The Sanctuary


doodlebug1This week I passed another milestone on the highway of life. To celebrate, let’s turn off the path for a bit, sit down under this old oak tree and talk –  not only to look back, but to look forward. The years are adding up, yet there is so much to do and I fear that I’m running out of time.
Fifteen years ago, I started Habitat for Horses with the hope of having a positive effect on man’s relationship with horses. Pete was the first, an eight-month old bought off the slaughter truck at the auction. Little did I realize that the organization would grow as it did. In fifteen years, 5,400 horses, donkeys and mules have passed through the gate, most of them stopping only long enough to regain their weight and renew their faith in humans.
A few of them never made it. Those are the horses over whom I shed tears, and I’ve shed a lot in the past few years. 
Then there are the forever horses, the very special cases that have physical problems which make them unadoptable. It might be a bad back, fallen fetlocks, weak legs, no teeth, the reason is as variable as the personality of the horses, but each one is as precious as the highly trained thoroughbred that 10 people are trying to adopt. This is the unfinished part, the part I worry about the most. What will be their future? Most of them are not old but ended up physically injured because of the way they were treated.
On a rare occasion we’ll have a very special person come to adopt a few horses, not to ride, but just to have. They truly enjoy cleaning stalls, grooming, picking hooves and feeding, and in turn the horses give them pure love. To misquote Kennedy, it isn’t about what the horses can do for them, it’s about what they can do for the horses. Sadly, there aren’t enough folks like that and the unadoptable horses pass another day without their special person.
Looking forward – somewhere close are hundreds of acres, filled with tall grass and flowing water; a sanctuary, the place of safety, home. It’s closer than it ever has been, just on the border of becoming reality. Before my next milestone, I want to make it real.
Mare & Appaloosa - WARRANT-SEIZURE -Texas City 1-30 and 31-13 030We’ll always have the ranch with the hospital and all the emergency response equipment. This area depends on our response, the vets are close and that’s the best place for sick or injured horses.
But dream with me a moment – a six year old horse that’s seen the worst of mankind, that lived most of its life in a junkyard, traded from one person to another, screamed at, beaten, punished by denying food and hay, ridden until he dropped, then kicked because he wouldn’t get up – that’s the history of one horse we picked up not too long ago. 
Three days in the Anderson Sling to get his strength back, another three months until he stopped looking like a skeleton with hairy skin sprayed on him, throw in a few carrots, add a lot of love and the sparkle in his eyes became like those of a newborn colt.
He’s been given a new life, except he can never be ridden again. Two 150 pound kids riding him at a full gallop down a paved street did too much damage to his legs. 
Some folks would say, “Put him down. He’s no good to anybody.” Except that’s not what we do here. He didn’t deserve the life he was given, nor did he have a choice. He tried to do what humans wanted. For that he will suffer for the remainder of his days. He deserves a sanctuary, as do so many others.
But the price is high. Buying hundreds of acres, no matter how big the dream, still costs real dollars, and the only source for those dollars comes from you.images-8
It’s a big step for all of us, but a step that will change the lives of countless horses – and people. The possibilities are endless: a true sanctuary, a therapy center for the disabled, equine assisted psychotherapy, a training center, a true equine education center, a place for kids with cancer and burn victims to be “Cowboys and Cowgirls” for a day, bringing people and horses together to benefit one another.
That’s our future, if we reach for it, and we are. In order to do it, we need the financial help from each and every one of you. That’s the only way we can succeed – by having a dedicated core of supporters committed to the concept. It isn’t “mission impossible” when enough people gather together and open their wallets and purses along with their hearts. 
Will you help? Can the horses count on you? Please, click HERE and add your support to our goal.
It’s time to start walking again – time to reach out to a few more horses. Will you walk with me awhile?
Jerry Finch – Habitat for Horses

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Debbie Tracy

    Oh my goodness I have tears in my eyes,sounds like heaven to me!!! What a just wonderful goal!!! I will certainly donate to such a fantastic place for horses and people!! I can’t give much but I am sure every little bit will help you to achieve this!!!
    THANK YOU for everything 🙂

    March 28, 2013
  • Sue

    What happened to Ayla?

    March 28, 2013
  • Margaret

    And if I could I’d adopt him in a sec. Why? Because I no longer ride due to my own limitations. And together that young one could still go for walks together. Oh maybe not miles and miles. And I’d be on foot. But we could be best buddies. That’s a sweet a vision for me.

    See I was at my sisters today. You should have heard her lab. I swear he was talking to us! Only I don’t speak dog…but I know this dog loves me a I do him. We don’t need to speak each others language to understand love. That’s something you see in the eyes and you feel from your heart.

    Next time your horse places his head against you ask yourself what is he saying? A scratch, a rub, a gentle word. Maybe even hearing the words over and over again “I love you too”. Said the same way each and everytime I’d bet the horse grasps the meaning if not the words. He knows those words mean comfort.

    March 28, 2013
  • Janet Garcia - Gramas Cottage

    Happy Birthday!

    March 28, 2013
  • O! How I WISH I could be-There!
    How I WISH I could give to you & Them Every bit they Need, 0r -@ lea
    st s0me thing meaningFUL. But, my own disabilities~ & our Gov’t dragging its feet (like I’m a “scum + terrorist”), & a VengeFUL ex-employer –Deny me ALL that was promised, leaving me with0ut a $ remaining. But I USED to GIVE as much as reasonable, Every month/week/year -TO a dozen (0e m0re) Rescues, Causes, Hopes For anImals & kids alike {from ASPCA to St Lukes to Rainbow Bridge pet cemetery to special Olympics & habitat 4humanity to World wildlife & Nature cons…} ~how I wish I’d Kn0wn U then!… NoW, I’ve N0 m0re “mileStones” to HOPE For*, n0t pleasant 1s anyway..& the WorthLESSness is killing* FASTER than my health-issues ever would! I DO Kn0W: that such a HORSE Friend would truly Help* me! (& me to Help him/her, if 0nly by love, tears, & talk?) there’s n0thing of this sort close by. LoL, I can’t eVen get my GraSS mowed! & there’s enough “hay” outback to Feed 2-3 Horses for quite a while! {n0 kidding}. My 0NLY ~hOpe~ left* IS: to s0mehow be WITH the WILD HORSES of Pryor mtn & maybe see/touch a few of Yours?/0r similar rescues – & Back into NATURE for a Few DAYS b4 I die… (s0meHow I WiLl! S0meHow s0meDay ~s00n I pray) ??!
    Anyways, it DoesN’t “help” you to Kn0w I’m THINKing of what-a-Angel YOU truly are, & thinking/hOping for Better days to EACH lonely Horse —{but I truly AM, n0 matter!) may the Great Creator continue to Bless You, light your paths with Stars, May he/she ACTUALLY BE a *Horse*!!

    March 28, 2013
  • sherriey

    may all your Birthdays bring you more happiness….more then what you can hold.
    huggs….Happy Birthday, Jerry!

    my donation each month is small, i know, but someday i am hoping to be able to give more.
    thanks for what you do and who you are….God put you here for a reason, you know…..

    March 28, 2013
  • We have the same dream … and hope to make “something like it” a reality. Our 11 acres is not enough to do what we really want to do, but we are managing to heal horses and people every day – our little miracles – which we hope is making a difference.
    We know you will succeed in creating your piece of heaven on earth … the horses, and people, and you deserve it. We’ll keep watching.
    Our best, Ed & Katie

    April 1, 2013