June Story Contest

By: Thesoapgirl3
Age: 15

 I haven't been a volunteer at HHH for very long, so my first impressions  of
HHH are fresh in my head. I remember it very clearly; I was  attending a
fundraiser there, and while walking among the many corrals,  pens, and over all
menagerie, I found the HHH walking information stand - Alise.
What I recall before that is the black paint cross named  Tonto, his one blue
eye regarding me from the front of the ranch.  However, I won't bore everybody
with my story... so why don't I talk  about some one else? Let's see... ah yes.
Cinderella. No, I'm not  talking about a fairy-tale, I'm talking about a little
white Arab...They  were asked by a local woman if they would be interested in
taking a  horse she had.  Her husband had recently died and she was living on
only  one social security check a month. She had three horses and with the  cost
of hay she was struggling to feed them.  The first time they went  to see the
woman they knew we had to take the little white Arabian  quickly or she might
not make it. The woman seemed to be suffering from  Alzheimer's and days would
go by while she would forget to feed and  water her animals.  She did not
remember the animals' names or how old  they were. They brought the little white
Arabian to the ranch the very  next day and started her rehabilitation
process.   The first hurdle they  had to deal with was her severe dehydration.
She was so close to death  and weak from dehydration that she could hardly hold
her head up.  She  started drinking large amounts of water; up to sixty five
gallons a day  as though it might run out.  They had to put two fifty gallon
water  barrels in her stall so she would never run out of water again.  As the  
days went by she slowly started to come back to life.  When she was  ready they
started working on building her muscles back... they were  like Jell-o.  After
months of weight gaining and muscle building they  were able take a short test
ride and found out that not only was she  broke to ride, but she knew how to
neck rein and run barrels. The name  Cinderella just seemed fitting for her and
so she had a new name  befitting her new lease on life. Now she is our much
loved little lesson  horse that can go to the local horse shows with young
children or  senior citizens.

thesoapgirl3 images before and after           

Cinderella before............        Cinderella four months later

What an experience it has been  already! I have seen so much over the past two
days… I can't  imagine what I'll see or hear about over the next however many
years...   I've been to the ranch on an early summer day so hot it felt like my  
eyes were melting.  I've rejoiced watching neglected animals become fat,  shiny
and happy again. And sooner or later I'll cry after saying  good-bye to those
brave hearts whose broken and battered bodies just  didn't have enough strength
left to make a comeback.
People I know always ask me - why do you go through all  this? I have a theory
about that. I have always said that the true Love  of horses is a virus. It is
something undeniable in your blood, that  won't go away with the onset of  any
"life altering" event. What other  reason could there be that causes normal,
sane people to make such an  intense physical, mental, monetary, and emotional
commitment to their  hooved friends?
Many volunteers all ask pretty much the same questions.  Is life as a volunteer
glamorous? Maybe once in a while, at a show, but  the rest of the time, no. Is
it easy? Not hardly. Is it a lot of hard  work? Oh, my aching back, is it ever!
Is it fun? Yes, it really is. Is  it rewarding? If you have the horse-love
virus, it is incredibly  rewarding.
Inevitably, they ask, "When do we get to ride?"  The answer is, some days we
don't ride. Some days you need to wash the  pig... twice. We don't go there to
get on our pretty ponies and gallop  through a field of daisies. Some days you
need to work with the  miniature who wants to bite your fingers off... Their
reactions always  tell me if they are infected with the horse-love virus or not.
Sure, it  would be great if we could saddle up the horses and take all the  
volunteers on a trail ride, but HHH simply is not that type of place. It  has
always been a rescue and rehab organization, not a weekend pleasure  farm. I've
already seen people leave in a huff because they think they  deserve to ride.
When that happens I always wonder two things:

1) Do they really like horses? 

2) Do they truly understand what the definition of "volunteering"  is?

Then there are the REAL volunteers, the people  who are there every free day
they get. They use their sick leave when  they can, and show up when it's hot,
cold, muggy, buggy, rainy, muddy,  or whatever. These folks show up at the farm
and beg for something to  do, no matter how dirty, stinky, or filled with donkey
poop the task may  be. This core group is so infected with horse-love... It's to
this  group I dedicate my essay and my best wishes.