Tag Archive | boarding

Till Your Last Breath My Sweet Boy….

Jay March 2015

By Diana Wanamaker

My sweet boy Jay has been enjoying the cover and shelter of his new barn since the beginning of this new barn experience. I often find him standing at the end of the aisle to the barn, looking out at the pasture and keeping a close eye on his buddy, Sadie Lou. I will often find Jay in his stall or standing further inside the barn when I arrive, sheltered from the weather. Enjoying the comfort of being inside during inclement weather.
I can’t help but think of all the barns I have been at that my sweet Jay stood out in weather conditions that were unthinkable and border line neglect. And I had no voice to help him, no means to change it. And with each move to a new barn I found the same again and again. With each situation I became more and more hopeless, as I stood by voiceless on what I could do to help who I love the most.
After over a decade of this, my voice erupted in bursts of anger, at the lack of control I had to help who I loved the most and whom I know was affected by the lack of compassion and understanding from these barn owners. Not only did I cry in sadness and yell in anger at the injustice being done to my beloved horse, but I cried for all the injustice’s of my own life, and all the times I had no voice. No one to speak on my behalf, as I endured unspeakable events of my own life. I knew the truths of standing in the cold with no support anywhere to be found, and when I saw that in Jay, I could not stand by and blindly watch, as other’s in my life had done to me. I became his voice.
I spent years with a voice that talked with reason and understanding and coming from another’s view point. Putting myself in a barn owner’s shoes (best I could) and I talked with respect and logic. I strived to negotiate and come to a middle ground. I used every communication skill I possessed to create change for the better of Jay’s comfort and needs. It never resulted in change. Or if it did, it was short lived. So, I did what I could with the tools I had.
I would create shelter for Jay with blankets and hoods, place hay nets in corners where it provided some sort of wind break, or moved him to another part of a pasture in yet another corner, to protect from wailing winds.
His resilience however, is far greater than my own.
Eventually, I did move onto a new barn and yet another and another. Improvements came in the area of shelter, but it offered other challenges that weighed heavy on me.
With the last barn (before the dream barn), I was broken. I had hit a bottom with the abuse towards me and my horse over the years, and I could no longer trust or have faith in what was to come next. I made the hardest decision, I have ever made. It dawned on me, maybe I need to let Jay go. Maybe I need to find him another loving home, with someone who has their own farm and doesn’t have to board. Maybe Jay would be happier with that, then the stress of moving from barn to barn. I had to consider that and I had to do what was best for Jay. I could barely breathe thinking of being without him, but I could feel peace in knowing he may be better off without me as his person. I had to know.
I found an animal communicator to communicate with Jay, and ask him the much dreaded question. Would he be happier with someone else, someone who has their own farm, so he would not have to endure these barn situations any longer?
When Jay was asked this question, this was the response:
His left eye opened up. He asked if you are kidding. He feels the sunlight coming from your eyes. That’s his reflection of you. He feels cramped in his stomach and he can not breathe thinking of not being with you. He will not hear of it. Now his neck is long and thin and head is high up in the air. He tells you to dig deeper. He is sad over this thought. He says, I thought I was your baby.
When I read this, I broke down into tears. Crying in relief and crying in joy and crying in guilt for even asking such a question. With all that he had been thru in these barns, he still chose me. With all my imperfections, worries and fears, he still chose me. With my laughter, my smile, my kind heart he still chose me. With my anger, my pain, my past and all else that comes in this package, he chose me.
It is not often that an animal can make a choice of where it lives, or who is their person to be the witness and partner in their life. I wanted to give him that chance. Yet, he still chose me.
That was freedom, freedom that not even I had during times of my own life. Even though I have a voice, even though I am a person, I too have been in times of my life, where it was not my choice. I too have been caged like an animal, not choosing some of the people that entered into my life. Where even a voice cannot escape it’s bars. There was no way I was allowing that to be a part of another living being, especially to one I find so dear to my heart.
My voice returns, my choices gather, my fight continues, and I become larger than life, with no one stopping me, when I know that someone truly loves me and when given a choice, still chooses me. Despite the mistakes I have made, despite the times when my voice meant nothing. I stood by his side, seeking new solutions, to each unwanted circumstance that came our way.
That was freedom within itself. To be loved and to love. For that love to be accepted and returned. Seems like a such a simple feat, but so many of us have trouble allowing that in. While here before me, I got that from a horse, who has no voice, who often has no choices and who has endured much neglect and abuse before me. He still is able to love again. To laugh, to joke, to have fun. You can see it in his soft eyes and cute facial expressions, that the love has erased most of what he knew, and together we have found love, that each of us was looking for. To be free from the chains of the past and live in the joy of today.
Till your last breathe my sweet boy, I choose you too.
Love Diana

Copyright March 2105. All Rights Released

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After the Storm

Photo -Jay after the stomr of May 2012

-Jay after the storm

By Diana Wanamaker

Be patient with this post, for I have to set up the circumstances at the time.

