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Tash - Middle age bay draft cross mare

Tash is a 16.3hh bay draft cross mare. She appears healthy and sound, with a stocky and sturdy build, but could use a diet plan. Her mane appears to randomly change color, so maybe she is part unicorn or simply has an abundance of some vitamin or other. She was friendly, calm, and patient but very watchful. We got the impression that she was taking notes and waiting for us to screw up. Does not bite or kick, but there was a lot of ear pinning whenever we did stupid stuff around her. Gets along well with other horses, donkeys and dogs. Tash is dead broke for Western and has been used up in the high mountains for hunting, packing and camping, but has spent the last few years being a pasture puff. Beginner and kid friendly, Tash likes to plod along and is gun safe and near bomb proof. She does not like stalls or blankets and would rather just be left with her herd in the pasture. Loads and hauls fine - in fact she seems to like going places. Tolerates the vet, but will kill anyone who tries to mess with her teeth. Probably has never seen a farrier, but she must be part mustang because she maintains her own feet. This mare is a great guest, child, or hubby horse and is low maintenance but not drama free ;)

Sabrina

Hi, I'm Sabrina Connaughton. I'm an Auction Horses volunteer and I enjoy devoting my time to help horses wherever I can. I spend the majority of my time networking for horses in need. I do have other hobbies and interests which include classic cars, cooking mostly everything from scratch, painting, gardening, and baking.

I'm a stay at home mom and have several horses and ponies of my own, as well as 2 dogs, a small herd of chickens, a gecko, 2 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, and a bearded dragon.

I'm a Seattle native and enjoy traveling, especially when it involves seeing wild horses in their natural habitat. I'm an advocate for all horses and burros, domestic and wild, and have a passion for all things equine. In addition to horses I also volunteer my time with several other charities, including food allergy advocacy, motorsports foundations, and children's charities.

Susanna

I grew up in south Bellingham, born into a family of horse women. I don't remember learning to ride, I just always did. With miles of trail right out of our back pasture, horses were always a way of life, not just a hobby. Through high school I stayed "horse crazy" and managed to make a few friends with the same affliction, including Dani.

As often happens with impending adulthood(and bills!) I ended up horseless, though my parents still had them. I was looking for a way to get involved with horses again and stumbled across the auctionhorses forum. It quickly became an obsession. Until that point, I had no idea about horse slaughter. I saw more of the ugly side of horse ownership in the first auction I attended than I had in my entire life prior. I left in shock, emotionally exhausted but determined to help. Not long after that auction I was invited to become a staff member with AH.

The story would not be complete if I didn't mention that,of course, my herd has grown. How could it not? The first addition was Tornado an Arab, who came from Sunnyside in March of 2013. Next was Ted an off the track Standardbred, from ESP in October of 2014. Last but not least, the old man, Scrappy, who came from a private situation in February 2015. Tornado and Scrappy are retired, living the lazy pasture puff lifestyle. Ted and I enjoy regular trail rides and he doesn't even seem to mind when I make him wear goofy costumes!

I have spent the years since joining AH attending many auctions and helping with private placements. I am privileged to get to volunteer with an amazing group of like-minded ladies and I am humbled by their strength, commitment and grit.

Dani

Hi all, I’m Dani. Auction Horses forum members know me as hearts4horses.

I’m a 33 year old lifelong animal lover, from Bellingham, WA. I don’t have a paid job; volunteering with Auction Horses and moderating on a Quaker Parrot forum are my “jobs” and I get SSA disability benefits due to having cerebral palsy, scoliosis, arthritis and attention deficit disorder.

I’ve loved horses since before I could walk. My first word was “Go!” I loved watching the videotapes of the racehorses that my grandpa co-owned, running their races. One of my grandma’s favorite stories to tell about me was my asking for a pony as a very young girl. When asked where the pony would live, my answer was sometimes “In my bedroom” or (my grandma’s favorite), “Well, you could build a barn in the field below your house, and I could keep my pony there!”

I always had animals growing up, however, nobody in my family are horse people; not even my grandpa, who I discovered was terrified of horses, after he passed away. I had a dog, cats, a fire-bellied toad and a fire-bellied newt, and a teddy bear hamster throughout my growing-up years.

I started riding as part of my physical therapy program, when I was 8 years old. I was already “in love” with horses, and learning to ride just made me even more horse-crazy.

My parents and grandparents bought my first pony for me when I was 10. Her name was My Friend Flicka, and she was a 14 year old Welsh/Shetland pony mare. I boarded her with my therapeutic instructor until she moved to eastern Washington two years later. I then moved her to a much bigger barn, where almost all of the owners were heavily involved with 4-H and Zone shows. I never showed (Flicka had competed VERY successfully before I got her), but I learned a lot.

