Feel Good Sunday: Tearful Moment As Dying Stable Hand Feeds Horse One Last Time

Source: Mini News

Former stable hand, 87, smiles as he is granted his dying wish to feed a horse one last time just three days before he passed away at a hospice. A pensioner smiled in his hospital bed after he was granted his dying wish to feed a horse for the last time – just three days before he died.

Patrick Saunders, 87, from Braunton, Devon, in the UK had spent most of his adolescence around horses, and began his working life at a stable.

I Picked Up My Horse Today

By R.T. Fitch

I picked up my horse today; should have done it sooner, the equine hospital had called days ago and said that he was ready but I resisted.

The members of his herd missed him, missed him lots. Everything in the herd dynamics was upside down because the boss was not there.

After breakfast, his best buddy Moose would linger at the barn’s entrance and stare at the empty stall with the closed door. He would simply stand and stare and then move under the barn’s porch and survey the lower pastures for a glimpse of his friend. His persistence was unrelenting.

I picked up my horse today for fear of retribution from the equine hospital, it had been long enough and it was beginning to look like I did not care and was a bad equine parent. But I fought it and did not know why.

The days had drifted away, one by one and the property was different without him, I should have gone and gotten him earlier but I languished. I was ashamed.

I picked up my horse today by getting in the truck, turning the key, adjusting the mirrors and backing out of the driveway. Today would be the day that I would bring him home but I felt no joy.

As I drove further out into the country the bright blue sky against the crisp green of the hay fields brought me no joy as I knew not where my heart was nor my soul, I should have done this weeks ago.

I pulled through the automatic gates of the hospital, parked the truck in the dusty gravel parking lot amidst a sea of parked working trucks with trailers and walked into the hospital waiting room.

There were several crusty, horsey types sitting in the hard, wooden straight back chairs but no one waiting at the window so I walked up and introduced myself to the young girl behind the counter.

“Howdy, I am R.T. Fitch and I have come to pick up my horse.” I said.

“What is your horse’s name, Mr. Fitch?” she countered.

“Harley!” I answered.

“Please stand at the double doors to the right,” she replied, “I will be right back.”

I walked over to the double swinging doors and waited; I could feel the eyes of the people waiting staring holes in my back as the stark walls of the waiting room offered nothing to entertain, but I fought the urge to turnaround and stare back.

I could hear footsteps coming down the hall behind the closed doors and my pulse quickened. I am sure that a fine sweat was breaking out on my bald spot but it was cleverly concealed by my straw hat. I looked down at my dusty boots and I heard the doors swing open before me so I looked up.

The girl from the service window said, “ Here’s Harley; tail, mane and ashes are all here.” she whispered as she thrust a 12X24 inch cardboard box into my hands. “We are sorry.”

I don’t recall how I responded, I hope that I was kind enough to have said thank you but I have no recollection as I was in the process of spiraling down into an abyss of pain, misery, regret and desperation.

Nor do I recall the looks on the faces of those who were in the waiting room as my eyes were blurred with tears and I could not feel my feet under me as I pushed open the hospital’s office door and stumbled across the gravel parking lot. I was lost in time, the lot was huge as the memories of Harley’s last day came crashing in on my consciousness and the tremendous pain of his last moments sized my soul and made all time stand still.

It felt as if I had been walking forever as I made my way to the truck, a month worth of grieving came rushing back at me with a vengeance. I knew I was staggering, I was aware that I must have been a spectacle but I was doing my best to navigate that long and lonely mile back to the truck so I could depart this place of despair.

After what seemed to be hours I reached the truck and put my hand on the back door’s handle to steady myself. I was breathing heavily and my glasses were smeared with tears and dust. I jerked open the door, set the box gently on the back floorboards and sat down on the truck’s side steps to gather my wits and to clean my glasses.

When I had finally caught my breath and had some strength back in my legs and stood up I turned around to look at the little white box that contained all that was left of my best friend and companion. It was then that I saw, delicately scrolled with the flourish of a black felt pen, the name Harley Fitch written on the box. I sucked air, lovingly reached out and stroked the little box.

