In 1998, a small man walked up the driveway of a fledgling ranch for broken horses and hurting kids. In the following hours, I learned the reason for Forrest’s visit: he came to share his own story of rescuing a volatile mustang that none of the previous dozen owners could handle. He’d rescued an untamable horse that—in turn—had rescued him.
He understood the foundation of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch and, in whatever capacity the Lord allowed, wanted to be a part of it. Season after season, he worked with children, horses and facility projects.
With the passage of time, Forrest’s body waned. Although his abilities, strength and health diminished, his desire to help did not. As evidence of this truth, he journeyed to the Ranch to ensure that our equine family had water—every day—for nearly two decades! Finally, the time came. Forrest made the sad announcement that he was no longer strong enough to fulfill his special ministry to the Ranch and horses he so dearly loved.
I hugged my dear friend close, a man who’d faithfully served at my side from nearly the beginning. Through quiet, shaky sobs he repeated, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just can’t do it anymore… I’m no longer strong enough… I’m so, so sorry.” On this day, he was leaving the Ranch that he’d loved with his life. Deep inside, he knew… he would never see it again. Forrest was going home, to walk out the last remaining days of his life.
A few weeks later, a new colt was delivered on the Ranch. Because he was born into our care, he didn’t arrive with a dramatic story or life experience; he just came. The colt entered the world dressed in a sorrel coat with three high white socks and a wide blaze striping his face. His bone structure suggested that he would always be a small horse. Within days his personality revealed that he was kind, impish and playful.
What to name this special little lad swirled through the staff at the Ranch. Although a few strong candidates were suggested, none felt like the right name. After several days, someone suggested the name “Forrest.” Just the mention of this name made my throat tighten with emotion. “Yes, Yes! That’s it!” What an appropriate honor for his namesake.
Forrest continues to grow into a spirited, curious, and kind addition to our herd. Always with a mischievous glint in his eye, he makes me wonder how his human counterpart must have been as a youngster. Because of this small, delightful gelding, the blessed memory of Forrest the ever-faithful man, continues to live on at Crystal Peaks.
To read more about Forrest, click here for Around the Fire – Winter 2014, Around the Fire - Summer 2015 and Around the Fire, Summer 2016.
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