June 30, 2013

Violet is her name...

So I finally decided to name our new mare Violet. She has had several names through the years, and her name has been Bella for the last 3 months... But because I already have a Mirabella and a business named Florabella... I thought it was Bella overload. And Violet really suits her... It will be her name now and forever...   And the meaning is just so perfect...

From my research on the name "Violet": Violet has a variety of meanings: Love; Modesty; Virtue; Affection; Faithfulness ("I'll always be true") and a Good Luck symbol for women. People with this name have a deep inner desire for love and companionship, and want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony.

I couldn't think of a better way to describe this mare...

Violette is so so sweet, and particularly so with Mirabella.  The morning after Violet arrived, I still can't believe what happened when we went to feed them.  We did what we usually do and fed Paloma in her stall and Mirabella in hers.  We have a round pen which is open to the barn stall doors on one side. We put Violet's bowl of food there.  Mirabella and Paloma ate like usual, but Violet wouldn't eat.  Instead she put her head over Mirabella's stall door and watched her finish her food.  After a while, we let Mirabella out with Violet thinking that maybe Violet would eat then...  well not only did she eat, but she shared her food with Mirabella. They took turns eating from the same bowl...  I've never seen horses do this before.  I know Violet would never hurt Mirabella... but I didn't quite expect her to share.

I think Violet thinks Mirabella is her baby... it is so so sweet... <3

Martha came to see Violet later that day, and as I expected, she loved her.  She said I did good. :)  I know that Martha truly believes that Willow led me to her, but it makes me feel good to know that Martha thinks Violet is good for me...  and for Mirabella.  Martha and I talked about how bonded they are already.  Perhaps, Willow led me to her for Mirabella.  Afterall, how will I ever be able to take Violet out for a trail ride and with Michael and Paloma?  Violet will not want to leave Mirabella.  And I hadn't thought about this before, but we would never leave Mirabella all alone.  hmmm....    I wondered how this would all play out, but I knew for sure that Violet was meant to be with us.

June 29, 2013

"I'm a Baby!!"

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed... These are the first moments after Violet arrived. Mirabella immediately started telling her, "I'm a baby". Mirabella is a young filly (still a baby) and communicated this to Violet by clacking her mouth up and down over and over again. From what I know this means, "I'm a baby... please don't hurt me... please watch over me..." And that is exactly was Violet has been doing in the days since. She absolutely won't leave Mirabella's side...

I never tire of watching this... horses are so so amazing.

June 27, 2013

Good Morning, Sunshine!

I took this while waiting for my new mare to arrive... I felt Willow with me. And if you look you can see a few different images of horses... and of course, the sunflare that reminds me so much of the miracle Willow sent me after she died...

And here she is in her stall... notice again the beautiful sun...

She and Mirabella bonded instantly... I honestly think the thinks Mirabella is her foal. ♥

June 26, 2013

Another Gift from Willow (Part 4)

Martha called me right after she and Dr. Kimmons left. She said the bay mare was not as thin as we had expected. Her feet were overgrown and needed tending to, and the pain from her teeth was so bad that it was hard for her to eat much. Perhaps the ads on Craigslist saying pretty much that she was near death were old or exagerrated... Either way, it was clear that this mare needed more land, to be with other horses, and to have her teeth and feet tended to. Dr. Kimmons examined her and floated her teeth, and we agreed to arrange for a farrier. Martha wasn't sure that this mare was right for our family, but we agreed to help her find the perfect home. (there is a bit more to that story that I can't share at this time in the mare's best interest.)

A few days later, we returned to Tennessee.. It felt so good to be home... the horses were so happy to see us! They were well taken care of while we were away, but Mirabella looked like a competely different mare! She was no longer blackish, but now more of a golden color! We decided to keep her in during the hottest hours of the day from now on... (either way she is still SUPER cute... gosh I missed her)! Short video on Instagram of how sweet she is! (notice her sweet fuzzy baby mane!)

