1. From thesoulofahorse.com: Two years ago it took six big men to wrestle Mouse into a trailer after being rescued from horrendous conditions by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. She was under a year old. Skin and bones. Her feet looked like elf shoes. And she was terrified of people. The first time she was pushed into a holding pen for loading onto the trailer she jumped the fence and fled. She was being transported out to Monty Roberts' farm for a bit of behavior modification so she would become adoptable. That's where my stepson Dylan and I met her, fell in love, and home she came with us. This video is of Mouse two years later and was filmed to demonstrate to the supporters of the Animal Rescue League how important they are at their annual fund raiser in Des Moines. Without those supporters, and the selfless work of the folks at the Animal Rescue League, this would've never happened to Mouse. Or us. We thank you very much. Read Mouse's story and see early photos on the website thesoulofahorse.com/Mouse.htm ... and yes... I do love this song, which is why it was the ending title song for Benji Off the Leash; performed by Duane Stevens and arranged and conducted by Tony DiLorenzo.

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  2. He always came. Every time. He will always be The Soul of a Horse.

    Never once did I fill my pocket with treats that it wasn’t with him in mind, never wanting to be caught without something that he liked when he walked up and offered me something that I liked.

    He was the first one down for every feed, usually waiting for me at the back of the barn breezeway.

    I could call him from anywhere and wherever he was he’d come.

    He would walk with me from anywhere to anywhere at liberty.

    In the evenings he would use the stubble on my chin to scratch his upper lip. I do love that.

    He would offer up kisses. And hugs.

    When I was loading hay into the Gator he always knew exactly when to back out of the hay shed to get out of my way. Without a word.

    He would back up, side step, come forward, straight or at an angle, and move his butt in any direction, all without a touch. Just a point. A word. Often just a look.

    He was the most polite, most willing, smartest, most dedicated, most amazing horse I ever hope to be bonded with. And bonded we were. Tighter than super glue. He could see into the depths of my soul with his big browns. And he always knew what I was thinking even before I knew it myself. He wasn’t my horse. He was my little brother.

    He was my Cash.

    Never once did I talk about relationships with our horses, or with any horses, that I wasn’t actually talking about him. He drove the agenda. And he is personally responsible for changing the lives of thousands of horses (and people) across the planet.

    These are the first words I wrote in The Soul of a Horse:

    Often, in the early evening, when the stresses of the day are weighing heavy, I pack it in and head out to the pasture. I’ll sit on my favorite rock, or just stand, with my shoulders slumped, head down, and wait. It’s never long before I feel the magical tickle of whiskers against my neck, or the elixir of warm breath across my ear, a restoring rub against my cheek. I have spoken their language and they have responded. And my problems have vanished.

    I wasn’t really talking about “they”. I was talking about one horse.

    He made me happy. Every day. So very, very happy.

    Then one day he didn’t come in for breakfast. He was parked up the hill, unmovable because his left rear leg was very swollen, especially around the stifle area. The vet came out, gave him a couple of shots and got him down into the round pen. He had obviously had some kind of accident in the pasture, long enough before for the swelling to be really bad.

    Cash has always been the most accident prone horse in our family. I have never been able to balance that with his swift and sure-footed beauty.

    The swelling began to migrate down around his chest and abdomen. The prognosis was that there was internal bleeding. Now two different vets were in agreement that something inside was probably fractured and/or some muscles were torn causing the bleeding. He was confined to a very small place because he needed to not move around until the bleeding stabilized. I continued to ask what could have possibly happened? He could have fallen on his hip. He could have slipped and, in effect, done the splits. The evidence ruled out being kicked. Kathleen and I have combed the pastures looking for clues. A fallen tree limb, any kind of place to get tangled and frightened. We found nothing.

    We moved our evening No Agenda Time into the side shed where he was residing. He smiled a lot, his way of asking for a treat. And he gave out kisses. By now the vets differed in what they thought had happened. One felt it was a bad trauma, probably a fracture, somewhere in the stifle area. The other believed he probably had a fracture in his pelvic region. But the swollen tissue eliminated the possibility of seeing anything on an xRay. Three ultra sounds were done but only confirmed the internal bleeding which withdrawing a sample had already confirmed. And his good rear leg was now swelling and getting weaker from supporting so much weight for so long.

    At feeding time he tried to take a couple of steps backward, to reposition for his feed tub… and stumbled… and fell. And could not get up. He tried and tried. It freaked him out so, and I had no one to help. And no sedative. He re-opened the internal bleeding and in fifteen minutes he was gone.

    Just like that.

    I have yet to stop crying. My life will never be the same. Nor will Kathleen’s. It’s so random. It wasn’t supposed to be his time. He is only 18. Healthy, hardy, with the best immune system of the bunch. We were supposed to grow old together.

    I cannot get the last few lines of Garth Brooks' song The Dance out of my head:

    And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
    The way it all would end, the way it all would go
    Our lives are better left to chance
    I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss… the… dance

    Yes, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. But the crying won’t stop.

    Joe

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  3. The day of adoption!. For those who remember Noelle and Malachi, you’ll know why this is entitled Here We Go Again. Three years after Malachi's sudden and shattering death we drove to the BLM facility south of Jackson, Mississippi and adopted our second unhandled mustang carrying a foal conceived in the wild. And what an amazingly different experience it has been. It took 19 days for Noelle to take food from my hand. Our new Miss Saffron did it on Day One. I was giddy. To read the entire story of how we got to know this mustang who had never willingly touched or been touched by any human click here: thesoulofahorse.com/blog/here-we-go-again/

    The song Here We Go Again in this video is performed by our dear friend Red Stegall and Reba McEntire, written by Red Stegall and Don Lanier. This song has been recorded 62 times, and two versions by Ray Charles won Grammy awards including “Record of the Year.” This version by Red and Reba is from one of Red’s recent “Hits” albums by the same name: Here We Go Again. Available wherever great music is sold. The link below is to Red’s website.

    redsteagall.com/store/page2.html

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  4. The most amazing thing happened down at the barn! It reminded me why we have been so obsessive about getting the relationship right with each of our horses before anything else. Even before training. Relationship that gives the horse the choice, the free will to make it so. And what a difference it has made to this newcomer as he stumbled his way through the learning process. Our horses have never stopped trying, never stopped listening, never stopped giving. And they are with us because they want to be. As you will see in this video… thesoulofahorse.com

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  5. How We Kept Six Horses Moving and Eating Happily, Healthily on an Acre and a Half of Rock and Dirt. When we acquired our first three horses, soon to be six, they were all living in stalls, wearing metal shoes, and eating sugary feed from a bag. Because so many of the questions we were asking were turning up answers that made no sense we finally began to dig into serious research on our own to determine how our new horses should be living and eating. To dig out the actual facts, not the legends. Not the hearsay. Not the standard "That’s the way it’s always been done." And what we discovered was nothing short of amazing. Virtually everything we had been told to do was diametrically opposed to the way horses – all horses – should actually be living. The result is that we figured out how to turn our horses lives completely around and turn our steep one-and-a-half acre hillside of rock and dirt into a happy and healthy lifestyle for our entire herd.

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The Soul of a Horse

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