Upon entering the palatial hunt seat equitation/jumper barn property I was not looking forward to it - I felt as though I was a rescue organization coming in to see who needed homes.
A friend of mine let me know the farm she works at is now selling shavings from Canada and feed. I don't want to change my feed right now but I said I'd take a look at the shavings as I am in need of some in the near future.
She also told me the farm owner knew of a few folks needing retirement homes for some older show horses. Great! I thought. That I can stomach. Caring for older show horses - just the ones I want to be with.
Upon entering the barn it was dark, moist and confining. I felt horrible for the horses standing inside. Of course they were muscled due to the work they are all kept for, but they looked skinny, desperate for more of life and checked out. Some had cribbing straps, and each had "toys" in their stalls to help with boredom. Like zoo animals.
Upon entering the tack room area it was an absolute horror - a place my first "real" trainer (like Mark Rashid's old man - she's my old lady) would have told me to run away from - Olympian photos posted on all the walls with ribbons and double twisted wire bits, expensive "get r done" bits and contraptions for that special "fix."
I'm so grateful to have a place to put these thoughts out because I have been hiding them for decades! Some people see these places as havens to stroke egos and give themselves an identity and be with the animals they truly love.
The man running the farm was shaking - I didn't want to believe he was nervous speaking to little old me - I wrote it off as maybe neurological damage due to a fall or perhaps it was the morning jitters from not enough to drink. After all, he only breaks even in all the glitz and glamour. Or maybe it's Parkinson's and he has great self-worth, but has not made the connection about the equine soul yet. I cannot know unless I spend more time with him.
The poor man I now pray for has a heavy burden on his shoulders - pulling this sport thing off and looking inviting to feed more money into the abuse. Maybe he seeks self worth for himself through teaching/controlling people, animals and his environment. If so, he's got a very heavy load to carry indeed.
I left there feeling just as sorry for him as I did the horses. But yet, this is a man I would have worshipped and killed to ride with as an innocent child because he rode with a very excellent Olympian rider. Ignorance is bliss for some I suppose.
I choose to be real. And that is why the path I am on is not for everyone. Some don't like reality and they like to escape it, or not like to but don't know how to stop. Whether its drugs, alcohol, people, places or things.
So today, I was so happy to be walking out of there with this new identity cloak I now wear that is real and true to me and that I can be an instrument and tool for these people to gain a little semblance of goodness by sending their horses to me because we are creating places where people know they will be cared for and given the worth, dignity and respect they deserve regardless of how well they may have performed in the heat of their "working careers."
I am grateful to be living in a country where I get to do this and live out a passion of mine and be there for those that need it most. Not just the horses - but for the people as well.
ANONYMOUS OurHorses guardian