My Issues With Horses

So when I made my post about Misplaced Rage the other day, my dear friend MomDude over at We Love the Stars Too Fondly made his dislike of horses quite clear. I was quite anxious to hear the story behind this aversion to the equine community and, as expected, his story did not fail to entertain or amuse. Anyone who rides horses will truly appreciate his fateful equestrian experience but everyone is sure to get a kick out of his teenage reminisces, so I had to share for mutual enjoyment. For me, it was a laugh out loud read, for which I felt an untold amount of guilt.  Sort of.

We Love The Stars Too Fondly

One thing this site has brought me is some good friends who I have never met in person. One such would be the lovely woman who writes the “Musings From A Tangled Mind” blog. (It’s wonderful, you should subscribe and read regularly.)

The other day she posted this, I went and made some smartass comment (as is my wont), she responded with a goofy answer, and we went back and forth (see the comments section on her post), I ended up saying, “I’ve got some old issues with horses…” and she ended up saying, “I can tell. LOL 😀 You should tell that story too. Cause now I’m curious.”

Ok, I can tell this story half asleep (the first full week at the new job has been wonderful, but the days are long and my sleep is short), so here’s one for you, Wendy:

I was maybe…

View original post 779 more words

Of Haunting Images and Hope

Okay, so time for a more serious post.  I hope you’ll stick with me long enough to read this one through.

I’m sure everyone has seen those horrific photos on Facebook and elsewhere on the internet. The ones that show an animal starving or abused or neglected.  They’re horrendous and just who the hell wants to see them anyway?  Ye Gads, once they’re seen it’s difficult if not impossible to un-see them.  It just ruins a person’s day (I had someone tell me that once).  Honestly, I understand just where those people are coming from.  I hate the photos for the very same reasons.  I’ve always had a problem with getting images out of my head.  Some people can’t stand to see horrible things, but I take it further in that once I see something horrific or disturbing, I can’t seem to get rid of the image…ever.  It stays with me, in my head, and pops back up at the oddest and most inopportune times.   Of course, it’s the emotion that is behind the image that stays with me….but it is the visual that truly haunts me. Forever. It’s like a kind of demented eidetic memory.

But you know what?  These photos are necessary.  It’s easy to say “I know what happens; I don’t need to see it.”  That really isn’t true though is it?  I mean, being told “that dog was starved to death,” isn’t nearly as moving as seeing a dog that had been starved to death. Sometimes words just aren’t enough.  And of course that’s what makes people so angry….the photos hurt their heart.

I support the fight against animal cruelty in all forms but I especially work towards ending horse slaughter.  It’s such a needless and inhumane business.  And I know that by supporting animal advocacy groups I’m helping to keep animals from being exploited and slaughtered and I realize that raising awareness is the key to change.  But I’ve often wondered if I can continue to deal with the constant horrific images floating around in my head and in my heart.

I had a revelation one night and it came, as they usually do I guess, through a dream. I dreamed of watching a horse slaughter transport truck go down the highway from a spot high above on a rocky hill, and seeing a horse, a splendid fawn colored, spotted horse, falling out of the truck thru a gap at the top of the side wall.  In real life, this would of course be physically impossible…but then…this was a dream.  And in my dream, the truck was so completely overloaded that it caused her to fall out, to basically be forcibly shoved out through a small gap in the sidewall of the truck.  In my dream I sat there gasping in horror as the horse fell completely out of the truck. I was just sure it was dead because there was no way it could survive the fall, let alone make it off the busy highway without being hit. Instead, to my absolute delight, it ran across the highway and up the hill where I was sitting. It came to my vehicle and leaned down to look in the open window as if to talk to me. I looked into its sensitive eyes and face, knowing that it was free of the horrors that had awaited it, that it had escaped, and I was inspired by the hope I saw there. I awoke with this amazingly beautiful image in my mind.

