February 25, 2013

The Empty Swing

I drove past this empty swing a hundred times when Willow was at Martha's farm.  And each time, I'd stop and look at it for a while.  I'd sit there in my car, staring at it... and sometimes, I'd feel sad and lonely looking at this empty swing. Afterall, it just sits there... empty, like it's waiting for a child to come and laugh and swing from it's branch.  Other times, gazing at the swing would make me feel hopeful...  as if the swing was ready and waiting and knew in it's heart that a special child was on her way to play....

Much like this swing, our barn is empty today...

I miss Willow so much.  And I feel sad that Raven isn't here either. She was a gift from Leah for us to try with Willow.   Everyone agreed that she probably wasn't the best match for Willow afterall, and Leah picked her up a few days ago.  Leah loves her dearly, so I feel good about that. But I do miss Raven. And this wasn't her fault... not anyone's fault. Horses will be horses.  As much as none of us have seen Willow attach or bond to another horse, it was quite clear that she was anxious and lonely not having one to keep her company.  At Martha's farm, she was with Alice and Ada (Percheron sisters in their late 30's) and occasionally a blind pony. Aside from a couple ear pinnings from the Queen, there was never an incident.  And then there was the sweet gelding Colby in the pasture next to her.  Willow and Colby got along great...  I always felt like she treated him like her foal.  Martha and I agree that it was probably the closest thing to bonding that we've seen with Willow.  So perhaps a gelding will be less annoying to her?  In any case, everyone seems to agree that 2 months of recovering in her stall is bad enough, but long nights there without another horse in sight would drive Willow crazy.  It's like she doesn't want them in her space, but she wants to know they are close by (without them knowing she is comforted by their presence). Willow needs a companion.  

Paloma is with Charlie in the back pasture... both not great matches for Willow (as sweet as they are)... and they have each other.  Some people have suggested a goat or donkey... Unfortunately, our neighbors will not allow that kind of livestock  (though when we find our farm one day we will have those, lambs and chickens too)!

So everyone has had their eyes and ears open... for a new friend for Willow. Horses are herd animals with a pecking order within each herd. We have learned that no matter who the herd, Willow will always be queen... so we have been looking for a "low man on the totem pole" gelding....  A sweet boy for her, but one that both Sophie and I can both ride.  I really really want to resume riding this spring... I need the perfect horse.  And I think we may have found one.... Details (maybe) tomorrow.

So... the empty swing...our empty barn... is it loneliness or hopefulness that I am feeling?  A little bit of both I suppose...  Actually, a lot of both.  But the end of the week should bring a new beginning for us. Certainly a new chapter in our story.  I imagine long days in the barn with Willow while she recuperates... and then spring will come, and I can walk her out to graze on the new grass, and she can feel the warmth of the sun on her back.  And before we know it, her leg will have healed, her pain will be gone, and she will be getting fat from that rich spring grass....

 And I can't wait.


  1. I'm a relatively new follower - but I just wanted you to know that Willow's story has really touched me. I'm so glad to hear that she's doing better, and I sincerely hope that you can find a buddy for her.

  2. Maybe a miniature horse? a big mini? wouldn't be a goat or a donkey ;). Good luck finding her a friend :)

  3. Oh yes! A low man gelding is perfect for her. My guy is a low boy. I think that's the personality that will get along with her. I can't wait to hear if you found a prospect.

  4. possibly a mule pony, we have one Honey Pie, she is a doll. Our mares love her. I hope your prospect works out. Horses do need companions, you will find the right one. I am so happy that Willow is going to recover.

  5. We have a horse and she does not like any other horse in her pasture. When you said you were getting a companion for willow I was very concerned. And then they had that first kicking incident. She might be like mine and needs to be alone in her pasture.