The next day, our new mare arrived!

I hand grazed her for a while.. she was a tiny bit alert but calmed down quickly... we put her in a stall next to Mirabella... They were instant friends. :)

Another Gift from Willow (Part 3)

To my surprise, Michael didn't freak out... instead he seemed eager to find out more about this mare and what we could do to help (he has a big heart that way). After searching for a bit, I found the original ad and called the number.  The girl who answered sounded very young... she explained that her mare needed a new home... that she was now living in their yard with not much land... and that she was a bit thin.  She assured me that she was feeding her and giving her water.  I asked if I could send someone out to see her (since I was in Florida, I thought I'd send Martha).  She agreed but warned me that Martha would not be able to ride her mare because her feet needed trimming and she had hooks so wouldn't be able to take a bit (her teeth hadn't been floated in a long time).

Michael and Martha were both horrified.  Michael and I discussed it and decided to sent Martha and our vet out to examine this mare and to have her teeth floated.  We also planned to arrange for a farrier to tend to her feet...  We felt the urgency to have these things taken care of before making any other decisions (since we were out of town).

At this point I really didn't know what to do.  I still had an appointment to see the black Quarter Horse but wasn't sure that I should.  Perhaps finding her was part of the plan... part of the path that Willow was leading me on to this other mare in TN that needed help?   So I called the QH mare's owner, Danielle.  I explained to her the whole story...   and she listened.  But as soon as I mentioned the name "Willow", she asked "Willow?  Did you say Willow? That was Bella's pasture mate's name!"    And there was the final sign...  And I decided to keep my appointment.

Saturday couldn't come fast enough...  we packed up the kids and left the beach to drive way out to the country.  Bella's farm was beautiful...  and Danielle was as sweet as could be.  The farm owners were wonderful too.  In fact, within 3 minutes, the farmer had all my kids in the chicken coop collecting eggs!  He spent a couple hours with them... herding and petting sheep, wading in the river, playing with the dogs, feeding the horses, and having tons of fun with the chickens!  Even Sasha (who is a mama's girl) followed this farmer all over.  The kids had SO much fun...

And Bella was beautiful.  I rode her in the arena, as did Michael.  We both liked her instantly.  She was quiet and super sweet. We hung out with her for quite a while, and then they all convinced me to go on a trail ride with Danielle (on another horse) and one of the farm owners.  I resisted because I didn't know the trails, was afraid we'd see snake in the marsh, and I didn't even have riding boots on.  But I went, and I was glad I did.  Because on the trail ride, I forgot about everything that worried me.  I felt relaxed and peaceful... and I didn't feel afraid.  And at the end I realized... that yes, maybe Willow wanted to lead me to a rescue, but that she also wanted me to have another gift...  she wanted me to ride.   And she wanted me to have a horse that I didn't have to worry about or cry over... just one that would continue to do what she started... she wanted me to have a horse that would rescue me.

I made the deal before we drove off.  And Bella was mine.  <3  On the way home, I asked the kids to tell me their favorite part of our "beach vacation".  They all answered,  "The farm!"    I guess you can take family away from the country, but you can't take the country out of our family. :)

And that's how I ended up buying a horse on our beach vacation.  Now what to do about the rescue mare in TN...

June 25, 2013

Another Gift from Willow (Part 2)

Michael's nickname for me is "Lucy" (as in Lucille Ball).  He calls me Lucy because I'm a little crazy (I prefer the word "fun") like Lucy was....  and I keep his life exciting with all of my antics and adventures. :)

So I had to find a way to explain how I managed to find a horse while vacationing at the beach and why we should leave the beach to take a long drive to an inland farm in the blazing heat with three kids.  I thought maybe I should just tell him the truth...  that really it was all his fault. Yes, I would blame him for mentioning another child which gave me the baby fever that forced me to search for a new kitten which led me to a new horse... And that it was Willow who led me to her for some reason...  that her name was Bella and she was black with a white blaze, etc, etc.  So while doing a run through of my story, I came to the part where I couldn't find a kitten in Nashville.  But as I reenacted it, I must have typed in "Himalayan" rather than "Himalayan Kitten" because the CUTEST scrunchy kitty face popped up on my screen.  His owners needed to find a new, loving home for him.  Well I honestly don't know what was wrong with me... but I called and pretty much committed to taking him.

