Why we're here

We are taking a stand against horse slaughter returning to the US and are striving to stop the transportation of horses to other countries for slaughter. Some of us are working in those other countries as well.

We are taking this stance as Pagans and Heathens, at a time when it seems some have decided that eating slaughtered horse meat in ritual is somehow cool, edgy and "ancestral." Therefore we want to show that that minority does not represent all of the Pagan and Heathen communities. Many of us worship Horse Deities, many of us are horse people who may see our horses as sacred charges who we care for to honor these Deities. Not by killing but by striving to give them good lives.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Horses, Pagans and Compassion Fatigue

This blog goes quite an awful lot, no matter how many of us there are. It certainly is not because there isn't a wealth of horror being done to horses to talk about. Instead, for me, I can't speak for the others, it's perhaps just the opposite.

I have been advocating for horses for decades. We've gained, but we lose. We end horse slaughter houses (for human consumption) in the US, others try to get them going somewhere else...meanwhile horse slaughter continues even in states, such as NJ, which have bills against allowing it for human consumption, because it's for animal feed.. Again, wild horses and burros are being rounded up, wrenched from their freedom, many dying as a result....many facing years of torture or slaughter. We find ourselves in a constant battle. And the move that might change everything, to end transportation of horses for slaughter completely...and require a change in the "throw away" and over-breeding mentality of the horse industry, keeps dying in committee Time is running out, for the current bill S. 541/H.R. 1094—The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act.  Over and over and over....

So over and over and over...I am hit with Compassion/Activism Fatigue.  When it's coupled with personal loss, as it often has been for me, it can become crippling. I can't advocate for the horses effectively. At this Pagans I was trying to be friendly with go out and kill horses for selfish reasons pretending it somehow honors a Mare Goddess and realizing that some of my "friends" were supporters of another Pagan who makes her living off of unethically sourced animal parts, including "pony skins" and horse ears I had to pull away from those people, although I did fool myself that one person's excuses actually was saying she was going to honor my pain and separate from the horse and wolf killer she was connected to ....I realized my foolishness since.
point I haven't had a decent night of sleep in over a year. As the issue hit closer to home with 

Part of the reason activists for horses become so fatigued isn't just the vile assholes who participate in the killing. It's all the people who claim to be against it, but see no reason to bother with it. When one of the horse killers went begging money from the Pagan community, I witnessed many who claimed they hated what she had done but had to support her because somehow this project she hasn't done yet was so important to them. So, you know, who the fuck cares about the horses? 

It gets to the point where I don't care either. Why should I?  I can't safe them all. We'll never save them all. This bill will never go through, people will continue to happily torture and kill horses, others will accept it and even celebrate how cool they are....  No one cares....why should I?

Of course, I do. I care too much. I have no choice, I have oaths.

I have made more moves to distance myself from people who support this in anyway...including those who say they don't but continue to associate with the horse killers. I have also had to break ties with someone who probably could have helped me a lot on my own project, due to their help to the horse eater...it would break my oaths to have this work, especially, touched by that (I hope I am not tainting it by using their writings for research, it is something I am currently struggling over). I have had to remove people I thought were friends (one of whom might also have been helpful to my project...but again...I can't have it touched and again must reconsider any use of what they helped me with...which is a huge problem for me) because they did not respect the pain that such associations cause me...including people who make a lot of noise about the importance of such things (but apparently, feeling it for horses, wolves and other animals isn't valid). 

But I find I can do and write little to advocate for the horses at this time. I try to pass thins along, I sign petitions, I have made phone calls to my Congresscritters who are, thankfully, pretty good on these issues (yes, even her, on this). And I take care of my little herd...all who could have ended up in a bad way (but, honestly, not having had real sleep for so long...how much I actually do with them is limited). 

Certainly other activists manage while witnessing even more than I have. We each have different breaking points. And sometimes we can step back and find our ways to cope and sometimes that's from the horses themselves.  I am hoping that again removing people who bring this toxin closer to me and by writing about it will help. I do know, from experience, that I will again end up with people in my life who bring the issue too close for comfort, there are simply too many who just do not care enough and, well, that is why this fatigue happens, why cynicism and extreme distrust are part of this. I will keep fighting, but sometimes will just be quieter about it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lost a year of my life!

