By Natasha Enegren
It’s like clockwork; the last Wednesday of every month, animals all around Lewiston, Idaho, are trailered to the livestock auction. Scared horses are thrown into pens with other horses in various conditions. All horses are sold to the highest bidder with most going to meat buyers.
In February of 2021, one tiny, scared Morgan mare named Valinor Andromeda (aka Andie) was placed into one of the holding pens at the auction. Little did the sweet pony know that her saviors were just on the other side of the sale pen doors, just waiting to outbid the meat buyers. Marion and Royce Nelson, on behalf of their rescue organization, Nellie Nelson, were able to secure the winning bid for the little Morgan.
That day, the mare’s life would change forever. Marion and Royce brought Andie back to their home in Careywood, Idaho, where they gave her a good meal and a warm place to stay. A few days later, I saw a video of Andie on Marion’s rescue Facebook page. I was immediately drawn to Andie. I was definitely not looking for a new horse, but I did ask Marion if I could meet her and maybe go for a little ride. It was love at first sight and you know what they say about Morgans picking their people. I felt like the chosen one. I just had to have her!
She was a nervous pony but always so willing. She took to dressage very quickly. I took Andie to her first schooling show about three months after she was rescued, and she was amazing! She even won the class. We worked very hard that summer. I gained her trust, and we built a strong partnership. However, we weren’t perfect. We always had at least one little mistake in our tests. We even found ourselves cantering in the middle of the arena when we should have been going along the rail. Those dressage letters can be kind of scary, you know.
We took the judge’s comments to heart and kept working hard throughout the summer. I fell more and more in love with my chocolate pony every day, and I could tell she was trusting me more as well. I decided to take her on a two-day adventure to California to compete in the West Coast National Dressage Pony Cup.
All of our hard work paid off, all of the earlier little mistakes were gone, and she became the star of the show. She was Champion at Intro Level and Reserve Champion at Training Level, and even received the highest score (74.2%) of the entire show in our Adult Amateur division. She had so many ribbons at the awards ceremony, they dwarfed her small stature, but we were both so proud taking our victory lap with all the ribbons.
I am so proud of the partnership we have developed in such a short time. I learned to be patient and let Andie tell me when she was ready to try new things. She went from being a nervous, fire-breathing dragon who spooked at imaginary monsters in every corner of the arena, to being willing to do anything and everything I ask of her because she now trusts me completely and knows I will take care of her. We are true partners, and I’m excited to see where this adventure takes us. I am so happy Andie chose me and, even though I didn’t need another horse, I would choose her over and over again!