December 27, 2012


Like everyone else, I have loved and I have lost.  But it seems that the times I have loved the hardest- the times that I loved without reservation- were the times that I always lost.  And that has scared me. I think I am almost afraid to fully love... to give 100% of myself.  It's so risky, and it makes me too vulnerable.  So I protect myself by holding back... or by building a wall around my heart... or by burying myself in my work to distract me from any true depth of feeling.

How fast and hard I have fallen in love with Willow has surprised me.  I felt almost an instant connection with her... I feel like I know her soul and her heart.  She is the quiet and the gentle that I need.  And when I am with her, everything else fades away.  She makes me want to be better... more loving, more patient, more trusting, less fearful.... more faithful.  I have believed Martha when she has told me that Willow will get better... that she will be whole and healthy again one day. That she will feel better in the spring, and that I will start riding her in the summer...    I dream of putting blossoms in her mane and riding her on the trails along the river on sunny days...

Last night I spoke with someone who really knows Friesians... I was so happy to learn that she was able to rescue one of the others that was abandoned with Willow.  She told me that she visited that awful place about a year ago.  She said there were 70 horses there, and that there was one person left behind to try to care for them.  She, however, wasn't doing a good job.  The horses were fighting and breeding in the fields... they were thin and dirty.  There wasn't enough clean water... the situation was bad even back then.  She remembered seeing Willow there.  I think she told me what she did in hopes of protecting me somehow...  but she told me that she doubted that Willow would ever get her muscle back... that she had lost her stifles and would likely never be sound enough for me to ride again.  And she also told me that most Friesians don't live very long lives... even the healthy ones don't.  Was she trying to warn me that Willow didn't have much longer to live?  

And then I felt it.  I actually felt my heart starting to close up...   I am so so afraid of losing her.  Was I so caught up in all of this that I haven't yet realized that I could lose her?  Or that I will lose her one day... ? 

I recognize that I feel the desperate need to protect myself...  and I don't like it.

Willow's choking and swallowing problems seem to have gotten worse since we started her on the EPM medicine, and I have been hearing more and more stories of horses that haven't survived EPM... especially when they have had it as long as Willow has likely been affected.  The starvation, the EPM, and the paralysis that causes the choking... Is it just too much?  I don't know...  I don't know.  But I know I love her...

I am just feeling so discouraged.  Afraid... and so so sad... 


  1. I understand your fear of loving 100 percent. I lost the love of my life eight years ago and it still feels like just yesterday he passed. Bayley was an Airedale (dog) that opened my heart to the power of love like I had never felt before. Losing him was like a hell I never ever want to walk through again. To this day I can't even see another Airedale without breaking down but also because of his love I rescued two dogs that needed a home and someone to love them. Yes, I will go through that hell again when it comes time, but I can't shut my heart down to any animals love, be it equine or dog or the poor birds I find that need a extra hand. You will be strong for Willow and your heart already belongs to her, its just your mind your having a hard time convincing.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story of Willow. The two of you are magic and you inspire me - Willow's courage and your devotion to her. Choose each moment you have together to be filled with love. If you are blessed with minutes, days or years make the most of them. She is a gift, her life full of lessons and her love pure ... bath yourself in her love. She is a gift from God and I would trust in a plan far greater than yourself.

  3. Shana,

    I love that you are sharing your beautiful, generous, cautious and flawed heart here. We all have fears and misgivings similar to these although they stem from different things . I am so proud of you for loving freely and faithfully to see where God and Willow take you. It might be painful but it will definitely be healing as well.

    One more thing....PLEASE remove word verification. It is awful. No one has it anymore. I loathe it.

    Love you,


  4. Shana, I admire your courageous vulnerability as you write about Willow and your heart. Praying hope and peace for you both, and that your dreams will come true.


  5. Don't lose hope Shana! She needs you to believe she will be ok, she will sense it if you give up. God forbid the absolute worst happens you will have been with her and shown her love and will end her days in the best way possible. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  6. Poor Willow. That choking is so miserable. (I actually have a genetic esophagus condition myself, so I can really relate.) Our chokers at the Sanctuary are all on 100% mush diet as choking seems to be self perpetuating. They don't love their mush, but the more often they choke, the more irritation, inflammation and scarring they end up with - which causes more choking. It's a crummy vicious cycle. Our chokers get no fibrous food at all, not even grazing and definitely no hay. You may already be taking this route with her, but if she's still getting fiber, you might try a strict mush diet for a while and give her poor throat some time to heal. I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds with this advice, but I've been down this road and know how scary and discouraging it can be. Please call me if you need to talk to someone who's been through it. All my best, Ann Hepworth 435-648-2017

  7. I have been where you are. The fear of what you'll find at the barn- the insecurity of not knowing if you'll know how to fix her...I know how hard it is. Take comfort in knowing that you've already saved her- if you lose her saved her. You'll be in my prayers.

  8. Shana,

    Way way way back when you adopted Sophie Lu and then when you went to
    Guatamala, I followed your blog. I had the blog, eggrolls and
    chopsticks, if that helps at all.

    I didn't want to post this in the comments on Willow's blog because
    many people think this is nuts, I did myself until I saw this fabulous
    lady in action.

    Have you heard of the animal communicator, Cindy Smith?

    She works primarily with horses but also with other animals. She has
    worked with some of my clients and their dogs and I have been present
    during a session and she is amazing. I really thought it was phooey
    until I saw it all for myself.

    You have so many questions about Willow and I think she might be able
    to help. I am not associated with her in anyway. I just can't have
    this knowledge in my head and not share with you knowing you are
    tearing yourself up inside.

    Warmest wishes.