Flicka was rehomed when I was 14, because my scoliosis was getting worse as I grew. I had surgery to help correct it, and it was fairly successful (it reduced the curve by half)…but the price was that I wasn’t supposed to ride anymore. More accurately, my surgeon said “You can ride, but you can’t fall off.” My mom and I looked at each other and started laughing. I have horrible balance because of my cerebral palsy, and even though I had a pretty good seat, falling off was a regular part of my riding.

I continued to ride the school horses where I had boarded Flicka “illegally” (without my family’s approval) on and off for several more years, but then stopped completely.

Flicka was literally my best friend. The day my mom said she had found a home for her was the worst day of my life. Not only had I lost riding, but now I was losing my best friend. I sank into a very deep depression. It was awful for me, because I didn’t really want to be that way, and I can’t imagine what it was like for my family. I was terrified to love anybody, including myself. Then, about two months after she was rehomed, Flicka escaped from her paddock, got into the grain room and gorged on grain, coliced and had to be euthanized. That only made the depression worse, and it lasted for about 10 years.

My years in middle school were complete hell, especially 6th and 7th grades. Flicka helped me through all of the tough times. She never complained that I was too slow, or too short, or had a crooked back and walked funny. She was always there for me to cry on, every day. My parents were there too, and did everything they could to make the bullying stop, but nothing worked. Homeschooling wasn’t an option, so I suffered through the school days then went to the barn and was happy. That all ended when Flicka died.

I had seriously considered suicide, multiple times, so my parents got me a dog so that I might have something to live for, something that might help me to be happy again. I loved Sucia very much, but she couldn’t replace Flicka.

I sort of drifted on the edge of existence for about 10 years, until one day I was online and a guy sent me an instant message on Yahoo. It was like a veil was lifted, and life was colorful and good again. His name is Zach, and we’ll be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary in August. Zach is just as much of an animal lover as I am, and our household consists of the two of us plus Bilbo our Keeshond, Diablo our cat, Taz and Chewy, our birds (a Cockatiel and Quaker Parrot respectively), a fire-bellied newt, and 5 freshwater- and 2 saltwater aquariums.

Sometime around September, 2011 I started seeing all of these pictures of horses on my friend Sue’s Facebook wall. I asked her about them, and she told me about Auction Horses. I immediately asked how I could help, so in November I went to my first Enumclaw auction.

It was really funny, I am a pretty emotional person, so in order to prepare myself for this experience I watched a whole bunch of Youtube videos of some of the bigger auctions around the country, and ended up in tears every time. I was so relieved that Enumclaw was nothing like what I had seen.

I had been volunteering with Auction Horses for 11 months when I saw a description that stopped me cold. It said “#063 Ghost - Gray Welsh Mare - $400”. I don’t know why, but I had to have this mare, so I got her. As it turned out she needed quite a bit of work, and was dangerous for me to handle on the ground because of my physical issues, so I gave her to a trainer as a rehoming project and she is now with a family.

I started looking for a new pony (the keyword being PONY as in, small to medium-sized PONY), and hadn’t seen anything that I connected with. So Tash suggested that I go to the ESP kill pen after the January auction (I missed the auction itself), so Sue and I went to take a look at BraveBlue Bullchaser. Now, she is not a small or medium sized pony (but still a pony at 14.2 hands LOL), but I agreed to go. I didn’t connect with BraveBlue at all, but the second I walked in that paddock I was drawn to Beltane, a 15-17 year old Appaloosa mare. She was filthy. She was skinny (I was terrified to take her on, afraid that she would die…I know now that she wasn’t THAT skinny). She was the absolute picture of neglect. She was perfect. Again, she is not a small to medium sized pony, but she is still a pony at 14.2 hands. Sue repeatedly had to literally drag me away from Beltane so I could look at BraveBlue. And Beltane kept her eyes on me the whole time we were in the paddock, as well. It was the connection I had been waiting for.

So I bought her and had her delivered to me on January 10, 2014. Her name is Cami now, and I learned a ton in the time it took to get her weight up, and get her feet healthy. She really was a diamond in the rough, as she is safe, sane, dead broke to ride, and one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever known. I am absolutely in love with her.

That’s my story, I’m sorry it’s so long. I really like for people to “know” me, even if we’re online acquaintances.

Natalie

I am Natalie Connaughton. I'm currently a high school student and have been active with horse rescue since I was four years old, starting with our first mini, Duke. I have grown up doing rehabilitation and working hard to care for our personal horses. I enjoy always learning about equines and take every class I can on equine health and management. I have grown up going to auctions and feedlots, and have a special love for senior horses.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my chickens, playing with my dogs, and cooking.