Red Bucket rescued Tasha and her mother when Tasha was only 4 months old from a slaughter auction. While she came to us feral and fearful, she has been successfully socialized, gentled and is very loving. She is currently in under saddle training. Her best friend is Cindy Lee who was also rescued from the same auction.
With great regularity, I sit across from my clients (during my “other” day job) and counsel them to stop taking business so personally. Business is business; it is not personal. Frequently, I facilitate helping my clients with defining the mission and vision of their organizations. In these cases, I do everything possible to help my clients out of their left brain and into their right brain…to really become creative and passionate about what gets them up in the morning and what the possibilities are for the future. Over the years, through trial and error, I have learned a few tricks to motivate my clients to loosen their proverbial ties, to stop thinking so linearly, and to spark an enthusiasm for the real reason why they are in business and what is truly possible.
In the rescue business, the business of Red Bucket, our mission and vision are front and center with everything that we do, every decision every time that we say yes, and every time that we say no. Our mission: To save and rehabilitate horses, restore their trust in humankind, and find them safe, loving, permanent adoptive homes, ignites a passion so strong that not only does it get us out of bed in the morning, but frequently, we don’t even go to bed at night. Our vision of becoming the most recognizable and reputable equine rescue in this nation is translated daily in our running of our operation, how we conduct ourselves, our standards, and even our dress code.
Sometimes it is the little things, the small moments that inspire us and grow our commitment and resolve. Saturday morning, I allowed myself to linger outside of our “filly paddock.” Our two previously very feral and unhandled fillies, Cindy Lee and Tasha, were napping in the warm sunlight. Little Tasha, sporting ponytails in her mane, had her chin resting on Cindy Lee’s head; they were in a blissful relaxed and very contented moment. They came to us last summer, having just barely escaped the horrors of slaughter. They were terrified, distrusting, highly defensive, and completely untouchable. Today, thanks to Red Bucket, Kimberly, Lauren, and our committed team of dedicated volunteers who keep getting up every morning to serve our mission of serving horses, both of the fillies are flourishing. They are halter trained, stand nicely while being groomed, politely offer their hooves to be picked, and they enjoy the feeling of being touched, groomed, and cared for. I hung my arms over the paddock rail, resting my chin on the bar, watching the lovely and peaceful scene while both of the girls continued to nap enjoying what has become of their lives.
Today I paused outside of the isolation barn which is the new home to Darla and Marlee, 2 of the 13 pregnant mares most recently rescued from slaughter. By now, most of us know who they are, but we still struggle to understand the why or how. They are heavy with foal, yet every rib is painfully prominent. Hunger has ravaged their bodies, their necks are gaunt, and the gaping cavern between their hind legs exposes a long silent and hopeless starvation. Darla finally wears a red halter which will make it easier for us to carefully and slowly start to handle her, care for her, and help her when she foals. Marlee only wears her hip number, which we have yet been unable to remove, and the defensiveness and guarded stoicism of the wrongly convicted. We are slowly feeding them, hoping that with a little more time, the careful meals will nourish their bodies and the bodies of their unborn foals, and the kindness and compassion will feed their spirit.
Our unwavering passion for saving desperate horses compels us. While it is true that business is just business, and it is not personal, it is also very true that the business of rescue is very, very personal. We do not require tricks or exercises to create conviction and commitment for the work of saving and serving horses. We quickly climb out of bed every morning because our work matters, and there are so many horses counting on us to help them, and to help the others that we do not yet know, but who we know are out there waiting. We often do not climb into bed at night because there is money to raise, a horse that is sick, or a very tiny little foal waiting to be born. Sometimes it is the big things that feed our dedication and continue to motivate us, like a group of starving pregnant mares that will be saved, and the promise of life that will be given to their babies who will never know the suffering their mothers endured prior to the gift of Red Bucket.