“When I bestride him, I soar. I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes” — Shakespeare
“When God wanted to create the horse, he said to the South Wind, ‘I want to make a creature of you. Condense.’ And the Wind condensed.”
- Emir Abd-el-Kader
“There is much we can learn from a friend who happens to be a horse.”
- Aleksandra Layland.
“A civilization is measured by how it treats its weakest members”
The Horse is far from a weak member of civilization. In fact, the horse is notorious for strength, determination, endurance, valor, freedom, travel, companionship, beauty, and spirit. They are not mere animals. They are world contributors that have served in war, agriculture production, leisure and sport activities, and as humble therapeutic companions. In ancient Greece, horses symbolized wealth, prestige and power. Still today, they represent wealth, high rank and therapeutic friendship.
The photos above make the esteemed quotes difficult to believe -- not that the horses don't live up to the accolades -- but rather that human beings walking among us could have callous capacity within their soul to maltreat, neglect and discard such an honorable creature, or any creature for that matter. Especially one that has contributed immensely to the advancement and well being of humans.
Last weekend, Jeff and I travelled to north Georgia to visit Red Clay Ranch Equine Rescue and Sanctuary. We have supported this rescue for the past several years but had never visited. Having spent most of my life around horses, I was surprised and deeply moved to witness a side of equine struggle and triumph that I didn't know existed.
There are 83 horses on 180 acres at RCR. Currently, none of the horses are ridden. With no trainer on-site, a riding ring goes unused. Some of the horses are available for adoption. About a dozen of them are completely blind or without eyes. The horses are all basically "out to pasture" enjoying their new, safe, caring home.
I became obsessed with these two inseparable beauties, Meg and Finn:
You may not believe it but Finn (above) is the same Finn as in the first, disturbing images. Miraculous!
Finn was friendly and sociable with Jeff and me. He approached us at the fence for smooches and carrots. Meg waited at a distance for her buddy to fill his affection thirst. Their mesmerizing markings paired beautifully, side by side, like a painting; indeed, horses have been depicted in art for thousands upon thousands of years and it's easy to understand why. Together Meg and Finn exuded strength, beauty, companionship...survival...
Below is a video of Finn struggling to get up when he first arrived at RCR. The clip was taken only a few months ago:
Finn's idyllic life today is owed to Red Clay Ranch Equine Rescue and Sanctuary.
It's my pleasure to introduce the Owner and Operator of Red Clay Ranch: Lee Rast. Lee is a retired ER nurse and her husband, Phil Rast, is a retired surgeon. Lee and many other volunteers are credited with saving Finn and numerous other horses. Jeff and I are honored to join Lee on her selfless mission to help the creature who has given to the world as a whole, extraordinarily.
A Snippet of Finn's Survival Story at RCR
Euthanasia is at the bottom of RCR's list of options for maltreated horses when they arrive at RCR. Every attempt to revive and restore the horse is pursued. Lee said that when they were bringing Finn to the ranch he collapsed in the trailer as they turned into their driveway. She didn't think he would survive. She said his body "slid out" of the trailor when they opened the trailer doors.
BUT...suddenly she saw hope in his eyes. "Something in his effort to lift his head this one last time. We had to at least give him a chance to live, farfetched though it may have been. ...Finn was not ready to die." Lee saw a glimmer of hope in Finn's eyes and I believe Finn saw and felt much Hope in Lee's presence. Often, there is a "presence-connection" between a person and a horse that can't be described. One of my all time favorite quotes is from our pastor at Chuch of the Apostles, Michael Youssef: "If we can explain it, God did not do it." Presence-connections with horses are near impossible to describe.
Finn spent three arduous weeks living in an Anderson sling. Lee slept by his side in a make-shift bed in the back of a jeep so she could be awakened every four hours to hand feed him small portions of food. Properly portioning Finn's nutrition was crucial so he wouldn't gorge and further impair his recovery. Lee said, "I hated giving him such a small amount of food when he was so very hungry, but the risks of overfeeding are enormous with this type of starvation..."
When Finn laid down and tried to get up on his own he failed many times. Discouraging as it was, she kept on nourishing and nurturing him. Miraculously, on March 23, 2022, two months and four days after Finn's rescue Lee said, "Cool breezes were brisk, and the sun was shining...Finn began running up and down his pasture. He playfully kicked and bucked, showing us his recovered abilities to just be a horse!"
If you're a passionate horse lover or always wanted to be, check out Red Clay Ranch Equine Rescue and Sanctuary. There are so many horses that need your help.
If you're family or a friend of ours, be on the lookout for an invitation to a great event at Cherokee Town Club, September 9, 2022. This event is Red Clay Ranch's primary fundraiser. Jeff and I hope you can join us at one of two tables that we will sponsor.
When Jesus first came to earth he rode humbly on a donkey’s back. Upon his second coming he will ride a white horse!