Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rescuing Barbie by Killarney Sheffield


Rescuing Barbie

For those of you who may not know there is more to Killarney Sheffield, historical romance author, than meets the eye. For example did you know I am a former show rider, farrier, colt starter and riding coach? I no longer do any of that professionally, but I do still dabble in horses. In addition to breeding Appendix Quarter Horses, I often take in wild and/or abused horses to train and rehabilitate just for something to do. Today I would like to share with you the story of Barbie an abused mare I just rescued.

Barbie is an American Quarter Horse from Idaho USA. I was approached by her owner to take her after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour, spent a year in treatment and was finally given just a few months left to live. When I heard Barbie’s story I sat in my truck and cried tears of sorrow for this little mare. It seems she was halter trained as a two year old and had a very promising show career ahead of her. One day she was being difficult to catch (she is a timid mare so she could have been spooked). The man chased her into a barn and because she was frightened she refused to let him halter her. In anger he roped her by the neck and snubbed her head tight to a pole in the ground. She could not move or breathe and in her panic she fought for her life, injuring her one front knee. The man waited until she choked out and then untied the rope and when she fell to the ground pounced on her to halter her. I am assuming he probably beat her as well. Poor Barbie was then tossed out in a field injured and scared for the next two years until I came from Canada to pick her up. I brought her home and put her in a stall in my barn across from a quiet old mare for company and have been working with her every day.

The first day Barbie stood up against the back wall and refused to eat or drink. When I stepped into the stall she would throw her head and pin her ears threatening to hurt me. I would talk softly to her and leave feed and water. The second day I took her a small bit of oats in a pail. She refused to eat until I set it down and left the stall. The third day I was moved to tears when I entered the barn and she nickered at me! I was so excited about her greeting it was hard not to jump for joy and scare her. I entered the stall with the pail of oats and she took a couple steps out of her corner and ate out of the pail in my hands! It was a great day. The fourth day not only did she greet me with a nicker, but she had eaten all her hay from the night before. I entered the stall with her oats and she came right to me to eat out of the pail, and I managed to stroke her cheek on the sly with my hand in the pail.

The fifth day she greeted me and came to eat her grain. However, when I offered her a treat from my palm she pinned her ears and charged at me. I stood my ground and issued a firm “no!” She stopped inches from me, calmed down and finished her grain. Was I scared at the sight of a 1,000lb mare charging? You bet I was! I knew by her soft eye she would not hurt me. She was merely saying in her horsey way that I had entered her personal space and she wasn’t comfortable with it. An abused animal is the same as an abused child, her only intent is to protect herself and she wouldn’t harm me unless I harmed her. Now a neighbour came by and said he would have thrown the pail at her because she’s mean. This is where I stopped him and explained if Barbie was mean she had had endless chances to hurt me and not taken them, and that if I had thrown the pail at her she would have associated me with pain and fear. This would have destroyed all the work I had done to convince her I am safe and will not hurt her.

On day six I entered her stall and was brought to tears when Barbie gently lipped a treat from the palm of my hand for the first time, without pinning her ears and threatening me when I held it out to her. We are making progress! It is slow and sometimes bitter sweet, but baby steps and lots of love are what’s needed to teach a frightened, abused mare to love again. 

If you would like to follow along with daily updates and pictures of Barbie’s journey to discover love, please feel free to follow me on Facebook at Killarney Sheffield. 

Killarney Sheffield, because love makes you believe.
A Courtesan's Desires- 2013 Epic Ebook award finalist. Inventing Love- 2012 P&E best Steampunk winner. Love's Magic- 2013 The Great Romance Contest finalist & 2015 RONE nominee.  
Current releases from Crimson Romance: Through Gypsy Eyes.
Current releases from BooksWeLove: The Cracksman's Kiss, Stand & Deliver Your Love, To Love A Horseguard, The Courtesan, Sprockets, Silks & Savages, Love's Lies, Marie's Second Chance, Rags To Romance and Tween/teen YA series The Cowboy Capers.
Coming soon: Singed (sweet erotic romance) and Two-Twenty-Three (post apocalyptic romance)
Books available online world wide and in Coles, Chapter & Indigo stores across Canada.
Follow me: on Twitter at @authorkillarney, Facebook at Killarney Sheffield, on the web at