Orchid’s Final Journey To Safety

This is Orchid’s heart-rending story as written by her previous owner.

“Ah!  I am still a family member, because here they are at last! My dear human family. I thought they’d got lost! I wondered what all this was about, my rugs being packed, my old red grooming box (which belonged to my best friend Derrie Lad, we shared it before he went to heaven) and a bag of the softest grass for my old toothless mouth. First my beloveds led me into a big golden horsebox, that was alright, I met a fellow horse setting out on a different path, and the humans who were driving were kind to both of us, and kept checking we were alright. But then everyone was upset, and my family told me that someone called ‘Sue from Remus’ would keep her eyes on me right through the journey, because she could see me through a camera! And though I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I had been told it was somewhere ‘truly remarkable’. So why are you crying, beloved family?

“I was a little frightened at first, but I kept reminding myself to trust the promise made to me eight years ago when I was found dying from hunger. That I would never suffer again, that I would never again be cold or beaten or shouted at. My beloveds told me I was part of their family now, and they would always look after me, that I would never be alone in the world. That God was watching over me. And I was told I must hold on to that promise even though, these eight years later, they had run out of money and had to pray for help. They say they will never leave me, or stop loving me, and that where I am going to is a place of beauty called The Remus Memorial Sanctuary, and I will never move home again in this, my earthly life. I was told it is full of human angels, though you can’t see their wings! And they say these are ‘the gentle people’ from the place called Remus, and they want to be my family too! It is wonderful, so why are my beloveds crying? These ‘angels’ will be their family also.

“I have heard they are led by the lady called Sue, and every day they make this same lifetime promise to all the animals that live there. They keep animals safe, they protect them so nothing can ever hurt them again!

“And I’m glad of this because my body was hurt by ‘the bad people’ for such a long time. I was so frightened of their rough hands and loudness, and I’m nearly 50 years old and my body is weaker than it was when I was a young brood mare. And though I forgive ‘the bad people’, I don’t want to feel their fists on me again, and I don’t want to hear their hard voices. They pulled my head and sometimes kicked me, but I am nearly blind, and often I didn’t understand what they wanted, then they would bellow in my soft ears. I could not make sense of their angry ways, and I was left in a dark place on my own, and told that I was bad and useless. I called out in my loneliness, to anyone, even ‘the bad people’ when I heard them passing by, but they just banged on the tin wall and screamed that I should be silent, or they would make me be sorry. I was already sorry, that I had become so old, ill and blind. And I heard them talking, that I was good for nothing, that all I did these days was eat their food. I tried to show ‘the bad people’, I wasn’t eating their food, couldn’t they see my ribs? I had no teeth left to chew the wisp of hay I found on the dirt floor, if they would just listen they would hear my gums squeak with the effort of trying to make it soft enough to swallow. And there wasn’t anything to drink. I pushed my bucket over hoping they would see it, but no one ever seemed to. I wondered if I was going to be made pregnant again, at least the foal would be company even in my belly, but I heard them say, “she’s no good now, it’s past its use.” I think they are talking about me, and I am hurt, because I did my best. I am equine, and we feel with all of our hearts, such deep emotions. Feeling is like breathing for us.

“I did try to cooperate. I wanted to bring them great joy when I ran, and to show them the sanctity of life in my beauty and my foals. I willingly took them on my back in harmony. But this was before they did violence to my life and my body.

“Before they broke my spirit, I ran with God every day.

“I tried to share my heart with ‘the bad people’, but they could not sense the world around them, they could only see themselves, and not my living self. They could barely see that I was on the earth, that I filled a space with my sad breath and a few memories of a warm and gentle mother. They said I didn’t understand anything as they rode me to death in a saddle that scarred me for life, bred from me, or ignored me.

“And so I was dying, and the meaning of my life was lost. I was the nameless horse, with no home or guardian, with no one to care that I was ever here. Just another old horse, who is said to be without thought or feelings in my long life of service.

“And so many of us are never found by ‘the gentle people’, they who know to look and listen for our hoof beats which resonate like the harp. Why do only some hear the music in our feet?

“But I was born into the tragedy of ignorance, and I wasn’t given a chance to live the noble dreams behind my sightless eyes. And really I was so tired from being pregnant, it hurt to stand, or go to the toilet, and my belly was always so heavy, and I dragged my arthritic legs in my own mess. I wanted to be free of misery, I wanted to go to heaven to be with God, where I would be loved, as I had been briefly by my mother, and my foals.

“I gave up, and would not raise my head, I willed death to release me from the agony. I couldn’t bear to look at the world for one more day.

“I was at the end of my long unhappy life. I had never known a kind hand upon my coat, or a human friend. ‘The bad people’ knew I was dying, but they didn’t care. I had no one to fight for me, I was alone.