“You are going home, Harley.” I sobbed as I petted the box, “I am finally taking you home.”

I picked up my horse, today.

painted by Leslie Anne Webb from photo by Terry Fitch

painted by Leslie Anne Webb from photo by Terry Fitch

VIRAL VIDEO: Horse uses owner as a ‘human pillow’

Sources: Multiple

“All I can say about this Feel Good Sunday installation is ‘If you haven’t seen it, you probably should!’ enjoy.” ~ R.T.

Hilarious video of a woman’s horse, Jimmy, using her as a ‘human pillow’ is going viral.

Lisa Brown posted the video to Facebook July 24, and it’s gotten over 5.7 million views since.

She wrote in a YouTube post:

“I was out in the fields early one morning, and Jimmy lay down to snooze, which he does often. I took my cup of coffee and went to sit with him. I was scratching and stroking him, and he began to lean on me and then pushed me gently back until I was basically his human pillow! Jimmy has a very peaceful nature, but he’s also a comic genius!”

Reprint: Equine Fireworks

Story by R.T. Fitch, excerpt from the book Straight from the Horse’s Heart

“Each and every year I have dragged out this excerpt from our first book, with the exception of last year…which I have taken a little bit of heat over.  So we bring it back this year and hope that each and everyone of you, two legged or four, have a blessed day celebrating the birth of this most wonderful nation; The United States of America.  God bless.” ~ R.T.

Last night, July 4th 2005, I entered Terry’s office to shut down the computer prior to heading for bed.  Everyone else was tucked away and I was just doing the last minute security sweep when my eyes caught the bright glare of a fireworks rocket heading for the stars in the northern sky.  When it reached it’s predestined point of suicide, it erupted into a brilliant display of red and blue stars cascading downward across the acres of millet that separate us from a distant subdivision.  I walked closer to the window when, suddenly, the noise of the explosion reached our farm.  BOOM!  As the sound trailed off, another took its place -the thunder of hooves.  The horses were freaked.

I ran out the back door and looked over our compound’s rear fence.  I could just make out, by the glow of the barn’s back security light, a multi-colored, many legged mass working up and down the back fence.  The boys were NOT happy.

I called them, jumped the fence, and began to whistle the comforting dinner whistle.  Although they slowed, they would not come any closer as I was several feet nearer to the terrifying sight and noise.  Continuing to walk towards the moving mass of fur, feet and earsI knew that there were a few bulging eyes in that mess.  The darkness, however, covered the evidence.

As I neared, Apache, the tough little Brazilero, peeled off from the herd and planted himself in the middle of the pasture staring at the source of the commotion.  I let him be as he was making his statement that he was tough, cool, and the big man on the farm.  Standing at only 14.3 hands, he suffers from chronic short man syndrome.  Again, I whistled, as I planted myself next to the back fence.  I was particularly careful that in the dark I not touch the electrified rope that keeps the boys away from that single strand of my neighbors barbed cow wire.  I only had on sandals and touching that now would result in all five hairs on my head sticking straight up.  That would surely terrify Terry when I finally made it to the bedroom.

Apache stood his ground and, in the dim light, I could both see and feel two Thoroughbreds, one Appaloosa and a little Mustang mix headed right towards me in full gallop.  It was a pretty sight, but rather disconcerting as I failed to bring out any protection – not even a lead.  I hollered “WHOA” and walked towards them.  They split up and in an instant I was surrounded by heavy breathing and horse noses tapping me on the shoulder and the back of the head.  Harley steamed up my glasses as he wanted to verify my identity.

As the horses milled about me, I listened and watched as their individual personalities materialized both to my eyes and to my ears.  Ethan instantly became brave with me standing beside him.  He planted himself firmly on the ground looking in the direction of the fireworks with his ears pointed forward – a virtual pillar of strength.  Should I move, however, he would too and not allow the gap between us to be any greater than just a few feet.  Of course, that was not due to fear, but rather comradeship.

