For twenty years, he sat alone in a a stall measuring barely 10 by 10 feet. He was fed everyday, by a little girl who stuck up her nose and called him 'vile', 'ugly' and 'gross'. He wasn't the prettiest or most diverse horse out there, a simple sorrel with a fence rubber's mane and a broad snip. One coronet forever pushing, and trying its hardest to be a sock adorned one plain hoof. His eyes where plain and brown, that once held the spark of life any young colt's did.
For twenty years he'd sit there and wait for the little girl who would love him and play with him and pet him and talk to him everyday. For twenty years he did nothing but eat and pace in the to small stall. After twenty years, though... Things changed. The food that came everyday began to come every other day.. and then not at all. The names became 'old' and 'useless', and the time spent with him depleting even more.
For a month he rotted in that stall, food only arriving occasionally, if at all. The water was low and mossy and had a stench to it, but it was the only water available. For a month, he waited, tried to hold out, in hopes that little girl may one day come back. At the end of the month, another person came, one with compassion in their heart and tears in their eyes.
He hadn't worn a halter in years, but he was to weak to protest, so he followed. The trailer was terrifying, new, and he wasn't sure what to do, but inside was food, and his hunger won out. The noise the closing door made startled him, but he was to busy with the food to do more than flinch. Soon he was unloaded, and put again into a stall. Two other horses where there, one on either side, both skinny, but looking happy.
Food came again every day, and slowly the old horse began to put on weight. His ribs became less apparent, then nearly invisible. His dull eyes lit up slightly, and his dull coat brightened. Each and everyday a woman would take a few minutes to brush him or pet him, but it still was nothing like the times with his little girl.
For five months he waited in that stall, food and fresh water ever day, until one day, new people came. The woman who brought him food spoke to them, motioning continuously to him as she spoke with the new people. The young couple smiled and laughed and the little girl standing between them stared with huge eyes at the old, boring, plain gelding.
He was loaded into another trailer, and taken to another place. The names changed again, this time to 'handsome', 'sweetie', and 'precious'. Everyday brought treats and fresh water and a little girl talking to him, a brush in her hands.
For three years he lived in the bliss he had long forgotten, loved as every horse should be, never again fearing hunger or pain or loneliness, for he had another little girl, one whose interest never fell and whose love never wavered, even when his back grew to frail to sit upon, or his teeth to old to chew. Even when vet bills went up and special food was prepared. He had his little girl up until the day his little girl no longer had him. She held him with tears in her eyes as he fell asleep and never woke up, but there was no sadness in him, for he had the opportunity to live as every horse should at one point in their lives, he was loved and cared for by a little girl, who looked past the the not-quite-sock coronet, who giggled as he rubbed off his mane scratching his neck, and who called his coat 'copper' instead of 'mud'.
After years of pain and loneliness, the old horse never gave up, and in the end, he was loved again by a little girl whose love never waned. The little girl who waited years ignored the old horse's flaws, instead seeing what everyone should, the kindness and the most basic want of love and kindness. A horse won't judge you because of your looks or your flaws, he wont starve you or make you thirsty, he will be there for you in your darkest hour as a mane to cry in, and he will share your brightest moments as a friend to celebrate with. He depends on you, you are his owner, his friend, his herd leader. He can not open his own feed bag, pour his own grain, and so will starve as he waits for you, the person he depends on, to care for him.
If you stop caring, or decide a sorrel is to boring, or his not-quite-sock coronet is to simple, or that his rubbed off mane is unattractive, he has no one to turn to when you decide to put your money into something else, be it a new car or a new, younger horse. The day you decide to stop putting money into your horse is the day you doom the life of an innocent animal.
If you stop caring, there are things you can do, or people you can call, that can save the life of that horse at no expense. There are rescues and shelters and willing families who may not be able to pay much, but could give your unwanted horse a home, be it for a few months or several years. If one day, you decide you've had enough, don't stop feeding that horse, don't just let him rot alone in a stall or worn out pasture, call someone. Contact a local rescue, or ask a friend if they know anyone that could take him. Save that horse's life, don't doom it because of his flaws.
Even if you don't care any more, someone out there will. I have seen some heart-wrenching things in my ONE YEAR volunteering, things that could have turned out a lot different if someone cared even enough to realize it was wrong to starve a helpless creature. I have seen horses one day, then came back only to find out they where to far gone to save, that they had to be put down. I have seen a couple that had been rehabilitated, that we thought where going to make it, only to have long-term effects from starvation take them. In one year, that I recall, I have known and loved five horses that passed away due to starvation or abandonment.
To you, that may not seem like many. I know people who have seen and loved far more, and knew far more about their pasts then I did, but it still hurt when I realized we may not be able to save this one. Some horses I may only meet once or twice before they pass away, but, at least for me, that is enough. To me, five horses is to many. One horse is to many.
I think Dr. Seuss said it best, in his story 'The Lorax'.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothings going to get better. Its not."