WARNING: Today’s Judgmental Rant: I am ruminating this evening about what it means to treat animals with the dignity and respect they deserve. I understand that each of us has different ideas and financial abilities to caretake our animals, but today I visited a local boarding facility and I was in abject horror at the conditions these horses were living in. I don’t know that cruel-in my opinion-could even describe the conditions about 30 mini horses were having to bear. Weights on their front ankles, designed to hit their legs each time they walk, so they will learn to “prance,” chains on the back and some bizarre apparatus around their throats. Apparently they were “show horses.” Are you kidding me????? And to what end? Their stalls were barely big enough for them to turn around. Oh, and their spirits. Pure gentleness…how is that possible? If that was me…I’d rip the hand off anyone who put their fingers up to let me sniff them.
Why do we do this? In the name of what? A blue ribbon? And what is that for? Our Ego? I understand, the whole blue ribbon thing, I get it, as this is how I started when I was a girl, but I hated the horse shows. I would get sick to my stomach when I had to compete, but at the time, I didn’t have my own horse, so it was the only way I could be with them. I learned to ride at a barn with a trainer and showing was part of the deal.
We took a “tour” of the rest of the facility. My heart shattered as I walked past horses in mare motels who looked distraught, numb and dejected, in over crowded conditions. I know you’re all thinking report them! Well, here’s what I can tell you. In most parts of the country, horses are not considered anything other than livestock and the conditions that I witnessed at this facility, although not up to my “standards,” (which I don’t think are that high!), would not warrant anyone being willing to do anything about the matter.
I came home feeling sick to my stomach and completely out of my body.I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pasture grooming Sunday and her pasture mate. I thought about the summer I spent at kids camp with Susan Gibbs leasing Annie Two Moons, so I could understand in a very deep way, what it would mean to own a horse of my own. I had to ask myself some really hard questions and I thought a trial run that summer, would help me to see if it was a good fit for my lifestyle. Some of those questions? Do I have the time for this? Do I have the money for this? What is my purpose (not just desire) in taking on the responsibility of an animal? What is my plan if my life changes drastically (and it did). We can’t predict everything, but that summer blended into two and a half years with Annie Two Moons and helped me to know a completely different part of myself. That was the decision maker for me.
I will be totally transparent, there are been a few moments since separating from my husband and changing my life up, that I have wondered if financially I could keep going forward with owning a horse (like the 3 colics since moving to CA). Through the loss of my last rental, the grace of Goddess has allowed me to find a new rental situation that allows for a house and partial work/board exchange. It’s taking it’s toll on me physically, but I’m getting stronger everyday. The arrangement is a blessing, it’s helping us all and I am grateful everyday for the opportunity. Had I known that my life would take this drastic mid-life turn, I might have thought harder about adopting a horse, but we can’t plan for everything and not a day goes by when I am not comforted, challenged and enlivened, by my relationship with this beautiful horse and of being of service to a few others. I learn something everyday from these master teachers, not the least of which is the art of joy.
As I walked down to the barn to feed the other half of the herd this evening, I said a prayer of gratitude for the grace and ability to be able to continue to take care of my animals in a way that they can live out their days in relative comfort and for helping me to rescue Sunday from a horse trader, and from whatever life she had come from and whatever life she may have gone to (which I can’t even think about) and if the day comes when I can no longer do this financially or otherwise, I vow to find them the place and space to live out their days where they will be held with dignity, love and respect, for the sentient beings they are and the gifts they have to offer us humans