And that, people, is the image that will be sticking with me from now on, regardless of anything else that I might see. That horse, that one magnificent horse, can turn into hundreds and into thousands and then tens of thousands of horses that are saved from future slaughter, from future horrors that they do not deserve. That image of hope in her soulful eyes, of future, and of survival moved me far more than the horrific pictures I’ve seen.

It moved me more because that horse represents everything animal advocates, myself included, work towards.  Her heroic escape from an overloaded truck headed for a slaughter-house, gallant run to safety, and entrance into freedom represents a journey.  It is a journey that we must all take to stand up for the rights of animals who cannot stand up for themselves.  It is a journey that requires facing our fears and standing up to evil itself.  It is a journey of hope and hope is what gives us all the strength to fight animal cruelty every day.  Hope is so much stronger than evil.  Hope can move mountains and save horses.



Owners vs Lovers

Okay, so after talking to someone today about “rehoming”– let’s be frank, a great deal of the time that’s just a euphemism for “getting rid of” – pets, I feel the need to rant a little bit.  This particular conversation was about a horse, but it could easily have been about a dog, a cat, or any other animal.

If you were to ask a horse owner what they think of their horse, you will probably get a response like, “Oh, I love my horse!”

That might be true, or it might not.

There is a difference between horse owners and horse lovers, and a lot of people who say they are horse lovers – or even think they are horse lovers – really aren’t.

Loving a horse – or any pet, frankly – means providing for it fully and unconditionally. If there is a food shortage, lovers will make sure their pet was fed first, before they eat themselves. They ensure that all of the animal’s needs are accounted for…in a financial pinch, a horse lover would make sure his or her horse is taken care of before spending anything on themselves.

Ah…now there’s the rub. Who these days, in this economy, is not feeling a bit of a financial pinch? And pets can be expensive to care for.

People who can no longer afford to take care of their horse, or other pet, have no choice but to “rehome it,” and here I’m not using the word “rehome” in a judgmental or derogatory sense. If someone absolutely can’t feed their companion animal, or afford to take it to the vet on a regular basis, a good home where the pet can be taken care of must be found. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Now… a horse lover would take the time to do profile checks and screen any and all potential buyers. A horse owner, at least in my experience, just sells to the highest bidder – not really seeing or caring what might be in that horse’s future.

Now I’m not sure whether you are aware or not, but there are specific auctions just for horses. I’m not talking high-class auctions. I’m talking loose horse auctions where horses are sold by the pound. To a horse lover most of these “events” are an abomination. Abomination is the appropriate word. A horse lover would never subject their beloved horses to the degradation and horror of such things.

A horse owner, well they just see it as a way to squeeze every last penny out of their property. Or they just think it’s easier and quicker than selling/rehoming the horse on their own and just want rid of it as quickly as possible for whatever reason.

These folks will exclaim that there’s nothing wrong with these auctions! It’s a good place for the horse to have a second chance or find a new home!  And as they ship their horse off to these meat auctions, they will swear up and down that they just looove horses. Yeah, right.

This isn’t just something that can be applied to horses. Dogs, cats, gerbils, any animal under a person’s care falls into the same lot. There’s a difference between owning something (and loving it as an investment or “thing”) and truly loving it (as the feeling, sentient being that it is). The line gets a bit blurred sometimes what with all the debate that rages on regarding animal welfare and animal rights, but it’s there and always will be.


Horse Rescuers — the Oft Lonely Advocates

I love, love, love to see advocates share the love like this writer! I know…that’s a lot of “loves.” But, too often there is divisive behavior that hurts the cause and ultimately hurts the animals. I think it’s great when people can be a voice for a cause — whether they’re at an event in person or just in spirit. We ALL count, we ALL matter and we ALL make a difference. So I say thank you to every advocate out there. You’re all doing a bang-up job!!

