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  • Carroll Devine

A Horse's Eyes

Have you ever looked into a horse’s eyes? If you have the opportunity to be near one of these beautiful, noble creatures, and you look deeply enough you may see your soul’s reflection, even as the horse is feeling your energy.

The intimate, trusting connection we might feel with such a creature can be ennobling in and of itself because trust and respect are ennobling qualities for the giver and the receiver.

We may forget the critical role horses have played in the building and development of our country – in transportation, communication, agriculture, even battle. Over the years, as our needs have changed, we have still called upon horses for ranching, sport, recreation, policing, and companionship. They have been good and faithful servants, good and faithful companions.

And yet, each year many of them are abused, neglected, abandoned, or sent to Mexico to be slaughtered, some wrongfully sent and inhumanely handled.

Fortunately, some individuals have taken up their cause. Among those is Susan Jan Hornstein of Icssoma Farm. When my husband and I visited California recently, something led us to check out this farm near Sebastopol, the home of WELL TRAINED HORSES. Susan, an obvious horse lover, founded the non-profit organization in 2008. Her mission and practice is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home horses that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned or those bound for slaughter in Mexico.

As we were introduced to some of her rescued friends and watched Susan working with one named Tango who had been beaten, I was impressed that there was some kind of magical communication going on. I also had an inkling of the often monumental task it must be to slowly regain the trust of animals formerly abused. But also how rewarding.

Just as in recent years our American independent spirit has been strained it seems, and needs more love and attention, likewise do so many horses, long symbolizing that vital, healthy and free spirit.

Susan reminds anyone who is inclined in that direction that changing a horse’s life can change your own and that there are a number of ways to do this, citing in-person volunteer help, with a wide variety of skills needed, donations of certain tools and supplies (See her WishList.), or by financial contributions. is a 501(c)(3) organization, made possible by the dedicated work of volunteers and supporters. Facilities at Icssoma Farm are located at 11114 Falstaff Road, Sebastopol, California, 95472. You can check out their website for events, clinics, and formal tour dates. And if you’d really like to look into the eyes of a horse, the farm also offers riding lessons for all levels.

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