BY COLLEEN FITZPATRICK
Some people say that horses walk into your life for a reason. But Miss Moppet doesn’t walk, she struts. A sashay perhaps. She came strutting, sashaying, and quite literally, waddling, into the lives of the Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (DHOH) volunteers in late 2018.
Miss Moppet came out of a kill pen, and was rescued hours before she was going to ship to slaughter. When she arrived at the rescue facility, she had a USDA sticker in her mane. In 2018, DHOH became a partner in the Right Horse Initiative and began putting an even greater emphasis on the circumvention of the slaughter pipeline, through taking in horses via our Annie Project, owner surrender program, and auction interception.
Waddling isn’t her most common gait, but nonetheless she waddled around our facility, heavily pregnant with a baby that came to be known as Timmy Tiptoes. At just two years old herself, she gave birth to a colt just days after being rescued from a terrible fate.
Miss Moppet proved to be a kind mother, and a big fan of attention. When people would come by to pet baby Timmy Miss Moppet liked to remind the folks that she too is quite beautiful and worthy of numerous pats. After weaning her baby (and causing nearly every volunteer, potential adopter, vet, farrier, and various other guests to succumb to her charms) we sent her off to 60 days of professional training with Ruben Mendiola. He started her under saddle and she began to show off her fancy footwork.
I went over to visit Moppet at Ruben’s facility and saw her under saddle for the first time. A 15 hand, 3-year-old liver chestnut with flashy chrome and one blue eye, she is objectively stunning. When she moves, it looks like she’s putting on a show. She dances around the arena with the grace and elegance of a horse five times her age and a hundred times further in training.
Upon seeing her talent, Jacqui Avis, the President of Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, decided to enter her in the Battle on the Rockies, a rescue-only horse show in Colorado. I was asked if I would ride the talented young horse, and quickly agreed. We spent weeks training for the trail and ranch riding portions of the show, while also dabbling in English riding, which we both knew was our true passion. She excelled at both English and Western due to her confidence and bravery. She drags tires, walks over bridges, is nearly unflappable on the trail, and will jump anything. Over the course of our several month-long tenure together, I’ve never seen her spook.
Though we knew it from the beginning, Miss Moppet continued to show just how special she is. She walked into the show ring a 3-year-old with 60 days of training and walked out showing that while she might be a bit of a spitfire, she has nothing but potential for success in just about any arena. Since then, we have really spent a lot of time working with Miss Moppet to help refine her into the fantastic horse she was always meant to be. She will now happily pony other horses, ride out alone, go English or Western, jump logs, canter through open fields and genuinely wants to please in all of her work. We have numerous wonderful horses that range from semi-retired kid horses through performance horses, but Miss Moppet walked right out of her past as an un-started pregnant filly and directly into the entire rescue organization’s hearts.
Over 400 horses have passed through our doors, and each one has been a wonderful horse in his or her own way. Numerous have gone on to very successful second careers ranging from winning in the show ring to safely piloting the grandkids around the backyard. Miss Moppet, and the hundreds like her, are testaments to just how fantastic rescue horses can be!
Miss Moppet is now available for adoption through Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, a 501(c)(3) horse rescue located in Franktown, Colorado. She is looking for an experienced rider to help develop her into the champion we all see in her. If you are looking for a horse more akin to the semi-retired kid horse, we also have several that would love to teach your kids the ropes! Our adoption application can be found at: www.driftersheartsofhope.org. Please feel free to send us an email at [email protected]
Colleen Fitzpatrick is a volunteer rider/trainer and Board Member at Drifter’s Hearts of Hope. She rides alongside Dani Ross, fellow Board Member/Rider/Trainer. Drifter’s Hearts of Hope is a horse rescue and rehabilitation center that strives to circumvent the slaughter pipeline. Horses at our facility are rehabilitated, evaluated, trained and eventually adopted out to forever, loving homes.