A horse rescue based in Mississippi was given a unique opportunity to not only save the life of a 30-year-old pony from being slaughtered but to also help a loving grandfather give the best gift to his young grandson.
Rocking R Ranch and Rescue is a family-run rescue based in Prentiss, Mississippi, that was founded by two different families. Their mission is to rescue horses before they are sent off to be slaughtered by going to livestock auctions and biding for horses that “kill buyers” are trying to purchase.
Jennifer Aylesworth, Vice President of the rescue, told Liftable, a brand of The Western Journal, that Rocking R Ranch and Rescue doesn’t just rescue horses but they also take in donkeys, mules and mini-horses.
“We rehab them and find them a new home where they are placed under contract,” she told Liftable. “If they cannot remain at their new home they are to come back to the rescue. We have many permanent residents as well that are not considered adoptable.”
In January 2019, Aylesworth said that they had been notified about an older pony that would be up for bid so she and her mother attended the auction just to make sure that the 30-year-old pony would not be purchased by a kill buyer.
“The very old, the very young, and the untrained are the most at risk equine at an auction,” she explained.
Rocking R Ranch rescuers know how to distinguish a kill buyer from a private buyer and only bid on an animal if it saves them from being slaughtered.
As they were waiting for the auction to begin, Aylesworth’s mother began talking to an older gentleman and his grandson who were also visiting the older pony.
The grandfather shared that his grandson had ridden the pony earlier and had fallen in love and he was going to try to buy the pony for the young boy.
Unfortunately, soon after the auction began, a kill buyer raised the bid for the pony past an amount that the grandfather was able to afford.
“We watched crushed, as his grandfather stopped bidding,” the rescue later wrote on Facebook. “He said I have to stop. So we bid, and then a few bids later he bid again, and then he stopped. He said that’s all I can do. The little boy didn’t complain or whine, but had tears in his eyes.”
Once the grandfather had stopped bidding, Aylesworth and her mother bid to ensure the pony’s safety; they ultimately won.
They then turned to the sweet grandfather and said, “Sir, if that baby wants that pony, you can adopt him from us.” He immediately went outside to call his wife and tell her the exciting news.
The young boy went up to Aylesworth later and thanked her with a hug; she made him promise to take good care of his new pony, to which he agreed.
Aylesworth said that they have talked to the family since the sweet incident and that everyone is doing well.
“We have numerous senior horses at our farms. Those horses would be so blessed to have a child love them the way this little boy already loved this pony,” Aylesworth explained her motive for helping the man adopt the pony for his grandchild.
“That is our wish for every horse that we rescue. That we can help them find their family. So there his family was, standing there ready to love him. There was no need for the pony to come home with us, he needed to go home with that family.”
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