From Solace, Came New Purpose

Article Courtesy of New York Horse Winter 2016 Issue
Link to Full Article

In 2013, the rescue of 14 malnourished and mistreated horses changed a farm forever.

By Renee K. Gadoua
Contributing Editor

When Marion Secor started Skanda Equine back in 2012, she planned to offer boarding and riding lessons at her Cazenovia farm. In February 2013, rescuers with the SPCA rounded up 14 horses from a field in the town of Onondaga. Secor didn't hesitate to accept the call to help the severely malnourished and mistreated animals. As she and her staff worked day and night nurturing the horses, the team grew in its appreciation and understanding of the human-equine connection. As Secor retells the story, she talks about how she shifted the farm's focus to rescuing horses and offering programs to help learn from the animals.

"We have seven horses left from the rescue. Some we're a little more protective of. Horses work themselves into your heart. They can have trauma and come out of it. They are innocent and trusting. Humanity can learn from them. They don't need shrinks. Wouldn't it be great if we could work out of our traumas that way?
"The ones that were the most aggressive are now so gentle. The ones I am most drawn to, were the most wounded. One of the stallions had to protect the babies. Now he's able to find himself and he's amazing. We're letting the animals be who they are. We support them finding themselves. They are a huge gift to us.
"Rescue horses are the only ones we will take in. Those horses are in danger. I don't just adopt out to anyone. I'm careful. I have to see a real connection. My standard is that they are gentle and loving. They come a couple of times. If they're not really serious, they'll drop off and we know adopting isn't a real priority to them. We look at how the horses respond. If they go to the back of the stable, they don't like them.
"Our shift to rescuing evolved. We didn't plan on it. Is it a good business decision? Maybe not. Is it bringing us money? No. Are we going to do it? Yes. If we're about loving the animals, it's a natural progression. Our whole goal is to take the animals to the fullest place with people.
"Horses are an open book. They don't put up the barriers, we do. If they can trust, why can't you? It shows you don't have to hold onto stuff. There's an innocence and purity in their eyes. A lot of the traumas they hold, we have given to them.
"Horses have innocence and wisdom. Its inherent in them. They know if a horses is coming too near them. They give them a little kick. They don't have to be real aggressive. They know how to ramp it up when they need to. We're all drawn to the innocent. It's taken from us very young. We're taught very early to protect ourselves.
"I love all animals, but horses particularly have my heart. They're so loving. They don't hold anything back. They show what they feel. We can learn to live without fear. We all have traumas and we have all learned to protect ourselves. They teach us a new way of being. If they teach us to let down our barriers, how wonderful is that?"