The whites of her eyes showed fear as the pregnant mare tracked every move of the woman who would ultimately save her.
“She followed me around that pen, she watched me and watched me,” says Donna Keen of Texas-based horse charity Remember Me Rescue. “It was like she knew that I knew that she wasn’t supposed to be there.”
How and why an underweight and dehydrated mare like Venture Database wound up the Cleburne Horse Auction last August, in a situation where her fate would be determined by nothing more than her weight and value as meat, is as much a mystery as the foal she carried. She had reportedly passed through many hands, and there are no records of which horse sired her foal. “For all we know, it could be a yearling, or a Shetland pony,” Keen says.
Dam: Grandmas Venture
Foal date: May 20, 2003What was known was her name. Among the many horses, suffering in anonymity and unknowingly awaiting the butcher that day, this regal ex-racehorse had something none others had: underneath her rubbery upper lip, a readable tattoo. As soon as Keen saw it and identified the lightly raced Oklahoma mare, she stepped up to help the animal.
While simultaneously seeking pledges to help fund the purchase of the mare plus 14 days in quarantine, Keen convinced the meat buyer to sell her for what he’d paid: $400.
The dusty wretch was so thin and dehydrated that it wasn’t until she had regained weight and sparkle that she began to show evidence she was in foal. And after a blood test confirmed it, Venture was nurtured through a normal pregnancy until April, when she unceremoniously dropped her very small colt.
The smallest of all the foals on her farm this year, the petite colt was named Mystery.
It doesn’t matter that his breed and origins are unknown. What matters is where he is going.
Local horseman Linda Palma, a nearby friend of Keen’s, in an act that saves not one life but two, has adopted both mother and son. Palma will teach Mystery the rewards of being a riding horse, possibly in dressage. And both animals will receive an abundance of care and affection in a bucolic setting where they belong.