Exactly 4 weeks from today, it will all be over…
Exactly 4 weeks from this moment, we will all huddle together. We will cheer. We will talk about how everything went. We will laugh. We will sit together in silence. We will think about what happened over the last 48 hours. And…we will cry…and we will think (as always) if only. If only last winter hadn’t been so hard. If only the seemingly never-ending rain right now would stop. If only we could have helped more. “If only” we will say, think, mutter, dream…over and over.
And we will cry some more. We will cry ourselves to sleep…likely for days and weeks to come. We will wake up thinking “if only”. And it will come and go in waves as we go about our day to day tasks and then we will suddenly be hit once again by the magnitude of what transpired, the magnitude of the number of horses we WERE able to help, the magnitude of lives changed forever, both human and equine, and the magnitude of our mission and how far away the goal seems. How every time we turn around, there are more and more needing help. How we feel like we are beating our heads against a wall at times…shoveling sand against tide…fighting what seems to be at times…a losing battle….
I know this, because I’ve been there before. Twice. I know how I was affected by the first surrender event that was held here at Pony Tales 3 years ago. 3 years? Honestly, it is hard for me to even believe it was that long ago. Some days…it seems like it was just yesterday. I remember each and every horse that was surrendered 3 years ago though. Yes, all 56 of them. I remember hugging owners as they cried on my shoulder not wanting to let go of their horse, but knowing they had to. Knowing that they were doing what was right by the horse. Not them. Not us. I remember seeing horses with severely contracted tendons who could barely stand. I remember a gorgeous horse with wobbles who could barely walk. I remember a horse whose teeth were rotting away from the gums out. Oh, she was so gorgeous. I remember a horse with severe navicular syndrome at just 7 years of age, who, once she laid down, could not even get herself back up. I remember looking into the eyes of a horse so riddled with cancer that he could no longer even defecate and telling him that everything was going to be ok. I remember them all. And they haunt me…and I think…if only….
There is always a lot of talk and speculation around these events. Talk of “high euthanasia rates”. Talk about how we have some sort of “checklist” for what horses “make it through” and those that don’t. If only it were that simple. If only it could be that cut and dried…black and white…if this, then that. If only…we weren’t human….
But, we are. Just like the weather…we cannot control that. We are human. And we care. So, we will look into the eyes of every horse that is surrendered that day. Our shoulders will get wet as the owners shed their tears. We will steal ourselves away into dark corners and cry so no one else sees. We will hope and we will pray that things will change one day. We will rejoice in those that have a happy life ahead of them. We will be there, til the end, for those who do not. And we will remember them…forever…and think…if only….
4 weeks from now it will all be over. Every horse that is surrendered on November 17, 2019 will receive veterinary care and training evaluations. If you would like to contribute to this enormous undertaking, no amount is ever too small.