You may have heard the saying "Saving one horse may not change the world, but it will change the world for that one horse." Well, we can tell you at California Coastal Horse Rescue we have a slightly different saying especially when it comes to one very special horse who was named Hercules. His saying goes like this: "Saving one horse will change the world for that one horse, and it will change the world for many other horses."
A sweet but very shy gelding, Hercules, was rescued after he had been abandoned with several other horses. Experiencing some soundness issues, we figured that he would live with us as a sanctuary horse and that is exactly what he did until he passed away several years later. The words that would probably describe Hercules the best? Nobility and Beauty.
This very shy horse touched many hearts in his quiet way. In particular, he touched the heart of a friend of the rescue. Hercules' "light" was such a beautiful force that this friend of the rescue did something so incredibly generous that it made it possible for CCHR to purchase the property it has lived on for the past nine years.
The day in 2013 when we said goodbye to Hercules was a very sad one for all of us who loved him and shared our lives with him. As is the case when we say goodbye to our horses for the final time, there was a group of volunteers standing by him. As we slowly led him over to be euthanized by our veterinarian, we told him how much we loved him and how we would always remember our sweet and beautiful boy. He got some of his favorite treats as he stood next to an orange tree. He passed from this life very quickly and peacefully.
For some of us, Hercules' passing was not only the loss of a dear and treasured horse but also a moment when we realized that we had lost our champion, the horse who had made it possible for so many others to have a safe place to call home. It is these kinds of bittersweet moments that strangely combine such sadness with something amazing that we think illustrate the beautiful complexity of life whether you are an equine or a human. Hercules had lived through abandonment, but he had been rescued and had been given a happy and safe life. We had just lost him but look what this treasured horse had made possible for his current and future equine brethren at the rescue ranch.
So what do we do now when we think of our chestnut boy? Very simply we smile and remember how sweet and handsome he was with his surfer-boy forelock and long wavy mane. We also remember how he personally inspired the reality of a beautiful and very special permanent home for CCHR and the horses it rescues.
And, finally, the meaning of the name Hercules in Greek? Glorious Gift. How perfect is that? Our Hercules certainly was a glorious gift to us and to all of the horses who live and will live on the land he made possible.
Three days ago we lost one of our beloved horses. With very heavy hearts we sadly had to let our lovely girl, Tris, go. Working with the equine hospital we had discovered that she had an inoperable intestinal condition that was not allowing her body to function properly.
This is always the hard part (and hard time) of fully opening our hearts, souls and lives to our pets, including our horses. But this is also the time when we stand bravely beside them and help them to make a peaceful transition to their new journey ahead. This is when we offer them our final act of respect, care and love. This is when we set their needs above our own and do the right thing for them.
In all of our sadness, this is also the time to reflect on the hopeful, happy parts of the lives we share with our animal companions including our Tris. Tris lived out her last many months in the peace and sanctuary of the rescue. She enjoyed devoted care, the companionship of other horses and had been deeply loved, cherished and supported by the volunteers and friends of the rescue.
We count ourselves as being so fortunate in having had the chance to share our lives with this lovely and radiant creature who blessed us with her presence. We will strive to share her radiance as we continue to work to offer horses like her peaceful and happy lives.
Run free, Tris...
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t!
William Shakespeare from The Tempest
On Saturday, September 12th, William Shakespeare arrived at the rescue... in the form of "The Gilded Lilies" a wonderful new play by CCHR friend Susan Kelejian which was performed by the very talented acting troupe Equine Dell Arte. We are so appreciative of Susan's and all of the actors generosity in so kindly offering to perform this reading of this world-premiere play so as to benefit the horses of CCHR.
It was a lovely evening at the ranch with cooler temperatures and a clear view of the mountains that are the backdrop of the ranch. Guests enjoyed wine, snacks and a fun silent auction. They also seemed to have really enjoyed the reading of the play!
What struck us the most was what this event symbolized for CCHR and we found ourselves very moved by it. We witnessed hope, friendship, generosity of heart and camaraderie. From the actors of Equine Dell Arte, to the great volunteers of CCHR, to the guests that evening, there was such positivity and possibility crackling in the early evening air.
CCHR is truly a living and breathing entity and as such thrives when it is so positively nurtured as it was on that Saturday night. The horses were happily munching on their dinners, people were enjoying the event and there was an amazing and creative show of talent taking place in the arena! You could almost hear the Rescue sighing in contentment that evening. We witnessed a wonderful "alignment" of the horses, the ranch and of our rescue friends (of the acting and non-acting varieties!) during that evening. This alignment expressed itself in the form of the generosity and kindness of heart that all of our guests showed and it offered us countless moments of happiness and gratitude on our part.
We are indeed so fortunate to live in the company of our "many goodly creatures" (AKA the horses and their human friends!) and in a "brave new world, that has such people in't."
Thank you to everyone who plays their part in the world of the CCHR horses and the rescue.
The evening of February 26th was certainly one to remember as the Night Of The Horse benefit had a very successful debut!
