6 July 2015

Tuesday: To Blue Star. A New Start.

By: Jon Katz
To Blue Star. A New Start

To Blue Star. A New Start

This afternoon I felt an impulsion of feeling, I told Maria I needed to go to Blue Star, to see Pamela, to see the horses, but mostly to see the love and passion of the young people who have gathered there to show all of us how to make a new start. She wants to come too.

If you love horses or other animals, your hearts may  be aching at all of the hatred and conflict that has attached itself to the love of animals and poisoned the ancient well of connection, tradition and partnership between people and horses. Blue Star is showing us how to get this bond back, how to honor it, a remarkable gathering of young people has come together there, and it inspires and uplifts me just to see them and take their pictures.

I do not mean to romanticize them, I do not know them particularly well, I can't honestly say I am truly close to a single one of them, although we feel close to each other in the aggregate.  I do honor them and feel their power and purpose, they remind me to be open and keep my faith. That is quite a gift. They are the future, the next way, the hope of the world. They stir the heart and open up the soul.

"Yet all is not lost," Pope Francis wrote recently of our bleeding, hurting world. "Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."

In the war against the horses raging in New York City, at Blue Star, on farms and all over our country, we see human beings at their worst, angry and hateful and cruel and ignorant. At Blue Star, we see the future, the next way, we see people at their best, riding above themselves, choosing again what is good. And making a new start.

There, people do not harm people or animals, they heal both and bring them both together, as nature intended, as the history of the world testifies. For many years we came to see animals as dumb beasts of burden, inferior and at our mercy. In recent years, we have come to see them as piteous and abused and dependent, unable even to be permitted to live safely and peacefully with people.

At Blue Star, the Third Way, the New Start. A place that stands for harmony, for truth, for history, for love, for working together in the greatest partnership in the history of the earth. It feels at times like a holy place, for all the very real life that occurs there. Broken people are healed there, and broken animals are saved, both are treated with compassion and dignity. There is no hatred, no conflict, no angry press conferences, no private detectives, secret informers, the detritus of the dirty world that says it speaks in New York City for the rights of animals.

I go to Blue Star to cleanse myself, to dip myself in love and safety, and to feel what Francis feels. We humans can be awful people, we are capable of the worst – just look at the news every morning, or listen to the reports from Washington. I wish to be part of the new start, and anyone can be, go the Blue Star site, or better yet, plan to come and visit the farm and see the possibilities of the future for yourself.

Several weeks ago, Paul Moshimer died, some thought Blue Star's dream would fail. That has not happened.  Blue Star is rising, it is reborn, it's story and work are just really beginning. The old people have made an awful mess of our world, the young are picking up their  brooms and shovels and opening their hearts, and sharing their pure faith. They will save us yet, if we will only get out of the way.

There, at Blue Star, the revolution that must happen if our world is to survive is well underway. Hope and compassion are not on the fringes, they are not ridiculed and brushed aside. They are the point, they are the center. Pope Francis has echoed the warnings of the Native People, the message they say the horses bring. We are at a crossroads, we shall either learn to live in harmony, or we shall perish together.

In the Kabbalah, God warns the people of the world that if they do not care for Mother Earth, respect and love her, he will abandon them, and the world will turn to dust and ashes, the rivers will run dry and the animals will flee, taking the wind and the rain with them.

At Blue Star, they have already gotten the message. Come and see for yourself. Maybe help them out. We will be back home in the early afternoon.

Posted in General

Getting To Know Chloe: Horsing Around

By: Jon Katz
Horsing Around

Horsing Around

I am fascinated to learn that Maria and Chloe are almost exactly alike, except Maria doesn't eat nearly as much as her pony. Otherwise, they could be twins. They are both beautiful, headstrong, bright,  independent, loving and they both have a wicked sense of humor, they love to horse around. Chloe is always happy to see Maria, except when Maria is forcing her to walk around our pastures in the heat and bug season.

They have a good time together, they appreciate one another. When Maria appears, Chloe comes running, then delights in giving her a hard time. They are mirror images of one another, if you try and tell either one of them what to do, you will instantly regret it.

Posted in General

Getting To Know Chloe

By: Jon Katz
Getting To Know Chloe

Getting To Know Chloe

I know donkeys, sheep, cows and dogs. I am getting to know Chloe, Maria's new pony. She is Maria's horse, not mine, but our paths cross continuously. She herds sheep, accompanies me to open the pasture gates, noses my hands and pockets for cookies and apples.

Here's what I am learning about her:

– Ponies are different from dogs, they are different from donkeys, they are even different from other horses.

– They are strong, hardy, durable, willful. They have a mind of their own. They are not eager to please, they do so when they must.

– They are highly intelligent. Chloe knows when I latch a gate where I am, where I am going, and how much grass is involved.

– They can be very affectionate. They love people and need attention. I love hearing Chloe knicker whenever she sees Maria or me. She always comes right up to me, puts her nose against me, waits for me to stroke or touch her. She accepts the bridle. She loves to eat, and would do so continuously if we didn't close off the pasture gates.

– Ponies need a lot more care than dogs. They need their hooves trimmed, their tails and manes brushed, they need to be hosed down they work and sweat. They need to have their hooves cleaned out with picks and the backs of their legs trimmed with special scissors.

– She is grounded. She accepts dogs running between her legs, is easy with the donkeys, has accepted the sheep. She has a very even temperament.

– She eats like a dozen mules, or maybe a couple of dinosaurs. She eats all day and all night, if permitted, which she is not.

– As with so many animals, people have lost touch with them and their needs. Many people don't know that ponies were bred as riding and war animals. The Native-Americans rode them and so did  Genghis Khan and his army. They are tough and strong, they are work animals. Giving rides to children in farmer's markets is no more onerous for them than carriage horses pulling light carriages in Central Park.

I am very fond of Chloe. We haven't gotten to love yet, she is a strong and welcome presence here, she is good with people, iron-willed and has a lot of personality. She is also photogenic, a good Bedlam Farm animal.

Posted in General

Changing Landscape

By: Jon Katz
Changing Landscape

Changing Landscape

A few months ago, neither of these remarkable animals were living on our farm. They came within a week or so of one another, and they have changed the landscape of the farm and of our lives. Horses are different from donkeys or other animals, ponies in a class by themselves, as are border collies.

These animals have challenged us, won our hearts, inspired us and breathed new life and excitement. At the Open House a week ago, hundreds of people came to see Fate and Red and Chloe. They will return for the October Open House, I think Fate will about be a training age.

Posted in General

Approaching Flo. Carefully.

By: Jon Katz
Approaching Flo

Approaching Flo

Fate is repeatedly trying to figure Flo out and get close to her. It's not going to happen. Flo is a terror when it comes to dogs, she hisses at them, and if they get close, swats them across the nose. She had the fearsome Frieda so terrorized, she would not come into a room if she had to get past Flo.

Flo is the Queen of the farm, she does not wish to be Fate's friend. Fate has been hissed at a half-dozen times, swatted once. She's had enough.

Posted in General