Who doesn't love a good love story with a splash of divine intervention?
In March 2016, Begin Again Horse Rescue (BAHR) in Lima, NY pulled two horses from the Finger Lakes Livestock Auction; KC (a chestnut Saddlebred gelding) and Austin (an older Standardbred gelding). Being the Standardbred fanatic I am, I offered to look up the Standardbred's history once they uncovered his freeze-brand. About a month later, I received a message they'd found the "freeze-brands," yes, plural. I told them that the chestnut was a Standardbred then, too. I looked him up and the markings were a match. I had been casually looking for a chestnut Standardbred gelding for about a year, so I immediately applied for and adopted KC. I joked around at the time that I should adopt both so they could stay together. But Austin had applicants and shortly thereafter, Austin was also adopted out.
Fast-forward to Monday, October 3rd... For whatever reason, I went to BAHR’s website and looked at the available horses and saw Austin had been returned. It was reported that he had some lameness/back soreness. I knew it'd be hard for them to place him in a home where he'd be understood and with his age and breed. So I reached out to BAHR and proposed a trade; Bandit and Phil (the mini group mascots I'd rescued from Craigslist) for Austin. They agreed to present the idea at their upcoming board meeting. The series of interesting events that transpired that day (which I won't delve into) confirmed there was some divine intervention at work. And, to be completely honest, I think that Kash Law had a hoof in it from over the Rainbow Bridge. (Back story for those of you who don’t know me – Law was a senior Standardbred gelding I took in when he was 23. I had him put down last August and after, he kept popping up in weird ways. The third day after I put him down, I was finally able to step foot in the barn again and Dierks Bentley’s 5-1-5-0 came on the radio. That song was popular when I rescued Law and we always sang it to him, it became one of his nicknames.) But the real clincher happened that night, while finishing chores, Blake Shelton’s Austin (P.S. If this is Austin, I still love you) came on. I just knew that Austin belonged in my herd.
Deep down, I knew that someone else will do more justice for the minis than I will. BAHR has an excellent track record with placing minis. Bandit and Phil will both make amazing 4H projects and I know that potential homes will be vetted and that they’ll always have a safety net! I also knew that Austin would be tougher for BAHR to adopt out. And, when BAHR’s board discussed it, they agreed that this would be win-win for everyone.
Austin, aka Kamwood Tony A, turn 21 on 10/17 (two days before my birthday)! And what better birthday present for both of us than coming home? He’s an Australian-bred pacer who earned $174,733 in 248 starts with a lifetime mark of 1:54.2. His pedigree includes names like Abercrombie and Albatross. At some point, he did race here in NY, at Yonkers and Monticello. And now, he graces my barn. He's already got the treat routine down and is comfortable enough to lay down for stall-time naps. And, I cannot wait until he and KC are reunited in the spring.