Providing a perfect location (and being absolutely wonderful hosts); Bright Star Saddlery in Agoura Hills offered a lovely venue for the event. Thank you to the entire Bright Star Family!
Guests enjoyed some lovely wines and flavorful hors d'oeuvres as they mingled, happily challenged each other to be the highest bidder on the wonderful silent auction items and learned more about CCHR and the horses they offer rescue, rehabilitation and refuge to.
A supporter of the CCHR horses, Miss Bridget of Horsey Girl Candy Co., generously brought and personally handed out her handmade, yummy Horse Pops to all the guests. To say they were a big hit is a huge understatement! Thank you, Bridget!
A very big thank you to everyone who donated to the silent auction, provided refreshments and those many others who lent their much-appreciated support to the evening.
There was an absolutely beautiful and moving reading of the last chapter of the novel "Black Beauty" by the incomparable Nancy Smeets which brought tears to many an eye. Hearing this happy and peaceful end of the story, where Black Beauty finally finds a peaceful, loving and caring home; is exactly what all CCHR volunteers, friends and supporters strive to give to horses in need each and every day.
Thank you so much to all of our friends and supporters who helped to make this evening such a success! We appreciate your support.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2nd Annual Night Of The Horse in 2016!
It is amazing how much of a lasting impact horses can have on us. Almost three years after Sprite left us and this world our thoughts still turn to her...
After years of neglect and isolation, Sprite was valiantly rescued by neighbors in Santa Rosa Valley in 2011. She came to CCHR severely underweight and was barely able to stand or walk. Left numb by years of being ignored and left alone she was very quiet and still when she came to the Rescue in early 2011. With lots of love, attention, medical care and being fed a nutrient rich diet and supplements, she started to come out of her shell, bit by bit. She gained much needed weight and seemed to be so happy with her new life. She even started to show more of her naturally mischievous personality! She truly enjoyed being able to live in a community with other horses and even became pals with grouchy Cheyenne. Sprite and her other very elderly friend, Ebony, spent many happy hours together out in pasture.
Sprite was able to experience love and received tons of attention in those few months and we were devastated that in spite of everyone's excellent care and best intentions, Sprite reached the end of her life journey. Her previous years of neglect had taken too large of a toll on her body. After consulting with our veterinarian, we had to make a very difficult decision and let our Sprite go.
As we do with our dearly loved horses that must sadly make their transition, we show them how very much they are loved and Sprite received many of visitors and treats over her last few days. As much as we hated to lose her, we were comforted by the fact that Sprite spent the last few months of her life surrounded by love and left us knowing she was not alone.
We will always remember our beautiful girl Sprite and she will continue to inspire us as we work to help horses like her experience lives filled with care, love and security.
Living around different species of animals (human and equine in my case); you have to learn how to adapt and then thrive under different circumstances than you normally would. Take food for example. I had never tried hay before I came to boss everyone around at the Rescue but am starting to find the fun and charm of it. It is great entertainment to dig and peck around a freshly dropped pile of alfalfa or oat hay (mind you, stay clear of the hooves that are also in the area at times like this).
I do have to say that one of the best ‘gets’ at the Rescue for me in terms of food are these wonderful horse cookies that I somehow manage to get hold of from time to time. I just really don’t see why they should be labeled as ‘horse’ treats as they also make delightful raven snacks! Something to consider in the branding process you guys at Bea’s Horse Treats!
Signing off for now from California Coastal Horse Rescue,
Two years ago, a very special foal was born…
He came into this world under the most difficult and perilous of circumstances, but with his new life he brought hope to another; his arrival saved his mama’s life. Since he came to CCHR as a 7 day old foal, this young horse has continued to remind all of us how desperation can be transformed into hope; fear and sadness can be replaced with peace and happiness; and sanctuary and compassion can indeed still be found in this world for those who are in need of it…
Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission– to be of service to them whenever they require it… ~Francis of Assisi
Everyday we are reminded of the incredible bond we share with horses and our responsibility for their care and protection as we continue our centuries-long journey with them… The volunteers of California Coastal Horse Rescue seek to promote this caring partnership between horse and human as they rescue and rehabilitate horses in need. We invite and encourage you join us as we strive to protect these treasured animals and continue to offer them a safe and peaceful sanctuary.
It’s great to be a bird on the wall…
Being a very inquisitive raven I enjoy being on the cutting edge of Rescue chatter. I often find myself, while minding my own business of course, suddenly being made privy to some human conversations. For example, the other day while I was observing a potential adopter spending some quality time with one of the horses in the round pen; I heard another new visitor to the rescue comment about how good all of the CCHR horses look. She continued by saying that they looked so well-fed and in such great shape. I must say that I had to agree with her. I monitor all of California Coastal Horse Rescue activities including the daily feedings and the exercise programs and I have to admit that the volunteers at CCHR are awesome with everything they do to make sure the horses have a happy and healthy life! I am still, however, working on the training of all of the volunteers on how I wish to be taken care of. I have a long list of demands… Tasty snacks, being paid attention to, tasty snacks, being told what a smart bird I am, tasty snacks………..
Signing off from CCHR,