Sweating in fear, Midnight ran as though the demons of hell bit at her heels.
Bursting from the murk of another mysterious Thoroughbred life gone wrong, she raced in the night, putting as much space as she could between herself and a terrifying past.
As she streaked through the East Everglades like a warhorse avoiding death in a battlefield, she towed a 150-gallon plastic planter, which had been tied to her halter.
The large object, which must have bounced and crashed as it trailed out beside her, and gouged at the earth, only driving her onward.
She ran with fear as she ran with purpose until every ounce of energy was sapped.
Finally, Her chest heaving, her body slicked wet with sweat, Midnight lied down on the gravely ground and waited for whatever fate would bring.
Dam: Tuxedo Parade
Foal date: Feb. 6, 2007And if name is destiny then this horse got lucky at birth, because at just about midnight on Nov. 14, 2013 help arrived.
The Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol was first on the scene. And quickly after came Laurie Waggoner of the South Florida SPCA. Together they worked to untangle the horse and help the weakened animal to her feet.
“She was so tired from running—we don’t know how far she ran or for how long—that we had to get her up twice before we could get her on the van,” she says. “And when we got her to the farm, she lied down again.”
With rest and nutritious feed Midnight (Jockey Club: Midnight Parade) rebounded quickly, Waggoner says. In decent condition overall, the 7-year-old mare was advertised for adoption on the SPCA’s website and on April 9, 2013 she was handed over to the competent hands of SPCA volunteers and equestrians Celia Bunge and her talented daughter Daniela.
“I saw her beautiful picture on the website and started reading her story, and she just looked so beautiful. I told my daughter we needed to go take a look at her, and we quickly decided to put her on our trailer,” Bunge says.
With the idea of training her to be a Hunter/Jumper prospect and lesson horse for their riding program, the pair soon learned that more than ground work and lessons, Midnight needed reassurance.
“She was very stressed at the beginning and sweated so much that we called the vet because we were worried; she’d get all foamy and we didn’t know why,” she says. “She couldn’t relax. If she tried to trot, she broke into a weird Paso Fino (horse) trot. And if she was in a canter, she wanted to gallop.”
Mother and daughter decided that the first lesson Midnight needed to learn was that she was safe, she was loved, and they would not harm her, Bunge adds.
After waiting weeks for her to adjust to her new home, and to trust, Daniela Bunge began working very slowly with her under saddle. So slow that the second the mare gets something right, the lesson ends, and she is returned to the pasture to be with her friends.
“Something really clicked for her about three months ago,” Celia Bunge says, noting that the beautiful animal is now so trusting and trust worthy that she will soon join a string of lesson horses at her riding facility, the Miami International Riding Club.
Since racing like hell from the East Everglades last November, the once terrified mare has finally stopped running. Her fearful habits have quieted and she now stands at the mounting block, proud and ready. Her gait has smoothed from frantic to calm as she knows now that she’s finally safe.
As a new member of the Bunge family’s herd, she’s arrived on the other side of darkness. And Midnight has found her new morning.
24 responses to “Mare flees Everglades towing 150-gallon urn”
Midnights tattoo will tell who had her originally. Info is available thru the jockey club. When folks go to New Holland auction, this is how they find out who in racing sent their horses to slaughter auction. But now many of those folks sell straight to a kill buyer and skip the auction so they are not caught. Many tracks are zero tolerance for this..
she is a smart and very Lucky girl. Bless her heart for running like Hell out of Hell.
Hurrah for Midnight…and for all who have abd are working with her!
She is a stunning mare. How anyone would not want her in their stable as a mount is beyond me.
Proud and ready… I am inspired by Midnight! Bless her and her family. I cannot imagine what evil she escaped.
Great story with a happy ending! Thanks so much for telling this tale. Good Humans are the only ones that can fix what bad people do.
I agree with some of the others~there needs to be harsher punishment & crackdowns on people who participate in this cruelty~from the previous owners on down! THANK GOD for people like the Bunge family & for your reports!
A couple of years ago, two mares had meat rendered from their bodies while they were still alive on a farm in Dade county. A foal from one of the mares watched the slaughter. The Dade County State Attorney asked the Judge to sentence the 2 defendants to 5 yes instead of life which they qualified for.
As a volunteer for the SFSPCA, Midnight was the first horse I fell head over heels in love with. I devoted the majority of my volunteer time doing groundwork with her and had just started riding her and doing light trotting prior to her adoption. I had hoped to adopt her but having 2 kids in college would not allow me that luxury. I am thrilled that she is in such an amazing home and I have been to visit her. She looks amazing!!! Thank-you so much to Dani and Celia for transforming and giving Midnight so much love:-))))
Oh, she is beautiful!
Thank God Midnight was found and rescued. I wonder how many are missed out in the backwoods areas… There is absolutely NOTHING like the heart of a Thoroughbred!!
I don’t understand why ownership can’t be tracked through her tattoo when this happens.
It can be done!!!!
If she raced she has a tattoo and they need to find who had her last and find out who did this to her and put them in jail and make sure whoever had her never owns another horse.Better yet put them in the everglades with a barrel the weighs 150 pounds and let them see what is like
It’s unclear who had her last. She hasn’t raced for a while. A lot can happen.
This is a beautiful story and I only hope that when Midnight no longer can or most importantly no longer wants to be a school horse that she is kept and given her rightful retirement. Otherwise her fate was only delayed.
That is so true
I enjoy racing but I love my horses more. There really should be a crack down there in Florida.That’s deplorable.
The same thing happens in Louisiana too. Florida is not the only bad actor here.
Jon, I would love to talk with folks about Louisiana.
There is a general disrespect for all animals in that part of our country.
While I understand what you are trying to say, it’s not common in the top two thirds of the state. You might not want to lump all of us into the same “general disrespect” group. South Florida is where the abuse happens the most and where apparently those who prosecute these offenders give them light sentences. Central and North FL take this kind of abuse a lot more seriously as seen by 10 – 20 year sentences for aggravated animal abuse. But please, we fight for our animals. And if someone intentionally enters onto a farm (burglary) with the intent to slaughter a registered breed while armed or with the intent to commit aggravated animal abuse – that is a life felony. You are supposed to get life w/out parole and I’ve seen it done in north FL.
Eek. I know Florida is not the only place where terrible things happen to horses but wow, a lot of the stories about horse butchery, kids’ ponies being stolen and eaten, and dumping of racehorses sure seem to spring out of Florida. I don’t get it.
Midnight has a warrior spirit and knew that she was left to die in the Everglades. Running was her only choice. And her decision saved her life. That can be the only reason she lived through this and found her wonderful forever home.
Beautiful mare. Glad all ended well for her.