Then there was Harley, slowly circling and finally standing behind myself and Ethan.  Although he wants all to believe that he is the toughest and the greatest, he will gladly give over the title of Pasture King to anyone who will take it in a time of crisis.

Big nervous Bart continued to pace the fence line with the little Mustang baby carefully tucked between him and the fence.  Little Pele kept peeking over Bart’s back to see what I was going to do to make the fiery noisy monsters go away.

I calmly leaned over, reached to the earth and jerked up a handful of grass as if I was grazing.  I kept this process up as I drifted further and further away from the back fence.  The notion that I was calm enough to graze pulled all of the horses to me, with the exception of Apache.  He was firm in his stance.  As the horses calmly came around me, I heard the whispers and the soft gentle sounds of expression that I have learned to love.  They come so rarely, but when they do, it is so special.  I listened and did not cloud their words with my inquiries.

“What are those things?” panted little Pele. “I have never, ever, seen anything like that.  Do they eat horses?”

“We don’t think so.” answered Harley, “But we are safe now that Grey Mane is out here.”

“We were safe long before he ever showed up,” countered Ethan.  “The fact that he is here shows that they are a special thing and he is only here to help us learn from them.”

Bart replied, “Man, you’re smart.  I thought that someone was shooting at us and that we were all doomed.”

Having enough of the chit-chat, Apache slowly turned his head and snorted, “You are ALL a bunch of sissies!”  Then he laughed.

I laughed too and, when I did, they all turned to look at me; then at each other; and then at me again.  It was truly a “Kodak Moment”.  Those horses looked at each other, and then looked at me.  You could clearly hear them say, “Does he hear us?”  The look of shock and surprise was priceless.

Ethan moved away from the others and pressed his nose against my chest.  “Yes he does.  I forget this as it does not happen often, but I was the one that taught him to listen.”

Without giving away my secret, I stroked Ethan’s forehead, looked directly into his left eye and smiled.  He put his left nostril into my right ear and exhaled, “And I hear you, too”, he said.

We then turned towards the north, standing behind Apache, and watched the fireworks: Ethan to my right; Harley to my left; Bart with his head over my right shoulder; and little Pele goosing me in the left kidney,

“Can I come in with you tonight dad?  Please?  Can I come in, huh, can I?”

I turned and petted his head, smiled and turned back to the display.

Five horses and one human watched in awe.  None of us can tell you when it was all over; the night melted away and I do not know how or when I found my bed.

Feel Good Sunday: Pinto the Pony Plays “Daid”

Source: Mutipule and YouTube

Our Pele doing his thing...photos by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Our Pele doing his thing…photos by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We all have a busy week ahead of us so today is the perfect day to laugh, relax a bit and recharge our batteries for what is coming at us just over the horizon.  Now, it seems that on human terms every village has an idiot, or does that apply to political parties, and in the domesticated animal world every pasture has a prankster.  We have our own red headed ‘Dennis the Menace’ that lives with us on our small ranch and there is not a day that goes by without another installation of stupidity in our ongoing book of life.  So we can relate.  But in this much publicized case, below, a little pony has found it to be much more comfortable to take a nap laying on his back versus standing on his legs but for some strange reason it appears to drive his guardian absolutely crazy…as you shall see.  One thing is for certain, hollering in human English, ‘Pinto get up!’ is a ineffective means of communicating one’s behavioral desires to a sleeping horse.  Enjoy.” ~ R.T.

and for a second dose…

A Holiday Message from SFTHH

Santa2“As I do everyday, unless Deb has the reins, I sit in front of the computer and either attempted to write something of some value or find a tid-bit on the web that might be of interest to our readership…and you know what, I came up empty handed today.  It is the week between Christmas and New Years with everyone enjoying the holiday season and probably very few people visiting here.  Plus, I am 7,900 miles away from home; although used to it the sting never goes away nor dull you just learn to live with it.