One of the barns I had boarded Jay at in previous years had offered little to no shelter. There was a large run-in shed in the pasture that clearly offered plenty of shelter. However, when I moved Jay in, he would never use the shelter, no matter how many ways I introduce him to it.  It was a ‘pasture board’ arrangement, so a stall was not allowed. The other horses at the farm were brought in each night, and Jay was left out in a pasture by himself.  During the summer months, the doors at the back of the barn were left open. Jay’s primary living spot was at the back of the barn where he could enjoy the companionship of the farm horses, as if he was in the barn.

At the back of the barn, were two large sliding doors. A mound of dirt lead up to the back doors, which leveled off for a smooth entry into the barn. It offered a high ground, where water drained off nicely and kept that usual muddy spot at a barn’s entrance, dry.  On the mound of dirt, were two large rubber matts that sat on top of the mound of dirt. Those rubber matts are where Jay lived when he was not grazing. Where his hay was and his water near by.  This was his comfort zone, close to the other horses. As long as the weather was not too extreme or harsh, the daily routines brought Jay comfort and contentment.  But the back of the barn was left wide open to north, west and south winds, which offered little protection.

It was not ideal by far, as most boarding places offer less than satisfactory situations, but you make the best of them.  Each time you learn something new and look to avoid those situations that did not work so well.

Then one day, after a windy storm, I arrived at the barn, only to find the entire run-in shed had tipped entirely over. It was pretty clear to me now, why Jay didn’t want to use the run-in shed.  Horses know these things, intuitively know.

One year a spring rain storm came like I have never seen before in all my years here in Michigan.  It poured hard, hard, rains for 8 hours straight. Not once letting up in it’s fierce intensity.  The winds were blowing at 25-30 mph, coming from SW.  The temperature was about 40-45 degrees.

I happened to be at the barn when the rains started. They came on strong and hard. Jay started pacing at the back of the barn. Started neighing and became clearly upset.  The farm owner would not let me bring him in and I had to close the back doors of the barn.  I became more and more anxious, seeking solutions to ease Jays’ angst with the storm.

I went outside, at the back of the barn, closed the barn doors and stood in the rain with Jay for many minutes.  My hand gently holding his head.  His head leaned into my arm.  His head hung low, as the rain pounded down so hard on the both of us, we could barely see in front of us.  His eyes were closing from the water pounding down so hard from above. My clothes were drenched from top to bottom. I could feel the puddles forming in my shoes. Yet, I could not bare to leave my Jay. I talked to him and offered my apologies that I had no choice but to leave him in such unprotective conditions.

As the minutes passed, I knew I could not stand out there all night. The rain still coming down relentlessly. I spoke to Jay and told him how sorry I was, and that I would be leaving.  As I opened the barn doors, I stepped into the barn and had to do the unspeakable.  I slowly closed the barn doors and continued to apologize to my sweet boy. Jay tried to reach his head into the barn. In agony, I had to slowly push his head out so I could close the doors.

I never could have felt worse then at that moment.  I left the barn and walked around the side of the barn to peak at Jay at the back of the barn.  He wasn’t pacing or upset, but clearly was uncomfortable. At least his anxiety had diminshed and the little time I had stood in the rain with him, had offered something.

A sleepless night awakened me to the sound of rain continuing to pound on the roof top. It’s fiery only offered me more concern for Jay, as I had visions of him standing in the ongoing storm.

The next day, after the rain had finally stopped, there stood Jay, as if nothing had happened.  Despite his unaffected appearance, I knew something had to change.  I pleaded with the farm owner to allow nights in, on such stormy nights. With some negotiation, I was able, for a short period, to offer true shelter to Jay during those times of extreme weather.  In time, I did what was best, and found another barn.

Copyright May 2012. All Rights Reserved