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Sable

Kevan Garecki
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Location: Langley, BC
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Sable

Postby Kevan Garecki on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:15 am

Sable is our newest addition to the rescue herd, and quite possibly the narrowest margin of rescue we`ve ever had. I was asked to write a piece on her for a local magazine; here is Sable`s story:
The often tumultuous world that is rescue is most certainly a rollercoaster ride at best; from glorious victories to crushing failures to those long nights with a colicking horse or the utter confusion cloaking a mystery ailment, the ride our horses guide us on is never easy, but in some way it is always rewarding … and that’s what keeps us doing what we do.
Sometimes we come by a horse who is just in a bad environment, while others are so physically challenged the kindest thing to do is release them from their suffering. Every once in a while we are offered the chance to help without even knowing we are, or why. Sable, an uncommonly sweet & appreciative Kentucky Mountain mare has given us just such an opportunity. When I was first notified of her I didn’t immediately see anything that would invite me to use the term “rescue” in her case. She appeared to have a good home, was definitely fit & well fed and apart from being neglected in a spiritual sense most of her needs were being met. Yet in the back of my mind swelled a niggling sense of urgency that would not rest; so I agreed to look into her case.
I knew Sable while she belonged to a friend previously, so I already knew of her demeanor & curious proclivity for preferring to be with humans instead of other horses. As I questioned my friend to get some background on Sable before heading out to meet her, I began to get clues as to the premonitions I’d had; the fellow to whom my friend had given Sable seemed to have had a rather abrupt change of heart over her, and in doing so put her out into a herd of other horses who were also unused. As winter approaches many operations often look for ways of cutting their seasonal expenses, with herd dispersal being one of the first approaches. As it turned out, Sable was among the first wave of mares to be culled as the manager’s budget dictated. Unbeknownst to me the morning I arrived to visit Sable, there were also other and far darker plans already struck for this elegant lady.
As I walked up to the stall in which Sable had been kept for the night prior to my arrival, the young lady who maintains the barn strode up to me with a desperate look on her face, she indicated that she hoped I would agree to take Sable, and made a comment about “her time running out fast”. I’m very used to rush tactics by owners & their employees, so I disregarded this remark at first, thinking it was simply meant to make me circumvent our normal protocols. As I inwardly struggled with justifying “rescuing” this horse, the lady looked me in the eye & said “Well, it’s 6AM now so you have 2 hours to look her over, because the meat truck arrives at 8”. I was about to dismiss this again but as I looked at the woman & saw the desperation in her eyes I understood that she was telling the truth. “I just don’t want to see her go that way” the woman pleaded, so after performing a physical check on Sable & putting her through a few behavioural tests I simply led her directly to my trailer, loaded her up & left. As I swung my rig out onto the road another truck approached from the east, a nondescript rig that had obviously seen better days. As I negotiated a wider berth to allow the other truck room to enter the driveway I noted the name on the door; I’ve been hauling horses long enough to be familiar with the regulars, including the meat buyers. I shuddered as I watched the reflection in my mirror of kill buyers truck ambling down the very driveway I had just left.
I believe our values have become skewed in this current climate of disposable & instant everything; and nowhere is that more evident than in the “luxuries”, the category which horses most often tend to fall into. A horse, or any other animal for that matter, is not a luxury; he or she is a living, breathing, sentient being. He feels pain, she knows anguish & loneliness, they experience grief at the loss of a herdmate, or even a special human. Horses show hints of linear thinking, have amazing memories & can recognise faces, voices & even silhouettes of those known to them. I also know for certain that a horse can grasp abstract concepts, such as love, kindness & intentional cruelty.
Sable may not be the most visibly dramatic rescue we’ve ever undertaken, but her story is certainly one with the narrowest margin. Had I stopped for breakfast that morning, or the weather forecast been correct & delayed my trip, or had any of a score of potential interruptions caused me to miss that two hour window of opportunity, a horse who gave everything of herself in the service of humans would have gone to an unjustifiably terrifying end. For wont of a handful of minutes, Sable is now a part of our flowing herd, a term I use as it depicts the herd as it is; never stagnant, always changing, always dynamic. There is an old saying that offers “You never step into the same river twice”; I for one am solidly grateful I waded in when I did. I am completely confident Sable is equally grateful, for her eyes never leave me while I’m at the barn, and she does not miss a single opportunity to nuzzle my arm. She knows, I am certain of it …

The kids in the Restorative Justice program working at the rescue as part of their community restitution usually come in with an attitude, some with fear writ large across their faces. Some leave with their attitude, a few leave & ask to come back on their own time. One girl in particular is asthmatic & relies quite heavily on her puffer; and is very self-conscious about that, which exacerbates the issue as when her tension level increases she must use the puffer more often, and around we go ...
Enter Sable, who had a profoundly calming effect on this young lady. Sable sniffed the puffer, then the girl's face, and simply let out a deep sigh. The breath took 10 seconds or more, ending in an audible rumble. I had not heard her make a sound such as this, and was watching her for some sign she may be labouring for a breath; what I failed to see was that during the few moments I was watching Sable, the aide was watching the girl, who didn't reach for her puffer once the entire time.
I moved away to allow the two some quiet time together, and went about chores for a while. On returning I caught the aide's eye; who in answer to my questioning stare whispered "Almost 20 minutes & counting, she hasn't huffed on that thing once". We just stood there & smiled at each other …

This is how I keep on doing what I do ... and sometimes it even makes that nightmare go away.
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"We are responsible forever for that which we tame."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Kevan Garecki
EPNet General Member
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:48 am
Location: Langley, BC
Has thanked: 31 times
Have thanks: 26 times

Re: Sable

Postby Kevan Garecki on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:16 am

Sable the Healer
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"We are responsible forever for that which we tame."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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