General Non-Fiction posted September 16, 2017


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Update on Blaze

A Rescue and a Legacy

by MelB

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

In June, a new rescued foal came to the ranch named Tundra. He was in a pasture with twenty-four others horses, including mom. Mom and baby were rescued and taken to a farm with three other horses. The mom was already pregnant again, and wasn't gaining weight due to the foal nursing. Tundra was sold to a couple who brought him to the ranch to board him, until they could find their own property. They changed his name from Tundra to Blaze, and I started the process of nurturing him back to health. I warned them that a foal is the hardest project, especially for a first-time horse owner, but offered to help train him. "But, training starts now. You need to come out nearly every day to build a bond with him, and we start right away."

As they left, I turned to my husband and said, "They're never going to keep this horse. I don't know why, but I have the feeling I'm going to end up with this foal."

One circumstance after another prevented the couple from coming out every day. They had an emergency situation with one of their three children, and they ended up moving to a different home. I started training Blaze, as I needed to be able to handle him without any problems. Blaze and I had an instant bond. Each time I came out by the horses, Blaze would greet me by putting his nose on my face. He has a sweet nature and a laid back personality.

I bought him a small ball with a handle on it, made for horses, and he loves grabbing the handle and tossing it in the air. He also loves to run, jump, and kick up his heels. Blaze captured my heart from day one, and the sense that I would eventually own him never left me.
***
One morning at the end of July, I had a crisis call come in, and I spent the morning in prayer with the person. This made my whole day run behind, but it wasn't anything that could be helped. I had to clean two houses for the day, and then return home. I spoke with the secretary at the church I counsel at, and she asked me to expose something going on at the church. "I'll pray about it tonight, and if the Lord tells me to expose this, I will."

Within two hours, all hell broke loose! I called home and asked my son, Braden, to check on Blaze and give him food and/or water if needed. I asked if he felt comfortable putting him out in the pasture. He said he didn't, and I told him I would let him out when I got home. As Braden went out to check on Blaze, a lady who boards her horse at my neighbor's house called out.

"Does that horse ever get any shelter?"

Not knowing what to say, or what my schedule is with Blaze, Braden replied no.

The lady said, "That's just f***in' mean! I'm here all the time and you've had that horse in that pen for months!"

Braden said, "We've only had him for four weeks."

She shouted, "That's bulls***. You've had him for months! I'm calling animal control."

Braden said, "We've had him for four weeks. You're here for an hour and you're going to tell us how to care for him?"

"You better go back in the f***in' house, because I called animal control. Help is on the way!"

Braden went back into the house, but kept his eye on the woman. She stepped onto our property and headed straight for Blaze's pen. Braden went back outside, and she turned around and went back to the neighbor's property. Braden walked back to the house for a second time, and snapped her picture while she took pictures of Blaze.

My phone battery was just about dead, so I had to sit in my car to charge it while I got updates from Braden. If my phone was fully charged, I would have asked Braden to have her call me. I debated driving home, but it would've taken me forty-five minutes to get there. Clearly, she sounded like a disturbed person!

My neighbors don't like me, and haven't for the entire thirteen years we've lived side by side. I boarded my first horse at their house for a total of four months, while we were putting up shelters and fencing. I didn't pay money to board, but fed the horses, cleaned stalls, and completed other chores while there. After I left, my neighbor ran around the neighborhood and told everyone that I took advantage of her. The other neighbors told me they saw me over there every day and knew how hard I had worked.

My husband and I have been nothing but kind to them, even though it's not reciprocated. Why do you ask? Because we may be the only example of Jesus' hands and feet they see. Sometimes, God puts one light in the darkness. That being said, it has been nothing short of hell on us!

I fully believe my neighbors were involved with this woman's shenanigans, as the woman was home. The guy was at work, but he had been over off and on, asking me questions about Blaze. He was over the night before, and asked why Blaze wasn't in with the other horses yet. I explained, even though it was none of his business. The vet had told me to keep him separate for at least four weeks, so he would have time to gain weight. I had read articles about integrating a foal with other horses. I read that sometimes foals are killed, if it's done too early, and there was no mother here to protect him. I was working on integrating him with the other horses, but kept him separate when I wasn't home.

