Chores! Seven days a week; it doesn’t matter if it’s snowing, raining or 100 degrees…it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, sick or bruised; the chores don’t care and chores don’t wait. Normally, out in the paddocks surrounded by our horses, working, playing or praying, it’s one of favorite places to be. Today, I just wanted to head back into the house and back to my warm bed. Pressing on, I threw the hay, fed the oats, filled the water tanks and picked up dozens of frozen piles of manure. The only chore left was picking up the empty feed buckets. Solomon, our gorgeous black and white Tobiano Paint, had settled in with the rest of the herd happily munching on breakfast. Seeing me walking back over to his paddock, Solomon lifted up his head and nickered in my direction. He watched as I climbed through the fence wires that divided his paddock with the two neighboring mares. In spite of the freshly thrown hay, Solomon trotted happily over to see me and for a moment we stood, over the fence, nose to nose. His affection melted my sour mood and his invitation to rest my cold cheek against his soft warm neck reminded me of how completely blessed I am and the myriad of reasons that I have to be thankful. It had been a year since Solomon’s arrival, but as with all good stories I remember his like it was yesterday… SDYR is in part an equine rehabilitation facility and some of the horses we have are not suitable for children, they may need time to recover from the effects of abuse or starvation. Last year we realized that we were in need of an additional solid child friendly session horse to accommodate the growing mentoring and riding portion of our program. We searched, and 6 hours away in the small town of Afton, MN, we found Sampson (not Solomon). After a visit and some simple negotiations, the decision was made that Sampson would be added to our herd. Early April in 2012, Ben left before the sun rose hoping to make the 12 hour trip and be home with time to acclimate Sampson before sunset. Late afternoon came and Ben, trailer in tow, turned into our drive, he positioned the trailer near the paddock, parked and stepped out of the truck. He had a sheepish grin on his face as he walked around to the back side of the trailer, he said his hello’s, greeted me with a sweet hug and kiss, then he threw open the back gate of our humble horse trailer. To my surprise standing next to Sampson, our new buckskin gelding, was a long white tail attached to a big black and white butt.
Solomon was a young, green broke horse with more green than broke in him. He was in need of a new home and Ben was impressed by his calm spirit, soft eyes and inquisitive nature. Since that day, Solomon has grown into a dependable session horse that is fun to ride and loved by the many kids that visit the ranch. He is quick to offer up his velvet soft muzzle to an out stretched hand or an incoming kiss. As wise as his name suggests, Solomon seems to know when someone needs a little extra attention and he generously makes himself available. Solomon is one our best huggers, and he proved on that cold, winter day that a true friend is one that can be leaned on and warmed up with. “Thanks Solomon” I said. Turning around with buckets in hand and a smile on my face, I climbed through the fence wires and into the next paddock. Walking towards the last two buckets, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I turned quickly and in amazement watched Solomon lowering his head through the top wires of the fence, sliding it down the back of his neck and stepping carefully over the bottom two wires. “Oh my goodness Solomon” I laughed “You followed me right through the fence! That day, I received several precious gifts from Solomon, the gift of reflection, the gift of friendship and the gift of laughter.
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