So with that being said, I sincerely hope that you are all having a good time and I promise that I will NOT post any bad news until the season is over.  If we have nothing good to say we are just not going to say it..hence today’s brief OpEd.

Peace to you and yours.  Every last one of you is so very special.” ~R.T./Santa

An Equine Christmas Story: “We Were There”

An excerpt from R.T. Fitch‘s book ~ Straight from the Horse’s Heart: A Spiritual Ride through Love, Loss and Hope

“Simply put; Enjoy this day my friends!!!  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Pele, Bart and Harley ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Pele, Bart and Harley ~ photo by Terry Fitch

It was like any other evening feeding of the horses, yet it was not; or not quite, as something was different.  The air was crisp and cool as Christmas was only a week away in South Louisiana, but the feeling had little to do with temperature or barometric pressure.  There was an electric buzz in the air; the feeling of white noise just outside the audible range of the human ear.  There was something tangible and moving in the barn that night.

I did not pick up on it at first.  Terry, my wife, was off having an early Christmas with her family in Florida, which means that the barn chores and the feeding of all our four-legged children rests upon me when I return home from my office in the evening.  And, at this time of year, it is already dark.  It’s a matter of rushing home, putting the vehicle up for the night, greeting and playing with Kenny, the white German Shepherd who is so excited to see you that he bounces three feet high, dashing into the house to turn on lights, checking messages, changing clothes, feeding the cat; then back outside to dribble the bouncing dog; and into the barn to cook dinner for the equine boys.   Oops, I missed that while in the house I might fix an industrial strength Wrangler Iced Tea to take out to the barn with me, not a requirement, but a nice reward for all the running around.

I scurried into the tack room, flipped on all of the lights and turned up the radio as Christmas music was the order of the day.  As I carefully measured varied degrees of hoof supplement and rice bran with their normal pelletized feed, the thought crossed my mind that my parents, especially my mother, never had the opportunity to see our equine kids nor experience this very special side to our otherwise very busy lives.  I paused from humming along with the radio and reflected on what a tremendous loss that was.  I resumed mixing and humming with a small pang of sadness in my heart.

I went from stall to stall filling up the appropriate feed bins with the proper amount of food.  Each time I exited a stall and went back to the tack room I asked Kenny how he was doing; he sat so attentively out in the driveway.  This simply inquiry would start the bouncing, again.  I’ll never figure out how a 100 lb dog could bounce so high and he made me laugh.  I was just about finished with the mix of the last meal when the traditional and expected three measured knocks came to the back door.  Terry and I have learned to keep the back “horse” door closed until ready to let the horses in as it is such a pleasure to hear those three distinct and perfectly timed and executed knocks.

We know who it is and he does such a good job at it.  It’s Ethan.  He is the King of Knocking, the Guardian of the Food Gate, and the funniest of them all at feeding time. ,

I hollered back through the closed doors that I was hurrying and would be right with him.  With that, I dumped the last bucket of feed in Apache’s stall, walked to the back, and carefully cracked the sliding doors.  Who was standing with his head pressed to the middle of the doors, Ethan, as always.

“Are you ready?” I asked and a part of me picked up on a gentle nod and smile.

The doors were slid open, the breezy gate was swung out and, as they do every night, they came in the barn in perfect order to eat the dinner that I had labored over in preparation for them.

First came Ethan, then Harley followed by Apache and bringing up the rear is the biggest, the youngest and the most fearful, Bart.  He feels more comfortable when they are all tucked away in their stalls with their doors closed so that no one can stick their head out and attempt to bite him as he walks down the aisle.  He actually stops and looks into each one of their stalls and you can almost hear him say, “Ha, Ha, you can’t get me now”.  Hopefully, one day, he will grow up.

Immediately the barn was full of the sound of relaxed munching and filled with the sweet odor of horses and feed.  I looked back at Kenny who only bounced two feet instead of three feet off the pavement hoping that I might sit down and enjoy this moment.  I went into the tack room to pull out a chair and sit in the center aisle of the barn to commune with the horses. My Brazilian hammock, however, caught my eye.

