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Rescue - what it takes   Horse Rescue Issues

Started by dcsmmi; 443 views.
dcsmmi

From: dcsmmi

2/7/08

***Edited yet again - 2/8. Thanks for letting me play with this everyone. It must be some form of therapy - and more just keeps coming to me. Hope you enjoy reading it. (And yes, I think I may follow some of your suggestions and submit it to a magazine or? Any suggestions?)

What does it take to run a horse rescue? Most people think of some combination of dedicated (some may say crazed) people to run the ‘show’; donors, board members, volunteers and others. Fundraisers, expos and other events come into play. But what happens behind the scenes? What is the real “cost” involved? These are just a few of the things that came to mind when I sat down and started typing.

Rescue - What it takes.

Your body aches more often than not. Most of us are not world class weight lifters, but we’ve been known to hold up a 1000 lb horse, (or end up beneath it), haul 110 lb bales of hay or alfalfa, push a truck out of a mud hole and have perfected the art of carrying 6 grain buckets and an arm load of hay. Furthermore, we’ve been ran over, pawed, kicked, stepped on, head butted, knocked down (and out), smashed into trees and crushed inside horse trailers. Who needs a stair master when you have Muck boots and Oregon mud? (Combine most of the elements above, and you have a normal feeding routine here at the ranch.) Now you wonder what you will do when your body really gets “old”.

Your clothes are not what they used to be. Gone are the days of cute little suits and skirts (oh and nylons and heels), now everything you own is stained with either mud, manure, iodine, or worse. Remember the day when you had ‘nice’ jeans? Every pocket of every coat has a combination of fencing nails, grain or treats and hay. Forget about the manicures you once had - for that matter - forget about fingernails period. Curling your hair must mean there is either a wedding or a funeral. The makeup routine has been reduced to concealer (for the bags under your eyes) and mascara (to cover the concealer you got on your lashes).

In the days of those cute suits and skirts - it may have been said you actually had nice legs. Now, you’re mortified that you haven’t shaved in weeks and have ended up in the ER. Those ER visits are actually humorous at times, because even though you may have been kicked in the face and can hardly talk, you still must find a way to communicate that NO, you are not a battered wife, and please don’t arrest your husband.

The last movie you saw in the theater may well have been Titanic. (It’s just too much effort to get cleaned up after spending the day medicating, feeding, cleaning...)

You’ve just about perfected the bolt into the post office in the aforementioned Muck boots, stained jeans, ball cap and coat covered with hay - because the post office is only one block from your former job. Oh if they could see you now. Realistically, they probably have. It’s hard to miss the redneck chick parallel parking the diesel truck and horse trailer out front. Still, you can hope. (And you chuckle that you CAN parallel park a diesel truck and a horse trailer!)

Your truck, which you used to take such pride in keeping detailed, is full of wet horse blankets, spilled supplements, ropes, halters, soak boots, dog & horse hair, empty Red Bull cans and more fencing supplies. You suspect there is dog vomit somewhere in the back seat, but are too afraid to look. Here’s hoping the barn cat isn’t still sleeping in the floor board. It’s embarrassing to give anyone a ride. Your house is in similar disarry.

You get tired of people asking you "when are you going to have kids?". You already deal with colic, teething, diarrhea, finicky eaters, special diets - and have even been known to buy diaper rash ointment (for foals) and diapers (for bandages). Get real people.

You can mix, by heart, in an exhausted stupor, special grain/supplement antibiotic/probiotic mixes, in the dark, in the snow, and actually get them to the right horse. Your husband calls you Emeril. You can't, however, remember to take one multi vitamin for yourself, and you burn most of what you cook. (And have actually learned to like the taste of charcoal.)

You have learned how to grade a mile long country road to achieve the best water run off, how to unclog culverts in the middle of a down pour, and how to call the rock guy (again) because all the grading and rock just washed away.

You have learned how to 'bleed' the fuel lines in a Kubota. And how to use a special tool (aka tree limb) to reach under the hood when the tractor has died with the bucket in the air - and the battery cable is loose. In doing so, you also learn how not to kill your husband who shows up just minutes after - dressed in loafers and dress slacks.

Your vet and farrier's phone numbers are memorized, but you would have to get a phone book to find most of your relatives.

On a sadder note, your personal relationships suffer. Everyone around you gets sucked into the rescue world, wether they want to or not. You know what it means, and what it’s worth. Every time you want to say “I QUIT”, 25 pair of big brown eyes look back and say “You can’t”. (“Now feed us, damn it.”) Still, time away is rare. Time with those who are important to you is usually stressed, rushed, and delegated to get “projects done”. You lose family and friends, loved ones both human and equine, through the normal courses of life, but feel guilty that you didn’t spend enough time. There are too many regrets.

You may have witnessed murder, rape and abuse trials, seen exhibits and heard testimony about the atrocities one human can inflict on another. You learned how to remain expressionless while dealing with the criminal element, how to ‘turn off’ the emotion, but have no idea how to harden your heart against the cruelty inflicted on the animals you’ve met. You think you have, but years later, you realize it’s been building in there all along, waiting for a flood gate to open.

Many nights you cry yourself to sleep. Remembering things you don’t want to remember. Images that flash through your mind like a slide show. The precious one you lost, the one you had a picture of but couldn’t save, the many out there who just don’t stand a chance. And the frustration builds because it only seems to get worse. Unfortunately, you must learn the hard reality that there is a difference in a rescue horse and a sanctuary horse, and sometimes you have to say no. Saying no is like giving a death sentence.

You’ve witnessed the miracle of birth, a new life brought forth from a little mare who was scheduled to die, but determined to live. You’ve looked into the eyes of a starved, weak mare mare whose body could not support the tiny life inside her - as you slowly remove her dead foal from the pen where she delivered. Too many gone, too soon, before their time.