And now I need to explain a new horse in FL and a new kitty in TN.  I definitely had some "splaining" to do. lol

I was on my third glass of wine when Michael came home, and I quickly poured him a glass when I heard the door open.  As I handed it to him, I couldn't help but smile.  I tried so hard to wipe it off my face, but it was my guilty Lucy smile, and he recognized it right away...

"Luuuuucy???  What have you done now?"

I asked him if he wanted the long story or the short story... he said, "Cut to the chase".   So of course, I gave him the long story.   And I started off telling him about my kitten search.   "You're getting ANOTHER cat?"   "Well, yes... but that's not the BEST part..." I start to explain.  And then things even got a bit crazier.  He was asking me why I needed to buy a QH all the way down in Florida. I told him that it was Willow... leading me to this mare for some yet unknown reason. And I  reminded him how Martha had always told me I needed a Quarter Horse.  We already have a Friesian Filly, a Gypsy Vanner, a Missouri Foxtrotter, and a a Percheron/TB...  but we didn't yet have a Quarter Horse, and that I needed just a sweet, solid horse I could really ride.  Martha and I have been searching our area for a good QH for over a year... but for some reason it's really hard to find one around here.  Anyway, he didn't seem to believe me!  So I decided to show him.   I still had the Nashville Craigslist window open, and I searched "Quarter Horse Mare".

And up came this ad:

Starving Horse 4 sale PLS BUY - $1500 (Hickman Co)
Hey Y'all Someone PLEASE buy the starving mare on this site!!!. I drive by the Duck River P.O. everyday and can't take it!!!!

Listed as a quiet dappled bay QH mare... if i could pay I would!!!! NO HAY!!!! No POOP in the tiny yard... what's that tell ya????

Git her outta there! Thanks for lookin!

 WHAT?  oh my gosh... so I searched for her... and found this:

Re: dappled black mare Hickman county - $1500 (Hickman)
This mare is located across from the duck river post office. I drive by this house everyday, worried I'd see this poor starving mare dead. I never see hay or water access for her.
How can people ask 1500$ for a starving unkempt horse. I've called authorities, no one will respond in Hickman. I was startled to see this ad when I knew she is not fat or fit. The pictures must be from time before. Apparently, the owners are firm on 1500$, and very delusional if they think a starving horse is worth that.

Oh my GOSH... oh my gosh.... this is IT!!!  THIS is what Willow was leading me to.... here is my rescue...  here is my rescue....

June 24, 2013

Another gift from Willow (PART 1)

It all started on a Wednesday morning during our vacation at the beach.  We decided to take a day trip to visit St. Augustine for some lunch and shopping. Of course, the first thing I see are a couple of horse drawn carriages waiting for passengers on the side of the road.  It was so hot that day... about 95 degrees, and these horses looked hot, tired, and thin.  My heart sank, and I couldn't get that image out of my head the whole day.

During lunch, Michael mentioned the possibility of us having a 4th child.  We talked about it... perhaps another adoption... but quickly decided that we had our hands full.  I kinda wish he hadn't brought it up though, because every time he does this, I get baby fever and end up with a new kitten or a new horse.

Hours later on our way out of St. Augustine, the cart horses were still standing there. And I thought of my horses back home in their beautiful green pastures with fresh water and sweet grass.  I imagined walking up to the carriage owner with checkbook in hand and asking him to name his price for the horses and transport to TN.  I wished I could do that.  And I'm sure if I did, he'd go out and get a couple more horses to replace these - but I felt that these two had served their dues and deserved retirement in a beautiful green pasture...

