On Saturday night, July 2nd, we, along with our house mate and two friends (who came along for the fun and to take turns driving), once again traveled down to our friends’ place in Kompong Thom.
Early Sunday morning we started out on our second horse finding mission, taking Hym with us. We picked up Da, the young man who helped us find Khzak and Jaral, in Kompong Cham and he began taking us to see all of the ‘seh thom’ (big horses) in his area. Unfortunately, most of these were still too small. Some were the right size, but always had some negative feature such as sore hips, swollen legs, sore backs, or just plain untrained. So we began looking further afield; all the while Da’s phone was ringing hot as his contacts informed him of horses he could show us. We went clear to the Mekong river, crossing it on a ferry, searching on the other side with no success and so took a return ferry ride. We drove back to Da’s village to look at more horses.
Night fell and it was 8pm when we finally gave up, dropped Da back at his home and drove to the Kompomg Cham city to sleep on the verandah of the SDA church there. Before we drifted off to sleep under the mosquito net, Kat and I prayed again as we had countless times that day. We weren’t discouraged, but certainly wondered about what God was up to. Anyway, we knew He had everything in control, including the whereabouts of our next horse.
In the morning (Monday) we picked up Da and were off again. We saw 2 horses that were possibilities. The first was a 4 yr old stallion, pulling a cart, named Dragon. He was an ok height, but he had some serious hoof problems. The hoof wall on his right foreleg had peeled off really high and he was a little lame. We knew the hoof would heal with proper care and trimming, but it would take time. He was also rather small through the loins.
The second horse was bigger. They called him the mean horse, so we nicknamed him Diablo. He was a brown stallion about 4 yrs. It was so sad to look at him. He is kept in a little stall, 3m x 3m and only taken out 1 or 2 times a month. It’s no wonder he is “mean” his owner never brushes him and they have to tie up bis legs to do anything with him. As we watched him, he never tried to hurt his owner, but did threaten and attempt to bite. Again with time, these behaviours could be turned around, but it would be a lot of work and Kat will be alone during the holidays.
With Dragon and Diablo in our minds as possibilities, we looked at a few more. Then Da told us that was it. He didn’t know of any more horses to show us. It was time to make some decisions. Kat and I bowed our heads in the rear compartment of Syeha’s car and prayed again. We decided that we would go bargain for Diablo and if they accepted our price that would mean God wanted us to have this horse. Kat and I held our breaths as ‘the boys’ went out to make the offer. God answered. They didn’t accept. So we didn’t buy.
It was past lunch time by now. Maybe, we figured, God didn’t want us to get a horse this trip, but had brought us down here for another purpose. We had a peace in our hearts about the whole thing. We thanked Da, paid him and dropped him off at his house.
So what next? Do we just go home or return to our friends house and send back three of our companions who needed to be elsewhere, then continue on to the Vietnam border? Undecided we pulled out of Da’s driveway and headed back down the highway toward Kompong Thom. Well, we didn’t get very far. Approximately 600m down the road from Da’s house we pulled to a stop on the opposite side of the highway to a house that had 4 horses tied up at the front. They looked small, but maybe the owner would know of others.
The owner was a horse dealer who buys and sells horses from Vietnam. He had a tall mare and her 1 day old colt, her 10 month old filly, who were tied under the house and another filly and 2 three year old mares whom we had seen out the front. The tall mare was too expensive, and her conformation was not the best, but the two 3 year olds were both quiet, ridden and handled by his children, and they didn’t try to bite once. They both had a round, broad build. All of these things attracted our attention. One of them, a pretty, golden dun, was the tallest of the two and this confirmed our choice.
The owner wanted 1700 USD for her, but Seyha, our friend and driver, bargained him down to 1550 USD. God is good! Thinking about this later, Kat and I reasoned that if we had seen her first, we would have liked her, but probably wouldn’t have bought her because she wasn’t quite the size we were after. We wouldn’t have appreciated her as much if we had not seen all those other horses first. Also, if we had gone to see her, then left, and then come back later, we could never have gotten that price for her. The sellers really don’t like it if you leave and return. They automatically add 100 USD to the price for not buying the horse on the spot, which is kind of what happened with Diablo… And so we found out, as we always do, that God had it under control the whole time.
As we drove back to Kompong Thom that evening, the first rain of the weekend starting to spit on the windshield, the papers signed saying she was ours in our hands, Kat and I named her Shiyra, which means in Hebrew ‘to sing’ or ‘praise’. We certainly do praise God for this new blessing to our growing family!