Personal Integrity and it’s relation to rural living

Play First – if you have trouble, email me – jamesobrien@ranchforeman.com
Audio – Louis’ message about Sis

SisSis
1968 – 2009
Kid Horse – Cow Horse – Friend

Sis wasn’t Tonni’s (my wife) first horse, but she was that one special horse in her life. Sis started out in the wilds of New Mexico on an Indian Reservation and came into Tonni’s life when she was nine. She taught her more than she cares to recount about horses, horsemanship, rodeo, competition, etc. The second line in this post is not a typo. She was 41 years old when she died Monday. I’ve been in the horse world all of my life and I’ve never heard of a horse living such a long time.

What always makes me smile, though, is how animals like this teach us more than just the standard animal-husbandry-feed-and-medicine type of stuff. They move people. If you haven’t had a special animal in your life get one. If that one craps in the bed, well, get rid of it and give it another try. 😉

Too many people in our society these days miss out on the character building lessons that the care, love and loss of animals teaches us. Listen to the voice of the man in the recording at the top of this post. It’s Tonni’s Dad. Sis was at his place when she died. That man has seen many animals die and you can still hear the emotion in his voice when he talks about this one. That emotion is for Sis, it’s for Tonni, it’s even for Louis. I’m sure this brought memories of one of those special animals he had in his life. They impact so many parts of our lives.

And here’s what Tonni’s best friend Becca Chalk Burns had to say:


Oh Tonni, I wish I had the words. A lifetime with our best friends is never enough. I know with all my heart that God takes and keeps those who watch over our hearts. Without a doubt he’s got those three in his herd. As for ever finding another, well that’s an impossible find. You & I both know there’s only one Sis & Poncho. We didn’t find them – they found us. It was out of our love for them that we found ourselves & in that defined our character & most of all our hearts. No other horse can help mold you as Sis did. God knew we needed them just as much as they needed us. So no, there will never be another little sister. She’s got your heart like no other. There are others out there they may come close to stealing your heart but only one will hold it … love you always – Chalka


If you choose to be around animals, you may be lucky enough to get one of those special ones in your life. A dog, a cat, a horse, cow, whatever… a giraffe or zebra. Doesn’t matter.

What matters is that those who grow up with animals come to understand what responsibility really means at a very young age. And loss. They may get the old “Buster-ran-away” speech when they’re two or so, but then comes the death speech at a very young age. The beautiful part is that they also become entwined in God’s creation the way God intended – Harmoniously.

Sometimes, amidst the music of life, comes the verse that touches our hearts in ways words can not explain. And we love.

Just because we know that every song ends doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth the listen.

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2 thoughts on “Personal Integrity and it’s relation to rural living

  1. Tonni, I am sorry about your loss. I have had many pets and horses, but only one got that close to my heart and that was Dr J. Dad could not even tell me he died. Take Care!

  2. Tonni, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you during this difficult time. It’s amazing how animals can change us for the better; with only their actions, not ever having to say a word to explain themselves.

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