In a fitting end to a storybook tale, a gray filly plucked from certain death in late November has been restored to health, and recently turned over to the loving protection of an equestrian who vows to love and care for her until the end of her days.
Glenye, a dappled-gray Appendix cross who was bleeding from a head wound when Canadian horse activist Mindy Lovell spotted her, was adopted in March by Michelle Donovan, a woman described as the “perfect match” for an animal whose story had attracted many interested adopters.
“I had quite a few people contact me about her after her story got out,” says Lovell. “At the beginning, everybody wanted her. But, I wasn’t prepared to adopt her out right away, because of the injury, and I was hesitant because I wanted to wait until the right person came along.”
Acknowledging that many of those who inquired about Glenye would no doubt have provided the mare with a wonderful home, Lovell waited until her perfect adopter came along this spring.
“Michelle Donovan is someone who won’t push a horse before she’s ready. She’s just a very nice person who has a little hobby farm nearby,” Lovell says. “When she asked me about Glenye, I didn’t hesitate.”
For her part, Donovan says she couldn’t be happier with the beautiful animal who she named Gracie. Now four, she is proving to be a wonderful addition to the farm.
“Having been lucky enough to adopt Gracie fills my heart completely,” Donovan adds. “I’ve taken it very slow with her, starting from a simple pat on her neck for praise, to grooming, which she loves.”
After taking tentative first steps away from the safety of her adopter’s side, the shy animal recently learned to work on the lung line, and in July, Donovan sat on her new horse for the first time.
“She respected me being up on her back, and behaved as a young, wiggly filly would,” she adds. “I plan to ride her again real soon, and continue with further training. She has a real hunter look, so I’d eventually like to have her jumping in a Hunter ring.”
The fact that the filly has any future at all, much less that of a Hunter, is a testament to Lovell’s great heart and dauntless ability. She takes the saddest horses and the most injured, all in hopes of saving a few more from the slaughter pipeline.
She admits on some days she wonders how she will keep the doors open at her overflowing rescue at Springhill Farm in Ontario, even while on others she must endure the loss of some beautiful horses to euthanasia. The path is very hard indeed.
So a bright spot is the gray.
The horse she spotted bleeding from a deep gash most likely incurred in the bleak, overcrowded horse-transport containers shipping slaughter-bound horses to kill pens.
Many times, Lovell has peered into these trailers and seen the darkest side of equine life: Pregnant mares spontaneously aborting their foals in the stifling, filthy transport cars. Frightened horses fighting each other for reasons unknown, injuring each other in the process.
And in the case of the filly, trembling and bleeding the day Lovell spotted her, she couldn’t know how it had happened. Just that it did. And she was determined to fix one more broken animal.
“I saw that filly as soon as I got out of the car, and I knew I would pull her out,” Lovell says in an earlier interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com. “It wasn’t even really a decision. She needed emergency veterinary care; she needed to be stitched up before it was too late!”
Noting that 95 percent of her horses have been pulled from kill pens, Lovell says the vast majority is capable of future riding careers. “It’s not the horse’s fault that they end up there,” she says, noting that she is thrilled that the gray, at least, is one who made it out. Another slaughter-bound animal whose life turned around as time was running out.
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