The Start of it all | Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue & Sanctuary
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The Start of it all

It's time for a #throwbackthursday post - in cooperation with @SouthDakotaGives! This week we are asked to show a photo from our start and share a little #forSouthDakotaThrowback history - so we thought we'd talk a bit about the inspiration for it all, a little blind horse with a huge heart, Pirate.

It's time for a #throwbackthursday post - in cooperation with @SouthDakotaGives! This week we are asked to show a photo from our start and share a little #forSouthDakotaThrowback history and share what our most significant change has been. Oddly, this was a lot harder than we thought! We've had so much growth and change in the past 12 years! We've gone from one family member privately taking in horses in need on her own, to adopting & fostering for another rescue, to taking in a single "rescue" horse to train and rehome (spoiler alert, she's still here as a personal horse), to our first rental property with a small 1.5 acre pasture, to renting 29 acres of pasture with no electric, minimal shelter, and one single waterer, to leasing a 22 acre property with a small barn and stalls, to finally ending up here at our permanent 41-acre property currently owned by one of our founders! From 1 horse to 50+ horses on any given day - and that doesn't even start to go into all we've learned and how we've changed over the years!

But ... one thing has not changed since the beginning, and that's the commitment, passion and work ethic of the Ring family, our founders. So ultimately we decided to share the photo that we tend to think of as the "start" of it all - when GSH Nina and Tiffany met their first adopted horses Beau and Pirate.

Pirate wasn't meant to be Tiffany's - he was on trial to see if he'd be suitable as a trail horse for GSH Mark and Kathi. Long story short, he was a traumatized horse with lots of issues, and one moment changed everything - a moment of fear where he dropped all his defenses and Tiffany instantly decided they needed each other. Pirate was blind and deaf from trauma on his right side, nearly blind on his right, was covered in scars and eventually diagnosed as neurological - but his heart was bigger than all that. As they bonded, he excelled, becoming an amazing partner that opened everyone's eyes to the potential that every horse has if given the chance.

Beau and Pirate's adoption also introduced us to the world of horse rescue, along with Kathi's participation in early auction save programs on the east coast - and birthed the idea of someday starting a rescue of our own. We even had the name picked out ... but it was a group of Tennessee Walkers followed by 50+ Morgans in need that pushed us to "becoming official" in December of 2010.

Two short years later Pirate would leave us unexpectedly, long before our dream of a permanent place, and while we were still only able to help about 6 horses at a time. But deep down, when I look around, I have to acknowledge that all of this - everything that is Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue today - the majority of the horses that have been helped and every single horse that comes in the future - all of that is because of one special horse.

We had no idea in this moment when we met what he would inspire. He is very missed, even after ten years, but we are ever so grateful for all he taught us.

#PirateKickedA$$ #forSouthDakota