I was asked by one of my fellow NEWSVINERS to produce a photo article... the subject SPEED.
Now I am always up for a challenge, as I believe it keeps you young and viable for whatever life has to offer.
But when RDW-375737 (Rusty) asked me to do this challenge, I thought nothing of it... even had some examples brewing in my head. But rather then giving you the expected, when the unexpected is what is needed. So Rusty, I give you my SPEED photo challenge:
It began back in the late 90's in Portland Oregon's rural areas, with its rolling hillsides and beautiful farms placed atop the beauty that is Oregon. With my best friend in tow we were in search of her cousin's farm he and his family had purchased a few years back. Within the sale of this farmhouse came two horses included; River and Dusty (I know what you're thinking; already sounds like a bad Disney movie?).
We offered to come and take a look as he was interested in selling them both. But in reality we had no idea what was in store. Being that I have never met these people, only aware that they were computer programmers, and hadn't had any experience with horses, or any animal with a heartbeat for that matter… We went with an open mind, after all how bad could it be?
So on one of the coldest days on record, I loaded up my horse trailer and best friend to drive the two hours, to see the two horses, which had been left in a pasture for two years; with nothing more than stubble's of grass to eat.
When we had finally reached the long winding driveway and looked in the pasture that cold January so many years ago, you could have heard our jaws hit the floor from across the Willamette Valley.
Silence, deafening silence, as we both turned to look at one another for confirmation as to what we both were witnessing was real and in front of our eyes. There standing before us were two horses so emaciated I couldn't believe they were still standing. I opened my door and the heavy rain and the cold winters wind sliced through my bones like a knife, it left me shaking uncontrollably.
All I could see and the energy I felt was their hallow bodies, sharp with protruding bones in areas once meant for muscles lay wasted in eye's filled with lost promises. As my body ached from the cold wind and the shear thoughts of rage that ran through my mind and up and down my spine... Why hadn't any of the neighbors helped or even called the authorities regarding these animals?
Off in the distance stood a small shack, it looked to once have been a barn. It's metal roof that had been bending with each gust of wind, wrenching forward and pounding back down again and again with a heavy thud. With each banging it seemed to awaken me like a hammer-to-the-temple into reality… day after day these animals have been living like this for years. So they stood… unfazed by it all, these two horses turned to look up to see whom had come up the driveway, only to lower their heads back down with irrelevance and solitude.
With deep sadness and despair, my heart wrenched for the conditions laid before me, both of them still willing to raise a head and bend an ear to a newcomer. The yearning to be recognized and longing for yet another human touch, yet without enough energy to even walk the twenty steps it took to reach the fence. They both just stood there, hollow eyed, and shallow with emotion.
My heart stopped, were we too late for these horses? As I reached the biggest horse, and I mean tall, as he was over 17 hands but only weighed about 800 lbs. Normally a horse this size depending on it's breed, should weight close to 1500-1800 lbs.
His name was Loved River, and before being discarded as a pasture ornament, he had led a life of horse racing until leg injuries stifled his bloodlines into not being viable to his owners any longer. I could see him desperately reaching out while being pulled away by the madness of malnutrition, the glimmer of life was still in his eyes. It was hidden deeply behind the sadness, but when he gave me the nudge of acknowledgement; my heart just sank to my boots.
I felt him, and he felt me, he was there and he was ready to leave this place for a life of greener pastures. At that moment I didn't care if his body was sound for future riding… it didn't matter, he and his pasture mate were coming home with me regardless of the price on their heads, which later turned out to be $200.00.
It has been many years since that day, and even though I have been offered thousands of dollars for River since his recovery. The energy that he holds within his body is that of which I have never felt when I am under saddle and running free into the woods. I just smile at there offers, because he's not for sale for any price, he's here to stay until it's time for him to go, that is the promise I made to him that cold January afternoon.
So here is my need for S P E E D and within it lays Rivers eyes, torn up by neglect and rescued into recognition that life is what you make it… how you lived it, and how you will leave it for others. So I say Thank you River for showing so many others that life is worth saving…You have saved mine many times.
*Dusty the other pasture mate stayed with me until I had found a young girl for him to spoil, or would that be the other way around?
So I pass this challenge to sorrelen whom must be busy with her last wedding plans, I ask that you capture 'BLISS'
State in the article your challenge and who gave it to you.
Follow the challenge that is given to you.
Complete the challenge within a reasonable time.
No digging up old photos!
Publish the photographic article to the group.
Email the person you are challenging (send them the link to your entry).
Only challenge Newsvine Photography members.