Stock Photo ID: 46805071 Copyright: Alexia Khruscheva

When someone questions if horses have emotions, I have to go back about thirty years to a small hobby farm on forty-nine acres of rolling green fields and thick forests. A small makeshift barn squatted in the corner of the fenced-in field where chickens, geese a few goats and a beautiful horse named Sherry resided.

Sherry, a beautiful chestnut quarter horse, was matriarch of the barnyard and watched over the animals. She let the master know if something was amiss in their small community. Sherry hovered over the birth of triplet baby goats, bringing it to the attention of her master. She also alerted him to the wounded goose that couldn’t climb back up from the ditch. Sherry guarded the younger animals, protecting them from the bullies of the barn yard (mean mother goat and a few cross chickens).

Winters were long and cold, sometimes reaching 40 degrees below zero. The smaller animals didn’t wander far from the barn, only Sherry ventured out for her daily visits with her master and his family.

Slowly the sun’s visits lasted longer and the snow melted. Patches of snow dotted the yard and frozen puddles sat in the dips of the land. Spring had arrived. The farm animals were frisky and eager to relieve their pent-up energy from the long winter.

Sherry laid herself on a patch of dry ground enjoying the warmth from the sun’s rays. She’d lay in the sun for hours. Baby goats climbed up on her side and stretched themselves along her stomach and neck. Sherry lay perfectly still, so not to disturb the young goats. Sometimes a leg or the hind end of the goat would slid off, and Sherry gently turned her head to boost the goats rear end back up or push the fallen leg over.

The heat from Sherry’s body warmed the goats. It was a sight to behold, a horse with three baby goats lying on top of her, dozing while basking in the warm  spring sun. Sometimes the mother goat shoved one of her babies off so she could climb up on Sherry. But Sherry would have none of it. She’d push her off and if she became persistent Sherry would give her a swift kick.

The mother goat favored only two of her offspring, ignoring the runt, the weakest of the litter. She wouldn’t allow the runt to eat and chased her away from the grain trough; she bit and kicked the little one when it wanted to play with her. Sherry quickly intervened, protecting the runt from further abuse. She took special care of the rejected one. The mother goat couldn’t hurt her baby goat anymore.

And so it was, peace and order reigned on the small farm.

One day, the master wheeled his daughter who was quadriplegic, outdoors to enjoy the sun. She was frail, still recovering from a long serious operation. Curious, Sherry walked over to her. The nine-year old wasn’t frightened by the size of the horse. She felt an immediate connection with Sherry. Sherry bent her head and sniffed the child, from her feet up to her head. Her velvet nose brushed against the girl’s cheek, their breath mingled. The girl could see her reflection in the big luminous eyes; she saw the gentleness and love in Sherry’s heart. Sherry lifted her head high and rolled back her lips making a whinnying sound, then gently with her velvet mouth, Sherry gave the girl a kiss ever so lightly, on the cheek.

The neighbourhood children loved riding Sherry.  Parents didn’t have to worry.  Sherry took special care to walk at a slower pace with young riders.  Her reputation was well-known in the village for her gentleness and cleverness, (she could unlock any gate and often let all the animals out of their stalls.)  She had many visitors throughout the years.

The partially fenced in forty-seven acres was a wonderful playground for Sherry.  When the master gave a shrill whistle, she’d gallop out of the forest, full tilt across the field.  It was a sight of beauty.  The free-spirited horse became one with the wind, her black mane and tail blowing carelessly behind her.  Her hooves barely touched the ground as she raced towards the sound of her master.

Long gone are the farm animals.  Through time the weathered barn sagged into the earth and tall weeds sprouted through the rotted boards. Sherry remained with her master and his family for twenty-five years.  When the clouds hang low and the wind sweeps across the meadow, I believe her spirit still chases the wind with her mane and tail furling behind her in a show of glory.

The question is “Do horses have emotions?”  Of course they have emotions, as I believe all animals have emotions.  I’ll go one further and say they have heart. . .they have a soul.

I miss you Sherry.

