Avoiding the Ties That Bind

Bowthorne Matty at sunriseI’ve just celebrated my 16 year anniversary with ponies.  It’s clear to the casual observer that they’re here to stay.  I had no idea, of course, what I was getting myself into when my first pony came into my life.  There are more dimensions to the horse-human relationship than I ever imagined, well beyond the working one that was the original reason for buying a pony.  Knowing what I know now, it’s impossible for me to even guess what my life with ponies will be like another 16 years hence.

One of the things that has most surprised me is the depth of relationship I’ve developed with these hooved beings.  People ask me how I can be in the business of selling ponies, and it’s a decent question.  I definitely cry every time a pony leaves this place; the parting is made easier by knowing I’m sending the pony to a good home.  One of the consequences of experiencing the depth of relationship is that I have a profound respect for people who operate and work at horse rescues.  Just hearing stories from my favorite rescue heavily impacts me, so to do the work of helping horses in need requires stronger stuff than I’m made of.

I was interested, then, to read an article recently about how to work at a rescue while avoiding developing ties that bind.  Here is the advice the article gives:

  • “Realize that every horse there isn’t right for you.” Remembering the many elements that go into our best relationships with equines helps reduce the number of equines at the rescue we might be attracted to.
  • “Recognize that finances are limited….Taking on too many horses and then not being able to properly care for them could be why that horse you love so dearly ended up in the shelter in the first place!”
  • “Ask to be present when potential adopters are shown the horse… It might make your heart a bit lighter to know that the potential adopters are good, caring horse people who are looking for their next horse to love.”
  • “Just loving them is enough.” Every minute of care we offer to the horses at a rescue is a minute they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
  • “Remember the end goal.” Working towards helping a horse get adopted makes space at the rescue for another horse.  It’s a life-giving cycle. (1)

As a breeder, of course, I recognize that I contribute to the horse population and by extension the horse overpopulation problem that drives the need for horse rescues.  While horse rescues are only part of the solution to the overpopulation problem, supporting them in some way seems a responsibility of horse breeders.  Since I’m not in a position to help physically, in part because I know I haven’t done the emotional ‘work’ described in the article to avoid the ties that bind, I choose to support my favorite rescue financially whenever I can.

If you’d like to support my favorite rescue, you can go to the website of Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue directly by clicking here.  Thank you for any support you give to any rescue.  I hope you’ve had a great Year of the Horse.

  1. http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-news/2014/11/how-to-help-horses-in-need-without-becoming-a-hoarder.aspx

About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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