Equine Preservation of North America -EPONA

Many devoted animal advocates often attend events and demonstrations that support the cause we’re all backing and we cannot thank you enough! It may be as a part of a strong picket line or a peaceful protest outside a political office, or the storefront of a place that supports inhumane treatment of animals. These activists have the amazingly powerful ability to get together, swap stories, meet each other, and engage earnestly with other members of their like-minded community. They give much needed support to each other and are alleviated of any fear of isolation by being reassured that there are many others who feel just as strongly about the cause as they do. There is a group all too often unable to attend such events but who nonetheless are just as adamant in their stance for animal rights. Of course we’re talking about horse rescues.

become a gift to others and you will always be well received

The people who run horse…

View original post 454 more words

Night Mares

As any parent out there knows, the older your child gets the less it seems they need you. The more children learn about the world, the fewer things about it frighten them. When they learn that shadows are nothing more than the absence of light, the monsters lurking in them seem to disappear. When they realize that there really isn’t a goblin hiding under the bed, they call your name out less in the middle of the night hoping to God you have a flashlight with you. When they understand they will see you again after school lets out, the cries when you drop them off seem fewer and more far between. While it’s great to watch your child mature and develop, to become their own person that is slowly but surely building their arsenal to someday take on the world on their own, this growing up phase can be bittersweet for us parents.

I don’t know if you want to say that we feel left behind. More so I think we don’t like the idea that we are slowly but surely being stripped of the role as the all-knowing all-saving protector of this precious life, a life that looks to us when the rest of the world doesn’t make sense and is filled with dangers around every corner. I know, I know, selfish, right?

I get especially nostalgic about this when I think about the nightmares my daughter had when she was little. She had them often. We’re talking screaming in the night, trying to escape the hell her bed had become, while never fully awake nightmares. So to help her get to sleep I used to lay with her in bed and we’d talk about all the beautiful dreams we were going to have that night and made plans for how we were going to meet up. We’d make gloriously detailed plans about what we were going to do when we saw each other in this wonderful dreamscape. The setting would vary a bit but we always chose horses to be a part of our joint dream.

Sometimes they’d be the everyday horses we see grazing in the fields now. She and I would choose what color our horses would be; the hair, the mane, even the color of the eyes. Then we’d pick out where we were going to meet. Oftentimes our destination was a peaceful riverbank where we’d enjoy a picnic, our horses neighing next to us before we would take off on a ride along the countryside next to the bright blue water. Other times we’d be creative and imagine ourselves flying on the back of majestic winged Pegasus horses. We could see the colors of the feathers in our minds and wax poetic on where we’d fly to.

black horse white mane

one of our favorite color schemes

Once all the details were settled I’d hug her tightly, slip out of bed, and we’d say, “See you there!” to each other as I turned the light off and sent her to a restful sleep. It really did seem to be an effective way of taking her mind off the fear she had about possible bad dreams creeping in. Sometimes worrying about having nightmares can be worse than having the nightmare itself and ends up being a twisted sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

My daughter brought this memory up just the other day as something she had treasured…and it warmed my heart thinking about this little game we used to play, back when she still needed me to protect her from the Boogeyman.  At the same time it also made me a little sad that she’s certainly old enough now where she doesn’t need me to join her in her dreams anymore. But even though I’ve lost that, I know she’ll always need me for something else and while it might not be galloping through the stars on mythical beasts, I’m more than happy to help her cross through her valley of fears in any way she needs.

Once upon a time, there were wild horses ….

If you’re like me and into “good” music, you’ll know that Rolling Stones song with the line, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” Well, pretty soon, if things keep going in the direction they’re heading, they’re going to have to update it to say “Wild horses can’t drag me away.” Why is that? Because one of the well-known icons of American pastime, the wild horse, is slowly disappearing. Not disappearing as in a magic wizard is spiriting them off to some alternate dimension or disappearing as in they are mutating to exhibit a latent invisibility gene. No, I mean disappearing as in they’re being rounded up and shipped off.

Instead of running around majestically the way you see them in beer and pick-up truck commercials—manes flowing as they trot through the Wild West with unbridled (pun intended!) force, a huge cloud of dust rising in their wake—they’re cordoned into holding pens for “adoption.” You don’t even want to know what that actually means. And it’s not the point of this blog anyway.

