A 5- or 6-week-old filly torn from her mother at a South Dakota horse auction resulted in a desperate rescue and a subsequent reunion worthy of a fairy tale ending.
When the mare and her female baby horse, Lizzie, were sold together at Kramer’s Livestock auction on Sept. 10, everything appeared to be fine.
Tiffany Ring, director of Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue, recalled that the seller was unaware that the buyer worked for Stroud Kill Pen in Oklahoma.
As the buyer was loading his horses, he commented that he didn’t want the foal and that she’d “just get trampled and be dead in 100 miles anyway,” Ring wrote on Gentle Spirit’s Facebook page. The mother, a mustang, was already on her way to slaughter.
When an auction attendee heard this, they did what many good horse people would do and offered to buy the filly, not knowing what they were getting into.
The mare and the baby were separated. The new owner attempted to feed the filly milk replacer, but Lizzie refused to drink or eat pelleted feed because her mother hadn’t yet taught her how.
The horse family’s situation was looking bleak until the baby’s new owner contacted New Hope Horse Shelter, who contacted Ring at Gentle Spirit.
She contacted her horse-friendly network in search of a nurse mare, but she soon discovered an even better solution.
But first, they arranged for Lizzie to receive horse milk pellets to ensure she was fed; the baby was in good health but had a corneal ulcer, so she was taken to the vet.
The big lead that led to the eventual reunion came when Ring noticed that Platte Livestock Market was holding an auction and it appeared likely that the mare’s buyer would be driving his trailer there.
Fortunately, one of her horse industry correspondents had a friend who was just pulling into Platte at the time. Ring had photographic proof that the mare was indeed there and owned by Stroud Kill Pen within minutes.
When their on-site person arrived at the auction and approached the Stroud buyer, he refused the offer and demanded more money than what had already been agreed upon.
However, another call to Dillon settled the dispute, and he accepted the price.
Soon, the trailer was rolling—filly securely aboard—and Ring posted the news to Facebook: they had her safe and sound. It was to be a satisfying ending to a harrowing journey.
The mother’s call can be heard, the baby answering back with sounds of obvious excitement. Their moment of physical contact was exuberent.
“We are very grateful to everyone who shared, messaged, or otherwise offered advice and help, everyone who has donated to cover their initial costs, and particularly grateful for Joann and Mike who took care of baby and are fostering them both now,” Ring posted online.
They are now seeking donations for the purchase of hay to feed the equines.
The mother, now fittingly named Autumn, and daughter horse today spend their days in blissful relaxation, the mare not straying five feet from her filly, the daughter lounging lazily in the yard for hours on end.