#DHOHFergus: 1 Year Later

The Journey Of A Rescued Horse Who Helps Rescue People

One of “my girls” recently said to me “Everyone talks about rescue, but no one talks about what happens after you’re rescued.” When I say one of my girls, I am referring to one of my clients who is coming to hang out with our herd to participate in Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies at Right Foot Ranch, Inc. She wasn’t talking about horses, but about people like herself, who have suffered from severe trauma and are now tasked with healing.

Last week, almost to the day of the one year anniversary of Fergus’ rescue, one of “my girls” laid on the ground at Fergus’ feet, crying & sharing how thankful she was that he understood what she had been through, he lowered his head to just over hers in silent support and stood with her until they both took in a big breath & let out a release that was felt even beyond the walls of the round pen. She stood up and they acknowledged one another’s vulnerability & bravery and she thanked him for being him. His big, bright eyes followed her as she walked through the gate to go home. He was content with their work and it was almost as if he was telling her how proud he was of her.

The next day I recieved a text from the girl’s caretaker saying that “Fergus was the first “person” she really openly cried to about how painful it was when she was starved. She would talk about it very disconnected, but she allowed her emotion to come to the surface with him…PRAISE GOD”

It has been just over a year ago that I received a message from Jacqui Avis at Drifter’s Hearts of Hope saying that she had a standoffish, but aggressive, skinny, gray horse that needed me.

I have enjoyed training horses and absolutely loved to volunteer at the rescue helping the untouchable one’s come around…so off I went to meet the skinny gray horse. I first saw him from behind as he stood with his face in the corner of the shed & my heart sunk at seeing every bone in his ribs, spine & hips through his disheveled, scar marked coat. After some persuasion he turned to face me and struck out with his front right foot to warn me to not get too close. Then, I looked into his eyes and saw something familiar. I had seen that same look in the mirror.

As someone who has endured trauma myself, I knew the reasons for his standoffishness and his defensiveness. In people we refer to it as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In horses it referred to as bad manners, untrainable & useless. Far too often these types of horses find themselves to be bound for slaughter, which was the case with Fergus until Jacqui stepped in to save him. Little did I know at the time, I needed that skinny gray horse just as much as he needed me.

Our journey over the past year hasn’t always been easy, but it has been so worth it. It has been a year of highs & lows, life changes, loss, healing, learning, overcoming obstacles, victories & a lot of self discovery. It has been a journey from untouchable to functional.
I will be forever grateful for all of our moments together and for all of the lessons he has taught me, the most important being that we can overcome all that has tried to hold us back and through our story we can make a big difference.

The hope of our future is bright. We are making it our mission to use rescued horses like Fergus to help rescue people…to teach them that their purpose is far bigger than their past and with vulnerability, some love, a little bit of understanding & a lot of courage, purpose will break forth, changing the world.

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