My Greatest Healer & Friend Was a Belgian Horse Named Mikey
On April 27, 2018, my dearest friend Mikey, crossed over to Rainbow Bridge with his beloved friend, Buddy, a percheron. Both were senior draft horses at Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse and Cat Sanctuary. My heart has been broken ever since. But let me take you back to when I first met Mikey and how he helped this sorrowful girl find herself again.
On a spring day in Readyville, Tennessee, we decided to visit a Spring Open House for then called Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary. I had moved to Tennessee the year before in 2013 to be with Holly in her hometown of Murfreesboro. I had a very hard time adjusting and I needed a place of my own to grow and be a part of. We loved the farm and the owner Cindy Meyer was gracious with us to share her farm and her horses with us and tell us about volunteer opportunities. I was in! I used to ride horses for years as a child and wanted to be connected to them again, but without riding them. They were mostly senior draft horses, and I encourage my readers to visit Cindy’s website to learn more about the horses, and now cat rescues too. I had no idea there was such horse abuse and neglect, as well as horse slaughters too! It broke my heart to know such places existed, but by focusing on the good in the world, and being a part of that good, my heart was happy. Every bit of kindness in this world matters! Remember that in all you do my friends! (photos by Sue Doyle of Soul Inspired Photography.)
After moving to Tennessee in 2013, I had lost my mother and suffered a lot of stress. Stress of a new place that was hard to fit in with, stress over the death of my mom, weight gain, auto immune issues, fatigue and mild depression. I lost myself. They say “bloom where you grow”, but honestly, looking back, I grew better in different soil. Ha! In 2018, we moved back to Florida, but my journey in Tennessee was one I will never forget. Mikey, my greatest friend and healer up there, was worth it all for me. I honestly could not change a thing. My time in Tennessee gave me four wonderful years with a most wonderful soul.
When I wasn’t fatigued, I would be on the farm with Mikey four or more times a week. I fed him, filled troughs of water, cleaned the barn, groomed him, made sure he had his fly spray, and also applied salve on his hot spots and anything else Cindy needed. (Holly also volunteered at Ferrell Hollow Farm, and we cared for other horses too, I am just focusing on Mikey for this blog.) For a couple of years we even held a Hearts for Horses art event and raised money for the farm and it was inspired because of my love for Mikey. I made jewelry too and through all of these good deeds, I found my purpose. It was Mikey. It was the farm. When I had personal challenges, be it with my health, or with other people, I hung in there, because of Mikey. He needed me but more so, I needed him.
Being with Mikey and helping to care for him and be in his presence, was such a gift to me. I had to release a lot of fears and anger and focus on compassion and love. Mikey was that steadfast soul for me. He was my grounding when I needed it the most. One day, I had a real challenge physically. I had inflammation in my right knee and was very fatigued. My stress for the first couple of years in Tennessee through me into a ‘temporary state’ of an auto immune issue and I could barely work more than one barn. I leaned into Mikey’s side belly and just sobbed to him, out in the field. Nobody was around, just a few other horses in another field. The sun was shining bright and little yellow flowers smiled in the grass surrounding us. It was a sacred moment of my healer and me. Mikey turned his head towards me and stayed there as I wept uncontrollably. He must’ve known I was upset. My friend Lee says “horses share the same heart connection as humans.” I truly believe that. I sobbed and told him that I knew he understood what it was like to not feel well, to be in pain and have your hooves hurt. If he was brave, I could be too! I told him. I stayed in his energy for a while longer and found peace. I took some deep breaths and prayed to the angels above, that this too shall pass.
There were days I felt like an alien living in the deep south, I was different in my beliefs, my fashion, my words, my everything. In Mikey’s presence, I was perfect. There was no judgement. We were the best of friends and my greatest comfort was singing Disney lullabies to him; Dumbo’s “Baby Mine” and “So This Is Love” from Cinderella. He would peacefully close his eyes and rest. Around Mikey, I never felt anxiety or fear, just love. Pure love. I was there to volunteer and care of him, help the owner Cindy out, but honestly, he helped me. I needed him. There was purpose, there was joy, even on my most challenging days regarding my health.
During the elections of 2016, there was a lot of turmoil, emotions and division going on in the world. My best way of handling it was going to the farm the following day and singing “Baby Mine” to Mikey. In my moments of solitude on the farm, I learned a lot about creating my own peace and doing good within my own life when the world on the outside didn’t match my heart and soul at that moment in time. We cannot change the world, but we can change how we react to things and can work on ways to make life better within our own personal spaces. Every good deed matters. Angry about the devastating decline of honey bees? Create a garden of bee loving flowers to create a bee sanctuary in your own backyard. Cry over abused animals in the world? Volunteer at your local humane society! Create your own joy and circle of love. Mikey taught me this. My greatest health and personal struggles lead me to this magnificent creature and I learned so much about myself and my place in this world.
Mikey healed every part of me and gave me gifts about life I will take with me throughout my journey. I am grateful this giant tender soul touched my life, touched my heart with silent wisdom and grace. Mikey showed me how to be brave, how to love myself, how to find peace and create my own joy around me instead of waiting for the outside world to give me joy. His huge presence is missed on this planet every single day of my life.
On my final evening with him before he was put down the next day, I spoke to him and thanked him for his friendship. I made his bed of shavings one last time in the field. I gave him cookies and held back tears. I wanted my last moments with him to be of happiness and gratitude. I looked back at him in his field full of lightning bugs, the sun was setting, I could barely make out his little white face in the dark. I yelled out to him, “Mikey, I will love you forever!”
I will love him forever, and will keep his spirit close to my heart. If you lose yourself, don’t feel well, feel no sense of belonging…find wisdom in a horse, or any animal. They are the silent warriors, the constant calms in storms, and the greatest of healers and teachers if you simply open your heart to it. Mikey taught me my greatest of lessons and gave me my greatest of joys. I will love him forever.
For more information on this horse rescue and how you can become a monthly donor to a horse (or cat), learn more about Ferrell Hollow Farm or ways to help, please click their name and it will direct you to their website. You can also find them of Facebook. I encourage any type of volunteering, we find ourselves through service to others in need.
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