The title has multiple meanings for me.  Obviously, I didn't sleep for the past year, I got a lot done in a lot of areas.  One was not with my horses. Oh, they're cared for, but I spent less time with them since last May than I would have liked.  I spent the summer taking care of a sick and crippled Greyhound who we hoped would be able to recover at least some mobility ..until it was clear he couldn't.  Lots of riding time that didn't happen then. Got out to play with the horses from time to time, but nothing extensive. Fortunately, the horses have each other from company...and the goat, of course.  Then a few months after losing him, our female Greyhound developed bone cancer and I spent the winter spoiling and fussing over her until we had to say goodbye to her as well. So I lost most of a year of serious horse time spoiling dogs.

And writing, but not so much here. I  have even been published in a few places and helped start a magazine (which includes a lovely article on Epona by my co-blogger here, Ceffyl).

But there's also that sudden "loss of a year of my life" feeling.  You get it a lot with horses.

Yesterday my husband Aaron came into the house from the barn and said that Misty was lying on her side and refusing to get up. He had been worried when he saw her and went to check and she refused to budge. I head for the door, see her lying out there and, worse, Saorsa dancing around her as if she's trying to get her up. Usually when one horse is just napping, the other horse watches over them and doesn't jump around and poke them with their nose.  I pulled boots and jacket on, headed out, I can see them as I approach the run-in shed and go in through the back and I know we're in for a long day, which might end up real bad. I walk through the shed going over the scenario of getting her up, giving her 'bute or Banamine, walking her, listening to the belly....calling the vet who is too damn far away....

I walk out into the paddock ....and Misty's up.

She shakes off some of the excess snow and heads for the hay. Saorsa immediately drops and rolls in the exact spot Misty had been in, then gets up bucking .....Misty prances around a bit and heads back to the hay.   She's absolutely fine. 

We stare at her, check her belly (she's eating but....I can't help myself).  I go in, as it's colder than I'm dressed for. I'm shaking.  It took a long time to dissipate the adrenaline.  To even really convince myself that there was no danger.  Indeed, through the day we keep checking on her. Even though, you know, eating is a damn good sign everything is fine. Thank you, Macha! 

I don't have to tell you horse owners how not fine it \could have been. This is something we've been through a lot.  Given the hard winter we've had and that three of our horses are in their 20s, we've been watching for this and kind of surprised not to have one colic.  Yesterday, the temperatures were dropping from having a warm, wet snowstorm. The situation was perfect for colic.

While he has just over a decade of experience with horses, Aaron can usually tell a horse lying down to nap and one that might be in trouble. And certainly when a horse is refusing to get up and the other horse is acting weird, it probably means trouble.  At the very least she might have been stuck due to the deep snow, but he's been through enough colic episodes, Saoradh had real issues with these winter ups and downs, to know the possibilities. That Saorsa seemed to be trying to get her up was very disturbing. 

Of course, horses have their reasons. She may have just wanted to sleep and be left alone. But frankly, I think she was just "hogging the spot" that Saorsa obviously wanted to roll in.  There was a whole paddock of fresh snow to roll in, but it seemed Saorsa wanted THAT spot.  She wasn't trying to get Misty up because she was worried about her, as horses sometimes will a sick herdmate, but because, dammit! she wanted to roll THERE! NOW! 

I am sharing this as a reminder of how unpredictable things can be for horse owners, how a quiet day can go bad suddenly ....and in this case go back to being quiet again.  That horses are a great responsibility, that crisis hits fast and hard...or not.   Thank you, Macha! 

We do this because they are special. We fight for them because they are special.  We honor Macha (others honor other Horse Deities) in these ways.  We are blessed by Her. 

This morning I had a bad bit of being reminded that some get confused and think that eating horses is the way to honor a Horse Goddess.  And so I need to remember.....thank you, Macha, for letting me serve You by caring for Your sacred creatures. I will keep fighting for them, this I vow! 

This morning, Saorsa lying down, Misty guarding