Two weeks ago, I got a call about a horse.
This is a call I get more times than people realize.
I recognized the voice on the message sounded desperate and my heart sank. I can’t take on another horse.
My herd of horses who are my partners in the work I feel called to do in the world are mostly former rescue horses. This means I give them homes and a second purpose, rescuing them from a fate that is often slaughter or euthanasia.
I have 26 horses now in my field. Twenty-two belong to me personally and the other 4 are boarded here.
Two weeks ago, I returned the call to this woman, expecting to say no to her, explaining that I am full, that I cannot take on another horse.
But then I heard her story. And I felt in my heart, and in my knowing, that he needed to be here and I needed to tell his story.
Thor is a 16 year old Fjord gelding with a previous life of being a jumping horse. He found himself with a family who had adopted him from another rescue after being encouraged to give him a home so he could be a riding horse and companion for their 16 year old daughter.
Shortly after, it was discovered that Thor was unsound lame. A vet checked him out and the prognosis was that Thor was not able to be a riding horse and his life was to be a companion.
The family was devastated. They reached out to the rescue who said they would take him back to euthanize him.
I will pause here on his story for a moment to reflect on something.
Many people who follow me know horses or are exposed to them for their teaching and their medicine. They are drawn to the energy of the horse because they recognize something is found there.
Part of my mission, although not always on the surface, is to shift how horses are viewed in the world, through providing experiences and sharing the medicine of them because the reality is, the equine industry can be an ugly place for horses.
I am not one typically to speak to issues such as this. I craft my words and shares through the lens of empowering and sometimes the voice that needs to be spoken is the full transparency of the stories and journeys we hold.
This is Thor’s medicine.
When horses are no longer deemed rideable, they are often seen as lacking value. They are discarded, mistreated, euthanized, or sent to slaughter.
I have seen this first hand. I have been exposed to this through the horses I give homes to and through my own experience working in the breeding industry in my past career.
What is important to me is to allow the shift to happen where horses are seen in their full value. They are incredible teachers for us, sentient beings that offer us an awareness and glimpse into our own wisdom and soul.
As I listened to this woman share the story of Thor, the desperation and the heartbreak her and her family felt hearing that this horse’s fate was to be put down, I was silently raging.
She shared with me she heard about me from a woman who knew of someone who’s horse had come to me (That horse would be Shiva.) and so she called me.
And I said to her.
Thor is not being euthanized. That’s not happening.
Her relief was palpable. She shared with me later, that she, her husband and daughter all cried because they could not fathom this horse being put down and now, he would have a home.
I sat at my home that weekend with my rage and I knew this horse has a powerful message and a part of it is to expose and share the fullness of what happens to these incredible animals that is not often spoken to, and for many, are unaware.
When I share with people the story of my horses, or that some are being discarded, people are appalled. What do you mean?
What enraged me the most about Thor is that it was a rescue and their barn who I would have thought and expected would want to value this horse's life. They were the ones that were insisting for his to be ended.
What is underneath the rage is grief.
I am heartbroken, that this family had to go through this as first time horse owners with this horse that has already had an impact.
That horses have to be viewed this way.
That I can’t always say yes to everyone or every horse.
But sharing a story can make an impact and have a difference.
To peel back the layers, what is at the core of this for me is this:
We cannot continue to see horses as just commodities that we can discard when they are unable to service us the way we want them to.
When horses are no longer able to be ridden, when they are not seen to have a purpose, they are often discarded or sent to fates such as slaughter, or a kinder way of being put down.
I look at how we treat horses as a metaphor for our own self. How quickly we are to dismiss ourselves and what we are capable of.
We do it in our society and we do it with them.
And it isn’t ok.
If I told the stories that I knew, of organizations that put horses down because they view them as not as easily adoptable, or that no one will want a feral horse, or an older horse that has a sore back or arthritis, or a stallion, because they are deemed and seen as hopeless causes that will add no value... You would rage alongside of me.
In order to change something, to shift the consciousness of it, we first must be aware of the darkness and where it does not serve.
I don’t believe that the horse industry as a whole or how we hold horses is in service of the horse, or really ourselves.
There are first nations community around us that send their feral horses that they do not manage for meat.
There are rescues that are sending out horses under the guise of them being sound when they are not, lining pockets to make money from the horse, but not doing what is right for them.
