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Little cowgirl, big heart: 10-year-old horse trainer receives the gift of a lifetime

A Washington horse rescue came together to make a 10-year-old horse trainer's dream come true.

WHITE SALMON, Wash. — Karington Mershon is quite the little cowgirl, but there is nothing small about her love for horses. At just 10 years old she is a bonafide horse trainer.

"You can tell them anything and they won't judge you. They're like a best friend," Karington said.

Though Mershon had been riding horses since before she could walk, she had not trained a horse before she met Mochi. She saw something special in her.

“I liked her from the beginning,” she said. “Because she was aggressive, yes, but I could see it in her that she could be sweet.”

Mochi was rescued from deplorable conditions in Hood River before she came to Mershon through Silent Wave Horse Rescue. It is an area non-profit that saves abused, neglected and slaughter-bound equines before readying them for adoption.

“The need is thousand-fold of what we can do or any other horse rescues, but we're trying, and it really is one horse at a time,” Silent Wave Horse Rescue Director Lisa Nueberger said.

It is such an overwhelming problem that Nueberger cannot take all the rescue horses in. She relies on other trainers like Mershon and her mom Ashely to help.

“I never fathomed a 10-year-old trainer, but what she did with Mochi was phenomenal,” Nueberger said. “The horse comes with fear and so she has to first get the horse to trust her, which is a long process for a child.”

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Mershon poured her heart and soul into making Mochi a calm, charismatic horse who is a joy to ride. However, with the success in training comes time to say goodbye. Mochi was ready to be auctioned off to a new home.

“I definitely was in tears at some point because we did have that special bond, but I knew it would be good for he and that's why I did the whole thing for her,” Mershon said.

But fate, otherwise known as her friends at Silent Wave Horse Rescue, stepped in.

“During the event we saw the emotional connection that Karington had with Mochi and we just couldn't do it. And we had high offers for Mochi, very high,” Nueberger said.

Come auction day they set up a decoy bidder, which led Mershon to believe that her beloved Mochi had been sold. That is until that fake bidder brought Mershon the paddle and said, "By the way, she's yours."

“I broke into happy tears,” Mershon said.

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“The whole audience breaks down. And the funny thing is the auctioneer, who is a big strong cowboy dude, walks out of the ring and says, 'I need to go to the bathroom real quick. I've got dust in my eyes,'” Nueberger said.

This is just the beginning for this little cowgirl with a big heart.  She hopes to continue honing her training skills to save more horses from an uncertain future.

“It makes me feel real good that maybe I can do this in the future again and help some more horses and just have fun with it, because this is a fun challenge. There's nothing bad about it,” Mershon said.

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