If Autumn, the old draft cross horse was a person, she’d be an elderly and distinguished southern belle who sat on her porch and offered up the not-so-sugar coated truth – whether you wanted to hear it or not.
She’d be the type to tell you the truth, insult the heck out of you and give you the sweetest smile the whole time.
She would have been loved, respected, admired, resented, hated and feared – just a little.
Autumn has been my “go to” horse and she’s been the first horse dozens of people have ridden. If you came to the farm with zero horse experience I’d push you towards the old lady knowing she’d take care of you.
She was quiet with the kids and patient with adults. If you tried to mistreat her you’d find yourself on the ground massaging your rump. She’s never kick or bite, but would educate you in subtle ways.
Like she wouldn’t pick up her hoof if you took too long. She had no patience for stupid. Make her wait too long? She’s slowly saunter away.
Let the bit bang on her teeth while taking off her bridle, she’d blow her nose all over your coat with a resounding grunt of displeasure (like she showed Turtle when he returned from his month long stent at another barn – pictured below).
But, if you came into her stall crying over a tragedy she’d nuzzle and nicker and talk to you until you spilled your tears and then your heart. She’d insist you dry your face on her soft shoulder and then make you smile.
Her soft brown eyes held truth. Whatever the question, conflict, confusion or misunderstanding if you came to Autumn with honesty she’d do her level best to comfort you – horse or human.
If you tried to lie and pretend happiness when you were sad – she would not stand for it – or she’d stand on your foot, be very uncooperative, toss her head and generally give you a hard time.
Unpleasant would be the word… until your frustration bubbled up to the surface and spilled out in tears, only then she would talk to you.
Autumn could do anything – except breathe.
A few years ago Autumn developed heaves or COPD, a breathing disorder much like asthma. She became allergic to hay and dust.
Over the past two months she’s been greatly struggling. It could be her advancing age, or perhaps, her crazy lifestyle as a smoking, boozing, partying southern belle had finally caught up with her.
It’s difficult to watch her slowly decline and on November 19, 2015 in the evening we thought we were going to lose her as she swayed, mouth open gulping for air and we thought “this is no way to die“.
Nursing an animal through a surgery that will improve their quality of life is one thing, but to watch an animal suffer before succumbing to a painful end is unbearable.
Animals have a way of crawling into a part of our heart where we would never trust any human to go. And then, once in a while, there is that special animal who touches our soul, then leaves us with an understanding of love that surpasses all other.
We’ll watch her through the week with emergency back up drugs to help her breathe if needed. We’ll cancel our plans and spend some time with this old lady – letting her know she’s loved.
If only love could heal all wounds.
Autumn’s vet bills are now over $1500 for the month of November 2015. If every person who had their first ride, first touch or overcame their fear of horses, thanks to Autumn, donated a few dollars we could easily cover her vet bills and to keep her happy and comfortable until her end of days.
Donate by email to email@example.com or on our donations page or via cheque to Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary 2930 Bowen Rd, Stevensville, ON L0S 1S0