As 2020 is now in the rearview … here is our year in review …

At the very beginning of the year, we adopted Rico🌊 a Corolla Wild Horse … and we fully expected Rico to be our only new addition to the herd in 2020.

… but then there were the two 🦄🦄pregnant ponies that shined their way into our awareness, just as the entire country went into lockdown … and I must admit, saying yes to them was downright scary … I mean we are a non-profit and the whole world seemed to have stopped. We knew it would likely be expensive to care for them, and it was … and we knew they would surely be sick coming from where they were at, and they were … and, they were pregnant too! … but somehow the support flowed in, and we not only were able to get them safely home, but both of their babies are now healthy and strong as well … and many of you know that was quite the wild ride with little 💫 Baby Light, now ‘Karuna’, not being sure he wanted to keep his body after being so very sick … but here they all are … our pony herd has 5 new additions from 2020 and it is absolutely amazing to feel the 9 of them co-exist in such harmony. … and yes, they will be staying here … this Mustang Sanctuary has expanded to include “Wild and/or Rescued” 😊

And then of course there are our Mustang Mentorship & Meditation (M³) programs for the schools! … How to support these kids during lockdown when they are not even in school??? … thankfully Communities In Schools was very creative and helped us find a way to still offer virtual programs for the students and let me tell you, I have trekked all over this Sanctuary holding my phone to Pony faces and Mustangs and goats and even oinks from Terrance the pig 🐽 … turns out he is a favorite of the students!

2020 brought the initial birthing of a new children’s book that will feature the Mustangs of I AM HERD *and* will mindfully represent the many colors of beautiful faces that we connect with through this work. 🖤🤎🧡🤍Our illustrator, Cam Davis is already hard at work and I am so excited to see this creation come fully into life this coming year. My co-author on this project is our I AM HERD intern, Danielle Rouche who recently graduated with her Recreational Therapy degree. {Congrats Danielle 🎓🎉} This book was made possible by a grant from the NC Horse Council and I am so grateful for their support of our vision. 500 NC students will be receiving this book, at no cost, thanks to their support.📚🐴

Throughout the latter part of 2020, we welcomed in three amazing middle school students to serve out their community service hours through I AM HERD’s new partnership with the CIS Teen Court and Restitution. They were each equally unique and amazing and it was a gift to have them share their time and space here on the sanctuary. It is my hope that they left here feeling valued and worthy. We all make mistakes, myself included. When I stumble it is so much more supportive to be picked back up by a warm hug, rather than a slap on the hand. I truly hope being here has felt like a warm hug to these three equally deserving souls. They each poured so much heart and quality time into helping care for this herd.

2020 also brought an incredibly exciting opportunity for 8 special I AM Mustangs through our sponsor Triple Crown Feed. It was made possible thanks to a true community of support and I cannot wait to share more in this new year, as Triple Crown releases the news.

And then, this fall school semester, our biggest year of programming to date, was made possible through a partnership with Communities In Schools of Cape Fear and we were able to offer our M³ program for a full 7 weeks, bringing the sanctuary right to the backyards of these schools … we brought magical herds of ponies, a Painting Mustang, baby goat yoga and so much more!🚸+🐴=☮

To top it all off singer-songwriter Cora Rose of Art We There Yet? was able to connect with us virtually, from all the way in the Joshua Tree National Park in CA, living in their bus, and help bring a vision to life that was beyond my dreams! … The students in our M³ program actually wrote a song!!!

🎼 I Wish You Peace🎼

*and* it felt like a miracle when I was able to deliver the song in person to the resident of the same nursing home we last visited just before lockdown on Valentines of 2020❤ … {We were tested for covid prior to entering and wore masks and stayed distanced} … WOW, just WOW … to see their faces light up to see a visit from our very dear ‘Pony Santa’ and to listen to this song of the children’s voices, plus many of your voices as well. What a gift!💝

So, yes 2020 has been a different kind of year [my phone tried to auto-fill in ⚠️disaster⚠️ when I started to type 💫different💫]
Yet every heartbreak has been heart opening as well … that is what breaking does, it opens us … and the beauty is, what is inside, is Love 💖 it is who we are. So no matter how broken this world may feel, we are all breaking open to Love.

And all of this, including my typing this post in for the first post of this non-profit for the new year of 2021 … it is all made possible because of the amazing people that support the work, the herd, and the heart of the I AM HERD Mustang Sanctuary


Mary & the Herd