Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Horizons

5 months, thats the time that has passed since we made our transition to Colorado.

There was so much transition in those early months of our arrival here. We pulled in the driveway after an arduous 4 day haul from the east coast with my husband driving the budget rental truck with car in tow, and me in the pick up hauling our 3 dogs and cats. Our horses were left behind in the care of friends while waiting for the hauler to pick them up 2 weeks later. Those 3 weeks of empty pasture were gentle reminders of the reality of our transition. We made preparations and waited patiently with weekly phone calls to check on our two loved horses until thier time of departure to meet us and complete our 'family'.

The morning finally arrived early in TN for their journey to begin. We got the phone call and I started praying from that time for them to have ease in the transition that would follow. I often wonder what goes through a horses mind...here they are eating grass in pasture they have declared home for months at a time, and all of a sudden thier caretakers up and dissapear on them. No more hugs, familiar whistles and affection from the hands that have been thier provision from birth.

The truck drivers arrive and they slip the halters on thier heads and lead them up a ramp into a semi-truck loaded with other 'rider's'. The look on Belle's face from pictures recieved pretty much draws a picture of whats going through her mind. So for the next 4 days they ride day and night making new aquaintances in the trailer stalls next to them.

From there, they arrive in Colorado Springs, unloaded by 'new' hands again into a barn and stalls that have been frequented by a number of prior 'visitors'. I can imagine thier noses were going crazy with new smells and ears flicking with new noises. I wonder, were they looking for us, listening for the whistle that had grown so familiar?

And then, 4 days later...they are loaded back onto the truck, with a new host of friends for a 10 hour ride to thier final destination. Clueless I am sure, wondering where they were headed now, and where they would land when it all came to a stop. It was midnight when the truck pulled up to the driveway off the road. The drivers left the engine running and jumped down from his seat to open the doors. My husband and I stood anxiously outside the ramp, trying to eye our beloved horses in the dark trailer. I could see Liberty and Belle haltered to thier 'stations'. They looked weary, and unsure of what was going to happen next. Liberty stretched his neck across to the horse in front of him and they nosed each other as if saying goodbye, and Liberty almost seemed to be affirming him that all would be well. Tears were coming down my face as I saw our 'babies' after a long 31/2 weeks of seperation. Liberty came right down the ramp, eyes wide trying to percieve in the dark where he was. I don't think even then he realized who he was standing next to as Cip took his lead from his halter and held him waiting for Belle to make her way down the ramp. She wasnt quiet as anxious to leave, it took a little coaxing to get her to come down. More wide eyes full of fright not being able to see in the dark either, not sure of the voices she was hearing, but some familiarity at the same time.

So we bid the drivers a farewell as they left to deliver more loved ones to Montana that early morning. As we walked Liberty and Belle up through the pasture to the barn, I could sense thier weariness. It had been a long haul, a long week, and another long day of riding. So we got them to the barn, Liberty's legs were trembling from the exhaustion of the trip, his eyes looked so tired. We fed them good to begin to fill in thier ribs where the road trip had worn thier stamina and stolen some of thier body fat. They nickered as we bid them goodnight. We stood just outside the barn and listened to them as they chewed the hay and began thier new life with us in Colorado.

The next morning we went early to the barn to find them more awake and responsive to us. They remembered who we were, the whistles, the rubs and the familiar voices and hugs. We took a long walk around and through the pasture to welcome them to thier new home. I was so happy to have them, we were a family again, a complete unit.

After walking the pasture, we turned them loose and they cantered across to investigate thier new home. Liberty took a good roll in the sand, at which point tears fell from my face again, to see him be a horse, a happy horse, brought much joy and point of closure to a season of transition for all of us. After his roll in the sand, he trotted over to the fence line, and stood and gazed at the horizon for a half hour. Just looking at the mountains. I stood there with him and we just nuzzled and took deep breaths, wondering, dreaming of what was on the horizon for the future.

If you have never spent much time with a horse, this may all seem like nonsense to you. But horses have so many similarities in spirit and heart as we do. The more time you spend with them, the more you begin to understand how they think, what they think. The days that followed were days of re-connecting and bonding. I will always cherish those times as we walked together unbridled in the pasture and napped in the sun resting and regaining strength from the journey we had all just completed.

A new season ahead. New vision, new horizons to travel. A new maturity attained in our horses from being well seasoned over the last year of events. A new trust developed in relationship with them towards us, that even when it seemed uncertain, we were still 'with them, and for them'.

And so here we are, 5 months into our journey. I am riding Liberty our 4 year old, and Belle our 2 year old. The way they are responding to us as we continue training them is remarkable. The affection they hold for us is tender to the heart. They have learned that we can be trusted. They have learned that they can depend on us. This is the foundation of our remarkable beginnings, it will only get better from here.

And so the moral of this story...haha, there is always a deeper truth in the things we experience. The future is ahead. The past is behind. The lessons have been hard, but learned. We can trust our 'caretaker' Creator God. He is ever watching out for us, caring for us, providing for us, nurturing our hearts, even when with all good reason, for appearances sake, it seems we have been forsaken. He is there, leading, guiding, loving us with a whole heart, anxiously awaiting...our arrival.

You can visit my website to see an Original Oil painting that I have completed and titled 'New Horizons' from this story. Visit the web at http://www.runninghorses.weebly.com/

And remember...even when you think you have been left forsaken...He is planning, purposing for your future.

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