“I had been afraid for all of my life, and I tried to be invisible, even in death. I had tried to make my foals invisible too, but ‘they’ could see them and they took them away, and I was never with my babies again. And every baby I carried in my womb, I knew was lost to me even before they were born, I could not protect them, and I do not know where they are in this cruel world, or if they are safe. I have spent my whole life crying, and in grief.

“And this is the story of the horse, wishing that I had never been born.

“But one day as I stood on the patch of concrete where I had been tethered, so my dying was not in the way, two determined ladies came with a lorry. They stood between me and ‘the bad people’, they had a big dog with big teeth, and they waved telephones and pieces of white paper and they scared them away! ‘The bad people’ stood back grumbling and using mean words, and I was afraid, but the two ladies disregarded them, and the big dog with big teeth said to me “It’s alright old dear, the bad times are over.” And they were. This was my family, come to rescue me, and God had sent them.

“So I must not be afraid now, because I know in my old, wise heart I can trust ‘the gentle people’. My family says so.

“And in this new place I was travelling to, many of them had been praying for me, and sending me strength and Reiki healing!

“They were waiting for me! And their hearts were full of love. And they were eager for me to join them! An old horse like me, to be loved and wanted, not only by my family, but by ‘the gentle people’ of Remus!

“I could feel it because I am sensitive, I am telepathic like all horses, and it is our feeling natures which gives us our tenderness and courage. Our ability to love humans for their empathy, and to forgive them if we must. I could feel the quiet affection they were sending me the day before I was moved, and right through the long journey I was supported with heart love. And it was so comforting to my old bones, and to my mind. My soul could feel their devoted promise, and how they waited to welcome me.

“The golden truck stopped, and I heard voices, I was straining to hear my beloveds, but the one voice I could make out was that of a lady, and she came to untie me and lead me gently out of the box. She talked to me quietly all the time, and I liked the sound of her voice, and the feel of her sure hands on my back and sides. She kept telling me everything was alright, and somehow I knew I could believe her. The other ‘gentle people’ called her Sue. She is the leader of this herd, the one my family told me about.

“My legs were shaky from the long journey, all the smells were different, and I was tired and hungry. But Sue kept talking to me, telling me she understood and that I was safe. She led me into a big stall, and I could feel the thick straw bed under my hooves, and now I could smell the mash that was waiting for me. I guessed this had to be my forever home, Remus, the one filled with human angels!

“I’ve just moved home, I now live at Remus, and I am making a whole bunch of new friends. Especially James, who obviously likes me so much, he brings me food EVERY HOUR. James and I are simpatico! Then there’s that nice lady who brings me bowls of herbs to taste, and she puts something in my water bucket which helps me to feel really comfy. I think it’s called a remedy. Her name is Lorraine, and I’m glad she is spending the day with me, she is calm, and she talks to me nicely, and when she strokes my neck it feels like butterfly wings, she is so sweet-tempered.

“Now my family have arrived, the two determined ladies, I can hear them talking to Lorraine, and I call to them “I’m in here, I’m in here!” I’m so glad to be near them, and they say they are glad to see my dear old face. They are smiling, and I am smiling.

“I have so much to tell them, and to show them! They love my new home, my new friends, my thick bed, and my buckets of soft grass and mash. I am especially proud to show them my heat lamp, it’s on the wall, and I can put my old back right underneath it! It feels like the sun is shining on all my creaky bits, and it makes me the colour of pink roses.

“Lorraine is telling my family about all the wonderful holistic therapies I will be getting, like aromatherapy and shiatsu, I don’t know what they are, but I think James brings them in a bucket.

“So many of ‘the gentle people’ have been to see me, they tell me I am beautiful, that I’m not grey at all, and that they will care about me always. I will love them too. Now they are here hugging and kissing my family, and everyone is crying again, but this time there is no sorrow, I think because Carol keeps popping in and out and telling funny stories! She makes laughter, because she laughs so much!

“I think there is a lot to be happy about at Remus. I can smell the armfuls of fresh herbs she carries to my two blind neighbours, they arrived here recently too. They are only youngsters but they are having babies, I can help them with that, I know all about babies.

“My family will be back to see me, and my new family is always around to chat to me, or groom me, and they tell me Remus stories while I fall asleep. And soon I will stand in the garden with the summer foals, and they will never be taken away. I will be known as Orchid, the useful old mare.

“And then there is Sue, who is always watching out for us, who is always on guard, because she leads this big herd. Sue knows what she’s doing, she can be trusted.”

The End

Well we don’t know about you but Orchid’s story has brought a tear to everyone here at the Sanctuary and of course its not ’The End’ for Orchid; she’s getting on really well.  She’s put on approx 40kg since she has been with us and enjoys going out with her friends Apollo and Guinness.

Why not come and meet her at our next Open Day!

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