 

Rear view of a young blond woman looking at the ocean

Stock Photo ID: 48256175 Copyright: Nosnibor137

That old cliche “If I knew then what I know now” is the defining solution to what ails the world today. If I could change the world I would go back to basics, borrow a little from the past add them to the knowledge of today and find a solution that would sustain the world in harmonious symmetry.

First I would begin with the foundation, the infrastructure of society; the family.

1) I believe there should only be one bread winner in the family, and one parent staying home to raise the children until they are at least 13/14 years of age. Children shouldn’t have to come home to an empty house because both parents are at work. Children need structure in their lives. They need nurturing, encouragement, discipline, and moral upbringing. They need to feel confident in who they are and their place in society. They need to feel loved, and unafraid, they need to be taught to make their own path in life and not always follow others. Children need respect, in order to give it; they need to be taught not to judge people by their race, creed or colour. Children need rules and guidelines to follow, because in the outside world there are rules we must follow every day. Parents should keep the communication lines open with their children; listen to their concerns without being judgmental; help them find and encourage their passion. Let them find their own niche; they should have their own voice and identity. Children are the future. What we teach our children today will define the next chapter of our world and mankind.

Let’s count the way’s the family foundation could improve the world.

a) There would be less crime . . . because children were taught respect, compassion, and good morals; they didn’t need to join a gang to feel they belong. There would also be less sexually transmitted disease, decreasing the risk of HIV/Aids. Drug use would decrease because children are confident in themselves and their ability to make the right choices.

b) There would be less pollution . . . . because in a one income family we learn to recycle, wear hand- me downs, repair and mend things instead of throwing it out and buying new. We would probably have one car instead of two or three. We’d buy only what we need and not what we want. We’d pay cash and not use credit cards. If there was an item that we wanted, we would save for it. We’d buy within our means; we would be out of debt.

c) Medical costs would decrease dramatically . . . because in a one income family our meals are eaten at home. Home-cooked nutritious meals will eliminate obesity, which would decrease heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.

d) We’d build the path to peace in the world . . . because of the strong family structure, we learn to respect others. We aren’t born with hate, but learn it. If we teach our children to respect, listen, compromise; to think not only with our head but also with our hearts we’ll have a better world. Solutions will be found easier and faster if we use common sense, along with compassion and understanding. Everyone is the same no matter what country we come from. No one wants war, we all want peace.

2) To lower the country’s deficit, I would put a woman who’s a mother of a large family in charge of budgeting the country’s coffers. So far the government’s financial consultants with their PHD’s and Masters degrees haven’t been able to balance anything, ever.  Common sense tells me to put a woman who has a large family as a financial advisor in Parliament or the White House.  You don’t need all the degrees in front of your name; all you need is the basics of math, and common sense and the determination to balance the budget. When someone can raise six children, feed them, educate them, pay doctor bills, cloth them, etc., on a small income and still come out with a few pennies to spare, that’s who we need for a financial adviser.

3) I would have free education for every child, rich or poor. No longer would a child from a poor family be deprived of reaching his/her dreams because they couldn’t afford to go to school.

4) There would be free medical and dental for every child and senior citizen.

5) Everyone would be equal and treated equal. There would be no segregation or favoritisms. Forget about color; we’re not black, white, yellow, red, or brown; we are all humans.

6) In my world the Justice system would be fair. Father’s have been getting the raw end of the deal where divorce and custody is concerned. The law seems to slant towards the woman when it comes to custody and divorce settlements. Men who love their children should have equal rights to the custody of their child.

7) I would make Remembrance Day a National holiday. Veterans would get the respect and support they deserve, be it medical, financial, or anything they need to get their lives back in order.

8) If I could change the world there would be more affordable housing and more nursing homes for the elderly. I would have random, unannounced inspections of nursing homes.

9) I’d have random unannounced inspections for any large institution, police stations, hospitals, Public Utilities, City Hall, government organizations, industry, etc., so to make sure corruption doesn’t become an issue.

10) I’d try to unify world leaders and public organizations to finding a solution to world hunger and water scarcity.

