Our farm is quiet and tucked away on a dead end road. The flowers bloom en masse as bees create a constant hum as a background for the multitude of birds that feed here. A breeze blows through grass that has been revived with time and grazing management while cattle and horses contently rest on soft hillsides. It is the ideal setting for the recovery of the human soul, but this special place is also home for the healing of the animal as well.
No one is unwelcome here. And just as guests sift in from all corners of the earth, so too does a variety of wildlife. Left alone, they pose no harm and are valued as part of a functioning ecosystem.
The unlovely, broken, beaten, lost and old all are given solitude. Many animal and human hearts have come to the hearth to be healed and I will share with you the story of a hero.
Treasure was a brown pile laying in pain on the ground when I first set eyes on him. The quarter horse had lived through a stable fire and was badly burnt. Rather than humanely care for him at that point the original owners tossed him into a trailer and drove thousands of miles across Canada from Ontario to Alberta in the dead of winter. They did not stop for feed, water or warmth and when Treasure arrived to his first stop for rehab, he was collapsed.
With one third of each lung destroyed in the fire, the cold and travel complicated his breathing and the fact that his hair was burned off increased his discomfort. His feet and legs were jelly. But Treasure learned to stand and then to walk. I received him into my care at this point after the wonderful work of Linda, his first responder. He stood shock still, quivering with both fear and pain. He took laboured steps and found the cattle disturbing.
Day after day, week after week, month after month I went to Treasure with words of comfort, small treats, extensive care including message, chiropractic and touch for health. It takes time when you love someone unconditionally. The first year was adjustment, the second was trust exercises and in the third year I work with headgear and just simply saddle up and get on. None of my horses have ever made an attempt to hurt me – they know they are at their forever home – and implicitly trust me. Treasure and I rode quietly for short periods for a year and a half.
By the fourth year Treasure was an enthusiastic partner on the farm and was the first one to the gate to carry ladies and children who came to visit. As a testament to his enthusiasm and passion for living, Treasure eventually was strong and confident enough to carry a novice rider for four days in the Rocky Mountains. His pride was palatable and I wept for the joy of sharing this moment with him. His determination inspires me and his love of living reminds me of the multitude of blessings I enjoy on the farm.
As a farmer I care for people, for animals and have a deep respect for the earth. I strive to understand the world in which I live, knowing that collectively, farmers are the foundation of every civilization and the weavers of economic prosperity.