The SPCA is putting down horses that they don’t see as valuable, or have decided in their euthanasia tree that they won’t be successfully adopted out. We have one of them. Her name is Ostara. We fostered for the SPCA and quickly adopted her and her unborn foal, Apollo after we found out her fate. There are horses being put down within organizations that are meant to help them every single day and don’t because of money, or resources, or just simply that they do not care about the fate of the horses or other animals. They are not held with the same value or worthiness as our own.
The sharing of this story is not to create a hopelessness, but to expose a different aspect and connection to horses because the more that we are educated, the more we can shift something. There are also many, many organizations, rescues that are also doing wonderful things for horses and there is an expansion within the partnership with horses that offers a different perspective on it and we still have work to do for them.
Thor and his story lit a fire in me. It gave me courage to speak to a voice of the horses which is why I began this journey in the first place.
Everything I do...
The pursuit of my purpose, my dreams, the expansion and support of the work I do for other humans is to benefit the horses.
Because they showed me their medicine as a child, and I knew I had to share this with others.
Horses are losing their lives, often in ways that are a dishonour of them because we cannot see their value, or we choose not too.
Because they are seen as something we have to spend money on.
I am sad and I grieve for each horse that comes here and for the ones that I can’t take because I do not take them all.
I grieve for the people who are throwing away their greatest teacher, that are letting a piece of a divine consciousness go because they cannot see it.
I don’t write this to make those who cannot take care of their horses feel bad. I have many horses in my herd that came from really good intentioned people that wanted a different life for their horse and I was able to gift it.
But for the ugliness that still exists, where I have a responsibility to be a voice for it, to have the courage to speak to and expose something and offer another invitation to how we can see and hold these animals, I will.
Because of this...
I believe deeply horses chose to be in relationship with us. They are giving servants, in the saddles, on the ranches, on the racetrack. They give to us the way we have domesticated them to.
They are also in our lives, in humanity, to help us become more aware, to teach us about ourselves, to raise our consciousness, if we allow it.
Thor came galloping into my life to remind me of the voice for the mission I hold for these amazing animals---to wake people up to the value of their life, beyond the saddle, and perhaps, hold shift in how we see ourselves.
And his life has meaning. It has value. It has impact. He has a medicine to share and it will be shared here and it will evoke, and it will teach what it is meant to.
And in the honoring of the medicine of another, we honor ourselves.
Thor’s message to me was clear:
Find the strength in your voice and use it. Not just for yourself, but for the greater impact. Be courageous. Share the stories and remember the mission that started it all.
Thor was a powerful Norse god, fitting for this young and powerful horse. He came with his medicine name and he will keep it. A reminder that we are all born with medicine, including horses.
And it’s high time we begin to shift our awareness to recognize it.
And if you are reading this and the cause of the horse doesn’t speak to you, you may have something else that does. For me, the horses are symbolic of our own journey. They give life to as mirrors to what we are holding within ourselves.
Perhaps there is something else you in your life that you are a voice for. That is part of your own calling. Perhaps the medicine of Thor or reading this story is encouraging you to speak to it, even the ugly sides of it, for there is power in holding it all so we can make a change.
If I thought about the insignificance of my voice, or who am I speak to this... If I let the overwhelm of what I can’t do and it wouldn't be enough, I would continue to stay silent or soft in my speaking.
And that’s not what is being asked for. Even if you don’t think your voice is significant, that you cannot speak or share or step into what is yours to contribute to...
You can and you must.
I tell myself all the time, even if I cannot save all of the horses, and maybe in my lifetime there will not be a significant shift in how horses are seen, I still am having an impact for the ones I can touch, and that is enough.
Anything is enough.
So if this moves you, think about where it resonates and apply it to your own situation. Move with it, let the rage, the passion, the unfairness, the grief move you to action. We do not always see the impact of what we do but there is a ripple effect whether we ever witness it for ourselves or not.
I am grateful for these horses (and for Thor for reminding me of this) for continuing to give me courage to create, to share, to be brave in what I feel moved to create through the layers of purpose they bring into my life, and hopefully to yours.
If you like this blog, if it speaks to you, we would love if you would share it, comment, or begin a conversation with us on how we come together to support the horses.
And if you are moved to support our mission and support of our herd, including Thor, we created a Sponsor A Horse page, which goes towards empowering the placement for our horses at our space and it comes with an exchange we hope equally serves you and the acknowledgement of the space we give these horses.
We believe there are many of us that feel aligned in this mission and our hope is we can come together to change a greater whole for the betterment of these amazing animals.