I have this really terrible habit of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I get still. It's just one of those bad habits I picked up as a dispatcher. Can't get too still or turn my brain off completely because when you relax, well, that's when the poop hits the fan. It's not uncommon for me to scroll, scroll, scroll...just keep scrolling...and have no idea what I just looked at or read. Then sometimes......................I stop.
"You can't save them all." If every person who ever told me that had handed me a dollar bill along with it, I would have all the riches to do just that. They didn't, and I don't. Sadly, I know it's true, but it doesn't make it any easier to 'just keep scrolling'.
He was different. When I saw him, I instantly knew he had to come here. It was like a punch to my gut, and I spoke the words out loud..."I'm coming to get you." Naturally, I texted the one person in my family who wouldn't attempt to talk me out of it, because...well...I needed backup. "Go get the horse," she says. "I'll bail him out. You take care of him and get him better." DEAL! My husband laughs as he tells the story saying, "She walked out the front door and told me she was going to the horse sale. I could go if I wanted to or I could stay home. It didn't matter to her. So I got in the truck."
We got to the sale barn about 10:30 that night. The whole way there I watched the online auction to make sure he didn't go through the ring before I got there, and he didn't. We still had time. I walked the barn aisles looking for him. I knew he was in bad shape, but nothing could have prepared me for the look in his eyes. It was pure and utter defeat. He was skin and bones.
His head was busted from between his ears to down between his eyes. He stood with his head in the corner with no energy or want to, to engage in the hustle and bustle of a sale barn on a Saturday night. The only movement he made other than the shifting of weight from one back foot to another was curling his neck around just enough to look at me. When he did, I looked him in the eye and promised him that everything was going to be ok. We sat through the sale until he ran through the ring, and my hand went up as many times as it took to make sure we were the ones that got to 'post his bail'. DONE! Little did he know, his new life was about to begin. Little did I know, just what a diamond in the rough he was.
I watched him stand in his pen day after day very much like he was the night I first saw him. He was starving, yet his hopelessness was so great, he didn't even allow himself to get excited over feed. If it came it did. If it didn't...well, what else was new? I would gently pat his neck with every DoorDash delivery, telling him every time that everything was going to be ok, and gave him all the time he needed.
Three weeks...that's how long it took for me to see a little sparkle in his eye. This particular DoorDash delivery was greeted with a raised head, perked ears and a nicker. I'm pretty sure I gave the Cheshire Cat a run for his money that day with the grin that came across my face. I already knew he was going to be ok, and now, he was starting to believe it too.
First things first...let's get this guy cleaned up. A good shower always helps...
He was so emaciated, we had to feed him small amounts at a time. Turning him loose in the pasture was out of the question. So we spent a lot of time just being. There were many hours spent under the shade of the trees just listening to him eat. One of the gambles of getting a horse from an auction, especially one in his shape, is you don't know what you're getting. You don't know their history. There are so many questions that you will never know the answer to. Sadly, sometimes there's a reason they're there. The biggest for me...'How did he get this way? And who let him get this way?' This didn't happen overnight, and getting him healthy wasn't going to either.
As the weeks went by, this guy started to come out of his shell. His personality started to emerge, and it didn't take long to realize he knew things. And holy smokes what a gem! I think what amazes me the most is this guy has never once told me no. There have been things I've asked of him that he's been unsure of, and he lets me know that, but he is still always willing to try.
I spent a lot of time just sitting and watching him. You will never learn more about a horse than you will by simply doing that. One of the things I noticed was that he didn't move his ears much. Horses are prey animals. God made them to survive in the wild with heightened senses that never rest. They are always aware of everything going on around them. It's what keeps them safe. One of the gifts they were given was the ability for their ears to move independently of each other; to hone in on different sounds in different places at the same time. It didn't take long to realize why he didn't move them. He didn't move them because they did him no good. He couldn't hear. He is completely deaf.
I believe the horses we come across in our lives aren't by coincidence and neither is the timing with which they enter it. Little did I know when I first met this little horse eighteen months ago, that he would walk through one of the most trying times of my life with me. As I watched him go from a life of abuse, sadness, defeat, and hopelessness, to carrying little kids around on his back, teaching lessons by sharing his kindness and wisdom to anyone willing to 'listen', and sometimes just holding the heavy space with his quiet strength, I realized something.
His purpose on this earth couldn't be stopped.
Neither can mine, and neither can yours.