Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘rescued horses

Slowly Becoming

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We sat beside one of the gates to the large paddock with friends yesterday afternoon and looked in on the four horses as they grazed. They showed awareness of our presence, but little in the way of interest in interacting with us. There have been enough other interactions where they chose to walk near us as we stroll around the perimeter of their pastures that we sense the early hints of a relationship between us.

In the weeks they have been here we have become increasingly aware of the differences between these horses and our previous herd of four well-loved Arabians.

One issue that Mix is experiencing is food aggressive behavior around feeding time that could easily be a relic of being starved sometime in her past.

Our old herd would commonly show up at a gate for social interaction and treats when people would visit. These mares show no sense whatsoever of this concept of “treats.” It’s a little sad to imagine the neglect they might have endured that has left them so uninterested in what humans might have to offer.

I suspect that too much of their experience with people in the last half of their lives has been negative.

These rescued Thoroughbreds have now become familiar with all the borders of their new confines and appear more than satisfied with the accommodations. They seem to understand that we clean up after them and serve pans of feed pellets for supplemental nutrition. Also, they now sense we aren’t a threat, but I don’t know that they are interested in making any hasty leap toward framing us as completely trustworthy.

While I was standing in the field among them around nap time the other day and three of them decided to lie down, I pulled out my camera to record the moment. While I was filming Light and Swings in front of me, I started hearing some strange sounds from behind me.

When I turned around to check, I found Mia’s snout was resting on the ground and it was causing a sort of whistle on her inhale, and then she snorted upon exhale. She was sleeping so soundly, she was snoring!

I took that as a great sign she was thoroughly comfortable with her surroundings and also, my benign presence in the middle of all of them.

We are slowly becoming connected to this herd and they are slowly becoming adjusted to us and our fields.

I anticipate this summer will provide plenty of opportunities to use idle time to continue deepening our precious connections.

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Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2021 at 6:00 am

Two Minutes

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It sure seemed like the fastest two minutes. Yesterday afternoon, Cyndie and I watched the Kentucky Derby with a new perspective. We have four horses living with us now who started their lives as racehorses but went on to become neglected and ultimately taken on by a rescue organization.

Ultimately, we are not supportive of the breeding of animals for the purpose of racing them for a few years. At the same time, we recognize the fascination with the power and speed of Thoroughbreds.

The Derby is referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” The 2021 winner was “Medina Spirit” with a time of 2:01.02.

Check out the images posted on kentuckyderby.com. The beauty and athleticism are mesmerizing.

It’s intoxicating. Until we consider the rest of the lives of all the horses at all the racetracks around the world.

We are giving our hearts to four rescued Thoroughbreds with the hope of allowing them to reclaim their wholeness as equine beings, living safely and comfortably for the rest of their lives.

If they choose to run, it’s a brilliant spectacle. Given their own choice on our property, it has never come close to lasting two minutes at an all-out sprint.

We’ll probably watch the next two Triple Crown races to see what transpires, but it is with conflicted hearts. After yesterday’s race, we walked out into the field with our four Thoroughbreds to recalibrate. There was nothing but walking and grazing happening, but they were no less impressive creatures.

Zodiacal Light, Pleasant Mix, The Yellow Sheet [Mia], and Gate Swinger are all champions in our eyes.

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Grazing Big

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It was a big day for the horses yesterday on the front hayfield. The sun was out and they had already scouted the perimeter on the previous day, so now it was nothing but calm grazing in the increasing warmth of the morning rays.

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Their precious energy is such a treasure to experience. The impressions conveyed by the photos offer a mere fraction of what it is like to actually stand in their presence long enough to feel like you’ve become a member of their herd.

 

Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2021 at 6:00 am

Hay Delivered

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One of the best parts of our relationship with This Old Horse is that they provide all the support needed to care for the horses, and the greatest relief for us is that we don’t have to find and transport baled hay. Yesterday was magical in that a trailer full of small squares was delivered right to our hay-shed door.

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Since I was conveniently an hour away at the day-job when it arrived, the work of helping to unload and re-stack it in the shed landed on Cyndie. [monotone fake concern…] Too bad I wasn’t able to be there.

Despite the fact it was wintery-cold outside, all I wanted to do when I got home was go hang out with the horses. They were out on the back pasture, so Cyndie and I picked the chore of clearing out two years of overgrowth from within, and around the outside perimeter of the round pen. We were standing where the horses could clearly see us.

Our previous herd would quickly move their grazing to get very near wherever we happened to be, but these mares are much less connected to people at this point. They randomly appear to adjust their positioning with respect to us, though it usually involves maintaining a distance that reflects their understandable caution.

We look forward to showing them plenty of reasons to develop a special connection with us over time, starting with the fact we will be the primary ones serving up their rations of hay.

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Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2021 at 6:00 am

Excited Anticipation

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The day has come for us to receive a new batch of horses to graze our fields for the summer. Everything appears to have fallen into place right on schedule, including a delivery of bags of feed, stacked neatly in the barn a day in advance of needing them.

I have looked at the photo of the horse’s faces for a couple of weeks now and learned to identify them by name so I can make a proper introduction when they arrive around noon today.

We will have our Wintervale flag planted down at the driveway entrance to welcome the truck and trailer.

It’s a little intimidating to find how much we’ve gotten out of the mode of daily caring for large animals. Our chickens are no comparison.

Luckily, Cyndie is very thorough in thinking through details like remembering to ask about restocking our cabinet with medication for treating potential emergency situations.

Between the professional level of detail already shared by the good folks of This Old Horse and Cyndie’s ability to ask pertinent questions about the nitty gritty details of responsibly caring for horses, I feel able to relax and focus on the simple joy of immersing myself in the magical energy of glorious equine beings.

I anticipate it will be an interesting mix of ‘brand new’ and ‘same old’ in the days ahead. I look forward to getting to know the difference between the Arabians we had here previously and the Thoroughbreds that will be here now.

I hope to be an open vessel to whatever messages they might wish to convey as we mingle together when I am scooping manure for the compost pile.

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2021 at 6:00 am