The online journal of a photographer in southern California.
As I explore my world, please join me and listen in on some of my thoughts transcribed along the way.
(All images are copyrighted by Anita Jesse. All Rights Reserved. Please contact me at my website, framinglightphotography, if you wish to include a photo on your site.)
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Had you met Giovanni, he would have broken your heart. You got to know this horse at your own emotional risk.
My friend at Silent Night Farms, L, rescues a lot of horses. I have watched over the years as the lives of numerous wild mustangs and abandoned animals were turned around by this generous woman. All those heart-warming stories have touched me, but none prepared me for the saga of this chestnut gelding.
For four long years, Giovanni had been starved by the excuse for a human being who owned him. When my friend took him under her wing, the young gelding was nothing more than a skeleton with dull hide draped over it. The veterinarian said, “This horse is dead. He just doesn’t know it yet. In the past, you have done some amazing work bringing horses back from the brink, but I don’t think you have a chance with this one.” L was not to be deterred. She continued to shower the shell of a horse with care; and, gradually, he began adding flesh to the bones. His pathetic coat acquired color and a hint of shine. His progress was slow and painful, but steady. Still, the worst news was yet to come.
The years of abuse and neglect had left Giovanni with severe neurological damage.
He was left unsteady, constantly trying to find his balance point, and never quite certain where his feet were going to land. But, he was kind, gentle, curious, and you couldn't help but fall in love. On our 2010 spring trip, the Husband went in the gelding’s corral to distract him from the fence, so I would have an opportunity to take some photos, and the chestnut began following him like a sweet and inquisitive puppy. I had trouble focusing my camera. Tears aren’t conducive to sharp photos.
I am always happy to have a camera in my hand, and when I am surrounded by beautiful horses—well, that's about as good as it can get in my book. I had left home confident that I would have a wonderful time at Silent Knight Farms—I always do. And, I always come home with stacks of bulging full memory cards and hours of processing work ahead of me. But nothing prepared me for photographing Giovanni—for the privilege of sharing time with this amazing animal. It was an opportunity that I will always treasure.
A few months later, the gelding with the indomitable spirit was gone. He had finally come to the end of his short and painful journey. I hope you enjoyed your lease on life with L, Giovanni. You touched all of us, and we won’t forget you. Your story reminds us of the evil of which humans are capable. Your courage, will to live, and gentle nature—in spite of your lot in life—inspires and humbles us. It was a joy to see the light in your soft eyes. I was humbled by my challenge and hope that I captured something of your remarkable spirit.