Sunday, February 21, 2010


Sunshine and The Herd

Today's sunshine is like pure medicine to my soul. A most powerful medicine. I have just returned from wandering the pastures with the horses. Falling through the snow crust in some places and skimming on the top in other places. Walking the fields with "the children" on a sunny Sunday is the most powerful medicine that I know. It heals. They heal the wounds that come with working in this world of rescue.

My first walk took me into the Helen Keller pasture. My voice brought Laddee, the Little Belgian Mare directly to me thinking I had food for her. Sorry, girl. Its just me, but would you come along with me? A few pats on my chest and words of encouragement and this "Killer Mare", as I once labeled her, followed me in the pasture as we checked fence lines and just let the sun work its magic on us. Handsome began the journey with us but soon decided that he could just stand and watch us. He is, after all, nine feet off the ground and so we little ones are easily visible to him.

I cherish my time with Laddee. The mare who was so desperately abused and infected. The mare that has tolerated surgery and a trach and humans touching her. The mare who now comes to me and asks me to scratch her ears. How precious this horse is to me. Her presence is a gift that I am grateful for and that I do my best to memorize each and every day.

My next journey took me to the Gelding's Pasture with Sandy and her new best pal, Josephina. These two are like one horse, they stick together so closely. Elizabeth is the "House Mother" of this little herd with Lanna going as directed and with such an eagerness to please. That big mare is certainly a gem. So glad she found her way to us from the basement of that old, dark dairy barn.

To my surprise, hoof prints have created a path back to the big poplar tree. We should rename that tree to the scratching post! Piles - literally piles! - of horse hair covers the ground at the base of the tree. Hhhhhhmmmmmmm . . . . Could this be yet another sign of spring?

My journey in this pasture is relatively brief and solitary. Most of these horses have mobility issues and so their companionship isn't expected. And with this pasture being so much larger, standing and watching me is the smart thing for them to do. And that is precisely what they do.

In the Old Barn Pasture, I find a totally different story, however. Here are The Babies. Here is Dudely. And here is big Beauty. Here are the healthy ones with no mobility issues and tons of curiosity. And playfulness!

My first fence line was accompanied with sniffs and smells and jockeying for who would be first in line. Single file. They walked in single file behind me. Almost expecting me to break trail for them. And yes, I did my best. However, my little foot made such a small break in the snow that Jeri-Ann's hoof print literally erased all traces of me!

The back fence line was accompanied by joyful playing. Unit and Spirit ran ahead and then rolled. Not to be outdone, Babee Joy dropped and rolled. Then Beauty. And then Jeri-Ann made a valiant attempt at a rollover. Babee Joy dropped and rolled again. And then we were off. Freshly showered and clean once again, we began our single file journey to the far west corner.

The remaining fence lines were accompanied with boredom and races. Unit and Spirit lost interest with the slow pace and monotonous journey. Back to the barn they raced! Upon arrival at the barn, they looked around to see that they were alone! Yikes! Back to the herd they raced! This went on for quite some time. Those two little girls are so suited to each other and I am so pleased to watch them as they grow up to be young mares together.

Dude urges Beauty to separate from the pack and head back to the round bales with him. After all, he is quite a distance from the food, you know. Beauty walks back with Dude. The couple. Like an old, married couple. These two, of all two, have picked each other and are joined together by choice. More lessons in life right here in the pastures.

Babee Joy soon tired of the exercise and nudged at my back to urge me to return to the barn. And even though I went against her wishes and persisted on, she stuck with me. She did not leave me alone in her pasture. She walked with me the entire way. There was once another big monster horse that was true like that. He would not leave me either. I do often see the traits of Jerry, the Roan Horse in Babee Joy. Today, I was happy for the company of this huge, blue roan. Babee Joy is magnificent. This is a quality mare who has come to Refuge Farms for some grand purpose. What that purpose is has yet to unveil itself, but Babee Joy stands ready to take it on.

As I wander back through the barns and believe that the fence lines will survive until spring when I can work on them, I am content. My face is tight from the sun's reflection off of the white snow. My legs feel good after being stretched and used for something other than chores and stacking feed. My lungs feel active with the abundance of crisp, fresh air flooding in and out of them. My body enjoys this early spring trek along the fence lines.

But it is my heart that has benefited the most. My heart has found a song and is singing now. Time with The Herd. Time with those that were unwanted or neglected or simply dropped off. Time with the Ministers that patiently wait until I lift my head to see them. Really see them. And learn from them.

Today's sunshine is like pure medicine to my soul. A most powerful medicine. Walking the fields with "the children" on a sunny Sunday is the most powerful medicine that I know. It heals. They heal the wounds that come with working in this world of rescue. Every time. If we take the time, they will offer to help heal us. The sun and The Herd. Master Healers. I am glad to be alive.

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

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