like but their soft natures and patience meant Sadie didn’t have to rush. For example, it took several months for Sadie to have her horrible feet done; a patient farrier dropping by to say hello made a huge difference!
The following Spring, Sadie’s original owners were visiting family on the west coast and asked if they could come to visit Sadie. Tina and Ian explained that, due to family health issues they had to sell Sadie, but thought that they had done everything “right”….. fully believing that the new owners would honour their wishes to love and care for Sadie as they had. Yet, here she was painfully thin, the spark in her eye was gone, and she was so timid and unsure. That is until she realized who had come to visit. It was clear to everyone that Sadie recognized her former family….we all cried.
About a year after arriving at her new, and final home, Elaine sent the following update:
I can’t believe over a year has passed since Sadie arrived. Looking back, we were shocked by Sadie’s lifeless eye and emaciated body; it seemed so wrong that a beautiful horse was neglected to this extent. The first few times she was blanketed, I saw her eyes lose their life and her body froze. I have not seen this in a horse before, so it surprised and unnerved me. But over time, with calmness, repetition, and patience, she’s continued to connect and her eye soften. At times, when she looks at me I feel like she is trying to say something while looking into my soul and I am speechless. Last week we put a saddle on her and were delighted to see no change in her demeanor. In fact, it was an absolute non-issue…we felt the trust developing.
Sadie is distracted at times, looking off into the back field at the neighbour’s large paddock where they recently put a mare and her 3 month old foal. Sadie stares intently with her soulful eyes. The little colt runs around its mum, jumping and frolicking and then he whinnies, and Sadie calls back, we wonder . . . is she trying to tell us something?
Three years later, in the summer of 2021, Sadie gave birth to her own foal – Ironhawk Nickels Iolani (registration pending). Clearly she was trying to tell us something, as Sadie is an amazing Momma to her ‘Hawk’ (as he’s affectionately known).