Going to auctions, saving horses from different horrible situations somehow, replays quite the same in my head. I see their faces, how they almost instinctively know we have come to save them. They reach out with what strength they have left and briefly touch a soft nose to us as if saying “please take me.” You may hear a half hearted nicker as you pass their stall or just watch them stand there in a blank space of sheer miserable survival.
Often times you see the before and after photos and stories of successful transformations. I see the honest, scared soul moments before they get saved all throughout their time with us. There is a rawness of vulnerability in looking at each other in such a place. And there we stand human and horse looking back at each other. Us pretending to be brave for them, and them standing there a silent defeated being living on hope alone.
And I think many times no one stops to consider how the animal is not so much feeling but also thinking. The emotional toll of what being starved to death will take on any soul. How scary it must be, to be dumped away from everything you know to be familiar. Even scarier to not know where your going. To have no previous training and then suddenly need to be perfect… or else. The confusion and hunger run together in their minds all while still needing to listen and work. Then the void of nothingness, the waiting, still no food… no water… more… waiting… for days. Weeks. Month’s no one has come… maybe tomorrow…
And they hope, they shut down, cling to whatever they can to get by. It takes some time for the very worst cases to emotionally come back. The horses starved to death will stand in their stalls with empty, blank eyes for weeks before they decide to let the walls down.
Rescuing horses isn’t about the pictures, the success stories, the bigger story to get noticed. It’s about being able to pull a lost soul out of the depths of their own personal hell. Rehab their whole body, heart and mind. It’s hours upon hours of neverending work for absolutely no personal gain whatsoever. Other than knowing you’ve made a difference to that one horse.
“The very purpose of our lives is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about our future but we exist in the hope of something better.” ~Dalia Lama