Tails From The Farm: Get To Know The Lovable Hershey!
Nov 07, 2017 04:57AM
By Jenny Nagle
It is Wednesday, so you know what that means... it's time to
***GET TO KNOW THE SHOW***
A weekly segment to introduce some of our animals / livestock. Each of them has a story, and each story is as unique as the animal. This is where you can learn their story and get a connection with them.
This week’s honoree is so near and dear to my heart - he has got me wrapped right around his little hoof! Back about 6 years ago, John came home from a trip to Pennsylvania with the most gorgeous pony you have ever seen for Kayleigh Ann. Now, as 6 years old go, when asked what she wanted to name him, she promptly said “Hershey” (being that it was her favorite candy). From the moment John walked him into the yard and ponied her back to the farm through the woods on her new pony, they were inseparable.
This amazing guy, I was absolutely convinced, was the best “babysitter” that I had ever seen. Kayleigh would get him in his halter, and seeing as she had trouble (being so little at the time) tacking up alone, she would just attach two lead ropes to Hershey’s halter and climb on whatever was handy in order to climb up onto Hershey’s back.... and away they would go through the farm on their adventures.
I used to tell everyone that he was just the BEST pony for her, he took care of her and was so attentive to whatever she wanted to do.
Here is a little secret.... I’ve been around horses my entire life. I rode every day, competed with the best of them, know all the parts of the horse, what their vitals should be, how to fix ailments and other issues.... I’ve always considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable with these amazing creatures. Well, the minute you start to pat yourself on the back you can usually hear God laugh. The vet was out in the Spring of 2016 to do annual shots with all the horses. When we brought Hershey out he was just as well behaved as always. One thing that interested the vet though was the fact that when he went to swat a hornet away - right next to Hershey’s eye, Hershey did not even blink, no less flinch. After an hour with Hershey and many tests later, our vet informed us of something that none of us (yes, even me, the self-proclaimed horse “expert”) saw coming. Hershey was completely blind! Not that he was blind in one eye, not that he could only see shadows - but he was 100% blind in both eyes (a very rare occurrence for equines). We spent about 2 weeks coddling him - as is human nature - and he sucked every second of that up.
Hershey saw no difference in his life before and after diagnosis. The only difference in Hershey’s world now is that in the wicked winter weather, he dons a blanket. We do this because he refuses to go into the shelter when it is snowing - some horses just enjoy being out as much as possible no matter the weather, but I sometimes thought this may be because the shelter echos and he is depending on his hearing as opposed to his sight. I could be wrong, but that made the most sense to me. This amazing creature learned to adapt to his disability without complaint and with a loyalty to Kayleigh that never wavered. For so long I had said how wonderful that I could trust this pony to take care of my daughter, when what I was witnessing is this tiny little girl who was the eyes and heart of this 1000 pounds of love. Yes, Hershey taught her so many things - responsibility, loyalty, love, hard work and the rewards that come with it, but more importantly, Hershey taught me something. Not everything is how it looks. My daughter had matured before my eyes and even if it was unknowingly, she became this pony’s vision and his world. That can not happen if your souls do not connect.
Hershey will live out the rest of his days here, with our family that loves him beyond measure. In the past year and a half he has shown the cataracts that caused his blindness from the inside out. He has also shown that he has so much to give every day. A whinny when he knows we’ve arrived and each time he hears our voice. Running over to where he hears our voices. Kayleigh has been spoiling him with brushing, hugs and even hopping on him here and there to keep him happy and feeling useful. He receives far more of my attention than any other animal on the farm, just because he is Hershey. I hope all of you are able to find someone as wonderful as we have in Hershey. He is irreplaceable and a forever part of our family. ❤