Sunday, October 01, 2006


I like Unit the best!

We had a special visitor at THE FARM yesterday. Yah, I know we were "closed to the public", but I'm learning that this healing process isn't really something that you can schedule. I try to schedule public hours and private hours but I'm finding that when the need arises you open the gates (or barns, in our case!), regardless of what the calendar or the clock says.

So, I had been talking via email to a young lady about her special friend. This special friend of hers was having a birthday. And the life of this special friend is a bit scary right now. There's a family being divided and all the changes that brings with it. Plus there's the constant activity of young children in this family. Well, anyway, I just opened the barns.

Saturday here at THE FARM was going to be a busy day. Volunteers were coming over with their halters, carrot sticks, and lead ropes to practice Game 1 - The Friendly Game - of the Parelli Natural Horsemanship™ Method. So I fed at 12 noon so that all the horses would be easily accessible and with full tummies. That last part was to try to get a relaxed disposition from everybody. You know, how after you eat dinner all you want to do is sleep? Same idea only with the horses....

And a St. Croix Valley Master Gardener was visiting THE FARM for the first time to see if she could help us with our Memory Beds. Could she ever! We have Ima waiting to be adorned and now Lady-the-Dog all ready for decoration. And of course there is Jerry, the Roan Horse just waiting for the "Grand Plan". I must keep you reading, though, so I'll fill you in - with pictures - on what that plan is a bit later!

And then an Internet auction bidder was stopping out to pick up her treasure that she had won from our Open Barn Auction. And oh yeah, there was this lady with her special friend coming out. I was going to be a busy little girl, eh?

Well, the volunteers came and were just as they always are - willing to flow with whatever was happening and very self-sufficient. Some of the horses were taken to the corral and brushed and loved and The Friendly Game was going on all over! I actually think that ol' Cole may have fallen asleep with Famous Barb! But I saw the process of connecting and quality quiet time happening and so I left the corral. They sure didn't need me. But I must say, I was pleased and encouraged at the progress that I was seeing. These horses and these volunteers were building trust and I was smiling at the sight of it!

The Master Gardener heard a few stories and not only did she still want to help us with our Memory Beds, but she also mentioned that she may want to volunteer! I enjoyed our visit. She seemed like a very nice person - I'm hoping we get to know each other as we "plant along".

Then the van from Minnesota pulled in and it was time! The friend and her special friend came over and the visit started. You see, it was the 8th birthday of this special friend last Thursday. A young lady who loved horses. She told me she had a whole pile of them at home! And she told me this as she was coming to me from behind her friends legs. Shy with this big voiced woman asking her where she got those purple lips? Could it be from that sucker she had in her hands? I'm a bit loud and I know I can be intimidating to some children. So, I just let our relationship develop and trusted that she was feeling safe behind the legs of her friend.

We met Josephina and Beauty and Babee Joy and Jeri-Ann. Babee Joy, so far, was the favorite of this little girl's sister. Then we went down to the other barn and we met April and Jimmer and Lanna and PONY! and Gracie. And like once before, I felt I was running out of horses and this little 8 year old girl really wasn't connecting. Only this time, Frances Andrew wasn't here to save me! I spent some time on Bonita's story and Miss Bette and Cole and Blaise, but this 8 year old girl was still kind of just hanging around.

Then in came Unit - flying in to the barn! Causing sawdust to go up in the air and the ears to go back on most of the other horses! Graceful and quiet Unit was NOT! She bolted around the barn causing a general upset and then noticed the Humans! Food! Guests! Food! You could see it in her eyes!

Over to the gates Unit came and immediately checked us all out for food. No food! How could this be??? But then Unit found our 8 year old guest. And Unit stood still. Now that, in itself, is magic! That Unit would stand still for anything other than food! But still she stood while this little girl "found" her and pet her nose and smiled.

"I like Unit the best", she said. "Unit?" I asked. You see, no one had ever chosen Unit before. "Why not Unit?" the friend asked.

I explained that Unit was young and a bit lacking in social skills and rammy and quick to move and hard to entertain and really sometimes a bit dangerous - not that she intends to hurt you, but sometimes she just does in her ramming around. And she typically doesn't stand still long enough for anyone to really get to know her. She's a touch wild, I explained, although I like to interpret that wildness as a zest for life!

The friend looked at me and asked, "Who are you describing? Unit or my friend here?"

Then I understood. This special little girl, so free and "zesty" was the mirror of Unit. And Unit the mirror of her. That's the connection. Unit has her purpose here at Refuge Farms and it is this little girl. "I like Unit the best", she said again. And yes, little one, Unit likes you the best, too.

Magic. It happens. And I can't predict it or if I do get so brave I'm never right. I see "it" happen here every day. A little horse relating to a little girl. Standing still for a little girl like she was a bucket of feed. And the little girl picking blades of grass to feed the little horse. Quiet. The both of them! A little girl and a little horse just meant for each other.

It will be pure joy to watch these two grow together! What a present to me that turned out to be! Once again, reaffirming for me why we do what we do. Quietly rescuing. Healing. Sharing. And healing some more.

"I like Unit the best," she said. And I am pleased and proud and grateful for the opportunity to share Unit with you, little girl. Happy Birthday!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

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