As I took my aged mare from her stall for this woman to trim, I began talking about her condition. As I recall it someone asked about her age and there were nods of recognition about old horses and hard keepers but their acknowledgment alone was not enough for me to grasp that this mare's weight was anything but what Panowicz had implied.
Maybe it was their response about the mare that allowed me to find the courage to disclose the story that had brought all five of these strangers to my farm. Explaining Kelly Panowicz claimed Aana's condition would cause my entire herd to be seized, this farrier asked what county Kelly was referring to. There was a tone in her voice that said something was amiss but it was just one more small clue that went right over my head
When I named Thurston County, the farrier exclaimed that was a bald-faced lie. Living in that county herself, she said they don't even seize horses they should, let alone take entire herds because of one horse and they sure wouldn't take horses that looked as good as the old mare I was currently holding while she was trimmed.
To prove her point the woman told me about some horses she passes by every day, a busy street corner that Animal Control drives by regularly too. She claimed the horses living there were emaciated and Thurston County was doing nothing for those horses. The horses had been living on that busy street corner for years with no evidence that AC has done anything to help them, let alone seize them.
From there she turned her attention to Bey Aana and the horses nearby that she could see. The woman pointed out the glistening coats, bright eyes and expressive faces saying "These horses are not sick......starving horses are sick and look like it. These horses are healthy and happy. That is easy to see."
"Who was this woman?" she went on.
I couldn't even get an answer out. The questions just kept on coming.
"What did she gain from telling you that? Did she leave here with a horse?"
As I nodded my affirmative answer, the woman shook her head in disgust. "Tell me she didn't get registration papers too!"
Of course I couldn't deny it. Panowicz had left here with signed registration papers.
All four horse women were obviously disturbed by what they had just learned. The woman who was the farrier did the majority of the talking but the others would join in as they relayed how they felt about what Kelly Panoweicz had done here.
For the first time I was hearing words like unethical, immoral and exploitative. These women were convinced Kelly had taken advantage of my poor health and my concern for my horses solely for the purpose of financial gain.
Believe it or not, it was hard for me to understand this. It just did not compute. I heard their words but they were so diametrically opposed to what I had been manipulated to believe I just couldn't take it in.
I heard their outrage like it was some kind of foreign language. Instead of finally seeing the exploitation of the past week for what it was, I told these women's about what Crystal Baker had said about the horses like it was some kind of proof that Kelly's behavior had been appropriate.
I did not tell them the things Crystal had said about the media, the twins and my reputation being destroyed. I cannot tell you why. I don't know if it was fear of exposure as Crystal had suggested I needed to avoid or because it didn't support what Kelly had said. Regardless its omission probably influenced their reaction to Crystal's words and maybe motives.
These women could not surmise why Crystal had reinforced what Kelly had said but they were convinced she had something to gain from her behavior. Just because it was not obvious did not mean there was nothing behind her behavior, of that they were certain.
Just as their outrage at Kelly's behavior seemed off base to me, I didn't see that Baker was up to no good. The only thing that seemed to be sinking in was maybe, just maybe, my horses were not in trouble after all.
To be continued......