One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”
~ Adapted from the story by Loren Eiseley
Our community is filled with passionate, aspiring people who love their animals and the sport that comes with them. We as a whole are a people devoted to bettering each other and our horses. For this, I would like to give a shout out to all the horse people who help cultivate our community.
More than ever, I feel so blessed to know a handful of people who have helped shape my goals and personal mission for the horse. These people are just a little different than the rest of the crowd. They are able to look past business figures, personal ambition, and commonly accepted rationality to see the significance and grace in the eyes of a horse. This simplistic love is the premise for our desire to ride, breed, compete, and generally be involved in the community labeled “horse people”.
With this love comes a responsibility to uphold the individual significance of the horse. It’s what keeps the horse closer to man than machine. This responsibility to advocate for the soul of the horse is, in my opinion, greater than representing any sport, business, or standard of practice. So thank you to those who see a need to step up and take the forgotten, given-up-on, more-trouble-than-they’re-worth horses. Thank you for giving them another chance. Thank you for loving them when no one else would. While there are an unfortunate many horses who pick the short end of the stick, it doesn’t make any one of them less significant, or less deserving. Each horse matters, and every time one is pulled out of the pit they’ve been thrown in, it reminds our community not to forget to keep caring, because for that horse, your love has made all the difference.
On June 12th, 2017, a paint horse was sold by the pound to a kill buyer at Mid America Stock Yards in Oklahoma. Stamped #1086, he shipped to Kaufman Kill Pen in Texas. Days before he was to be loaded and sent over the border, a local advocate group posted his picture on Facebook, and his soft expression caught the eye of a woman in North GA. She recognized the situation’s urgency and made the call. #1086 narrowly missed his trip south, and instead, headed east to arrive at the woman’s small farm on July 25th.
#1086 arrived to his new home malnourished, battered with bite & kick marks, with bruised feet, and covered in thousands of ticks. However, he was OK. His eye was still soft, and he was kind.
The woman named the horse Glenn, after a character from The Walking Dead. With that, Glenn started his new life. He ate alfalfa & Tribute feed, and he was massaged, bathed, and brushed. When he was well enough, he started lunging and playing on the ground with his person. He started bonding with horses in his herd. He started being a horse again.
The depth of the bruising in Glenn’s feet from months living on concrete revealed that Glenn needed shoes, so he got shod. He also needed a specific, intensive worming schedule to help flush his GI Tract of an extreme count. From his time in the Stock Yards & Kill Pen, and whatever life he’d had previously, Glenn’s body was sore. His owner invested in the body work to make him feel well again.
It has been over a year now since Glenn was pulled from what was almost the end of his story. Today, he continues on with his owner, getting healthier, more confident, and more significant in the perception of those around him, as they look at the simple, goofy, in-your-pocket, loving nature of Glenn. He makes the people around him happy.
In response to a question I asked his owner recently- “What do you want to do with Glenn? He would make such a great ranch horse”. She just smiled and shrugged- “That would be nice, he might be able to do that one day.” She just gave him a pat.
Out of all the talented & successful riders, trainers, owners, breeders, and business people in our community, I have no deeper respect than for the horseman who can let go of the logistics of “success” and embrace the humility, patience, selflessness, and love that comes with knowing the significance in the eye of a horse.
Thank you Georgia McGinnis for upholding a horseman’s greatest responsibility. We wish you nothing but a long and happy journey with your Glenn!