An Ode to Ode

At Wilderwood, we are incredibly blessed to have the support of amazing corporations, foundations, businesses, and individuals who believe in Wilderwood and the autistic people whom we serve.

Today, though, we’d like to specially recognize those who support our incredible horses: the ones who give money to buy the feed and supplements and provide the veterinary and farrier care. These horses are the bedrock of Wilderwood: without them, there would be no Wilderwood.

And, there’s one horse in particular, and several people in particular, we’d like to honor today. That horse is Odysseus.

Many of you know that Ode came to us from a kill pen. Skeletal, barely able to walk, mangy, and dejected, Ode had been thrown away, rejected as worthless and unwanted. But we wanted him. We saw something in him and wanted to make that shine. It’s been three years of dedication, love, commitment, and belief, the working at his diet and balancing his supplements and medications, the careful exercise program and constant adjustments to it, the ongoing veterinary and farrier care, the work he’s had at the expert and experienced hands of Masterson and massage therapy … and yesterday I realized something: Ode has and continues to become the best horse he can be.

I rode Ode yesterday. He had a spring in his step. He walked out as though he were on promenade. His head was high, his ears were alert and yet also relaxed, he nuzzled and nickered as he stepped out in the arena with his friend and companion Rae, and he just looked and felt great. His muscle tone is the best its ever been, his ribs no longer show, his rump is almost round!

We especially want to thank the individuals who have contributed to Ode’s amazing progress: Karen Evans, who has worked her Masterson therapy magic especially on Ode, Bailey Dreitz, who has come out to exercise Ode (and the other horses) on a regular basis, Ellen Santistevan, who has performed equine massage, Dr. Donny MacDougall from Los Lunas Animal Clinic who regularly checks on Ode and monitors his heart murmur and PPID (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction), and to the many individuals who donate $5, $10, $20, or even $50 towards Ode’s care. This horse is alive and thriving because of you all.

Ode, you will never have to worry about a trailer coming for you to take you to some unknown place. You will never have to worry about being abandoned. You have people who love you and care about you and want you to thrive. The things that you do and the ways that you innately connect with our participants is incredible and beautiful and makes a difference in the lives of others.

Your life absolutely matters and you are loved.

Odie, shortly after he arrived at Wilderwood.
Ode today.
Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Chavez Photography.