Watching the herds at 13 Hands, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship. Like most equines, most human beings are social animals; we rely on one another for safety, affirmation, and comfort. Our friends provide that — and more.
And so it is with equines. As members of a herd, they rely on one another to assess danger, to provide warmth in extreme cold, to groom hard-to-reach spots on their backs, to keep one another company. Often when we witness their powerful attachments, we call it friendship because it really is close to what we as humans experience.
When horses, donkeys, and mules enter the rescue process, they’re moved around. Perhaps they’ve been picked up at a shelter and taken to a center for quarantining. Or perhaps they’ve been living alone in a field without proper attention and care. By the time they reach 13 Hands, they don’t know who’s in their herd — which paddock-mates might provide their much-needed connection. So it really is something to see — when horses meet one another and yes, form the bonds that we refer to as friendship.
I’m so lucky to witness evolving friendships among the rescues. Dante and Dutch, two thunderous but very sweet giants, hang together all day — the songs of bullfrogs floating out of the pond in their field. Buddy, Rocky, and tagalong Sprite graze and run together, catching the breeze that sweeps across the lower part of the property. And all the new minis are finding their way with one another as they navigate their inviting, spacious field.
This feels strange to say, but we have to acknowledge — even hope — that these friendships are temporary. After all, an adoption usually means another move. But rescues are resilient, hopeful, social creatures, and if you can provide a new home for one or more of them, you’ll be graced with what they have to offer — their deep and abiding friendship.
All my best,