Over the years I have adopted many dogs and cats from shelters, but the rescue that really pulled on my heart strings and started my passion for supporting animals in need was my Arab/Paint cross, Calamity Jane. Someone from my work contacted me and said that she needed a home for one of her horses. I already had three horses and I was really hesitant because horses are a huge commitment and expensive to feed and maintain. But I agreed to at least go and see the horse. When I arrived Jane was in a very small pen with manure and mud up to her knees. Her coat was rotting off from being in the rain without shelter, her ribs were showing, and her hooves hadn't been trimmed and looked like dish plates. I was holding back my tears and trying not to get angry as it would blow my chances of rescuing her. She was in the pen with her Mom which she had never been separated from and she was now six and a half years old. Her Mom was in good shape and was taken out of the pen frequently for rides, but she too was in these deplorable conditions. The lady wanted me to buy Jane for a thousand dollars. I had to walk away and think about what I was going to do, so I went and had dinner, where I cried over my meal. The issue I was having, was what to do with Jane's Mom. Do I call animal control? The owner did not want to sell Jane's Mom. So, I came up with a plan to address the living conditions for the Mom and remove Jane. I offered to clean the pen, add a deck so that she could get out of the mud, and put a shelter over part of the pen in exchange for taking Jane. The owner agreed. It took awhile to load Jane in the trailer as she had limited experience. Once we got her home, she was so scared as this was the first time she was without her Mom. She ran us over and took off. For an underfed horse with bad hooves, she could run. I called the Sheriff and reported her missing because she quickly ran off the ranch and into the road. The Sherriff told me that they received reports that she was running down the main road towards the freeway. Several cop cars were chasing her, with their lights and sirens on... HELLO!!! Not how you catch a horse. She almost made it onto the freeway on ramp when animal control caught her. She was headed back to her Mom and took the exact same route we took when we brought her to the barn. I quickly headed to the location and ran over to Jane. She was sweaty and her eyes were huge! I held her lead rope and she put her head on my chest as I pet her and spoke to her in a calming voice. It was after this event that I decided to name her Calamity Jane. It took a long time to rehabilitate Jane. When I first turned her out into the arena, it was clear that she had not had that freedom and really didn't know how to run without banging herself up. So every time I turned her out after that, she had full padding, sport boots and bell boots. We ponied her up to our other horses for about a year, teaching her how to cross water, getting her used to people being over her, etc. She was so insecure, that she had to be with other horses to feel comfortable. We could take her off the lead rope and she would just follow us. One of my favorite memories is when we rode in the mountains of Pedra Blanca in Rose Valley, California. She was running free and she went to the edge of a cliff, which scared me at first... but then she just stood there and looked out across the valley, with the Sespe River below. Her mane was blowing in the wind and she looked so majestic. I wondered what she was thinking, maybe "free at last". When I finally got on her back, she was so calm, didn't buck just stood there. Having said that, she has been a handful ever since.. She still lacked confidence and any little thing would spook her. I've had a few injuries and wild rides on her. Everyone said she was dangerous and I should get rid of her, but I had faith and she had my heart. Jane really taught me how to ride, because it's always the tough rides that improve your skills. Now Jane is a pasture pet and Jack the Mustang is her boyfriend, she is living an awesome life here on Saint Francis Farm. So, Jane really gave me that spark because not only did I make a difference in her life, but she taught me how to be a better rider. I am contacted often about rescuing more animals, and the hardest part is not being able to rescue all of them. Those that I turn down, mainly for financial reasons, stick with me for months. My recent creative adventure in Jewelry seems to be going well, and hopefully will support more rescues in the near future. I feel like this is my true calling and I believe with all of my heart that God will provide.
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