Monday, July 6, 2009

Mouthy Mondays

You guys have got to check out Life at the Rough String, if you haven't already looked. She's on a mustang head count this week-end, complete with photos and a little video. It's beautiful to see. I truly felt a pang. I would kill to get to do something like that. Sigh.

Susan sent me this a while back, I have some more great stories from Shanster and some new ones have just come in. I'm posting them in the order I get them, no editing from me, so be patient, keep reading and your submission will show up.

I don't know about you guys, but I love these stories. It gives me a little insight into the people who read my blog. So far everybody seems like someone it would be a blast to sit around and drink coffee with. Or tea. Or Margaritas. So here's Susan,

Anyway How did I get Started in Horses?

I can blame my British Grandparents. When I was 5 years old, we went on a trip to visit my Grandparents in Britain. They took us to the dells for a picnic, where the ponies run semi-wild. I was immediately drawn to the ponies, and they to me.

My parents later told me the ponies followed me around like a magnet, much to all the grownups dismay. Somewhere there is a photo of me on the misty dells, in my print dress and sweater, with the ponies behind me as they were wary of the person with the camera.

When we got home, all I could talk about was horses, and my mother being British, of course bought me Black Beauty to read. (yes, I was reading books like that at 5, although it was a big type version, with drawings at each chapter heading) I loved it!

Not long after I finished the book the rancher (cattle) who owned the land behind our neighborhood turned out a group of horses in the weed filled lot by the hwy. He fed them corn stalks, and little else.

There was one old chestnut who had hooves grown out in slippers, was ribby and covered with sores, whom I immediately dubbed Ginger. The others were also named from the book, but I felt esp. sad for Ginger, and she was the lowest on the totem pole in the pasture, and was covered in bites and kicks. They pushed at the fence all the way around the field, trying for the scraps of grass they could reach.

When I realized they were hungry, I spent hours each day with my wagon and pulling long grass to feed the horses. The horses soon learned to wait at our section of the fence for their daily ration of grass. They would whicker when they saw me and my wagon full of grass. I spent hours doing this each day.

Most of the horses would leave as soon as the grass was gone, but a few stayed for petting and scratching, they craved the attention as much as the grass. Ginger esp would stand with her eyes closed while I petted her for as long as I would stay. For most of a summer, those horses were the center of my world.

All too soon, we moved (my dad was in the military), and I never had horses that close again until I was old enough to buy my own. My friend next door wrote me a month later, saying the horses were still waiting at the fence for me. Then another letter later saying they were all gone, and the field empty.

Looking back on this now, with the knowledge of an adult, I know those horses were destined for slaughter (back then, horse meat was the main ingredient for pet food). While I am glad I was able to give them a bit of love and attention before they took that last trip, even now, 40+ years later, I am in tears thinking of those horses patiently and faithfully waiting, day after day for their friend to come back. Hopefully looking up the street for a child and her red wagon, and a bit of love and kindness.

It's why I support rescue today. It's why I can't count the number of old ribby horses I have brought home, fed and re-homed. I have supported legislation, voiced my opinion, offered transport and homes to slaughter bound rescues. Horses have been a large part of my life for almost 30 years, all because of an old chestnut mare who loved a 5 year old child.



autumnblaze said...

Okay... that made me cry. Great story Susan. Must.dry.eyes. I'm at work! Funny how sometimes such seemingly small things in our childhood dramatically shape us as adults...
loved it!

autumnblaze said...

FYI - Moved Gator to his new barn Thursday... he's settling in (pretty well and only with minor incident in the new herd) and I offically own my own horse. :) Yay!

Juli said...

I'm right there with ou autumnblaze. I'm working on not sniffling out loud and hoping no one walks by before I get my eyes dried.

Great story Susan!

Laura Crum said...

Yes. That is exactly why I won't give up on my rescued/retired horses, despite my "Too Many Horses", as I said in last blog on EI. I can't stand to think I might fail these good old guys, who look so happy when I show up to feed. And isn't it the beauty of adulthood versus childhood that we can make these choices. My heart breaks for the horses of my childhood, who did not all get this sort of loving retirement. But I wasn't in charege then... Great story, Susan.

Redsmom said...

"Sniffle" How bittersweet. It IS good that you gave them love and it it wasn't your fault they went hungry. Thanks for all the horses you have rescued. I'm sure Ginger smiles down at you from horsie Heaven.

Shadow Rider said...

Thanks Everyone. There are many times when I have wished I could have done more. Still do. I do what I can now, while still keeping the horse herd down to a reasonable number. (keeps the hubby happy!) I occasionally blog about some of the rescue/recycle horses I have had, and I'm working on the story of Shadow, my 23 year old horse I 'repo'd from starvation. Give me another day and I'll have the photos up.

damsel78 said...

Man, that made me cry. Horses sure can creep in and settle into your heart. I went for 3 years without being around horses and slipped into mild depression. Now I have my 2 rescues at home, fat and healthy now, and cannot imagine what I was thinking being without my equine companions. My earliest memories are all of horses. We horse nuts are truly a seperate breed. Beautiful, heart-tugging story!

HorseOfCourse said...

Wonderful story, Susan. Thank you!
I also read your blog story. I will follow that one too, it was a cliffhanger!

And Autumnblaze - congratulations! That was just meant to be. I am so happy that you managed to sort out all the practical obstacles, and got that horse of yours ;)

gtyyup said...

Thanks Mugs...but you don't have to kill...or see those wild horses...just get your hiney out here next June, I got a horse for you to ride and a good time will be had by all!

Susan, that was a beautiful story (tears and all) and bless you for all that you do for those horses in need~~

Shanster said...

Beautiful story... thank-you.

chamoiswillow said...

Tearjerker that was, and so obviously heartfelt. Thank you for bringing me right back to being 5 and horse-obsessed, as I was too at that age and ever since.

Lucky SC said...

Ok, that made ME cry too, and nothing written online by strangers makes me cry. But I can see those horses standing there.

autumnblaze said...

HorseofCourse - Thank you! He's settled in and I've calmed down. My husband was worried I was going to start sleeping at the barn. He's got buddies in the herd already and is very happy he's getting more turn out with other geldings. Hussy mares and babies were all he'd been around for awhile. We took our first ride yesterday and it was just wonderful. :)

lopinon4 said...

Wow, so touching. Tears are flowing, and I'm sure my coworkers think I'm PMS'ing! Wonderful story, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

LuvMyTBs said...

Great story as I wipe away the tears. I too was greatly impacted by horses since the age of 3. They have always been part of my life and shaped the person I grew up to be. Those of us that love horses are not "strange" we are all just members of the same herd.

Original L said...

"Horses have been a large part of my life for almost 30 years, all because of an old chestnut mare who loved a 5 year old child."

Wow, that was a tear gusher story. *Wipes eyes frantically*

(BTW, my word verification was 'fugshors' - I know many of us read FHOTD, so I thought I'd share).

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