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Ode to a Therapy Horse:  Jake                             Nov. 2014

 

Many Ode’s begin with Thou,

And certainly “Thou” is the proper pronoun here

Buber would agree.

Keat’s Urn was frozen in time,

But of course you are not,

Time wears on,

We get old together,

And you deserve rolling acres of green grass

And a herd of horses that pull you

Close.

 

You carried many a child’s woes,

Adults’ imbalances, their unbearable anxieties,

Painful stories, celebrations,

Oppressive sadnesses,

Like a donkey, burdened by human need,

Human baggage so high, protruding over your sides, and

Towering over your back,

You carried more than your share.

So much.  So many.

 

And you did it as though it was no weight at all,

Offering gifts for each human,

Like the mirrors in great literature,

They saw themselves more clearly through you,

More honestly.

And, almost all of them fell in love with you,

As they learned to speak to you,

You spoke to them

And showed them themselves.

Truth.

 

The child who despised herself

Lines of scars from cutting deep into abhorrent skin,

She saw her skin through your fur,

And learned to touch again,

Feel her glistening coat through yours.

 

The teen who found her existence elusive,

And could find no reason

She should exist in the world.

You laid your head on her shoulder,

Rested it there,

And showed her how real she was.

 

The adult who endured so many medical traumas,

Weighed down by memories of physical pain,

Terrifying procedures,

And the attempt to face the

Incomprehensible.

You carried all of that,

And told her to leave those stories with you,

And go on,

So she could give her gifts to others.

 

The child who had no self

Who couldn’t get to school,

Who couldn’t get out of bed,

Who couldn’t make a friend,

Who couldn’t eat,

Who couldn’t sleep,

 

You carried all of them.

And more.

You carried me.

As we both walked and listened.

And went round and round.

Me attached to you through a line,

A gesture,

Shoulder to shoulder.

Beauty.

 

I am ever grateful.

Thank you Jake.

 

Orion was at Bear Spot for over 12 years, and now is enjoying retirement at Honey Suckle in Tennessee with Missi Cool.  Like Jake, he listened to many stories while children 5-12 years old rode him and talked about their thoughts and feelings.  He even helped one young, selectively mute, child learn how to speak.  

 

 

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Captain is almost 30 years old.  Jane found him in Canada as a five year old with the plan of bringing him up the levels of eventing.  However, he seemed to like dressage better than eventing so ended up as Jane's first Grand Prix horse.  He was and is a horse that gave 200 percent and far exceeded what was expected of him by those who judges horses only by confirmation and athletic ability.  While Captain had a good hind leg and a nice headset, it was Captain's big heart that brought him to GP.  

 

 

 

 

Holly  was donated to the foundation by Pat Schmoll from Ocala, FL. Pat found Holly many years ago on the side of the road in Florida starving to death.  Her veterinarian was not sure if she would live the next 24 hours.  However, with Pat's wonderful horsemanship Holly made it through, and once she was strong was given to Pat's friend Diane Smith, and her daughter Emily.  When Emily out grew Holly she was donated to the Bear Spot Foundation where she helped many children through difficult life experiences and even competed in CADI a few times.   Certainly Holly knew what it was like to live through horrible moments in her life.  

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Ryan was a rescue horse from Florida. Gary Smith was worried he was going to be put down so he asked the Bear Spot Foundation to take him and join our therapeutic program.  Ryan enjoyed being groomed by many kids, but we were unable to keep him sound when he was in work so he was also retired to Missi Cool's farm in Tennessee.  

 

 

 

 

Goldie was found in a kill pen in New York.  She was old and sway backed and no one was going to adopt her.  The Bear Spot Foundation decided to adopt her,  and bring her back to health with the help of some of our therapy clients.  She soon became the wonderfully stubborn and fiesty old mare she likely always was. Several children helped her back to health and in doing so helped themselves as well. The experience of helping another can be a powerful therapeutic catalyst.  Goldie is now at Missi Cool's farm in Tennessee with Holly, Jake, Orion, Ryan, and Captain.  

 

Favory Tucsok 14, a Lipizzaner stallion,  was generously donated to the Bear Spot Foundation by Janet Lane.  He is trained beautifully to third level, and was a huge part of the therapy program here at Bear Spot. He now lives happily in Tennessee at Missi Cool's farm.