Essay for application to Union College 2009
Written by Katie Motler who adopted Popeye
The noise was unbearable: horses were packed so tightly around me I could not move, but that was the least of my worries. I would do anything not to move. My hooves were so overgrown that I could hardly stand; I felt so weak from malnutrition I thought I was going to collapse. I could not remember the last time I was given any food, but that was not even the worst of it. I was being taken to a horse’s worst nightmare: the slaughterhouse. They were going to hang me by my back legs, knock me out with a stun gun and then cut me up while I was still alive.
I just could not understand how someone could do this to me, a beautiful Appaloosa who had given one hundred and ten percent to everything I tried. Scared and confused, I was too weak to fight and knew I would never win. I must have had guardian angels on my side that day.
Just as I was about to give up, I was ripped off the trailer as fast I was thrown on. I could not get over the joy I felt to be taken away from death’s door, but just when I felt like it was going to be all right, I was on another trailer and about to depart. Understandably, I was scared; I had been beaten and starved all my life, so I just could not trust the humans when they said they were taking me to a better place.
I was finally unloaded, and when I stepped off the trailer I was amazed. There was a plethora of soft green blades under my feet and the other horses laughed at me when I asked what it was. Eddie and Nancy, the people who saved my life, told me it was grass to eat, and boy were they right; it was delicious. Yet the grass was not even the best part. Eddie and Nancy took me to a stall that had straw in it so that I would not have to stand on the hard ground. Clean water was given to me to drink and hay to eat. Even though I was thankful to Eddie and Nancy, I just was too scared to let them come close. I had been abused my whole life so it was a natural reaction for me to flinch and run when they approached me.
Eddie and Nancy worked with me really hard, spending hours every day just brushing me. I was finally learning that certain humans could be trusted. After they worked with me for a few weeks, they thought I was ready to find a permanent home. I trusted them this time when they told me everything was going to be all right.
I was taken to a small farm in East Greenbush, 4M’s Farm. Everybody that lives there has a name that starts with the letter “M”. I liked the farm as soon as I stepped off the trailer. There were many people there waiting to meet me; that made me a little nervous, but they all seemed to be the loving and caring. I was taken to my stall, which already had a name plate nailed to the door; I could not believe it: after six years I was finally given a name. They called me “My Man Popeye” or just Popeye for short. I loved the name. It made me feel loved and I liked that feeling.
I was only there for a week before they stared to work with me to see what I could do. I was nervous, but since they fed me every day I learned to trust them. There was one girl, Katie, who fell in love with me the minute I got off the trailer. At that point, she was only fourteen and was still learning, too, but I think that is why I loved her in return because we were teaching one another. I found myself enjoying Katie’s company and getting excited when I saw her being dropped off at the barn. Katie worked really hard with me; after a year at my new home, I was at normal weight and blessed with all the energy in the world.
In 2007, I was named Horse of the Year by Eddie and Nancy and The Crane Mountain Horse Rescue facility. It was an unexpected accomplishment for me, the horse that once was destined for the meat house. Still, Katie rode me and taught me all sorts of skills. After about a year and a half, Katie brought me to my first horse show. I could not believe I was there with all the “expensive show horses.” it was better than a dream. Katie and I won our first blue ribbon that day in a class of about eight people. Katie was so excited she got off in the middle of the show ring and gave me a big hug. She was so proud, but it was the least I could do because she had done so much for me. Our wins did not stop there, though, because we went on to many other shows, never coming home without a rainbow of ribbons in our arms.
Katie and I have made a great team, achieving our highest accomplishment in August of 2009 as then the Duchess County Fair Junior Novice Grand Champions. Our wins never get old; Katie is always very excited and gives me a lot of credit. However, I have Katie to thank for all my wins. Without her hard work, dedication, optimism and patience I would not be the grand champion I am today. Katie is an amazing young adult; she will take the many skills she has learned working with me and apply them to doing her very best beyond the show ring.