This week we celebrate Sundance who was born on this farm 33 years ago on March 14th.
She continues her healing mission. This Winter she worked with a young woman who revealed she has lived in eighteen foster homes. Wise Sundance stepped up to accompany the teen on a journey towards
feeling good about herself despite these rejections. Sundance's specialty seems to be supporting
grieving humans since she lost her mother 3 years ago. A young adult mentor who herself worked
through deep grief with Sundance shares Sundance's impact on her life.
"Sundance was the light at the end of my tunnel. when I first met her, I didn’t know boundaries, I didn’t know how to speak up. Sundance has in many ways taught me all of that. before i started doing sessions with her, I was quit literally broken. didn’t know wrong from right, i always let people walk all over me. I was weak. after just a few sessions with her I was learning a lot. I was speaking up for myself, setting boundaries, etc. I always looked forward to our sessions. it was the only thing I had for awhile to look forward too. I remember one session, I was so frustrated with my life and went onto the farm and just cried. she brought her mom, her brother, and herself and they just sat there with me. All three in a line. to me, it felt like they were saying “we’re here for you.” which was exactly what I needed since I felt so alone everyday. I remember walking out with a big smile on my face after coming in so frustrated & upset. Sundance was the one thing I absolutely needed in my life and ever since I've met her, I've become stronger. Sundance was always there for me in many ways, when I come onto the farm and just need a minute with her, she always sat there with me. when I needed a hug and nobody else knew how I was feeling, (frustrated, sad, etc.) she’d always nudge me with her head and lick me. there was even times she’s fallen asleep on me, with her head on my shoulders. taking deep breaths with me, she’s a HUGE part of my healing journey. She’s the reason I healed from my past. I could go on and on about how Sundance has helped me. Happy Birthday sweet girl."
A waltz in the sky, whirling through clouds
The kiss of summer
The bane of winter
All things hay and oats
My bites and sores
My love and trust
My fear and respect
The desperate outlaw
The loyal friend
A whisper, a shout
A beautiful challenge
Roaming the prairie of my heart
By Amy Pollard
August 4, 2008
"Sundance is a horse of equilibriums. Everything about her, even physically - her topline, her body shape, her blaze - everything is all about balance and symmetry. When you work with her, whatever you
give to her, she will match. That’s the basic law of Sundance. If it’s lack of confidence or investment,
she’ll be just as uninvested in you. If it’s pushy or aggressive, she’ll give it right back to you.
And that can be intimidating.
As a kid, I absolutely avoided Sundance because I was afraid of getting the balance
wrong, of asking in the wrong way and being embarrassed in front of everyone by the way
she responded - or didn’t respond. I felt that she was very concerned with me getting everything correct.
It took me several years to realize that Sundance’s lesson is much bigger than just
policing your assertion levels and giving your bad attitude back to you. Because, by her nature, she’s also ready to give back every bit of love, curiosity, and care that you can muster for her.
I thought she was intimidating, but now I see her as the greatest form of encouragement there is. Encouragement to love and be genuine. And to have it rewarded so completely is truly special.
Her lesson is actually a very large one. She teaches a greater sense of responsibility to our own lives, that it’s up to us to create the love that we want by giving it. The more value, attention, and
consideration we pour into our lives, the things around us, what we do, and what we want to be doing, the more we get. She taught me that, despite what I thought, our value isn't about whether we get things right or wrong. Our value is up to us. It's how much we're ready to invest."
To allow a young person to fall in love with a living and unconditionally loving animal is such a
gift. I want to thank all of you reading this newsletter for making this possible either by your contributions, prayers, listening ears and encouragements over the years.
One Wednesday evening when the girls from the recovery house returned to the farm to talk about their weekly trip to the nursing home with the goats, dogs, and rabbits and were sharing their stories, I teared up with an overwhelming feeling of joy. I knew then that these evenings were something I will remember forever. When I am an old woman I will look back and still be astounded that I was ever this lucky to be a part of such an evening. The old folks are transformed by the visitors, both human and 4 legged. The girls are transformed by the love and acceptance and appreciation they get from the old folks and doing something for someone else. There are many moments they feel cherished and accepted even with their rough pasts they sometimes choose to share.
All of us are transformed, the visitors, the volunteers and even the animals. I was wondering if Sundance who never seems too interested in anything but food could transform to a "therapy horse" Would she ever develop the sensitivity of her mother and brother?
Have I told you how horses mirror our feelings? A few weeks ago Sundance was very afraid of one girl's energy. This is demonstrated by the horse moving around rather nervously each time a particular person approaches her. She even went so far as to kick at the volunteer who was cleaning her feet. This is definitely not something Sundance does. Something was up. The girl next to this team suggested to Suzie that something might be bothering her because “Remember what Sonja said about horses reading what is
going on with you even when you aren't aware? Could it be about your sister?. No, I gave that up says Suzie, but I am upset about. I moved into the scene and reassured Sundance that Suzie needed to talk about something with her. Sundance calmed and Suzie laid her hand on the horse's neck and proceeded to tell her horse how worried she is about who ran away from the recovery house last night. "I didn't really like her, but I'm really worried about her out on the streets" and she burst into tears. Sundance closed her eyes and very gently brought her head around past me to lay it on Suzie's shoulder as she cried. I stood there amazed and fighting back tears, in awe at this wonderful horse. Yes. Sundance has become a therapy horse.