Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Part Two of Back to the Haven

 On the way to Cheyenne, the driving conditions were perfect. Everything was dry and clear. It was windy but not as bad as I have seen. I want to tell you a little about the ranch where January will be staying.

Meet my friend, Miss Virginia. She and I first met when I brought Rylee out to Cheyenne in June. After some major life changes, Virginia found herself with this ranch and the question of what to do with it. Then one day, there was a knock on the door. She opened the door and the man standing there said, "I want to rent your pasture."

She told me that she sized things up and went straight to prayer, "Okay, God, is this a test or a gift?"  Turned out to be both. That man is a Galloway, so I can completely sympathize!

Virginia has always loved horses. (Sound familiar?) Like Rylee, she had a mare as a best friend when she was a young girl. Her heart broke as she went off to college and had to leave her mare behind. After college, they stayed together right up until the horse passed away. Marriage and family life moved her away from horses for a long time.

Since that knock on the door, however, Virginia finds herself spending time with horses everyday. And this is not your normal pastoral scene. She, and Rod, and Rod's daughter, Ashby, have become partners in the business of breeding mares and helping to ensure that the new little babies are brought safely into the world. If you were a horse person, wouldn't that be an amazing thing to do with your life?

In typical Galloway fashion, Rod wasted no time in fixing, and building, and turning the ranch into a beautiful and safe place for the horses who came their way. He also helped Virginia to make improvements on the hundred year old farm house where she opened her arms and welcomed us in with only ten minutes notice when we arrived this time.

I just love listening to Virginia talk about horses. She speaks of the individual personalities the horses have. Every living creature has a spirit, but while listening to her, I really got a feel for the spiritual nature of these animals. Additionally, and I think of more significance, I got a feel for the spiritual nature of my friend, Virginia. Working with these horses, being able to embrace the passion she developed as a child, and feeling a new dream bubble up to the surface of this new life has put a wonderful light into her eyes.

She confided in me. She told me she was thinking about calling the place "Praire Haven" because she felt like it was a haven where animals in need could come to be taken care of. Well, I dare say, it is shaping up to be a haven even for the two legged animals who sometimes need a little caring.

I saw this little picture hanging in the bathroom. It has been there since her two daughters were little. They called these the "three keys to happiness" Over the decades, they have often used this to remind each other that nobody can make anyone else happy. The quote is now one of my favorites:

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.- Joseph Addison

Good advice, I think.

Uncle Rod had the missionaries come help fix up this outhouse. It is, apparently, an actual outhouse. I did nothing to confirm that, however!

They really fixed up the place, though, didn't they?

Having a good fence is important when it comes to livestock, and Rod cut no corners here. I just love these little glass thingies. I know there's an actual name for them...

Early in the morning, I fetched Rylee from Ashby's house and she had one last ride with January, letting her wander freely, exploring her new home.

After they put January in this corral with the other mares who had come in for water, we all just stood at the fence watching. Horses are very social animals. There is a hierarchy, and January will be at the bottom for a while. It was very interesting to watch as January stood off by herself and the other horses were in little cliques. Occasionally, one of them would kind of go towards her and sniff from afar. Eventually, one of them decided it was time to go back out to pasture and headed out. All the others began to follow. When there were only three left, January started walking out, too. There was one horse who made sure to stay behind her as if she was looking out for her.

I watched for it. I watched as January slowly walked towards the gate...wondering...and then...yes...she turned and looked at Rylee. Rylee told her it was okay. Then, she continued to follow the other horses. It was at this point where Rylee started crying. She put her forehead against the pole fence. When the horses were out of sight, Rod put his arm around her. Virginia went off to do more chores. I headed to the truck.

"Dry your eyes now," said Uncle Rod.

"She's a girl. Let her cry!" Virginia yelled over her shoulder.

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