A Call for Help

Everyone needs help at some point. Some of us are more able to ask for it than others. Some can’t ask at all. Imagine three horses. Neglected. Malnourished. Hip bones, spine, and ribs protruding, almost through the skin. No water. Left to die.

That’s what a sheriff found Monday, Leap Day, in a pasture outside of Bend, OR. Imagine that being your dog. Or your cat. Or your horse. Or any animal you love.

It’s a truly wonderful thing that the horse farm where I volunteer, Equine Outreach, gets phone calls from various sheriffs when they discover animals who are treated without regard.

The owner Joan got the call. She promptly did what needed to be done to rescue these three horses. A trailer was sent out to pick them up and bring them back to the farm. Sadly though, one of the three died on the spot. Before the trailer could arrive. Heartbreaking. Can you imagine this horse being so close to getting help but it wasn’t close enough?

Tuesday is my normal day to visit the rescue, do much needed chores, and socialize with the horses. I got to meet both Sassy and Custer (the two rescued horses from the day before). Sassy is only 3, black, and beautiful. Custer is 24, a mixture of white and beige, and beautiful too. They are both inquisitive, curious, and so appreciative of the apples I brought. Their water trough is filled to the brim and they have all the food they want and need. I wonder how long ago (if ever) they’ve experienced that. They get incredibly loving attention from each person who comes up to meet them. Their new life is going to be so much better.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

All because of one woman who saw a need in this area.

Equine Outreach was started 13 years ago by Joan Steelhammer. They take in abandoned, abused, and neglected horses. They rehabilitate those that can be, and try to rehome them with loving, caring people, and families.

As you can imagine, keeping a non-profit like this open takes some cash. If it weren’t for the grants, donations, and volunteers, the doors would have closed.

As we rolled into 2016, the lease payment on the 20 acre farm increased because of the way the loan was written. They are doing everything they can to get the word out to anyone willing to donate any amount of money to keep the gates open and not put the horses at risk.

I’m there weekly. I see the good being done. I see the incredibly gentle and loving way these horses are cared for by everyone. It is a beautiful thing when a horse becomes rehabilitated and can be put up for adoption, and can be re-homed to amazing people who can and will give them the attention and life they more than deserve.

I know you may not live anywhere near here. And giving money to a place you’ve never been or seen may hold no interest for you. But every now and then we hear about abuse and neglect and want to do something. If this is you and you’re willing, here is the link to donate. I believe you can donate any amount. Even $5.

If this isn’t you, it’s okay. I don’t give money to every cause I come across either. But if you know someone who loves horses, or even animals, and you think they might be willing, please forward this to them.

If this is you, awesome! Thank you!!! And if you know someone else who might be willing to donate, please forward this to them too.

Thank you so much for reading this to the end. I can’t wait to see Sassy and Custer when I return next week. A vet will have been there to check them out and I can bet these two horses, who are currently so very thin, will have a little more meat on their bones and a lot more love than they’ve received in a very long time.


Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Where is your heart being pulled?

I know. I know. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. And guess what? I’m not even going to talk about it. But it sure is a great play on words, don’t ya think? ;) Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

One of my intentions for the new year was to follow what would nurture my heart and soul. On that list was to volunteer at a local horse farm. It’s a special place here in Bend called Equine Outreach. They takes horses who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. A group of amazing volunteers and staff work to rehabilitate those horses that can be, then put them up for adoption for loving homes, or allow them to stay there indefinitely, comfortably living out their lives surrounded by people who want nothing more for them to be cared for with the upmost respect and love.

I started volunteering late December. I really didn’t know a thing about horses when I started. Sure I’d been on a horse a time or two when I was a kid, but nothing like I’m doing now, cleaning pens, watering the horses, and learning how to interact with 1000 pound animals. It hasn’t ben intuitive, I can assure you.

From the reading I’ve done to help me understand these incredibly beautiful animals, I’ve learned that because they are prey animals, and we as humans are predator-types, they aren’t exactly trusting right off the bat. One of them could squash me like a bug, but they don’t think quite like that. You don’t approach a horse making eye contact. That’s aggression to them. I slowly walk up and place my fist out for them to smell. Only then do I try to rub their nose, chin, or neck. Often once they’ve sniffed me, they turn and walk away. Not interested. I’m not offended. We all like what we like and don’t like what we don’t.

I just move on to the next horse and try again. Because I’ve been going weekly, I think some of the horses are getting to know me. My voice, my scent, my energy. I’m always so appreciative when one of the horses sniffs my hand then actually wants more attention. They trust me just enough to go a little farther. I like that about them. You have to earn their trust. I know I’m trustworthy and have their safety at heart, but they might not. It’s that with with people too. Or should be. People need to earn your trust.

There’s a beautiful horse named Helen at the farm. She’s blind. She’s blind because her owner beat the crap out of her, whacking her across her face with I don’t know what, and blindness was the result. Can you imagine? Honestly, I just can’t.

So of course you have to earn Helen’s trust. She can only hear you and smell you. She doesn’t know if you get close if you’re going to reach out your hand and hurt her.

Today I walked up to Helen’s pen, called her name and said hello. I stood there calmly waiting to see what she might do. And to my utter amazement, she turned and slowly walked over to me. I placed my fist out for her to smell, which she did, then she just stood there, not turning away. Ever so slowly I opened my hand and gently caressed her nose. She stayed put. I reached a little higher and rubbed more of her nose. She didn’t move. I spoke to her in a calm, relaxed voice to let her know what a beautiful girl she was and to thank her for trusting me. Eventually she’d had enough and walked away. What an incredibly generous gift she gave me. Trust.

I don’t know why several months ago my heart was being pulled toward working with animals in some capacity. I don’t know why it’s horses right now. I did not see that coming.

But every time I go I know I’m gaining something incredibly valuable. I get to help take care of animals that weren’t cared for before, and I’m learning compassion on an incredibly deep level.

Honestly (and this is a reveal here), I need to learn how to be much more compassionate towards myself, and others too. It wasn’t until more recently that I realized compassion is not my strong suit and it could use a little attention. Actually, a lot of attention.

So as I follow where my heart is being pulled, I’m finding out it’s being pulled to teach me something I really need to learn. And you know what? It feels really damn awesome.

Where is your heart being pulled?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life