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When Avery Carlson rescued Emma from a slaughterhouse in 2017 she was covered in burns and was underweight. Despite her unfortunate condition, Carlson immediately fell in love with the bay mare.
With the help of Emma’s previous owner, who helped rescue her, Carlson was able to take Emma home in March 2017. With lots of patience, dedication, and hard work, Emma was on the road to recovery.
Carlson got her first horse when she was just eight years old. At 11, she was competing at hunter/jumper shows and bringing home top ribbons.
Horses continued to be a large part of Carlson’s life. In addition to showing and training, she started to rescue horses. She began rescuing and rehoming horses from feedlots, helping as many as she could.
By only 18 years old, she already saved 20 horses from terrible fates, giving them all a new outlook on life. Though all those horses have meant something special to Carlson, she formed a close bond with Emma.
Carlson first came across Emma on a Facebook page for a kill pen in Oklahoma. She knew she immediately had to do something to help her.
Emma already had her burns when she was bought by the kill buyer at the auction. No one knows how she got them, though some think it could be from a lightning strike, wildfire, or even abuse. Despite how she got them, she received treatment once under Carlson’s care.
Emma spent over a year in intensive care to heal her severe burns. At first, her burns were still serious wounds, even oozing in spots.
Fortunately, Carlson’s father, Jim Carlson, is a veterinarian. He helped Emma along her long road to recovery, including using cold laser treatments to cut back on inflammation and pain, as well as cream to soothe the burns.
Healing Emma took time, care, and dedication. Carlson was there for Emma the entire time, never giving up on the mare.
Here is a video of Emma’s treatment routine:
Once Emma’s burns had healed up and she was a healthy weight, Carlson began starting her under saddle. Emma excelled at both groundwork and riding.
According to Carlson, Emma has a strong personality and loves it when people look at her.
Once it was obvious that Emma was ready for a challenge, Carlson began prepping her for showing. It was soon clear that Emma was ready to hit the show ring.
After months of training, Carlson took Emma to her first show in Harvard, Illinois.
Despite her rough past, Emma shined in the show ring and took home a blue ribbon. The horse once bound for slaughter now had her first win under saddle.
After such a successful first show, Carlson plans to continue to compete with Emma. She hopes Emma’s story will inspire others and show people just what a rescue horse can do.
Sadly, many horses at auctions don’t get the same happy ending Emma did. Carlson plans to continue to raise awareness for rescue horses and continue to help as many as she can.
She hopes one day to see a permanent change for rescue horses, so kill buyers no longer make a profit from these beautiful creatures.
Here is a lovely video of Carlson riding Emma at a horse show:
Follow Carlson and Emma’s story here on their Facebook page.