As I tried to fall asleep that night, I kept thinking about those cart horses... about Willow... about Black Beauty... about how every horse has their own story.  And as I lay there, I stared at the abstract painting on the wall... and I realized it was a horse.  I've been looking at that painting for years and never really saw it.  But as clear as day, I could see it... a beautiful horse and rider. 

I slept peacefully after that.

The next morning I woke up super early thinking of Willow.... just like I did every morning for weeks after her death.  I know it was her.  She was trying to tell me something.  I texted Martha, "Call me when you can... I feel Willow.  She's trying to tell me something.  And I feel that God is leading me to something... and I think I know what it is.  And it involves you, too."   I felt so sure that I was being led to another rescue.

I grabbed my coffee and sat down at my computer. The first thing I saw when I logged onto Facebook was a beautiful photo of one of Nancy Hayden's Gypsy Vanners.  (Nancy was Willow's first owner, and we have become good friends).  This mare was gorgeous...  She was black with a white blaze.

So I sent Nancy a message:
Hi Nancy, I just saw your Kali... ohhh she is amazing...
I'm missing my horses like crazy down here in FL.
And in St. Augustine, there were some horses w/ carriages. they were all too skinny.
It broke my heart... sweet ones too.  I wished I could ask the guy what his price was
and have him trailer all three to me to give them the life they deserved.  
GOSH I miss Willow. Now I'm all teary...

And Nancy wrote back:
Bless your loving heart...you can't save the world though. I know, try not to be too sad...she is with you always and you know she would not want to ever make you sad.

Martha called me later that morning.  We chatted about the possibility of opening a horse rescue together.  I know Michael would be on board, but neither of us has the space or the time for this sort of project right now.  Still, we talked about how wonderful it would be... and how one day, we might try to make it happen.

That afternoon, Michael left for about two hours to run some errands. (he should have known better... two hours is a long time to leave me without me getting into some sort of trouble ;)  My mom had taken the kids to the beach, so I was left alone to get some work done.  But I couldn't stop thinking about those horses... and the baby fever was getting worse.  I grabbed a glass of wine and sat down at my computer.  But instead of working, I went to the Nashville Craigslist.  I was missing my Himalayan kitty Clover (aka The Muffin Man) SO much that I typed  "Himalayan kitten" in the search bar.  Zero results.  Then I wondered if there were any in Florida...  and I found a litter.  I called the lady, but she explained that the kittens wouldn't be ready until July.  She asked me about puppies- to which I responded, "Not a dog girl.. I prefer cats and horses".  Then she went on to tell me she had recently rescued a white Arabian mare!  I asked her where she lived...  she answered, "St. Augustine."  I got myself another glass of wine, and I listened as she told me her story.  I hadn't realized there were horses (besides cart horses) in that area.  So without thinking (and since I was already on Craigslist AND my 2nd glass of wine)  I typed, "Mare" in the search box.

The very first ad that caught my eye was for a beautiful Quarter Horse mare...

Her name was BELLA...  (Bella!  as in Florabella and Mirabella!)

*And she was pure black with a white blaze...

I got off the phone and dialed the number.   Bella's owner told me how sweet and gentle Bella was and that she'd only had her for 4 months.  She loved riding her on the trails and in the arena, but that she was really wanting a horse to run barrel races on and that Bella was just too sweet.  Well, of course I had to see her.  I scheduled the appointment for Saturday....

June 12, 2013

I can feel you....

Dear Willow,

I can feel you... I know you are trying to tell me something. I know you are trying to lead me somewhere or to something.

I am praying for clarity, for a clear mind, and an open heart.  I want to hear you...

And I miss you still.  So so much...

Please help me, my sweet girl.  Help me to understand where you are trying to lead me...

And I will listen carefully.  Because I know your soul speaks so softly...

I love you,