    1. Hi Jean, well she was with other horses with no incidents at Leah's farm and then Martha's farm before she came home. We brought her here and everyone worried because even after a few weeks, her manure was runny, she was stressed and anxious, and even started getting a bit spooky because she couldn't see any other horses. Everyone (Nancy, Leah, Martha, vets, etc. agreed that she needed another horse around). Horses are herd animals and most (maybe not yours) feel safe when they have at least another horse to keep them company. Obviously we will not keep any new horse in with her since she needs to be in a stall alone... but I think she will be comforted to know that there is another horse she can see and communicate with for these long three months ahead...

  6. Willow's story has really affected me. She has a very special place in my heart - and so do you. When I read your panic when she broke her leg, I felt so helpless. Thank you for keeping us all up-to-date on news. I am avidly following and still willing Willow a very speedy recovery so she can prepare for that sun on her back and all the fresh grass eating :)

  7. My horse is an 8 year old gelding who is boarded with a 30 yr old Morgan mare. He is a high strung little dude, but around her - he worships the ground she walks on. She is the boss and when he is acting silly she just looks at him and lets him run around and be silly. Maybe a gelding is the way to go. Prayers for Willow every day.

  8. Certainly things are looking up and it's going to be very exciting to get Willow home and a new mate. I only wish I lived close so I could bring them apples. :)

  9. Love your story, thinking good thoughts for Willow. If you don't find a good companion I can keep my eyes open here in Lexington.
    R&R are the best, I don't know how often you get here, but if you need pics I'm happy to go take! They are my horses' vet as well. All the best to you and Willow!

  10. Was able to catch up with you and Willow this morning, thanks for the quick message last night. I knew Monday was going to be important, so was hoping for the good news you passed on to me! Day by day...I'm sure it's going to be a long worthwhile road ahead for you both! You should look into turning Willows story into a book...it has so much heart and soul, and you tell it with so much feeling. No matter what the outcome, it's worth the telling.

  11. I'm reading your updates every day. You are turning me into a horse person. LOL Willow is now in my everyday thoughts and prayers.
    Any chance you could get Colby for Willow? What about a baby horse?
    Barb J

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  13. Still thinking about and praying for Willow every day!

    If the companion you have in mind for Willow doesn't work out for some reason, you might check the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, which is located just outside Lexington, where Willow is now. http://www.kyehc.org/Home_Page.html

    From their Facebook:

    The Kentucky Equine Humane Center (KyEHC) provides humane treatment and shelter while working to find adoptive homes for all of Kentucky's unwanted equines, regardless of breed.
    To provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse
    to seek adoptive homes for all of Kentucky's unwanted equines, regardless of breed.

    To educate the public and raise awareness for responsible equine ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis.

    To work with and serve as a model for organizations with the same mission
    in other states: to save America's equines from inhumane treatment.

  14. Beautiful thoughts on the Swing...I pass by a swing where we live, and although it's broken down and has been used and loved dearly, it just reminds me of "times past"...that there were sweet children getting hours and hours of enjoyment..a sweet nostalgia of days gone by...

    I am reading the comments as well - I like the idea of a Baby horse {forgive my not knowing much about horses and proper names} to be with the Queen...what about a young colt that needs love and guidance? That is not a threat? Do you think Willow would adapt to being a care giver? I wonder about that...Something that Willow knows is not a threat to her, and something small and gentle that needs special attention...a mothering nature...she is the perfect candidate I think...she has a lot to give, given the right match

    Whatever your choice, I pray it will be the perfect fit for Willow...I know you miss her so. It must be so hard for you Shana, I just could not imagine your daily emotional status, but everyone is pulling for Willow the Champion, the Queen, we are all praying for you too :)
    Take care and know God is always in Control :)

    1. Thank you so much... ♥ Actually I hear colts can be quite dangerous... I think we found a sweetheart boy for her... I'll share about him soon. I just love your comments, thank you so much for your kindness and support! xo

  15. I have just received this beautiful reunion of a horse who was sold and then bought back - I thought you would all like it
    No problem if you delete it as "off topic" - happy viewing ;-)