As much as Jenny became the solution as to how to care for our ageing ‘guests’, I have to admit that it was me that had initially created the problem, after all, it was my impulsive action that brought the first of them to the farm.
Unlike Jenny I did not grow up with horses, mine was a passion that grew slowly and quietly. Nor did I always know that I wished to work with horses, indeed it is safe to say that the way my life has ultimately evolved is as much a constant surprise to me as it would be to anyone who knew me as a child.
An impulsive purchase of an Irish thoroughbred without an initial veterinary check, exposed a path that led to a career in hoof care, as well as a passion, love, and extremely fulfilling life.
Many people define ‘success’ using adjectives such as wealth, power, influence and importance. Mud, horse hair, bad backs, rasped fingers and a constant smell of sweat (both equine and human) aren’t usually in the top ten of definitions but somehow they made it into mine. That said, by the age of forty I felt I had eventually found complete contentment in my work
with horses. Not only did my chosen career provide me with a living, satisfaction and respect, it also initially brought me to Ash Tree Farm, introduced me to Jenny (my partner of ten years) and subsequently brought our Daughter into this world.
So, as I began to settle into my new and comfortable place, my journey led me inexorably to the next chapter in both my life and the lives of my family.
One day whilst trimming hooves at a local equine charity, I was shocked to see a marked deterioration in the condition of the horses. Reasons and excuses where plentiful, but solutions where scarce, and so I offered land (that i didn’t own), and help (Jenny’s, not mine), for that is the samaritan that lies deep within me!
The offer was quickly accepted, ten horse were delivered, and the foundations of ARC were forged. To say that we were ill equipped for such a challenge would be an understatement, but we always somehow coped, and the number of ‘guests’ grew as each year passed.
Six years on and ARC is still growing, we are still learning, and our ‘guests’ are still enjoying their retirement home. Rewarding lives are rarely easy lives and on the really hard days Jenny is quick to recall that it was me that opened the floodgates to our now hectic world. For this I am happy to
take the blame, though I bear no guilt nor regrets. We have occasionally been forced to say farewell to a resident of ARC and it is always
painful, but the love these animals engender helps make some sense out of this otherwise crazy world. They may not speak words, but their contentment is palpable, their gentle whickers adorable and their gratitude immense.
If the purpose of a blog is to share, then this is my message:
If you ever feel like you are loosing or have lost your sense of purpose, your sanity or your way in life, I recommend you spend some time in the company of natures greatest gift… an old horse.