Past a nondescript chain-link gate off the side of a highway and then down a winding dirt road thickly lined with wild foliage, I made my way to the peaceful paddocks of Rancho Baaxal where rescued horses have found sanctuary, purpose and kindness.
Rey stole my attention immediately with his wild mane and soft eyes. Before being rescued, this gelding was used in bull fighting arena’s where he was tied up with wire so tight that it embedded itself in his cheek.
While his hindquarters still bear a faded scar from a close encounter with bull horns, Rey is now part of the Rancho Baaxal family where he has learned to trust humans again.
I stood quietly next to him with an extended hand (an invitation to smell me) and looked at the ground nearby to make myself less intimidating. He observed me and reached out his muzzle to sniff me before quickly pulling away - this horse has his reasons not to trust strangers easily.
In the jungle he was quiet, observant and steady - not at all flighty. We took him out solo and he was happy to walk along beside two humans.
Rey means “King” in Spanish and I can think of no horse more deserving of the name.