“Ah ha” I cried and snatched up the hammock with one hand while I grabbed the “tea” in the other.  This could be good!

Two quick slips of “S” hooks into the installed tie rings on to opposing stalls and I had the hammock swinging across the center aisle in a heartbeat.  Kenny lay down, as I eased into the hammock, because he knew that this could be awhile.  I sat down with my back propped up and began to swing while singing along with the Christmas music from the radio.

It did not take long to realize that my singing was not appreciated.  Bart began to pound on the stall wall with his right front hoof and Apache quit eating to urinate, on the clean shavings in the stall, in protest of my singing.  I actually was not too offended by Bart’s signal to quit but for Apache to pee in his stall was pushing the envelope a little too far.  I felt rather hurt so I just shut up, set my drink down on the aisle floor and listened to the sounds of the horses mixed with the sound of Christmas.

The music stirred emotions from seasons long past:  seasons of happiness, hope, disappointment and most recently, pain.  But I am the Captain of my ship and I had no intention to sail into dark and murky waters this night.  I simply wanted to let go and feel the companionship of my friends around me.  That’s when I heard the buzz.

At first I thought that the radio was slipping off from its frequency but the music was still there, clearly playing.  The buzz was overriding the music; the “white noise” was multidimensional and not strictly coming from the tack room.  I did not make a serious attempt to think about it as the sounds and smells were like candy to my senses and the buzz was only the canvas that the painting of the moment was applied to.  I relaxed.

I closed my eyes and continued to rock back and forth.  There was a feeling of warmth in the barn, while all of those equine souls were inside eating and enjoying.  The buzz, on the other hand, continued to grow.  In the beginning it really was not something that I was paying much attention to but now I attempted to tune into where it was coming from and what it was.  I continued to rock.  I could still hear the horses and the music but now the buzz was growing in volume.  As I continued to mentally identify its source, it was becoming ever more evident that the sound, itself, was coming from within.  It was coming from inside of my head and not related to anything outside of myself.  I was aware that I was humming “Away in the Manger”, along with the radio but it was becoming evident that the white noise was music also.  In that music there were whispers, words, phrases and thoughts being conveyed.  Without knowing it I gave in to the music from within and opened up to the whispers and words.  There were many voices with varied depths and pitches although different they all blended together in song and, it was soul stirring.  I listened and listened and listened until I finally made out the words that were being sung to me.  It came as abruptly and as clearly to me as if a sonic boom had just resonated throughout the barn.  In thousands of voices, from deep within my soul, the words being sung in perfect harmony were “We were there!”

I stopped rocking and the singing stopped; there was total silence.  My eyes popped open and I was looking straight up.  Once they focused I could see two small sparrows in the barn’s rafters looking straight down at me.  They were looking directly at me with calm assuredness.  The radio was silent, only my breathing could be heard.  I sat up and looked at the stalls; all of the horses were looking directly at me, calmly, with their heads bowed.  I then gazed out across the moonlit pasture and could see the little donkey and her herd of cows staring directly into the lighted barn.  Not one of them was moving.  I quickly swung around and looked out the other door for Kenny; he was laying calmly with his head between his paws and his big brown eyes starring right at me.

I went to stand and in the silence the words came again, “We were there!”  I froze.

“We were there that night”, the collective voices continued.

“Wait, what, who?” I started to ask.

“Just listen and absorb.  Do not ask, we will tell.” the voice said.  “We were there in the stable, that night.  All of us in one shape or form.  We were there long before human shepherds and nobles came to see.  We were there to see him take his first breath.  We were there.”

“It is important, at this time, for you to know that we were the selected witnesses, the guardians and the companions of the Son of the Light.  You need to understand that we are closer to the source of goodness and purity than all mankind.  You need to know that your fight for our lives is a just and noble one.  All of you humans who guard and protect us walk in a very special light.  You have now been there too; now you know and now you must continue the fight”, the voice ended.

