Nancy Gosse ~ Journey of Truth

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Monday, December 6, 2010

A Strong Spirit: My Visit to Valentia Equestrian and Horse Rescue Centre

This is a shared blog, originally posted on Earth To Nancy: http://earthtonancy.blogspot.com

About a week ago I had the honor of visiting Valentia Equestrian Horse Rescue Centre, owned by Jim and Michelle Ward, which is located in the small town of Valentia, a few minutes drive outside of Lindsay, ON. My whole life I had been drawn to horses and never really knew why because I had not had too many opportunities to be around them. As a child I would spend hours admiring the pack of wild horses that would come to the field behind my house where I grew up in Dildo, Newfoundland. I felt such amazing feelings of power, joy, and freedom just from being near them. I wanted desperately to be able to ride them. Of course, as a child I wasn't thinking of the dangerous potential of befriending a wild animal. All I knew was my heart was pulling me to them.

Since I started on my journey of Spiritual Discovery, horses would often come to me in dreams. They are messengers and a strong Spiritual guide for me. As I was driving across the country toward Alberta when I was moving out West, the thunderous echo of horses reverberated in my mind, almost like a calling home to something familiar and something that was opening me up to freedom. I can never pass by a field where horses are without feeling my energy taking a leap out to them and feeling so much joy welling up in me to see them run and play together.

At Valentia Centre I met with such beautifully strong spirited horses who were living proof of the miracle of loving kindness. Othello had been so brutally beaten, repeatedly, by a previous caretaker that he had turned vicious. He couldn't be near humans at all without breaking into a wild and savage defensive mode. Kim, a trainer who works with the horses at the centre, immediately felt a bond with Othello. Over the course of numerous months, Kim would on a daily basis simply stand near Othello's pen and speak to him with a soothing and reassuring voice, telling him that he was going to be okay and that no one was going to hurt him anymore. She demonstrated for him that she was who she said she was and offered him nothing but kindness. What started with Othello hesitantly taking a bit of hay from her hand eventually turned into a trusting bond. Kim was able to connect to that place inside him that remembered how to trust. Now, although still quite nervous around other humans and jumps with sudden movements, Othello is able to be near people without freaking out. With Kim, he nudges her ear to tell her secrets, rubs her back with his nose, lays his head on her shoulder to give her hugs, and dances back and forth on his front legs to show his appreciation. Othello is a remarkable example of how the strength of one's spirit can shine through the most dire of circumstances. Despite having been treated with such savagery before, Othello is now able to dance excitedly to reflect his knowing that he is loved and appreciated for who he is.

Another little black horse that stands maybe only 5 feet high was headed for the meat truck when Jim, one of the Centre's owners, stepped in. He had been neglected to the point of having his hair knotted and full of burrs that entirely covered one eye and resulted in blindness in that eye. He had never had human contact so when Jim and the others at the centre took him in to clean him up and treat him, he fought hard to avoid the contact because he wasn't sure he was safe. Slowly, with daily attention and gentle touch, he learned to trust that the hands reaching out to him were offering kindness that he could accept. He watched and followed as Kim showed us around the centre because he felt left out and wanted to have the attention. When we reached him to say hello, he gently nuzzled our hands and welcomed the affection.

Then there were the two huge horses. I can't quite remember their names. They were racehorses that weren't fast enough and couldn't perform the way their owners wanted them to, so they were not given proper care and attention. Their sheer size would make anyone shiver, yet their gentleness shone through. As I presented my hand for them to get my scent, they very hesitantly moved closer and then jumped back. A couple more times and then they slowly inched closer to get a scratch under their chin. One of their heads was probably the size of my torso. They were magnificent! It's hard to believe that these mighty and beautiful creatures could have been treated so badly and still didn't succumbed to turning angry and vicious. Then again, that doesn't really surprise me because of the true loving nature of animals.

"Billy Horse" put a smile on my face and filled me with joy. Here was this goat running about and playing with the horses as if he had adopted them as family. When we came up to the pen to say hello to some of the horses, Billy Horse ran over to the fence and with both front hoofs leaned up over the fence to check us out. He excitedly wagged his little tail and I could feel such a great openness and full heart from him. It just goes to show that animals don't place conditions or expectations on how we're supposed to be; they simply love and accept.

These are just a few stories of the near 30 horses that reside at Valentia Horse Rescue Centre, each with their own story of abuse, neglect, or rejection, and each with their own strength and spirit. Many of them still need proper shelter, blankets, and human companions to walk them and play with every day. The Owners, Staff, and Volunteers at Valentia Equestrian and Horse Rescue Centre are going beyond the call to offer the absolute best they can offer to love these horses. They lose more money than they are able to recover yet they love the animals enough to try to keep going. They need more help. So I appeal to YOU to lend assistance. Even a few dollars can help in the cost of buying blankets, paying for vet costs, or towards building materials for new shelters. With Cristmas coming up, perhaps you might consider making a donation on behlaf of someone else as a Christmas Gift ( the centre will issue a certificate in their name to honor the contribution) Pass the word along to others as well.

Valentia Equestrian and Horse Rescue Centre http://www.valentiaequestrian.com/

or call 705-786-2226

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