Monday, March 18, 2013

Adopting May.

March has been such an interesting month so far, and the roller coaster of every week has made it difficult to find the energy for posts on the blog. There are days where I don't even want to touch a computer, be present online, or know/share anything about what's going on in life on the web. I guess you can say that giving up Facebook was the catalyst, as it's bled into nearly everything I do on the internet. Do you ever get that way, too?

Since unplugging my attention from my phone and computer, I've been accomplishing a lot of little things that usually get overlooked. Like remodeling the apartment, gardening for spring, reading nearly a book every three days, and writing letters to loved ones. It's also pushed me to be outside more, away from the noise of people's posts and complaints, or general banter. I've begun paying attention to my surroundings again, and have been finding beautiful things tucked away everywhere that I stop to look. It's crazy what a little time away will do for your perspective!

At any rate, a week ago I decided that (with bronchitis) I would take some time to visit a new friend at a ranch in Grove City where her horse is boarded. As a lover of any animal on the planet, I jumped at the chance to spend a day petting, feeding, and meeting dozens upon dozens of horses and ponies. My friend Hannah took time introducing me to each horse, telling me their back-story and how they came to be on the ranch, which is primarily used as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) facility. They use their therapy horses to work directly with autistic children, children and adults with disabilities, and others who are disadvantaged. The entire program blew me away, and as I handled more horses and listened to what all they've been able to do for others, I decided that I'd submit an application for volunteering over the spring and summer months. It was decided then that I'd also make a donation to the program, and as I was discussing everything with Hannah, she took me on the very last part of the tour: The pasture of rescued foals.

(May, Rocket and Matilda last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

Last year, Mandy, the manager of the farm, had learned of a newborn foal that needed to be rescued from a Nurse Mare Farm, where an infant foal was being put up for slaughter via a hammer to the head. The horse was less than 6 hours old when it was taken from it's mother and left alone. The horse had very little chance or time to survive, and Mandy knew she had to react quickly to save the horse from a tortured end. She raced to Kentucky to adopt the horse, and found that there were two other newborns that were also being set up for slaughter. She put her money together and managed to rescue three foals and an older horse, and took them back to Columbus to give them a new life.

(May and Rocket last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

As we walked into the pasture of babies, and I was being told about their rescue and everything that had been done for them, one of the yearlings turned towards us and walked straight up to me. Her name was May.

May is (and will likely always be) the pride and joy of so many at the farm. Mandy had essentially hand raised May in a fight for her survival, feeding her herself, ensuring her health at all cost, and providing her with more love and compassion than can be explained. I think that anyone that meets May automatically feels the love that Mandy had given her, and all of that affection has turned into May's general character.

May spent the entire time that we were in her pasture following Hannah and I everywhere. She tugged on my coat and boots for attention, she put her head under my arm for hugs, and she nuzzled her face into my chest, back and side to make sure I knew that she was there. She rolled around in front of us, she licked my face, and posed for pictures with my iPhone. I'd never, ever seen or been around a horse that acted the way that she had, and being rather ignorant about horses, I didn't think it was a big deal. Apparently, I was wrong. Nearly every single person who has seen May and I together, or have heard the story of our encounter have all said the same thing; May had chosen me to be hers.

The Sunday that I met May was a day that completely changed my life. Once I'd left the farm I started thinking about her and the other foals, and all that the farm has done for them. Being a non-profit organization that runs on donations and volunteers, it's taken a financial toll to provide for four rescues. It was then that I realized that I could do more than just volunteer and donate money to the foundation. I could provide for May.

I contacted Hannah and Mandy for several days thereafter, obsessively offering to bring by anything that May might need for whatever reason, and assessed my finances in detail to make sure it was possible to do so. I hadn't even thought about adopting her outright until I sat down and talked to Mandy about what I wanted out of this, which was to be a provider who was present in her life regularly, for as long as I possibly could be. Out of all of my options, adopting her as my own fit with what I wanted long term for her. I filled out the paperwork, submitted them for approval, and started altering my life and daily routine to accommodate the time I'd need to bond with May.

(May last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

It's a very fortunate circumstance when it comes to her overall adoption. I have no intention of removing her from her daily life at the farm, or to segway away from her becoming a registered therapy horse when she gets older. So, her life will only be changed by my incessant visitations, grooming, training, and any additional love that I can give her, and her care is at such a low cost that it doesn't affect my lifestyle at all. I won't have to worry about where to keep her, or if she'll be treated well, and I don't have to separate her from her surrogate family of horses and humans. All in all, it really is a win-win situation. 

I have accepted the fact that May will be in my life for the next 20-30 years, and that she is a lifetime commitment. The more and more I've thought about it, the more and more I get excited, and the more I feel content about my decision. From her 'terrible twos' phase, to her being trained to ride, to her as a very old lady- it feels like an incredible journey that I just don't want to miss. 

So, expect lots and lots of updates on our journey together, and all of the lessons I've learned in the process of being a first time horse owner. In all of my research of raising a yearling, I feel pretty confident that there will be a bevvy of things to share, both in my relationship with myself (hello, learning extreme patience!), and with my relationship with May overall. I look forward to sharing our continuing story, and about hearing stories of other's adoptions, too!

For more information on Equine Partners Unlimited, and to get involved in their program, please visit their website here, and like them on Facebook! For information on Nurse-Mare Farms, you can visit these informative sites here, and here.


  1. This is such exciting news! We have always really enjoyed being around horses. There is just something natural and beautiful and calming about them. Congratulations on becoming a new adopter to May! She is absolutely stunning!

    1. Thank you!!! I've been loving every minute of it so far. =]

  2. Wow, this is such an incredible story! This is such a thoughtful choice and will help her and the rescue organization greatly! Such a sweet horse, too!

    1. Isn't she though?! I can't get enough of her. Thank you for reading about her!