Accepting change is necessary. The ability to do so however, is not always easy. As the caretaker of so many animals with lifespans that vary from single digits to several decades, there always seems to be a geriatric family member to manage. A year ago, I wrote a post about Sandi, (Just a School Horse), MRF's tried and true beginner lesson horse who celebrated his 28th birthday this year. The post was a tribute to his loyal career as confidence builder for many budding equestrians. I wanted to acknowledge his gifts while he was still very much alive and healthy.
What a difference a year makes. Compromised, (but not limited), by the surgical removal of his right eye years ago, it was only a matter of time until Sandi's other eye would succumb to Uveitis, (periodic opthalmia). Although medication slowed the process, it has become evident lately, that the battle is being lost. Despite the inevitable, Sandi's ability to adjust to change reminds me of the power in each of us to accept and adapt. Once the most amicable horse in the herd, Sandi is now rather aggressive toward other horses who venture too closely into his space. His reaction includes lunging full force with ears pinned against his head, mouth agape and teeth bared. The maneuver is shocking to witness by those of us who know the gelding as nothing but a gentle soul. However, the gesture is understandable as Sandi clings on to the remaining vestiges of his dignity. I was forced to change the turnout routine so Sandi could eat in peace. Therefore, he was allowed to spend summer days grazing freely around the property by himself without competition from other horses that might cause stress.
Sandi was mostly content with this arrangement except for the fact that it isolated him from belonging to a herd. His pitiful high-pitched whinnies were proof that horses are happiest when they belong to a group; feeling more secure no matter how low on the pecking order they rank. But Sandi's negative behavior risked injury to other horses as well as to himself.
Meanwhile, donkeys Bing and Frankie were also forced to accept significant change in their lives at MRF this week. While dragging the donks home after dark with Mary, my neighbor, illuminating our way from the headlights of her car, I was forced into making a revelation. The donkeys can no longer be allowed to roam freely. With maturity has come the confidence to explore farther and farther from the barn. Fearing for their safety, (not to mention my neighbors' safety), it is necessary to secure them in a paddock during turnout hours. Only on supervised walks are they permitted to run freely in the big field below the barn.
Fortunately, Sandi's and the donkeys' situations bumped into each other this week creating an acceptable solution to both dilemmas. The pictures tell the rest of the story and once again remind me that every problem is solvable. Once we accept that change is inevitable we can channel our energies to adapt.
|Bing and Frankie to the rescue!|
|Sandi is curious about his new companions who have lost their privilege to roam the property freely.|
|Alex assures Sandi that he will be cared for and loved forever.|
|The donkeys pose no threat to Sandi...|
|...therefore, providing companionship and...|
|...a herd to call his own.|