Breed: Miniature Horse
Arrival: Fall 2016
We were utterly shocked. No one spoke as we passed around the devastating photos. “I named her Twinkle because when I got her, there was only a twinkle of life left in her eyes,“ Lisa told us. She had been fostering the little mare for four months. The images portrayed the tiniest horse we had ever seen – no more than 130 lbs – looking up with great doe eyes, in a state of heart-rending maltreatment. Every bone was visible through Twinkle’s delicate frame. Her front hooves were severely misshapen from years of neglect so that they took the shape of elf shoes, curling up and in on themselves. As a result, her front legs were bent painfully out of shape and she could barely walk. She was surrendered by her neglectful owners along with three other micro minis – her mother and another mare and foal. All were in various stages of starvation and desperately in need of medical care.
Lisa, an expert in equine hoof care and nutrition, helped find homes for the other three horses but because of the severity of Twinkle’s condition, decided to care for the little mare herself. With measured steps, Twinkle had made her way gingerly onto the trailer that would take her away from the tiny dirt pen surrounded by trash – the only home she’d ever known.
Once safely settled at Lisa’s farm with plenty of food and water, the long process began of trimming Twinkle’s hooves back into a natural shape, which in turn would allow her legs to come back into alignment. Lisa knew that just as important as her physical recovery, Twinkle also needed to learn for the first time in her life what it is to be safe – to be protected and cared for.
When Lisa heard the stories of our session kids – stories that sounded a lot like Twinkle’s – she knew that the little mare belonged at the Ranch. On a sunny October day, Twinkle stepped gingerly off yet another trailer, this one delivering her to a place of clean, wide open spaces, expansive green rolling hills and the velvet muzzles of other miniature horses nickering as they stretched over the fence to check out this tiny newcomer. Twinkle’s ears pricked forward, her eyes opened wide to take it all in. Her little nose couldn’t sniff the air fast enough to satisfy all her questions! To our amazement, she began determinedly tottering around her new home, investigating with all the enthusiasm and awkward curiosity of a newborn foal!
While Twinkle continues to recover physically from her difficult start in life, her spirit has proven unflinchingly resilient. She is unceasingly inquisitive and the first to greet any visitor at the fence. Session kids play follow the leader with her, feed her a favorite snack or sit quietly next to her when she lays down for a rest. Her confidence is so boundless that we often joke it’s a good thing she’s not any bigger, or she might take over the world!
So many people are drawn to Twinkle because of her small, unassuming stature and her big story of rescue and restoration. What she offers is a brutally clear picture of what sin does to the human soul. Whether it was our own sin or the sin of others inflicted upon us, it only ever delivers us to the dirty little pen surrounded by trash where our souls wither and grow frail, misshapen from the lack of love we were made to enjoy. But thank God that we too have a Rescuer! He is Jesus who binds up our wounds and heals our diseases. Psalm 23 tells us that He makes us lay down in green pastures and that He “leads us beside still waters.” He alone rescues us from the destruction that sin has caused and restores our souls! Isaiah 42:3 tells us that “a bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Even at the very brink of hopelessness, the heart of Jesus is stirred to compassion because he LOVES us. There is no frailty that is beyond his ability to heal or his desire to do so!
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”