Fox and hound

Video

Is it not amazing that, so very often, animals act in ways best described as “the change we want to see in the world”?

(and yes, I would like a fox cub, please!)

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In honour of World Donkey Day, please donate and help save a donkey’s like

Going through the many photos, I am struck by how well donkeys and pack animals have served mankind, and how poorly we have repaid the debt we owe them.
Surely we can do better than this?
Photo by fdortort
 Photo courtesy of The Brooke

 
 Courtesy of the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust
Photo by Andy Yanowitz

 
Photo courtesy of The Brooke
Wild burros after the helicopter roundup waiting their fate
At the feedlot 😦

 #174 – Chocolate mini Jenny. . .$225.
This little girl is only a yearling and approx 34 inches tall but stood in the pen very quietly beside #176, who she seemed quite bonded to. Very cute and friendly little girl. She led through the ring quietly at a walk with her buddy, #176.

Photos courtesy of Camelot Auction House

Deconstructing Ponies

Every day has a subtext. The challenge is to deconstruct its meaning, find the messages, and understand how it will help me live more meaningfully, elegantly, effortlessly, and intentionally.

Today’s horoscope focused on finding inner peace through connection. As I contemplate the nature of friendship and family, a conversation about the wild ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague comes alive. And two videos appear, almost simultaneously.

Jean-François Pignon and his horses in Avignon
Honza Bláha and his horses in Srbice

Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species, and it is highly possible that this animal connection has played a crucial role in human evolution. While it initially may have focused on developing relationships that domesticated certain animals as constructive tools to be used for hunting and later for food, the relationship between humans and animals has evolved as we have. (The Journal of Science offers a very interesting overview of this: http://bit.ly/HMnkK3).
The Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) is an internationally recognized centre for research and training. Devoted to the education, clinical training and scholarly development of social work students, IHAC’s programmes focus on the ways animals and people intersect across lifespan and context; the ways animal-supported experiences can promote human and animal well-being, and reduce human physical and mental health problems; and to encouraging and empowering people to gain understanding of the interrelationships among themselves, their families, and their communities, including the natural environment and its non-human inhabitants.
Studies show it, and people know it. The human-animal bond is integral to a person’s well-being. If it is positive, it is nurturing, healing, forgiving and compassionate. Relationships with animals are unconditional. They are constantly forged and re-forged in the present. Both Jean-Francois Pignon and Honza Blaha kn ow this, and they have devoted their lives to marrying natural horsemanship with equestrianism to promote a clearer understanding of the horse, and to share the incredible connection and spirit of cooperation absolute trust in another being can achieve. 
I am remembering a recent thought about the importance of being “seen”. The nature of these videos, the cooperation, is the result of the absolute respect these horses and these men have for each other, reflects my thoughts on how we become whole when we are seen and accepted as the incredibly wonderful, fallible people we are.

Today, then, willl focus around this lovely thought, “You are beautiful – not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul that it carries.”And of course, horses 🙂

Peace.

Helping hearts help an old horse in need

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.