“Wait!  What do you mean I was there too?” I called.  I stood up and turned around because I did not know who I was talking to.  I looked at the horses, the dog, the birds, the donkey, and the cattle.  ”What do you mean?”

Reality had yet to come to me as I stared into the horses’ eyes.

Again, the voice returned, “You were there, too.  When you opened your eyes, just a few moments ago, what did you see first?” it asked.

I stammered for a second and came up with, “The birds; the birds in the barn’s rafters.”

The voice asked, “What did you see next?”

“Well, I saw the horses looking at me from their stalls, the donkey, the cows and Kenny the bouncing dog, all looking at me.”

“Yes”, the voice said, “And what were the first impressions in the life of the Gifted One when he first opened up his eyes in that stable long, long, long ago”?

“I would imagine that when he first opened his eyes, lying in a manager, he saw the rafters in the barn ceiling with the birds looking down…” I stopped talking so quickly that I almost bit my tongue.  There was a warm sensation washing over me and it was more than just the tie-in and realization of what had just occurred.

I could not speak and was about to sit back down when the voice added;

“Yes, you see now.  You have been there too.  We all have been there yet, few humans can remember.  This is our gift to you.  Carry the light and chase the darkness; we love all of you for what you do.”

Hearing those words, there was something else, I could not then nor can I now describe it.  Perhaps a sigh, perhaps it was a catch as if emotion had welled up but there was something there, not spoken, that touched me more than the words.

In a dreamlike state of numbness I began the process of releasing the horses from their stalls to their pasture; this is done in the exact reverse of the entry process.  I moved like a robot as the power of the words and the moment were still within me.  I opened up Ethan’s stall and he walked out and stood in the middle of the back door as he often does.

Harley was next.  I stood at his stall door and allowed my hand to move down his furry side as he calmly walked by me and out past Ethan.

Apache usually flattens his ears when he sees Ethan in the doorway and chases him out; but not tonight.  When I opened up his stall he calmly walked past us both without any notice.

Finally, Bart was freed to return to the beloved round bale and as he exited I asked him to stop and I gave him a hug.  He gently kissed my bald spot and headed out past Ethan.

I then turned my attention to Ethan; I stood next to him in the doorway and gazed out upon what he was viewing.  The donkey and cows had gone back to grazing in the moonlight and the neighbor’s horses were tucked away in their barn with their heads hanging out.  Our three were all drinking from the trough, together, and the sky was fantastic with the moon and stars.  It was picture postcard perfect.

As he stood next to me I put my hand on Ethan’s withers.  He turned to me and put his left nostril right against my heart which placed his left eye at the same level with mine.  I said, “Merry Christmas, my friend.”  He blinked, turned and then stepped out into the night.  As I watched that big Appaloosa butt dwindle from the light of the barn he stopped and turned.  Regardless of what anyone says, he had the biggest smile on his face that any horse could have.

I lowered my head, pulled my glasses off to wipe the tears off the lenses, closed the back door, walked past the still full glass of tea sitting on the floor under the hammock, turned off the lights, walked out of the barn and stood over Kenny who had still not budged.

“Want to go inside, boy?”, I asked.

He bounced five feet high this time and we happily dribbled each other up the driveway to the house like we were two ten year old kids headed for a game of basketball.

The moon cast shadows of us dancing on our way as the horses continued to hum in the pasture; “We were there”.

Feel Good Sunday: A Deep Dive into the Force of the Horse

by R.T. Fitch ~ Co-Founder/President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It’s time to look within…”

I have been cheating on you, all of you, and in so doing I have been cheating on myself.

Somehow I had lost my way and fallen into the trap that all too many of us unwittingly get sucked into.

Dark, cold and unfeeling we gently give into the ways of the world and day to day living only to have the essence of our being slowly and unknowingly sucked out of us.

We become disengaged from what drives our collective spirits and I, for one, have been there far too long, so I wish to apologize.

Mountain ViewSeveral days ago, on a bright sunny Chinese morning, my driver and I were headed into the mountains to do what I do to earn a living (which will not be shared here). As we moved through the countryside we were grooving on a Celine Dione CD and even though he can’t speak English, Mr. Zhang was singing along with a great, big smile on his face.

