Monday, September 14, 2009


There Is Magic In These Barns

In the past week, many Humans have visited THE FARM. Many visited during our Labor Day public hours and still the stream of Humans to visit these horses continued. The majority of these visitors were here for the first time. Some, however, were returning. Already knowing some of the horses and already familiar with some of their stories.

One young lady visited us just a few days ago. She has been here and in the barns previously. Handsome is not new to her. Beauty is still a mystery to her. And Ole' Man Cole is a wonder to her. She loves each and every one of them and seems to see in them their inner hearts. This woman sees the qualities in them that most Humans never recognize.

She has endured the crossing of some and has watched as some were brought into the fold and re-homed after spending some time with us to heal and recover. She has been visiting THE FARM long enough to see the cycle of life. She is not a horse person and does not venture into the pastures with them. Her admiration and love is given through the gates by the touch of her hands.

Her last visit was memorable. For her and The Herd. I've asked her to write about it and she did. It is open and honest and shares with you the experience of the barns here at Refuge Farms. In these barns there is Magic. I tell people that and some believe while others think I'm only trying to make something out of nothing. But there is Magic in these barns. Read the words from her heart and decide for yourself. Her title is:

The Magic of Refuge Farms

I have been feeling a little out of sorts for a week or two now . . . frustrated, tired, maybe even a little angry . . . not because of any one thing or any one person, just life in general had started to get to me. Pressure at work, responsibilities at home, demands for my time, not finding time for myself . . . I really needed a break. I asked Sandy if I could stop by THE FARM and just spend some time with the horses, hoping to clear my head for a few moments and remind myself that my life is good! “Sure,” she said, “It has been a long time, hasn’t it?”

When I arrived at THE FARM, I checked the house and found that Sandy was not home . . . I knew she expected me, so I figured she’d be back soon. I walked down to the old barn and talked to April and Cole, who were inside enjoying the fan . . . it was warm already and the flies were bad, and it wasn’t going to be a good day for Cole if it got much more humid so I told him to take it easy, that Fall truly would be here soon and it would be easier for him to breath. Since April and Cole were not interested in being scratched, I left them to their fan and walked toward the big barn.

I was just to the pile of round bales when I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness . . . where did this come from, I thought, as I walked into the barn. On the left, Laddee and Blaise were enjoying their fan while PONY! stood in the doorway. The Posse stood to the right - Handsome and Unit at the stock tank, little Spirit against the wall, Babee Joy and Jeri Ann in the middle as usual, and Beauty by the door. I said my hello’s to everyone and walked over to the stock tank, again feeling a sadness creep over me . . .

Handsome raised his big gorgeous head and lowered it over the top of the gate, as I started to rub his forehead I could feel the tears well up in my eyes . . . soon I was sobbing into Handsome’s giant cheek as he held his head against me . . . I stroked his nose as my tears subsided and Handsome looked me over to be sure I was okay, then slowly walked away. Beauty took his place in front of me, nuzzling my hands as I rested my arms on the gate railing, my forehead resting against the cool metal of the upper rail. She stood with me while I talked to her and rubbed her head, then moved along the gate so that I could rub her back . . . I felt at peace with her, my sadness seemed to have disappeared again. I was amazed at Beauty’s softness and enjoyed her company knowing how shy she had sometimes been with me.

After a few minutes, Handsome approached again . . . it seems I was not done crying, because as soon as he put his head in my hands, the tears began to run again! It was not sadness for Handsome or the loss of his eye, it was emotion inside me that Handsome was somehow drawing out . . . he stood with me as I sobbed for reasons I still can’t understand, and when the tears stopped, he looked at me again and walked away. Again, Beauty came right over and gave me her head for some stroking and scratching and brought a feeling of peace to me. This whole process repeated itself one more time before I left the barn to find Sandy and thank her for the horses. There were a few tears left as I hugged Sandy, but then I felt better again, refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

I often forget about the “Horses Helping...” Mission of Refuge Farms. I’ve been to THE FARM many times, but this was the first time I had truly experienced the horses’ presence in such a personal way. I’ve marveled at their beauty; I’ve been awestruck by their ability to adapt, to persevere, and to forgive; I’ve rejoiced in their recoveries; and I’ve mourned their passings. And now, I’ve been touched by their Magic.

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