Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HartSong Ranch - Meet Bess

Meet the Animals

Amazing grace, how sweet the soundTo save a soul like meI once was lost but now I’m foundWas blind, but now I see…


We call her Big, Old Bessy Girl and believe me, she is all that and so much more. A mighty Appaloosa, approximately 28 years old and completely blind, Bess was a force to be reckoned with when she first came to live at the sanctuary and more than a couple of times, sent my husband diving into the dirt to escape the wrath of her powerful back legs. If we tried to approach her, she would swing her head violently from side to side as if to say, “Don’t you dare come any closer!” And for quite some time, we didn’t.

Blind horses cannot turn away and run from that which frightens them. Their only recourse is to face the fear head on. Bess’ approach was to puff up her massive chest, strike a pose and courageously stand her ground. As fearful as I was of her, I so admired her bravery. Not wanting to add to her anxiety, or ours, we decided the best course of action was to just leave her be. We would visit with her many times every day, but always from afar. If she happened to be standing near the fence line upon our approach, she would quickly move to the center of the paddock.

I was beginning to wonder if we would ever gain her trust and then one day, one very special day, she sauntered over to say “hello”. I will never forget the moment. I like to think it was as magical for her, as it was for us.
It is our policy that all horses at the sanctuary have a buddy, but try as we might; we could not
find a buddy for Bess. Her dominance over the other horses always lead to tense situations until one day, a tiny, malnourished, five week old blind filly named Ciara came to live at the sanctuary. It was “love at first sight” for these two blind horses. Theirs is truly a match made in heaven.
Today, Bess is calm, polite and very, very gentle. She has found her way, and she has found her purpose in Ciara. We are so happy for her.

Please check out HartSong Ranch. We are a non profit organization specializing in disabled animals. Most of our residents are blind. They survive because of your donations!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HartSong Ranch - About the Sanctuary

Hartsong Ranch is located on 30 rolling acres in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothill community of Greenwood, California. We are named HartSong Ranch for two reasons. First, our last name is Hart. Second, we are musicians, therefore, “song” in Hartsong. Jim is a drummer and I am a bassist/songwriter. Without question, the animals at the sanctuary inspire many of the melodies for the music we create. (Please check out the HartSong Project page.)

New arrivals to the sanctuary share two primary commonalities. They are disabled and… they are defeated. Remarkably, therein lies the inspiration. Early on, we learned these special animals are defeated, not by their disability, but rather their environmental circumstance. So we set out to change the circumstance. We put them back in nature and by doing so, gave them a choice. “Remain as you are, or find your way-you decide”? Guess what? They ALWAYS choose to find their way. ALWAYS! Watching them become masters of their surroundings is truly fascinating. Everyday, they navigate trees, rocks, hills, fences and watering holes. They go on long walks, stand in the sun, roll in the dirt, scratch on the trees, play, frolic and kick up their heels. They are healthy, appreciative and so happy to be alive. Therein, lies the reward.