Responsible for Life

by: Erin Shea

Here at MMSC, we have a motto of “responsible for life.” We commit to tracking the horses we adopt out, making us responsible for their lives. However, this motto encompasses more than our thoroughbreds by extending our responsibility to other kinds of life.

Squeaks and the patter of small feet are the sounds coming from the feed room in the morning. Don’t let these noises alarm you, the sounds are just our “pet” mice scampering around on our grain. In order to feed, Melissa has trained our tiny pets to climb into the red feed scoop, and only this scoop, to be moved safely out of the way so that grain can be scooped out. The process of removing the mice from the grain has become part of the morning feeding ritual and daily life at the Center.

Our small furry friends peek out to say hello while we are cleaning stalls too.
While tossing shavings around in the stalls, mice dart from one side to the other avoiding the giant humans and horses who share the barn. The mice have just become another characteristic of the barn since they make an appearance so often, almost as familiar as our horses and volunteers.

The mice, along with other animals that inhabit the barn (horses, birds, raccoons), are appreciated by us at MMSC. Native Americans believe that every life on this earth has value, therefore deserving respect. Susanna, who strongly believes in this idea, makes sure that we are respectful of the lives of animals that call our center home. She makes sure that any bird or mouse that dies receives a proper burial, making sure that we respect the lives of all animals, no matter how small.

Besides just our animals, we care for other kinds of life as well. We grow our own carrots to make horse treats. The carrots and other plants around our barn are watered by the leftover water from our horses buckets, making sure we are not wasting one of our earth’s precious resources.

By showing respect to the world around us, we also deserve some courtesy in return. While training horses, we ask that they respect us as their riders. One of our horses, Pete, tends to rush his training exercises. Susanna has been working with Pete in a way to teach him it’s okay to slow down, by showing him respect by being patient. She makes sure to take things slow with him and reward him when he did something well. It’s apparent that Pete is trying hard, so he is rewarded as soon as he did what was asked. This training with patience shows him respect and in return he respects us by being tolerant to his rider.

Respect is an essential part of good horsemanship and being a responsible citizen. We have been granted the world that we live in and it is our responsibility as its inhabitants to appreciate it’s other living beings and take care of it, therefore making us, like our motto says, “responsible for life.”