You can barely make it out in this picture, but I had just finished dressing my strong-willed pony, Scout, in a garland of morning glory vines. Obviously, in my cutoff jungle pants, red, white, and blue knee highs, and black cowboy boots with multi-colored inlays, I wasn't concerned with making my own fashion statement. I was more enchanted by Scout's brown and white coat, its pattern shaped, in places, like continents and oceans.
Scout had a laid-back temperament and enjoyed being groomed, but he had his own ideas about what a trail ride was about. He had a habit of snatching at snacks of grass, and once, when I reigned him in to prevent it, he decided to simply lie down on the trail so he could eat. Being with Scout was always a lesson in negotiation--could I get him to take me around the field? Would he stand quietly to have his hooves picked if he had a bucket of oats? Maybe I could scramble onto his back while he grazed. Saddles were too much bother, for both of us. My nine-year-old self was in it for the fun, and if Scout wasn't having a good time, neither was I.
One of the things I love about Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary in Chatham, NY, is that they respect each animal's individual character, recognizing that its behaviors will be grounded in that unique temperament, as well as in adaptations in response to life circumstances. The horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys living there have typically come from tough situations, ranging from overwork, exploitation, and physical abuse, to abandonment. The Sanctuary allows the residents a great deal of freedom, and is careful to match them with compatible pasture mates. Each rescued animal's story is highlighted for visitors, and there is often a remarkable contrast between their present good fortune and their previously dire conditions.
Visiting the Sanctuary can be a bittersweet experience, because for each happy horse or mule, there are many more out there still needing help. It's a great way to spend a beautiful fall day, though, and they still have two more Open Days left this year, on Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, November 12. You'll be charmed by the many animals you will meet there, from the smallest mini-pony and donkey, to the powerful Mustangs and stately draft horses.
This organization needs money year round to support their mission of improving equine lives and educating the public. However, I like to donate to Equine Advocates in the fall (see my 9/8/16 blog), because I know expenses for hay and grain add up in the winter.
With this in mind, Saturday, November 4 and 7, I will be offering special Equine Benefit Energy Sessions. Half of each $50 session fee will be donated to Equine Advocates. You can choose from 2 different one hour session offerings: a deeply relaxing Energy Medicine Black Pearl Sanctuary Session that works with neurovascular points to calm the nervous system and balance the emotions; or a Sonic Meridian Flush, which uses tuning forks to tone the meridian system. Please contact me if you would like more information about these sessions, or need help choosing which one may be right for you.
Give yourself a treat, while also giving a gift to these amazing rescue animals!