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[image alt=”Ciara listening”]http://hartsong.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ciara-dee-med.jpg[/image]

We rescued Ciara from a breeding farm in Central California when she was just five weeks old. There she was, a completely blind, very underweight Quarter Horse filly, prancing around in an old, dilapidated barnyard. She reminded me of a princess in rags.

Taking any baby away from its mother at such a young age is generally not a good idea. In Ciara’s case, it was an absolute necessity. She wasn’t getting enough to eat and her little body showed the signs of way too many encounters with sharp objects.

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[image alt=”Portrait of Ciara” caption=”Portrait of Ciara”]http://hartsong.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ciara-fancy1.jpg[/image]

She spent the first five weeks of life in a large pasture with her mother and eight other mares. Her initial encounter with people happened about an hour prior to our arrival, when she was herded into a barnyard area with her mother. The immediate task before us was to get a hold of her, put a halter on, pick her up and put her in the trailer. How would she react? What would she do? Whispering a ton of baby talk, we simply walked up to her, put a hand out, touched her on the chest, and she stopped, standing perfectly still while we secured the halter. My husband, Jim, bent down, picked her up and carried his 40-pound load to the trailer and put her inside. She didn’t seem to mind. If anything, she was curious about the goings on and spent quite a bit of time investigating the inside of the trailer. Unwilling to leave her alone and unattended, Jim and I took turns riding with her. For the record, I do not recommend riding in the back of a horse trailer. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done yet not once, during the 7-hour trip back to Greenwood, did Ciara cry for her mother and never, ever did she lose her cool. She was so brave.

About six hours into the trip home, she finally laid herself down and by the time we pulled up to the ranch, she was sound asleep. We had a special stall area ready for her in the barn where she lived for the next two weeks. During that time, every available moment was devoted to Ciara. We introduced ourselves to her with touch, food, language and lots of love. It was a wonderful bonding time. Then one very special day, when she was ready, we led her out of the barn and into nature, complete with pastures, trees, hills, water, and the companionship of a blind 28-year old Appaloosa named Bess, who remarkably took Ciara under her wing, and to this day, nurtures, protects and teaches Ciara the ways of being a horse. Thank you, Bess.

When Ciara was six months old, we decided to proceed with a surgery called Enucleation, or complete removal of the eyes. Her little pink eye buds “teared” constantly and the flies were a nagging bother. She was obviously in discomfort. We anguished over having to put her through it, but as always, in true Ciara fashion, she experienced the journey with dignity.

We have enjoyed the pleasures of Ciara for a little over a year now and oh my goodness, what an amazing journey it has been. She listens, she thinks, she is really smart and not surprisingly, she now has quite a fan club. Who would have thought a little blind filly could be such an inspiration to so many people.

A visitor asked once, “What’s the best thing about Ciara”? Undeniably, the best thing about Ciara is that she is just down right happy. She celebrates her life everyday. Isn’t that what it’s all about.