We made an interesting pair, windows rolled down, shades on, music turned up and cruising through small villages rocking and rolling. The rural inhabits looked at us with dropped jaws and staring eyes (I am way too used to that, here)

As we cruised by lotus farms, rice paddies and fields of corn it occurred to me how blessed I am, how I live a lifestyle that is akin to an international spy, James Bond. Behind the Great Chinese Firewall in the center of Communist People’s Republic of China I am grooving to tunes and living the dream…the thought stopped me cold. I then realized that I had become disconnected.

Almost 20 years ago,when I first started dating my wife Terry she turned me onto Celine and her magical music. The songs of love became our totem and when we lived in Brazil and she would visit her folks in the U.S. I would listen to the music and my eyes would leak. That had not happened in ages and on that morning, several days ago, my heart was touched and I knew I had grown cold and distant. I looked around and saw the world in a different perspective.

As we continued to drive we climbed through a thin cloud cover and burst out into a blazing blue sky with the clouds rolling and turning below, it was stunning.

It occurred to me that the terraced mountainsides had, perhaps, been sculpted thousands of years ago and the geometrical patterns of varying crops painted a real-time picture to the eye that no artist or photographer could ever capture. The visuals made my pulse quicken.

WaterfallOver the past five years I have traveled this same mountain road many times but today, in the light of day with eyes and soul washed anew, it mesmerized me like never before.

We climbed higher and higher through switch backed turns and when we reached the peak, the highest point of the range which separates Sichuan province from Chongqing province, I had my driver stop and with questioning eyes he pulled off the road.

To my right was a small rise that blocked my view of Chongqing and atop that rise was a large, lone boulder. I exited the SUV, climbed the rise and looked about. The world lay beneath me and it was pulsing with life and energy.

Abandoning any concept or representation of safety I struggled to climb the boulder that seemed somewhat misplaced upon the ridge. Once I acquired my footing I looked around me again and the air in my lungs was pulled away.

On top of the world…and I am alive, breathing and engaged.

My vision was blurred with tears but the immensity of the vista below was fully perceived as I drew in a deep breath, slowly raised my arms above my head, opened my hands, stretched out my fingers and…touched the sky.

Join me, re-engage, re-energize, focus and stay on point. We have a lot of work to do for those who cannot speak for themselves and I feel their loving breath on the back of my neck.

We can do this and we will succeed. My confidence is firm.

Today; extend yourself, let go, breath deep and reclaim your ideals.

Regardless of where you are, take a moment and reach for your center, extend your arms, spread your fingers and once again…touch the sky.

Keep the faith my friends, keep the faith.

The Force of the Horse: Because of Love

How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work?”

“A Equine Christmas Story sent to me by a reader and shared with you, today.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Because of love...A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-
Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents
with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up
and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which
topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become
a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the
countryside… The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood
here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their
lives, and called them away to a different life..

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken
their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was
getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings
and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses
were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old
folks. Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no
longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her.
You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves.
How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and
work? Why do you keep her anyway?”

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed
at the barn floor and replied, “Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.
His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near
with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied

“We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife
a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole
through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it
had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks.. How is it
that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that
filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed
the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None
saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry
flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and
despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced
to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring
now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the
ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling
for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at
their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins
were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief,
huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose
from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen
as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his
wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old
hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he
whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve
of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old
pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look
down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and
pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy
hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and
withered hand. The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies
in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest
of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill
the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the
incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up
in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it
was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a
crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere
mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as
the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed
and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward.
There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over
and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows
glistening in the night light. Bedded down about the “Old One” close
to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her
muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great
dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping
cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed
about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry
flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips
and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years
crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved
calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay
among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife. Those
she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years,
tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as
she offered her gift—

Because of love.

Only Because of love…

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy… and
again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.

Willy Eagle