I thought I’d start this post with something I’ve been thinking about: the idea of a hidden gem. I’ve heard it most often used to describe a pristine or lightly touched travel destination — an inn located on a gravel road, a restaurant so intimate that there’s no regular menu, a lake undisturbed by motorboats and waterskis. The expression conveys something really special that very few people know about. By nature, the hidden gem is unadorned, unpretentious, unassuming.
When I first met Arnie, a soulful, sweet, dark bay rescue, this expression came to mind. He hung behind Buddy, his outgoing paddock mate, and didn’t ask for any of the attention that Buddy was soaking up. The more I visited with Arnie over time, the more I came to think of him — certainly as a gem — but also as hidden.
Don’t get me wrong; Arnie will not hide from you. In fact, he’ll happily stand still for a good curry combing, he’ll readily lift his feet so you can pick them, he’ll thank you by leaning into your attention, despite the fact that he never asked for it. Arnie is the epitome of a hidden gem — not because he hides — but because he is so unassuming.
Sometimes, the quiet gems become hidden when their flashier, bolder friends steal the spotlight. 13 Hands has so many hidden gems — quiet, kind, steady souls who don’t push to the front of the herd. Instead, they might be a little cautious, sometimes a little shy. Perhaps they haven’t yet met the humans who will gain their trust. We can’t blame them for not immediately giving their hearts away.
When you visit 13 Hands, ask to meet some of the hidden gems. Bailey, a reticent but perky mule who’s waiting to be discovered. Finnegan, whose trust in people is growing exponentially every day. Red Jewel, who will whisper in soft nickers her gratitude for your soft hand on her neck. Or maybe CoCo Chanel, whose gifts will shine with the right, loving family.
In every paddock, there are hidden gems. Look to the back of the herd when their super social friends rush to the fence to greet you. Look for the ones who are grazing, but watching you, too. Look for the quiet, the steady, the unassuming. You just might find someone truly special.
Until next time,