When a horse named Mochi was rescued from “deplorable conditions” near Hood River, there was only one word to describe her personality—aggressive. The rescue horse had been hurt by humans in the past, and it was no surprise that her experiences had shaped her behavior. But despite the horse’s difficult nature, Silent Wave Horse Rescue wasn’t willing to give up.
The non-profit horse rescue saved Mochi from her life of pain and neglect, and their next step was to help the horse move on to a happier, safer, and all-around better life. To do that, they needed help. They needed a trainer that was willing to work with the aggressive horse and help her learn to trust people. Silent Wave has a team of regular trainers they rely on to rehabilitate their rescue horses, but none were as good a fit as 10-year-old Karington Mershon. Karington bonded with Mochi immediately, and the story of how they overcame challenges together is truly incredible.
Karington has been riding horses since before she could walk. Her mom is also a horse trainer, and the young cowgirl’s passion for horses deepened the moment she met Mochi. She told KGW8,
“I liked her from the beginning. Because she was aggressive, yes, but I could see it in her that she could be sweet.”
Mochi Stats:~4 year old QH type mare14.1 hands Current on vaccines, worming, dental and chiropractic work Loads, ties, clips, bathes, easy to catch, clean in her stall and pastures well with other horses
Karington knew training an aggressive horse would be a challenge, but she took to Mochi as her personal project. With advice and encouragement from her mom, the young horse trainer spent hours working with Mochi both on the ground and in the saddle. Her biggest obstacle was showing the rescue horse that not all humans are bad. She slowly had to prove to Mochi that she wasn’t going to hurt her and they could be friends.
What started as training soon turned into something much more special. Not only did Karington gain Mochi’s trust, she also formed a powerful bond. With time, Mochi let go of her aggressive behavior. She started acting like the sweet horse Karington had seen all along. Lisa Nueberger, the director at Silent Wave Horse Rescue, said,
“I never fathomed a 10-year-old trainer, but what she did with Mochi was phenomenal.”
With hard work, dedication, and a lot of compassion, Karington helped Mochi transform into a calm, friendly horse that is easy to ride. Karington was proud of the progress she had made, but she also knew their time together was coming to an end. She did her job as a trainer, and it was soon time for Silent Wave to auction off Mochi and send her to a permanent home.
It broke Karington’s heart to see the horse she loved leave, but she also knew she was doing the right thing. She said it would be good for Mochi, and it was all worth it.
While Karington was prepared to say a tough goodbye, her friends at Silent Wave had a different plan. Nueberger and the others could clearly see the emotional bond between Mochi and their youngest trainer. They knew that friendships like that didn’t happen often.
Despite receiving high offers for Mochi, the horse rescue made a big decision. They set up a decoy bidder in the audience, and when Mochi’s turn came, the bidder played her part and pretended to buy the horse. But when she walked up to Mochi and Karington to “claim her horse,” she instead handed Karington her paddle and said,
“By the way, she’s yours.”
Karington broke into happy tears at the realization that she didn’t have to say goodbye to her best friend. The entire audience cheered, and even the burly auctioneer had to take a break because he had “dust in his eyes.”
With Mochi as her heart horse, Karington plans on continuing to work with rescue horses. She has already proven herself to be a skilled trainer, and she wants to use her talents to help as many horses as possible.
Featured image via Facebook/Silent Waves Horse Rescue