Karen rode with Riding Beyond and has supported our program for years. Last October she posted this story on Facebook, which recently came to our attention and deserves sharing. She recently wrote us, a year later: “I still can feel the magic that the whole experience brought to my soul. My herd stands for the promise that I WILL be riding beyond…in greener pastures and pain free.” Be inspired. . . .
For those of your who know me well, you’ve been aware that, when diagnosed over five years ago with stage four breast cancer, one of the first decisions I made was to (eventually, not anytime soon) arrange to have my ashes spread over in Eastern Oregon with the wild horses. Finally spent a few days with my dear friends, and incredible supporters, Chuck and Nadine Hoy. They live in the Klamath Falls area, and often ride up in to wilderness where the wild horses roam. So we took a drive late yesterday afternoon (it’s hunting season, so riding horseback into those areas was not a great idea. But I was anxious to check out the countryside and hopefully spot some wild horses….and set my “sprinkle” area. We drove and drove and only spotted some horse poop and a few tracks….but no sign of any horses.
Finally it was decided that we would head on home, it was getting late and darkness would be setting in soon. We found our way back down to the main road (Hwy 66) and got ready to get home. I agreed to come back in the Spring to find my herd and my place. Then, to the shock and suprise of us all, not 500 feet from where we had just gotten back on to the MAIN HWY…..a herd of 11 wild horses were standing just of the side of the road. Both Chuck and Nadine, who have lived in that area for many years, have NEVER seen wild horses in that area, especially not next to a main hwy.
Of course we stopped, Nadine and I quietly sliding out of the truck, I-Phones at the ready,(because we all know that wild horses will flee quickly when presented with stinky human presence). Instead, as I walked closer to this herd of 11 horses, including the very obvious herd stallion, they all turned to look at me….eye to eye, directly AT ME. I could hardly breathe, I was afraid to move….I didn’t want to spook them. As I stood there, with Nadine behind me clicking her phone like crazy, one stunning little yearing colt kept staring at me, and then began to walk forward to me, getting within about 10 feet. A mare and another colt followed.
Before I knew it, the whole herd had moved up and were softly gazing at me….no fear, no quivering……even the stallion just stood and watched me, never acting like he felt he had to protect his herd. It was one of the most emotionally, spiritually, surrealistic experiences of my life……I felt “chosen”, for lack of a better word…..and knew deep in my soul, I had found “my “herd”….at the most unlikely of times (during very active elk hunting season) and certainly the most unlikely of places. Every nerve in my body responded to these beautiful creatures and I am convinced, no matter where their home range is located….when it’s my time, they will let me know where and will make sure to be there to welcome me. I have no more words to adequately say what I’m feeling right now.
Please God, protect my little herd, most especially that stunning palomino yearling stud colt who was the first to “invite” me in to his family. A special thank you and prayers for my friends, Chuck and Nadine, who have remained committed to making my dream a reality.