Megan Hems watched carefully Wednesday afternoon as Monty and Merle entered the ring at the Mounted Police Competition in Hemlock.
It was the first competition for Monty the horse and Merle Nozzi, his handler. Both are part of the Monroe County Mounted Patrol.
To Hems, it was huge because not too long ago, Monty was simply waiting to die.
“He was at auction in what’s called the kill pen, which is just [where] the throw away horses go.”
Hems said no one wanted him.
” He was totally feral. He was full of worms and was sick,” she said.
But that didn’t stop her from rescuing him.
“I rescued him in 2015 in September,” she said.
Hems, who had named the horse Cash at that point, wasn’t about to stop there. She tried turning him into her rodeo horse, but fate soon had other plans for them.
One day at Lollypop Farm, Hems was demonstrating barrel racing, when she and cash ran into Nozzi.
“A large metal sign fell over at the demonstration, which is scary to horses, and the mounted patrol horse that was there actually spooked, but Cash didn’t. He kind of just stood there and looked at it. Merle looked at me and I looked him and it was kind of like that moment we were thought, oh here we go.”
Cash soon became Monty and a proud member of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
“He walked in the door day one able to do the job,” Nozzi said. “He was willing to please.”
That eagerness brought them to the competition at the fairgrounds.
Hems said it didn’t matter if he brought home a ribbon or not.
“He is worth something, you know? Somebody threw him away at some point and just for him to be here proving he’s so much more than that is awesome.”
Monty and Nozzi surprised her yet again when they took home a fourth place ribbon.
“I’m not a mom of children, I’m a mom of horses and I have never had such a proud horse mom moment in my life,” Hems said.
Monty and Nozzi are headed to the national Mounted Police competition in September.