Your bank account is always a worry. Although 20,000 of the 30,000 miles on the truck are ‘rescue miles’, you must use the credit card when tires need replaced, oil needs changed, repairs need made. The little old tractor that limped along for you and your 3 horses finally gave up when number 30 came along. (“Not another pile of manure!” it must have said, as it gasped and choked it’s last breath.)

You know the look from a horse who has been beaten. The broken bones, the illnesses, the starvation and more... none of it compares to ‘the look’ from one with a broken spirit. It’s an injury that will never heal.

You lose faith in so many. Answering the phone is a dreaded chore, and checking email makes your stomach knot. Rescue politics make you ill. You get tired of being “politically correct”, “kind”, and even “polite”. You want to scream at people to leave you alone, to get a clue, to CARE, but they won’t, and so many don’t. You get tired of feeling the guilt that so many others should, and never will. You cry for the horse you have to put down, because the owner couldn’t give them that final kindness. And you know as they pass, the look in their eyes really just asks “Why?”.

My husband and I recently attended the funeral of a much loved uncle. At the conclusion, a family member read this :

The Dash
by Linda Ellis


I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

(For the entire poem - go here: http://www.lindaslyrics.com/thedashpoem.html )

So, for those of you that rescue, thank you. I know what it means, and I know what you sacrifice. There is alot to be said about your ‘dash’.

The last year of rescue has taken a toll on me, physically, emotionally and financially. In 2008, we will drastically downsize, which means that although I’m sure next winter is going to be even worse, we will be able to help even less horses. I wish it wasn’t so... but how do I change the world? Only one horse at a time. I can only change the world, for one horse at a time.

Thanks for reading...

Darla Clark
Founder/Director

__________________________________

Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Inc
An Oregon 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization
Our Wiki Page

Edited 2/7/2008 11:58 pm by dcsmmi

Edited 2/7/2008 11:59 pm by dcsmmi

  • Edited 2/8/2008 3:30 pm by dcsmmi
In reply toRe: msg 1
Guest

From: Guest

2/7/08

here here :-) {{{{{{{clapping}}}}}}}
In reply toRe: msg 1
Mimsforever

From: Mimsforever

2/7/08

That was beautiful, Darla. We can't save them all but we can pray for the ones we can't reach.

It's so hard to have to say no. I have many sleepless nights knowing how many wait to come here and how many are out there cold and hungry. And when I really can't sleep, I walk to the barn and cry into the manes of those I can help. They comfort me and let me know it's ok.

 

In reply toRe: msg 1
Guest

From: Guest

2/7/08

That was wonderful and oh so true! Do I have permission to share that?

THANK YOU :)

 

In reply toRe: msg 1
Weldon54

From: Weldon54

2/7/08

Beautifully written, Darla! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

Faye

 

Msg 6 of 87 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 4
dcsmmi

From: dcsmmi

2/7/08

Yes - you may share. Will you just please include our website? One more chance at another hit on the site - one more chance at another home.

Addendum:

You get tired of people asking you "when are you going to have kids?". You already deal with colic, teething, diarrhea, finicky eaters, special diets - and have even been known to buy diaper rash ointment (for foals) and diapers (for bandages). Get real people. Besides, I'm still raising my parents.

You can mix, by heart, in an exhausted stupor, special grain/supplement antibiotic/probiotic mixes, in the dark, in the snow, and actually get them to the right horse. Your husband calls you Emeril. You can't, however, remember to take one multi vitamin for yourself.

You have learned how to grade a mile long country road to achieve the best water run off, how to unclog culverts in the middle of a down pour, and how to call the rock guy (again) because all the grading and rock just washed away.

You have learned how to 'bleed' the fuel lines in a Kubota. And how to use a special tool (aka tree limb) to reach under the hood when the tractor has died with the bucket in the air - and the battery cable is loose. In doing so, you also learn how not to kill your husband who shows up just minutes after - dressed in loafers and dress slacks.

Your vet and farrier's phone numbers are memorized, but you would have to get a phone book to find most of your relatives.

I'm sure more will come to me....

Darla

__________________________________

Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Inc
An Oregon 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization
Our Wiki Page

Edited 2/7/2008 10:30 pm by dcsmmi

  • Edited 2/7/2008 10:42 pm by dcsmmi
In reply toRe: msg 1
Guest

From: Guest

2/7/08

You got me.... crying...
as I sit here in what were once "my good jeans" years ago. I can't remember the last pair I bought instead of patched because the money could buy MSM or bute.

My daughter is embarrassed to have her friends ride in my truck.
Family thinks you are crazy.
Rescue politics in itself can make you ill.
I fantasize about a clean house.
I wonder what I will do as my body gets old.
I visit this board to hear I'm not alone.
Everyone in town knows me so I don't change the muck boots or dash anywhere, anymore. I think they can smell me before they see me some days!
And I pray for all those I can't help.
I tell Passion I love her, everyday.

One horse at a time, one day at a time...
it just is...

Thank-you so much for posting!!!!

In reply toRe: msg 6
Blueshadow5

From: Blueshadow5

2/7/08

And that part about the people around us...sighs. Hugs, Darla.
Msg 9 of 87 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 7
dcsmmi

From: dcsmmi

2/7/08

"Rescue politics in itself can make you ill.
I fantasize about a clean house.
I wonder what I will do as my body gets old.
I visit this board to hear I'm not alone."

AMEN to those as well! All of yours, but those especially.

I actually remember buying jeans based on what they made my butt look like. Anyone remember those days?

Give Passion a hug for me. =) I've always counted you among my 'heroes' for her save.

Darla

Msg 19717.10 deleted
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