Tag Archives: outreach

A day of volunteering for the family; Alive on Pilot Butte

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The 3rd busy day in a row, but so worth it.

Today, my older step-daughter did her 2nd volunteer stint at the community theater and officially made “crew” for the kids production coming up next week. Which will mean she needs to be at the theater for several hours Monday through Thursday evenings this week. She’s meeting some interesting people and is excited about it, which is great to see in a newly minted 16-year-old.

The rest of us went to Equine Outreach. It was my hubby and younger step-daughter’s first time. This time we made it through a very long orientation in 90 degree weather (what a difference a month makes in Central Oregon), much of it in the direct sun, and then stayed to do our first volunteer stint: “picking” pens, i.e., shoveling shit. It was fun. Really! Since none of us have much horse experience, we started off with the friendliest of the bunch, cleaning the miniature donkey pen and then the pen of their horse neighbors. We can’t wait to go back and get to know the horses (and the donkeys) better. I got to see my buddy, River, from last time. He came over to sniff me and seemed slightly peeved that I hadn’t brought snacks this time.

Pilot Butte Sunset July 7, 2012

Pilot Butte Sunset, July 7, 2012

Afterwards, we had a long, lazy afternoon of picking up a few groceries, waffle making (somebody was trying out their new birthday waffle maker), reading, playing (water balloons! —well, the twins anyway), and napping. I then left about 8:45 to go walk Pilot Butte. Evenings after a hot day are magnificent up there. The air feels alive, almost as if it has arms that are enveloping you in a soft, liquid embrace. A vibrant silence surrounds you as you float above the city with the jackrabbits and the lizards, the rabbit brush and the wildflowers.

And now I’m blessed with a quiet house—everyone else but the animals long gone to bed. It’s 80 degrees in here. In spite of this, I’m trying to make bread because we’re out and have been for days. The dough turned out strangely because of the heat, or maybe because it’s been awhile since I last made dough, but that’s OK.

Once it’s done, I’ll retire upstairs to read and enjoy these last few precious moments of a good day.

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Sweet equine souls and Casablanca

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Watching Casablanca with the family. Amazingly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. Nice to see where many now common phrases come from: “Here’s looking at you kid,” “Play it, Sam”—the more commonly heard “Play it again, Sam” is actually the title of a Woody Allen movie which references Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris,” “Round up the usual suspects,” “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” etc.

This morning, we joined some other VegNet folks for a tour of Equine Outreach horse rescue. It was freezing out, especially when the wind whipped up, but it was great to meet so many beautiful souls—EO cares for over 100 of them! Plus two miniature donkeys. There were also a couple of farm dogs and a cat who enjoyed following us around. The stories of neglect are horrible, but the stories of recovery are inspiring.

Interestingly, the rescue has taken in a herd of “Tarpan” horses. Apparently, a man had spent many generations breeding them to resemble the Tarpan (Equus ferus ferus, also known as Eurasian wild horse), which has been extinct since 1909. Unfortunately, the man has passed away, and there was nobody to take on his research or the herd, and they’ve found their way to the rescue. The stallions have been a handful, it seems, and they don’t know how long they can hang on to them without gelding them. I can’t believe there’s nobody else in the world that wants this herd! It was hard to get a close picture of them, because they weren’t interested in coming up to the fence. Here’s an article that may reference this herd.

Equine Outreach has also taken in many wild mustangs, and many horses from the Warm Springs Reservation. Last year, they took in a large number of them {I think they were destined for slaughter} and then almost all the mares had foals! They’ve adopted out all but two of those babies {we met them today}.

We had a good time. One of my favorites from today is River, who used to be wild, but has come a long way and had no problem eating out of our hands. My older step-daughter bonded with Boon. My step-son felt a connection with an injured Tarpan stallion who was in a holding pen. We all want to go back, and hubby and my younger step-daughter would like to go {she was too sick to go today, and hub needed to stay home with her)}. This may be our summer volunteer activity.

River and Boon, Equine Outreach

River and Boon, Equine Outreach

River, Equine Outreach

River, Equine Outreach

The "Tarpan" herd, Equine Outreach

The “Tarpan” herd, Equine Outreach