Five-year-old Texas bred Swass Like Me was pulled from a kill pen in Oklahoma Monday night and by coincidence was to ship back to the woman who had saved his life as a sickly newborn.
Swass was foaled on the Keen Farm in Texas, and nursed to health by Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue. Born with a physical condition that prevented him from receiving proper nutrition and hydration in utero, the colt could not stand and nurse when he was born. So Keen and her family slept in his stall and nursed him back to health, says Keen.
Swass Like Me
Sire: Special Rate
Dam: River at Twilight
Foal date: Feb. 3, 2009
Earnings: $62, 670 in 36 startsNamed after a line in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, he’d actually crossed Keen’s mind earlier in the week, as, unbeknownst to her, he was to be placed on a truck and shipped to slaughter in Mexico. Thinking of the colt with fond memories, Keen posted a picture of him on her Facebook page. Only days later, Keen received a call from Moriah Owens of Helping Hands Equine Assistance telling her that the colt had been sold to kill.
Owens was all set to purchase the colt from a meat buyer on behalf of philanthropic Texas businessman John Murrell when Keen insisted on stepping in and buying the colt with her own money.
“We made money off him, and it was our job to step up” to buy him back, says Keen, noting, “The whole thing was so coincidental and strange. He had just crossed my mind because I was thinking about foaling season and getting excited about it, when I decided to post Swass Like Me’s photo on Facebook.”
Keen got up early Wednesday morning and drove to a highway rendezvous with a volunteer shipper, who agreed to drive the rest of the way with the payment Keen handed off, and get the T-bred safely on the van and headed back to Keen’s farm.
Keen always loved the little bay horse with the huge, white star, and hopes he is sound enough to potentially work as a pony for her, down the road. After bringing the horse back from the brink of illness early in his life—he was born with a malformed umbilical cord and did not receive proper nutrition— she felt protective of him. “I foaled him for his owner at the time, Karl Broberg, but was upset when he had to leave the farm,” says Keen, noting that she slept in the same stall with the sick colt for two days after his birth.
He went on to run 36 times and earned $62,000, but was lost by Broberg in a claimer to William Orrin, she adds.
“I was so attached to this horse, and am so grateful to Moriah and Tara Sanders for finding him and contacting me,” Keen says.
After Swass is assessed by a veterinarian and quarantined, Keen will figure out whether he will eventually be placed for adoption, or be folded into her herd. “I’m so thankful to get him home. I hope he’s sound enough that I can keep him and train him to be a bridleless pony,” she says. ♥