When I got home, Braden and I went over to the neighbor's house. They saw us coming across the lawn, so the guy met me at the door. He asked, "What's going on?"

"That's my question to you, what's going on over here? Why is your boarder over on my property, yelling at my son about the foal?

He rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, she was probably drunk."

"Do you mean to tell me she comes over here when she's been drinking?"

"She works at a laundromat all night."

"I have kids coming over to my house all the time. Let's get one thing straight. No one comes on MY property, yells at my son, and drops the F bomb! That will NOT be tolerated!"

"I'll have my wife call her."

"If she even looks at me cross-eyed, I'm calling the cops and telling them she's drunk."

The next morning, my doorbell rang at 7:25 a.m. I had a brief conversation with animal control, while in my pajamas. I didn't know if I should go into the whole thing about the neighbor or not. I was quiet, because it was my husband's day off and I didn't want to wake him. I was groggy, because I was awakened, and it's daunting to have a uniformed officer standing on your doorstep. I called the sheriff's department twice after the incident, and no report was filed. I did a search, and according to Michigan law, you do not have to provide shelter for a horse, only food and water. However, I do provide shelters in each pasture, and Blaze was being integrated in with the rest of the group.

My husband went over to the neighbor's when he got off work too, and talked with the wife. He told her the same thing I told the husband, and she told him a bunch of things the woman had said, like that she questioned why I took donations for a nonprofit organization. I'm still waiting for this woman to show up, as I have a few questions for her myself. She didn't show her face there for a good month or so afterwards. I did see her there one day, but there was someone there with her, so I didn't go confront her, but the day is coming.
****
We'd been looking for a new horse to add to our program, as one of our horses is older and has several health problems that prevent us from using her too much for therapy sessions. We'd been in prayer about the right horse, and I had been saving funds from riding lessons all summer and donated tack I sold. Just as we were about to close the deal on a horse, I found out the couple wanted to get rid of Blaze. My suspicion was right. I just didn't think it would happen that soon.

My husband urged me to try to work out something to keep Blaze. The couple plan to buy a different horse, and I will give them two free months of board in exchange for Blaze.

When you run a ministry, and try to help others come to know Jesus, it makes you a prime target. The devil hates me for showing love to others, and he hates these horses too. The devil will work through whoever he can. There's no mistaking who and what was behind the attack on me that day. I absolutely love it when God foils the enemy's plans!

I'm sure the plan was to wreck my reputation, wreck the ministry, and get Blaze taken away from me. At the least, cause me to get upset and lose some sleep over it all. I did get upset, and I did lose sleep over it. But, the ministry is thriving, my reputation is still intact, and not only did Blaze not get taken away -- I now own him! HA -- take that devil! You lose!

As for my neighbors, I plan to put up a lot of trees down the property line. I prayed for the funds and the trees to come through. Last week, a lady contacted me that I used to go to church with for seventeen years. She told me she needed to connect with me, and came over and gave me $100 cash donation. She said she prayed and asked the Lord what to do with the extra pension she received, and the ministry kept coming up during her prayer time. I asked what she would like me to do with the money, and she told me she trusted I would do the right thing with it.

I have to say, it's been a tough year with losing my mom in January to cancer. It's also hard to live next to my evil neighbors. Last week, their twelve horses escaped in the dark. My husband and I put down our popcorn bowls, and spent hours catching eleven horses and searching up and down the streets with a spotlight for the twelfth horse. My husband flagged down a car, and stopped it from hitting the horses on the road. The guy did finally thank us, but not a word from the woman. It dawned on me half way through that I was helping someone who just did something awful to me. But, I did it for the horses.

Every day, I look out at these horses and smile. God has blessed me with these beautiful creatures, and what an amazing opportunity to share them with hurting and broken people. When I was eight years old, my mom told me horses were a gift and they should be shared with others. My mom was right. Her legacy lives on through these horses, and I know she would be as pleased as I am with our two new additions.





Recognized


Blaze has gained 80 pounds, and grown over 2 inches since June 17, 2017. If you'd like to see the side by side photos of Blaze to see the difference, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1509888075767348&set=pcb.1509888135767342&type=3&theater
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