Horatio is a lucky pony.
With large dark eyes peeking over his stall door, Horatio stood still and watched as former Sandy Hook resident Sarah Rosado glanced his way. Having been with her in Bethel for the last several weeks, she said, “He is gaining weight, that’s good.”
Ms Rosado first saw Horatio online on March 12, “late at night,” she said in a recent e-mail.
The following day she started fundraising “to purchase him from auction and bring him into rescue.” She was hoping to raise $600, and received “more than asked for,” she wrote.
On Sunday, March 16, she picked him up from New Jersey.
Unsure of how or why the underweight pony ended up at the New Jersey auction, Ms Rosado, who runs For The Animals Rescue (FTAR) Inc, had been determined to purchase the pony and save his life. She received the financial help she needed from acquaintances, including Newtown resident Kylee Gioiele.
“Sarah reached out to her friends asking for help. As an animal lover myself, when I heard the sad story about Horatio, I knew I had to donate,” said Ms Gioiele.
Once she learned that Ms Rosado was successful in saving Horatio, Ms Gioiele said, “My heart melted. The sickly pictures of him broke my heart. I was delighted when I heard Sarah raised the money through her friends to rescue him and was going to pick him up.
“This was going to turn into a happy ending for the poor pony,” Ms Gioiele added. “I know Sarah will nurse him back to health and most important, he will be happy.”
Ms Rosado described Horatio: “He is a total love bug, pocket pony sugar cube who loves his food and whinnies in delight when he hears me coming to feed. He has been amazing with my young children —3 years and 18 months — and is very friendly with other ponies and dogs.”
She said he is “curious but respectful and will make a perfect small child’s first pony.”
So far, Horatio is doing well. In the barn that Horatio shares with Ms Rosado’s two sheep and a miniature horse, she opened his stall on April 5, and encouraged him to step out. Stroking his mane, she recalled first seeing him.
“When I looked at him he was so skinny, but such a good boy.” Her goal is to “get him better.” Ms Rosado only recently moved to Bethel but maintains a Newtown property where Horatio will soon be relocated.
Speaking quietly to the pony, who was shy about leaving his stall, she said, “We’ll find you a place of your own.”
Guessing that he had not been fed prior to arriving at the auction, she patted his back, feeling his knobby spine while leading him into a fenced backyard.
“He is still so skinny,” she said. His mane has also fallen to one side of his neck — the flesh and tissue that supported its usual position down the center had depleted to the point where his “crest fell over,” she said.
What is her plan? “Feed him, feed him, feed him,” she said.
Horatio wandered a few feet away from Ms Rosado and nosed at the grass. Watching him, she tried to describe his personality.
“He loves his food,” said Ms Rosado. Having been with him for only the last several weeks, she said, “He’s a pretty chill dude.
“In horse terms, he’s a babysitter,” she added, a perfect candidate for a petting zoo. “He is sweet,” Ms Rosado said.
Hoping that Horatio will be “fat and happy” in coming months, Ms Rosado anticipates he will be ready for adoption by late June, which is also the time she will move her rescue animals, including several dogs, to Newtown.
She is currently looking to raise about $4,000 to replace fencing and reseed the field with quality hay seed at FTAR’s dedicated rescue barn in Newtown.
“The fence is very old, with many of the posts leaning over and the rails are breaking,” she said.