11) I would have the world invest some of their good fortune into the poorer countries. When we become a friendlier world and show our willingness to help each other, and bring their country up to our standard of living, I think this could be the solution for world peace.

These are just a few of the things I would do to change the world. Everyone can make a difference all we need is common sense, determination, and heart.

Parents giving their daughter a kiss.

Stock Photo ID: 31853747 Copyright: szefei

Violence, terroism, and war seem to dominate the headlines everyday.  How is it possible that in this day and age we are still killing each other over what…power, land, racism, and yes, religion. What went wrong?  I thought we all learned our lesson from past wars.  Will there ever be world peace where everyone lives in harmony?  I believe the answer lies with our children.

Love and compassion go hand in hand. Our children depend on us for everything; not just for their health and well being, but also for security and unconditional love. It’s our responsibility to guide them, teach them to become morally responsible human beings. Mother Teresa said “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.  The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.  We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

A child’s first feelings of being loved and cared for are in its mother’s arms. She cradles the baby to her breast; she softly croons to it, holding it safe and warm. Their heart beats mingle; love and compassion blossoms.  Invisible threads of love and compassion are woven into the child. Once we’ve experienced love and compassion it defines our character and we can’t help but become compassionate towards others.

Children learn what they live. Setting good examples are far more effective than spoken words. If the parent kicks a dog, guaranteed the child will kick a dog. If the parents are racists, in all probability the child will become racist. A daily diet of foul language, bad habits, immorality, and abuse (physical and verbal) will set the pattern for the child’s future. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the behavior the child grew up in will repeat itself throughout his adult life unless someone with compassion turns him around.

When a child comes from a loving compassionate family their daily life is nurtured with love. Parents aren’t afraid to show affection; hugs, smiles, words of encouragement and understanding are their daily diet. The child participates with their parents volunteering their time for needy functions. They understand there are people who are less fortunate than themselves that need help and comforting. When a disaster strikes, they give generously and unselfishly without a second thought. They truly have love and compassion for their fellow man. With a strong foundation of love, compassion, and moral convictions, the child will excel and possibly make a difference in the world.

The story of a young boy, Ryan Hreljac, springs to mind. In 1997, 6 year old Ryan learned from his teacher that women in Africa have to walk many miles each day to find water. He learned that some people died due to unsafe, dirty water. Ryan was so touched he wanted to do something about it. He spoke to the schools, churches and clubs about his goal. He did chores for his parents and the neighbors and finally raised $2,000, which was enough to dig a new well. The story made headlines around the world and one project led to another. Years later with help from adults, he founded the Ryan’s Well Foundation to bring awareness to the importance of water. Today the foundation has built 255 wells that serve more than 427,000 people in 12 countries.

There are many stories of children showing compassion, from giving blankets to the homeless on the streets to little girls donating their hair for cancer patients. Disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami of 2004 extracted compassion from around the world.

Teach the children well. ” We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family.” (Mother Teresa 1910-1997; recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for Humanitarian Work)

 

Stock Photo ID: 15623669 Copyright: Ivonnewierink

I’m a grandmother who writes in the corner of her kitchen.
I love the magic of words and being able to captivate an audience with my ‘once upon a time…” One day I would like to finish my children’s book that’s been collecting cobwebs in my closet for 17 years.

I’ve been blessed with four children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren who fill my world with color and wonder. I’ve been married to my childhood sweetheart for 49 years, and yes, I’m very lucky. Everyday is an adventure, and I cherish even the smallest of moments. My cup is always full, I love life and have a sense of humor.

I’m a freelance writer who wrote for Helium.net for 7 years until the site closed it’s doors. I published articles for magazines and was honoured to win the Pulitzer Center Citizen Journalist Award in 2008.

I live in Northern Ontario where my daughter and I practically hibernate all winter from the cold.  This is the time of year where I do most of my writing.

It’s all good, is just that. Recent bumps in the road have made me more aware as to how fragile and precious life is. This site is a celebration of family, friends and our surrounding; a bit of nostalgia, writings, good books and movies. Oh yes, I can’t forget dark chocolate and coffee. In short, it’s all good.

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