October 29, 2017

October just slipped by.  When we came back from Yellowstone, it was still warm in Austin.  Days drifted into the 80s, but the shift to cooler temperatures began as some mornings sank to 47 degrees.  The first thing I see each morning is my neighbor’s cottonwood tree, now a glorious gold shining in the morning sunlight.  It is the first color change of autumn in the neighborhood.  It will take a much stronger cold snap to transform the Spanish oaks along the arroyo to deep red.  I feel the change as I wrap my jacket around me and shove my hands into my pockets.  The cooler temperatures lift the energy of everything around me.  Daisy walks a little faster and runs around the yard in a spectacular turbo.

The owl is still in the box.  He peeks out each evening around 4 or 4:30, enjoys the fading sunlight on his face, and retreats back into his box.  By six he is usually looking out again and takes off just as darkness falls, swooping southeast out of the yard.  The bougainveas have exploded with color.  Deep pink blooms cover both plants, now fully leafed out.  They like the sun and slightly cooler weather.  Even a solitary tomato plant still produces tiny fruit the size of blueberries.

The Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society Expo on October 21 was a great success.  The Expo is the rescue’s major event of the year, where horses in foster care are shown and offered for adoption.  The excitement the day before was palpable as volunteers scurried around setting up the sales and auction areas and cleaned tack.  Competitors and foster owners rode their horses in the arena, warming up for the big day.

Each year I see horses I would consider adopting.  Saturday afternoon, after helping with the training challenge and listening to clinicians, I walked up and down the aisles, looking at the horses, reading the paragraphs posted on their stalls telling the stories of their lives as we know them.  Five years, ten years, sometimes twenty, compressed into a few simple sentences.  “. . . .  was astray when brought to BEHS.  She has no lameness issues.  She loads well and stands for the farrier.  Her foster home has ridden her . . . That’s it.  Hidden behind the words are sometimes years of neglect or the tears of an elderly person who can no longer care for their horse.  What we do know is that they are safe now, cared for, and walking into a new life, maybe on a farm or ranch, maybe with other horses.  Each horse walks through a different door, but the sun shines through each one.

There was a horse, Miss Buttons, a 15.3 bay mare about 15 years old quietly eating hay in her stall.  I missed seeing her shown in the arena on Saturday, but one of the volunteers said “This is a really nice mare.”  She caught my eye as most of the horses up for adoption are under 15 hands, while Ms. Buttons is 15.3, and a thoroughbred or thoroughbred cross.  I walked up and down the aisles, peeking through the stall slats, calling softly to the horses.  Almost all ignored me, their heads down in their hay nets, or leaning against the stall wall, sleepily watching the horse next door.

In the end, 49 horses were adopted.  600 people attended, plus 150 or so volunteers and clinicians who gave their time to make this the best Expo yet.  Who knows how many horses BEHS can help next year. 

Christine Baleshta


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