It would be fair to say I’m a little horse obsessed. It’s a feeling that lay dormant for a few years, when the kids were young. When they were old enough, I volunteered, then worked for CARD (Community Association for Riding for the Disabled), a therapeutic riding centre in Toronto. Working with horses as therapy animals, watching the difference they can make, re-ignited this obsession to the point where it became a virtual bonfire.
It was the beginning of the end. The powerful combination of working with horses and helping people spoke to my soul, and even though I no longer work at CARD, those two passions remain with me and strong.
Today, I surf the internet looking at OTTBs, rescue horses, and horses for sale. I pour over articles about bedding, footing, course building, tack, grooming, horsemanship, equine nutrition, naturopathy. I visit tack shops, and am slowly growing my supply of grooming tools, etc. Most importantly, I participate actively as a lobbyist for animal and equine rights, and as part of a pipeling dedicated to rescuing rehabilitatable horses from the kill pen (specifically OLEX, which is local to me), and rehoming them.
While I am acutely, painfully horse-less right now, participating actively and contributing to the wonderful world of horses is important to me. I was reminded of this when a call to action came through a Facebook page, Camelot Feed Lots. A lovely 30-year old chestnut mare at auction, bound for the kill pen. I’ll never meet this horse, but her pictures, the call to save her, and my fundamental and unwavering belief that no animal or person deserves to be discarded once their usefulness is past, were compelling enough for me to take a leap of faith and donate money to an organization I knew nothing about (without benefit of tax receipt) in the hopes that her life would be respected. For a horse, 30-years is a life well lived, and a life worth saving!
Thanks to the many people who also made a commitment to this horse’s life, it was. The thank you note above is from the wonderful people at Helping Heart Equine Rescue. Amber is a really lovely old mare (such a cutie!).
The experience was a great reminder that participating in the world of horses does not necessarily have to mean ownership, and it does not have to cost a great deal of money. There are so many ways and means to be close to horses: advocating on an equine’s behalf, supporting a local equine rescue, volunteering (at a therapeutic riding centre or in an equine-assisted therapy programme). Because of this horses, and Amber, will always have a special place in my heart.