|Posted by Scatter Joy Acres on September 30, 2015 at 12:30 AM|
This blog is dedicated to Jack at Scatter Joy Acres. Jack has shown us that a blind horse can enjoy life just like a sighted horse. And he has shown people who have come to the ranch that life is too short to let disabilities/life challenge’s, stop you from having good quality of life.
However, going blind can be a frightening experience for both the horse and the owner. Your horse may be upset and scared (and who wouldn't be?) by the encroaching darkness. They'll say your horse can't have a good quality of life if it's blind. Well, we're here to tell you differently. Blind horses can have a wonderful quality of life. And Jack is here to show us that. Three weeks ago Jack was brought to the ranch from a rescue group, for him to live out the rest of his life in sanctuary. He was scared and unsure of his travel and as he came jumping off the trailer he melted the hearts of us at the ranch.
Jack is a 20 year old appaloosa gelding who became blind due to an eye illness. Because of his blindness he spent most of his time in a stall in the barn, his owner thinking that he could not be in a pasture. His tail had lots of hair missing due to rubbing his backend against the stall wall. I took Jack and placed him in our stall barn, until I could get the other horses settled and then off I went to get Jack introduced him to the ranch.
Jack and I left the stall barn heading to the pasture where I keep the mini horses knowing he would be safe and secure in this paddock and pasture area. Jack and I walked the perimeter of the fence line, found the hay and water and then met the rest of the herd. Horses are herd animals with a social hierarchy and a well-defined pecking order. Usually the blind horse falls to the bottom of the pecking order. The others sense the blind horse’s vulnerability and take advantage of it. A blind horse will get beaten up, chased away from food, and run off from the group. It is not a pleasant life. Blind horses can get hurt in a herd environment because with their fight-or-flight instinct, blindness leaves them with only one choice: flight. And fleeing from a bully in the herd in a blind panic (literally) is when a blind horse will run into a fence or a tree and get hurt. Just as people do.
A blind horse, should find a compatible pasture buddy to hang out with. Horses need company, and a lonely horse is an unhappy horse. So Jack was out to find, his sighted pasture buddy (we call them our “seeing eye horse”), and he did, Lucky and Jack have become buddies. Lucky would see to it that Jack found his way to the feed bunk, water and back out safely to the pasture for more grazing. A lot depends on the individual personalities of the horses and the ‘social chemistry’ when they’re together.
This past weekend we increased the pasture area for the mini horse paddock where Jack is at and cut out a gate area in the pasture fence. Jack is so amazing at the way he trusts my voice and follows the direction of my calling to take him to new places. I see this as well not only in my own life growing up and trusting the cows at the farm where I grew up, but I see it every day in the people who come to Scatter Joy Acres.
We all have been mistreated, mistrusted and just really don’t want to give that next person the chance to show us any different. So it is easier to just give up and just live life being lonely, holding hatred in for something that is not even effecting the person who you are holding it against any way they have moved on. It is our nature to defend ourselves because of our pain, so we choose to bully those around that are kind of like Jack in the his pasture, there is always a dominate horse in the pasture and was Jack going to allow this horse (his name is Beaver) to take advantage of him and push him around just because he had a disability. Do you allow others to take advantage of your weakness or are you the type that wants to fight? This past summer we had boys who were fighting at the Public Library and the police were ready to take them away but allowed us to take them with us and bring them to the ranch and experience what happens when we take time to sit down and find out what is the deep root of why they wanted to fight each other.
How do we do this you ask? Our animals are the answer, with some guidance from staff, asking questions and showing the boys how the animals love them no matter what they have done, we show the boys how to love themselves by interacting with the animals we have at the ranch. When we left to take them home a couple hours later, the boys were hugging each other and apologizing for fighting. And still today both boys are doing well and one of the boys now has joined a program that Scatter Joy Acres partners with in the community as part of a after school program. The list goes on with the people, and animals who have come to the ranch and made changes in their lives.
I was asked to list the five most important things I’ve learned in caring for rescued animal and people for the past 10 years. After writing up what I call my “Insights," I realized that if we were going to make a formula for “success," it would be: Personality + Time + Environment = Success. If we take into account people/animals different personality, and invest the time into them, by using the peaceful ranch environment. We all will have a good quality of life, which is SUCCESS.
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