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We.Rescue.Horses

In the days leading up to the New Year, I was hoping (and trying) to sit down to write the obligatory post about how far HiCaliber has come in 2013 - our accomplishments, our statistics, our thank you’s, adoptions and those we said good-bye to. I had a mental list of all of the people I wanted to mention, show gratitude and acknowledge, and I had a list of 2014 goals I wanted to share.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tried to do it, there was always something more “pressing” to be done – like feed the horses, muck poop, water, medicate, set up vet/farrier appointments, tours, answer email, muck, poop (yes, that comma was intentional), feed horses, take pictures, post pictures, go to the feed store, work horses, muck poop, feed horses, haul horses, adopt out horses, and at some point try to find time to stay hydrated, pee, eat, and be a mom.

The truth is, I’m tired.

I’m wearing the hats of 987987 people; learning how to run a business, trying to be professional (who am I kidding?), trying to balance home life with ranch life, while praying I will find a magic wand that cleans my house and runs to the store for toilet paper. If I sound like I’m complaining, I’m not. I’m tired because we are growing faster than I ever imagined. We have an incredible Board of Directors, compassionate trainers, dedicated volunteers, great friends, supportive family members, a giving community, and horses who forgive, inspire, and teach us every day how to be better people and better rescuers. Together, we are living a dream, making it a reality and doing things we never thought possible.

We have built and nurtured amazing relationships with other rescues, municipal and private animal shelters, our adopters, volunteers, (most) neighbors and we have a Facebook following that is a force to be reckoned with. You guys have accepted us, inspired us, humored us, been patient with us and forgiven us when we fall short on replies, responses and requests. Together, we are saving the unsavable…both horse and human.

But doing what is right, isn’t always easy. There are nights I get 3 hours of sleep, drive my kids to Taco Bell at 9pm for dinner, and call my board members crying cause I’m exhausted. Finding ways to fund $1000 every 9 days for hay is a lot of pressure. I have to put out fires left and right, try to learn how to delegate and yet at the end of the day, I always feel like this whole operation is mostly on my shoulders (even though it’s not).

If I’m sick, tired, grouchy, in pain or just plain over it – horses have to eat. In the rain, mud, heat, cold, they have to eat. Horses don’t care that I have to be at my kids Christmas show in 45 minutes, my daughter is turning 8 and wants to go to Disneyland, or that I have a migraine and I’m puking all over. They are still going to colic, go into labor, slice their chest open or poop in their water that I just freakin’ filled up. I’ve battled foreclosure (my personal home, not the ranch), watched people I love walk away, and have been burned by people I trusted – all in the name of a dream.

But it was worth it.

Look at us now.

And by us, I don’t mean me or any other human component of HCHR…I mean the horses.

From feed lots, neglectful owners, shelters, craigslist, chronic pain or bad training, the horses of HCHR are learning, growing, socializing, relaxing, bonding, trusting, forgiving and healing. And yet as we grow, we succeed, we prove ourselves, earn our stripes and credibility, I am learning that there will always be the assholes who want to bring us down. Humans are silly creatures, much like crabs dropped into a pot of boiling water. If one crab climbs to the top, the other crabs try to pull it back down.

Animal rescue in general is a big business and many people take advantage of others who want to help. We know this, we have seen this, and we were burned by fellow rescuers whom we trusted. So much in fact, there was a moment in time I thought of dropping the description of “rescue” from our name and going with a less tainted word like “advocates.” After much though, deliberation and pride, I decided we aren’t going to let the cons of rescue take that title from us.

WE. RESCUE. HORSES.

It’s as simple as that. We may make some waves, mistakes and enemies along the way but it’s all with good intentions to make life better for the animals we love so much. Being in the public eye is new for us; people don’t always agree with what we say, how we say it or how we do things, but that’s okay. Over the last several years, we did this privately, without social media, without a following and without crabs looking to pull us down, but eventually you have to take a calculated risk for something you believe in.

I believe in you guys. I believe in the power of a group of people who want more for these horses. I believe in rocking the boat to give these horses what they deserve. I believe in accountability, honesty, being humble and admitting when you screw up. I believe in sharing, giving, trusting and forgiving. But I also believe in standing up for what you believe in, speaking out against what you don’t believe in, and speaking for those who can’t.

I love that you guys are rocking the boat with us, making waves and making life better for horses who have been betrayed by our species. Without apology, you guys make us want to do better, be better and demand better.

Thank you to every one of you who has been a part of this. From our donors, our board members, our vets, our farrier, our hay company, our volunteers (whether you came out one time or every week), our attorney, our community, our families, our friends, our clients, our critics and our followers – you guys keep us going. You remind me that while I’m tired now, it will get better (and if it doesn't just keep bringing me Starbucks)! You remind me that you want to help, you want to make it easier and you want to be a part of the magic happening here. You remind me that I can’t do it all, shouldn't do it all and that I need to ask for help.

This has been a work in progress, and while every day we strive to improve, there are going to be days where the term “blood, sweat and tears” takes on a whole new meaning. Growing pains hurt. They aren’t forever and they lead to new horizons. The reality is that we have a group of people with great heart, ideas, passion and drive who have all come together in this beautifully chaotic world of horses.

A much as I love to write, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Steve Jobs said it best in his 1995 interview where he spoke of an experience he had as a child with his older “scary ” looking neighbor.

“And one day he said to me, "come on into my garage I want to show you something." And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, "come on with me." We went out into the back and we got just some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks. And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, "come back tomorrow."

And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.

And I came back the next day, and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.

That's always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they're passionate about. It's that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these really beautiful stones.”

Thank you all, for being our rocks. For creating friction, a bit of noise, bumping against each other, and working together to polish us up and make us beautiful stones.

To read more about us, what we do, and how we came to be, you can visit us at www.hicaliber.org