I am sitting here traveling home, my eyes hurt and are so sore from staring at my phone all weekend that I have to strain to even write this on my computer screen. Light is not my friend right now. Who would have thought THAT would happen. I was going to write a post, but I figured this would be more personal, more me. I don't have to worry about being cut off because I typed out too many words.
I am so thankful WE were able to pull all of THAT off. From the 50 babies, 45 Alpine horses, plus 69 horses between the direct ship pen, the auction, the Amish horses that came in and the 4 horses that were at that traders in Arizona (we unfortunately did not raise enough funds to help them all). 164 total saves in 5 days. WE DID THAT.
I honestly don't even know what to say, except thank you for believing in me. I live for this, literally. There is nothing in this entire world I could see myself doing except just being there for them. Fighting for them. Getting people behind them. The horse industry, including the horse rescue world, isn't all butterflies and rainbows, it's just not, but this weekend feelings and opinions aside, some pretty incredible organizations came together to focus on what truly mattered, which are the horses and helping them. Text messages and phone calls were made that didn't feel comfortable, but when it means the horses get out of HIH, then so be it. It isn't about US. It is about them. If we had not all rallied together for ALL 164 saves, they would be gone. Lost to either the slaughter plant or the traders, with a very minimal few ending up in actual private party hands. THAT is something to be proud of. That is why we are all here right? To help them and do the best we can to set them up for success.
I get a lot of questions asking me HOW do we pull numbers like this off. Statements like there is no way they can successfully do that. The crazy thing is, YES WE CAN. Had this been 5 years ago, absolutely not, but this isn't five years ago. If you have read the story of US, of how we have grown as a rescue, we have evolved and grown and learned to do things better because that is what happens when you are given more and more responsibility. Top that with the fact that I was born with both my mom and my dads drive that I won't fail because it isn't an option, and I will do whatever needs to be done to make it work. To make it happen.
It is day 1 post auction for me, since yesterday I felt like I was still in IT. All of the horses that are rescued are removed except the ones we are still currently fundraising for (which I am hopeful that will be raised by tonight and I can get them out of there tomorrow). We have four locations within a 1.5 hour radius of the Kill Pen/Auction House. Each location is independent to ASIAB and everyone there works for ASIAB. Depending on what they need they are taken to that specific location; pasture, doctoring, handling, stall rest etc. The studs went to Weatherford, the moms and babies to the RST property along with several of the saves from the weekend, and the remainder got picked up to go to our other property outside of Weatherford. Those that needed to go to the vet were transferred there over the weekend as everyone saw, who watched the stories on Instagram and Facebook.
My brain is just a super multitasker. It always has been. Even back when I used to wait tables as a server, they could give me the biggest section and I'd handle it with no problem. We all have our max capacity but the thing is, when you have help, give me one 'busser' (restaurant talk for the position that clears the tables and helps refill drinks) and the skies the limit. Give me a good team that I trust that works their asses off and knows their jobs and cares as much as I do, set me on saving horses and I will make it happen. You can imagine what my excel sheets look like.
It may seem like a lot, but when you have been doing this slowly over 5.5 years and growing your team and your network of people you trust, bigger numbers become not so scary. They become accomplishable. Anyone that has watched us from the beginning knows this. We have outgrown every single property we have because we GROW. When we moved into our California property, who would have thought we would outgrow that within 1 year. Now we are working to expand across the street to 14 acres. We started with one quarantine outside Weatherford and now have 3 properties we utilize PLUS that one (4 total) because we have grown so much. The horses have to have somewhere to go and the reality is a lot of them end up not in a position where they can be rideable so need a soft landing spot.
It was a lot, yes, but WE collectively can make incredible things happen when we work together FOR THEM. I am not going to lie though, mentally I am exhausted, THAT was a lot mentally for me. It didn't help that yesterday I had to watch them bring up the Direct Ship to slaughter horses that didn't have a chance. The reservation horses that literally JUST came in to turn around and get loaded onto another semi truck to their deaths. THATS hard. I want to scream "NO, NO, STOP!', we will fundraise for them -but, it never ends. If I do that, they just grab more and ship them. I have to cut myself off, turn and walk away. It is always in THIS moment that I tell myself I WILL work harder. I WILL educate more. I WILL DO MORE.