Too many of our national days of celebration get lost in the cornucopia of American consumerism. Even the moments of family togetherness once shared during Thanksgiving have now turned into a mad dash out the door in search of Black Friday specials. Somehow, I think we’re missing the point.
One of the joys of having a herd of horses is being able to walk out in their midst. If the world is quiet, both inside and outside, the gathering is almost magical. They will come, the young, the old, even the skittish, and stand quietly. A soft voice, a hand gently touching a cheek, in a way it’s very much like a moment of prayer.
It’s those moments when the horses don’t look at you as the giver of food, the distributor of hay or a leader with instructions to be followed. They gather as souls, standing together in acknowledgment of our mutual passage through life. Human, horse, cow, sheep, dog, cat – in our all too quick passage through this life, we share our existence with one another and at that moment, in a pasture, we are at peace. That’s the shared moment, brief though it may be, that I wish a million times over could be given to every one of you who cared enough to donate.
Because you were part of that moment, you helped create it. Your donations brought every one of these horses and donkeys to Habitat for Horses. You paid for the fuel, paid for the staff, bought the tires for the trailer, you paid the farrier, the dentist, the vet, you bought the drugs, paid for the electricity.
You were with us at 3am on a Sunday morning, pulling a horse out of a mud hole. You sat in the truck with us as we drove to Arizona to help with an investigation into some abused horses. You were in Dallas, when we picked up 3 skinny paints. We went to court in Beaumont to take three thoroughbreds away from a woman that beat them within an inch of their life.
You were there because without you – without your donation, it simply would not have happened. None of this would have happened.
Without you, there would be no rehabilitation center, no equine hospital, no therapy program, no place for these horses to go.
So yes, you were involved every step of the way. Please don’t ever think that the horses don’t know that, because that’s exactly what a walk in the pasture tells them. It isn’t this particular human who has done these things, it is all of us, our family of supporters. It is all of us who can now reach out to touch a soft nose, who can feel the warmth of their breath, and can give thanks to them, and to one another, for what we have done.
This brief passage through life is so very precious, so rich, so full of joy and wonder, if we only make it so, and you have done just that for all these horses and donkeys.
Happy Thanksgiving? Yep, you bet. Since 1998, over 5,000 horses have passed through these gates. Most of them found new homes, regained their health, started a second life. Even those that didn’t make it had a few moments of love, of knowing that humans can be a positive part of their spirit.
Black Friday Specials might be important, but here’s a special for which you have already paid. Close your eyes for a moment. Picture the herd gathered around, feel them touch you, listen to them, listen to the wind through the trees, feel the flow of life.
That’s Thanksgiving in it’s purest form.
Thank you from all of us for all you have done.