This blog is not an easy one to write.
It has been a difficult week for Soul on Fire, the herd and my family. We had to say good-bye to one of our herd members. Chuckie was only two.
Needless to say, I have been reflecting on my life purpose, the future of Soul on Fire, horse ownership, relationships and the list goes on. Mortality seems to do that where we question our own role. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life. We are given one life and it is up to us to live it with purpose and meaning (with a soul on fire).
Chuckie was born here and I remember the days leading up to his birth with so much anticipation and excitement and a wee bit of anxiety hoping all would go well. The mare was overdue so it was time. The previous foal was stillborn so needless to say, there was concern.
He was born without a hitch but for the first time, the mare was not accepting the foal like she should. She was so engorged with milk that she was hurting so she needed to be milked out to provide relief and let the foal have some of the colostrum from the bottle. It took all day to get the foal to latch on and for mama to accept the baby but alas, we had success.
That was only the first hurdle. The baby was born with what is called "knock-kneed" (see picture below) with one leg worse than the other.
With several vet consultations, we developed a plan to support this baby so it had a fighting chance by implementing a daily routine with leg wraps. This baby had lots of will to live and some fight in him so the weeks and months ahead were interesting in trying to keep him still while we wrapped his legs. Needless to say, I learned to wrap quickly while my daughters or husband held him. It was a family affair. His legs grew stronger and straighter.
His quality of life was good here and the intent was to make him a pasture mate and provide support to clients of Soul on Fire. He had some quirky ways that made you smile even when he was being annoying. Even on his last day here, I felt his nose on my butt knowing he was about to reach for the tab on my coveralls. He was always so playful.
Unfortunately his playfulness was his demise when he slipped while acting foolish and fractured his leg. I couldn't see him suffer and prognosis was not good so on Monday, January 27th, Chuckie was laid to rest.
Chuckie was a fighter. He embraced life fully in spite of his flaws because he didn't see them as flaws.
With so many challenges regarding horses and my heart so filled with grief, this made me question the "Coaching from the Barn" philosophy and horse ownership until a client reached out when she sensed something was wrong based on a cryptic Facebook post I shared and this is what she had to say to me.
"Maybe this isn't a sign for you to change course, it's simply a test of your faith in yourself.
I know what a huge difference you made in my life, at a critical time. I certainly would not be where I am without you and your herd. I may not even be alive if you hadn't been there.
What you do is important so please don't give up on your end goal."
These words have been pivotal for me. I was feeling defeated!
And then the coach who I studied my Equine Assisted Facilitation reached out with the words of "contrast brings clarity".
With this support network, I can see clearly today (even through the tears). It means some difficult decisions and discussions will follow and boundaries will be established and offerings with the horses will continue. And if I could bubble wrap the horses, I would.
One of my mares felt my grief that awful day and nestled her head into my chest. My sorrow was shared with her. This was her brother.
For all of you animal lovers out there, this is the worse part of ownership but I will always do what is right to ensure there is no pain or suffering. Dear Chuckie, I know your spirit will live on with Tater's and each time I think of you, I will remember you grabbing my hat, my coveralls or my hair, and I will smile.
Thank you for being such an important part of our lives. RIP dear man.
I am an experienced business woman, a certified leadership and life coach (Co-Active Coach Training Institute recognized by the International Coaching Federation), an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources, a horse owner for 25+ years and have studied Equine Assisted/Facilitated programs such as the Horse Medicine Leadership Academy, Natural Lifemanship and EAGALA.