Jim Gath: The Healers and the Healed


Yesterday, one of our volunteers described what we do here at Tierra Madre as “the healers & the healed”.


Alexis wrote a spectacular piece on it last night, but I wanted to give voice to it, too. Here’s Alexis’ piece if you want to see it: https://www.facebook.com/ranchotierramadre/posts/1376084799093499:0.

Many years ago, we started Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary as a healing home for horses that had been abused, abandoned, injured or neglected. Plain & simple: save horses that were in jeopardy & give them the love & care necessary to heal them, give them hope, & let them live the happiest lives they ever could have imagined.

That hasn’t changed a bit. That’s still the very core of our mission & it always will be.

But, over the years, we’ve found that these horses – having been through the crucible of pain & sadness & doubt & worry & who’d come out the other side – well, they had become healers, too.

People began gravitating here – volunteering, mostly – &, almost to a person, they told us how much better they were feeling after having spent some time here. Because of the horses & the environment in which they lived. People began referring to Tierra Madre as their sanctuary, too. Many of those folks who came in just for something to do & because they’d always liked horses began feeling something different. Something calming, more spiritual, more nurturing.

And, slowly – organically – contacts began being made between us & those who’d heard about the healing qualities that our horses project. A number of people in recovery. A veteran with a Purple Heart – a medal that can’t heal his PTSD. School buses of youngsters on varying level of the autism scale. People with deep-rooted emotional scars.

So, a few months ago, we realized that we ARE a healing place – for two-leggeds as well as four-. That our horses can make magic in peoples’ lives simply by having been healed themselves.

Here’s an example…..

A friend of ours – I’ll call her Mary – has been in recovery for several years. Her sobriety isn’t in question. But she came one day, saying that she thought she was so emotionally fragile that she thought she’d break. Break clean in half. Tears in her eyes. Hands, shaking. Deer-in-the-headlights look. Short, labored breathing from the top of her lungs.

“Don’t worry, darlin’ – you just spend some time here around these horses & you’ll start to feel a lot better.”

She did. And she’s never left.

Mary, today: “This saved my life.”

And, to see Mary today – kneeling in front of another horribly abused spirit, Chance, holding a serving of mash for him while he happily & calmly & lovingly licks up every morsel……& then to see her kiss him on the forehead while they stare into each other’s eyes…..healed. Two spirits. Healed.

When the classes of kids with autism make – with their own hands – 33 name signs, one for each horse & present them to us at the end of the school year because the horses have meant that much to them.

Or a person with emotional problems – who’s afraid of the world – works with one of our two- legged counselors & a big ol’ bruiser like the Iron Man…..17 hands of black rippled muscle & who can move like lightning…..when we see that person & the Iron Man joined at the spirit, both comfortable & happy with each other……& then we see that person begin to come out of his or her shell…..to laugh & joke with total strangers….to watch that confidence flow back into their spirit……well, then – then we know we’re doing the right thing.

The Healers & the Healed.

It’s a great circle, joined at the spirit.

We heal horses. The horses heal people. Those people heal horses. Who heal other people.

It’s gotten to the point where the healed & the healers are one.

The great circle.

That’s what Tierra Madre is today.

And that’s the culmination of a lifelong dream.

Nia-wen, Raweno.


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