Rescued from the auction block last week and leaving his working life behind, a 15-year-old Belgian draft horse named Charlie has found a new home on the Vineyard. On Monday, Charlie rolled off the 6 a.m. ferry after an all-night journey from Pennsylvania to meet his new owners, Julie and Dave Brewer of Edgartown.

“We believe he was an Amish draft horse,” Mrs. Brewer said Tuesday, on her way off-Island to buy hay bags, rubber mats and other supplies for the new arrival. Charlie has most likely served a utilitarian purpose, so he is not used to being loved or touched, she said. “So we are slowly introducing him.

“He’s extremely thin,” she added. “He is adapting to having as much hay as he wants. He watches and he plays with it. He’s not sure what to do with it. We can tell he’s definitely been deprived.”

Charlie is "loving the loving" at his new home in Edgartown. — Mark Lovewell

But she added that “He’s loving the loving.”

Just a few days ago, Charlie was penned up with 28 other horses and mules, waiting either to be adopted or to board a truck that would take them to Mexico to be slaughtered. Mrs. Brewer discovered him through Coast to Coast Draft Horse Connection, a nonprofit group that helps provide new homes for draft horses.

Those 28 horses and mules had become known by the group as the “Christmas Miracle” horses. As of Sunday, they all had been taken off the kill lot and placed in new homes or in Coast to Coast’s quarantine locations.

“I had seen Charlie on the website, but someone else had put a hold on him,” Mrs. Brewer said. But that person’s references didn’t pan out, and Charlie was placed back on the auction block on Christmas Day. A pair of mules that Mrs. Brewer and her friend Annie Parsons had originally hoped to adopt had already found a home.

A series of coincidences convinced Mrs. Brewer that Charlie was destined for the Vineyard. Her father in law, who died Oct. 3, was also named Charlie, and had kept a large draft horse. Christmas Day was also the birthday of Mrs. Brewer’s father in law. She consulted her husband.

Charlie the horse and partner at the barn Annie Parsons. — Mark Lovewell

“I’m like, this is too much of a coincidence,” she said Tuesday. “What do you want to do?” With six children, she said, it wouldn’t be an easy step financially. “And he is a large draft, so we know he is going to eat a lot.”

But within days, the Brewers had made arrangements through Coast to Coast to have a driver in Pennsylvania load Charlie into a trailer and drive him to the Vineyard. “He went Sunday afternoon, picked him up and got him out of the kill pen and then drove all night and he was on the first boat Monday morning,” Mrs. Brewer said.

She was waiting at the dock when the truck and trailer rolled off the ferry. She couldn’t see Charlie right away, but back at the farm, the driver opened the side door of the trailer so she could see his face. “He definitely was wide-eyed and sweaty and scared,” Mrs. Brewer said. But he lowered his head and they backed him out of the trailer.

“Both my husband and I were standing there. He just turned his head right into my husband and then turned his head into my side, and was like, okay, I’m probably safe.”

Charlie is now in quarantine on the family’s property across from Morning Glory Farm, which the family shares with Ms. Parsons, a partner in the adoption, who had first alerted the Brewers to the Christmas Miracle horses.

If all goes well, in two or three weeks, Charlie will find good company in the family’s chickens and roosters, as well as Bucky, a black Dales pony, two mules named Niles and Cabby and four pigs. Following the natural practices that Mrs. Brewer and Ms. Parsons prefer, he will not wear shoes. The property is layered in hay so that the horses and mules can move constantly, which supports their feet and general health, Mrs. Brewer said.

Surrounding the farm are trails that connect to Pennywise Path and the state forest. Belgian draft horses are bred for working, Mrs. Brewer said, but they also are known to be quiet and calm, and often make good trail horses.

“It’s just going to take a bit for him to transition and know that he’s safe, that nothing more is going to happen to him.”