Posted on Mar 07, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Our phones ring constantly with pleas for help for animals. Some are from people who can no longer care for their pets, some are from the authorities who pull animals from cruelty cases, and others are from concerned citizens worried about cruelty in a backyard, holding facility, or petting zoo. Some cases we refer to other agencies, and others we can get involved, bringing the animals home to The Gentle Barn to heal, recover, and live the life they deserve. Each time, since the inception of The Gentle Barn, there is an inner voice or guidance from my higher self that directs me as to what to do. This week when we got the text message about the abandoned miniature horse with overgrown hooves and pleading eyes, I knew right away that we were going to help her.
We drove six hours from The Gentle Barn Missouri to the Gentle Barn Tennessee to retrieve our horse trailer and head another hour to get the miniature horse. We arrived in the middle of the night and she was somewhat startled by our appearance. But I introduced myself, explained my intention, and asked for her cooperation to bring her home to our family. She understood completely and held still while I put on the purple halter that we had purchased for her. I gave her cookies and spoke to her in hushed, honey tones, and she looked right into my eyes and said, “let’s get out of here!” She seemed to walk herself to the trailer and jump into it without looking back at the place that had been her solitary confinement for years. She wanted to feel better, she needed help, and she knew she was worth way more than what she had so far been given.
By the time we had tucked her into bed that first night it was four am and we were all exhausted but elated at the same time. She was warmed in a blanket, munching on hay, with clean water by her side, on soft fluffy shavings, and the look on her face seemed to say, “now this is much better!” Her sense of self-worth blew me away. It is so common for rescued animals to question our motives or feel unworthy when we try to give them what they deserve. I guess it is like that with most victims of abuse, they seem to believe that their treatment equals their worth. That was certainly true for me in my childhood. I felt unloved therefor I believed I was unlovable. Most of the children we host at The Gentle Barn are the same way. They have been told so many times that they are not enough, that they believe it. Through the interactions with the animals, we can start to point out how gentle they are, or smart, or thoughtful, and they start slowly, slowly to find themselves. But this little horse who had been grossly neglected and abandoned for so long did not internalize her treatment. Instead, she knew all along who she was and what she deserved. It is astounding!
We will spend the rest of her life feeding her high nutrition, trimming her hooves, lavishing her with affection, helping her make friends with the other animals, creating special shoes and a leg brace, and erasing the past several years from her body and her heart so that the only thing living inside her will be love and joy. She, in turn, will spend the rest of her life giving hope to children who have gone through similar abuse. She will show them that they never deserved the way they were treated. She will open them up, remind them of who they truly are, and set them free. Please help us care for her by donating a bale of hay. Thank you for loving her with us and enabling us to say yes to saving her when we got the text.