What I want to write about is how we’re slowly losing yet another piece of our history; something that I feel is a pretty special piece of nostalgia.

It’s not just for me. I know what horses look like under the wide open Western sky. I’m worried more about my kids and my future grandkids. There are so many things they will never know or understand. Some of that’s good. But some of it’s bad. They’ll never know what a microfiche is or how to read one. Not once will they have to thumb through a card catalog at the library looking for that needle in a haystack with the right Dewey Decimal number on it. Saturday morning cartoons are something they will never enjoy. The slam of a flimsy screen door echoes in my mind and I dearly wish my kids knew the sheer joy associated with that sound. The list goes on and on.

We’re losing pieces of the past quicker than I can count and horses, the iconic wild horse, are on the way out too. Not only will they be a thing of the recent past and talked about like dodo birds and passenger pigeons, but the ultimate sadness is that they’re not being pushed to extinction by Darwinism, but by Man, for meat and profit.

I can see it now: On an outing to the movies with my future grandkids, there in the dark as we watch computer generated horses bolting across the screen, I’ll whisper to them….”I remember when there were wild horses.” And my grandchildren will respond with a snort of disdain as children so often do when adults bring up the inconceivable past: “Boy you are old Grandma! Imagine that, real wild horses!”

Why can’t we just let beautiful things be? Until we learn to do that, I say to the horses, run! Get those hooves moving and rip through the prairie as if your lives depend on it. They just may.

Artwork by the amazingly talented Susan Monty

Artwork by the amazingly talented Susan Monty
(click on artwork to visit her website)

A Resolution Worth Keeping in this Year of the Horse


I know that I made a bit of a fuss in a previous post about how many of us, certainly myself, are going to make some pretty lofty promises to ourselves for the coming year. We’ll then watch those oaths peter out quickly as we scrape together legit justifications that deep down we know are just lame cop outs. “Hey, I’d totally go to the gym if it didn’t look like it was going to rain sometime in the next few hours,” or “That lasagna is healthy. It has a bunch of zucchini in it,” or “I know I was going to cut down on shopping but how can I not buy cashmere at this price?”   We’ll somehow become masters of the impenetrable excuse.

But this year there is one resolution that I will keep. And I know I’ll keep it because it’s something I actually find fulfillment in doing…which is always a plus.  Exercising, dieting, financial responsibility…boring! There is just one resolution I can’t wait to make a reality. Namely, continue to do what I can to make a difference in the well-being of animals. This isn’t a new idea. If you know me you know how passionate I am about animal advocacy, but I am more determined than ever to make a difference in the lives of the creatures we share the world with.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of evil in the world and a shocking number of people are all too willing to exploit or destroy animals; animals who, frankly deserve better. I mean, for god’s sake, dog fighting is still an industry! Can you believe people engage in that?  Not to mention the continued slaughter of our horses.  Don’t even get me started on that one because I could talk your ear off….and none of it pleasant.

Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many small ways to contribute that can and will add up to a big difference. This is both a terrible and an uplifting thought. The great thing is that becoming more deeply involved won’t be hard and I’ll be welcomed with open arms (as would anyone who wants to help). The depressing part is that the only reason it’s so easy to join in on such a worthwhile cause is because there are so many acts of cruelty being done out there.

Yes, this resolution is one I can’t help but feel good about and who knows?  Maybe it will end up being contagious. 

Not to be a complete contradiction I am also going to try harder at the whole vegetarian thing. Yes, yes, I know I’ve stumbled in the past, but hey, it’s a new year and that’s the whole point of these resolutions, right?  Let’s start fresh and make those changes we want to see.  And this change is something I’m very determined to make within myself so it’s a goal I know won’t fall by the wayside.   I hope you stick with me as I work on this one.  I’ll share my successes and my failures.  It will keep me honest and provide motivation….as if I needed more motivation. 

So bring on 2014!  The Year of the Horse, yes!



Artwork by the very talented Susan Monty
(click photo to visit her site)