I’m Julia Hyde and I feel rather fortunate.
You see I’m lucky enough to be the founder of Canham Farm Horse Rescue and Rehab. This means I get to spend every day in the company of one of the most beautiful, therapeutic animals to grace the earth.
Of course, I’m talking about horses.
It took me many years to find the meaning of my life, and it didn’t involve my former careers as a nurse, reporter and mother, although I believe they have both helped me in my quest to understand how horses think, feel and live.
For me, horses are my life. They are my children. They are part of my family. They are 1000 pound four-legged, hay-eating, unpredictable, expensive, time-consuming children.
My husband doesn’t get it. My obsession with horses is a complete mystery to him. “Why do you need so many horses”, he asks. (I have three of my own — Sera, Shiloh and Jericho, plus nine at the rescue). I have no answer except “I just do”.
Taking care of horses is not for the faint of heart. There is no lie-in on a Sunday morning. There is no going out for the day (what about the horses’ lunches?) But I don’t mind. Not one bit.
I love the sunrise, the first sip of coffee in the quiet of my kitchen when everyone else is asleep. I love the nicker of the horses as I feed them their morning hay. I love the sound they make when they eat. I love the way they smell. And I love scooping their poop – a clean stall or paddock is incredibly satisfying. It gives me time to think about the rest of my day, or just be in the moment.
We have nine cameras at our house. That’s normal right? Most of them are aimed at the horses so I can see what they are up to when I’m not home. I need the cameras because one of them might colic*. Or cast themselves in the paddock fencing. What if? what if? The “What ifs” don’t bear thinking about.
I spend most days at the rescue and, due to my paranoia, take Sera, Shiloh and Jericho with me in my trailer. Sometimes we ride. Sometimes we don’t. But at least I know they’re safe.
There’s a myriad of tasks to do at the rescue and I couldn’t do any of it without the volunteers who dedicate themselves to the neglected, abused or abandoned horses in my care. Sometimes we laugh, (horses are incredibly funny) sometimes we cry and we all benefit from the escapades of these wonderful animals. But, those stories will have to wait until next time.
*The term “colic” refers to abdominal pain rather than a specific disorder. Conditions that commonly cause colic include gas, impaction, grain overload, sand ingestion, and parasite infection.
Julia Hyde lives in Scotts Valley, California with her husband, Brian, dog, Missy, Horses, Shilo, Sera and Jericho.