And A Child Shall Lead Them
edited: Sunday, April 04, 2004
By Carol M Chapman
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2004
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Sometimes food is not enough
We had a new band of wide-eyed scared, bone jutting thin horses arrive last month. They were seized in another part of the state and sent here to the spring green fields of the sanctuary. Several are very pregnant, carrying hope filled bellies under winter starved sides. Their coats are shedding winter dead hair that flies into their white-rimmed eyes. Walking wounded, they staggered off the truck and huddled like small puppies newly bereft their mother.
At feeding time, they stare at the buckets in my hands and shake. I have to ease into the paddock, eyes averted, and slowly pour the golden grain into their pans. Once I vacate the space they slide on over and eat with fearful eye and sharp pricked ears. There is no danger of this group over-gorging; they can barely stand still long enough to grab a few scant mouthfuls before they scatter into wind blown tangles of hide and seek. Even though their bodies are filling out, their minds remain vacant and dead eyes stare without hope at the world.
Three days past one mare gave birth to a sooty colt. She keeps him penned into the back of the paddock under some trees and fiercely stands guard between him and any human intrusion. We’ve worked out a truce between us; I can approach half way and leave her food, fill up water buckets, and back out. The paddock is off limits for all visitors and most of the volunteers, the fear emanating from it is too palpable for safety yet.
Yesterday as dusk started to set, one of the volunteers was looking for her daughter, a tow-headed child named Sarah. Pushing seven, and barely knee high, Sarah floats among the larger herd unscathed and safe from the fiercest gelding. I’m not sure what aura surrounds her, but Sarah can hug the tallest with impunity. One touch of her small white hand has noses bent for strokes and soft, loving sounds flow from normally self-contained horses. Her diminutive size and soft voice allow her to melt into the herd and we once found her happily asleep in the hay with three mares standing guard over her. Looking for Sarah at dusk has always provided enchanting sights when we’ve found her.
We checked all of the obvious places, then the obscure ones, then the improbable, leaving us moving toward the forbidden paddock. In the back, near the trees, the new horses stood silently staring toward the new mother. She contently grazed, further from her baby then she had previously allowed herself to move. She looked at peace and for the first time her eyes were softly opened and the tightness around her mouth was gone. The entire herd looked settled and didn’t flinch into its’ usual protective half circle in front of the mother’s area. We had an unobstructed view of the back and the baby curled in a milk-induced nap with his head in the lap of Sarah. She looked up and beamed a smile at us, then went back to speaking softly of love and safety to the wee one. The horses had crossed the bridge from fear into waiting and a small child had led them to safety.
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|Reviewed by Jennifer Butler
|Very heartfelt. Although our cat was born in our house, and our family has always kept pets, I have learned that we cannot make them happy, and they are often in danger because of our inability to communicate with them. I have decided that it is best to keep a bird feeder with water and a bird house rather than to have pets. Then we are assured that we do not interfere or enter fear in their lives.|
|Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan
|beautiful-my eyes are full|
|Reviewed by Lu Wyland (Reader)
|This is beautifully written. The description of the horses paints such a picture. To read about the tightness of fear and feel it yourself speaks to your abilities, Carol.
I like to think that Sarah provided that chink in the armor that allowed trust of people to become a part of the recent rescue herd's consciousness. It must be amazing to see. I imagine the transformation for the horses, having only witnessed this with dogs. I appreciate you sharing this part of the rescue world. It's foreign territory for me, and achingly beautiful and somehow sadly familiar.
|Reviewed by Ed Matlack
|Okay, Carol, it took me some time to get around to reading this and I am certainly glad I did so...I have tears, I truly do, hard to believe as horses and I have not been on too good terms throughout my life, till I met Rene's horse, Sinders...But anyone that does not cry at something as beautiful as this, is without feeling...wish you were closer, I would like to see this sanctuary, and I bet Rene would be willing to volunteer there, as she is not working right not...hell I could help too, but what I would do I have no idea, talk to them the horses is about my only redeeming ability, as I have not dealt with them to any great degree...this is a wonderful story, wish I had read it sooner...Peace to all your Horses...and you and your family, Ed & Rufuz|
|Reviewed by G Donais
|This is a wonderful story. A great write indeed. Thanks for sharing this loving and caring story. Truly heart warming.
Author: Not Just a Touch
|Reviewed by Mr. Ed
|Wonderful wonderful story. If only more of humanity could retain that loving child in their hearts, all living creatures would benefit.|
|Reviewed by Jackie Brooks
|It is amazing how animals respond to small children sometimes, what a wonderful way for Sarah to grow up too, having that ability to make friends with them where others have to work and wait for the right moments. Jackie <> <|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|wonderufl write, carol; so good to read you again! thanks for caring for our equine friends!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in burleson, karen lynn. :D
|Reviewed by George Carroll
|We have to all become like children as Christ said.Loving,caring and dependent on Him. It is true, there is an aura around each of us if we but love each other and God's creatures, we will discover it.
Wonderful and loving write