“One day God stood and wondered who would want the lonely, desolate places…It would take a strong soul…A soul not afraid to be alone, but stronger in a group…a soul that could see another’s heart, open up to them when needed and become one with them. A soul that was willing to allow another into their space and hold them up when the world was pulling them down. A spirit wild and free but kind, understanding, and forgiving. So God created the wild mustang.” ~Laura Tatum Cowen
A spirit wild and free, but kind, understanding, and forgiving. That is Randi. Did you know that ages and ages ago, Randi was a free and wild mustang? She was born around 1994 on the ranges of Nevada until her round up in 1996. She then began a new life. Randi came to the Indiana State Fairgrounds with the Bureau of Land Management Wild Mustang and Burro Adoption program in 1996. Her new family purchased her for $75 and began the journey of gentling their Mustang Randi, which they accomplished with great success. They loved her for 10 years, riding her in parades, taking her to 4-H shows, trail riding her, and sharing her with everyone in the family. And then, because their hearts were so big, they shared her with all of us at Agape. For the last 12 years, Randi has shared her fierce yet gentle spirit with families both at the Cicero and Martinsville campuses. Her compact frame carries a quiet demeanor and a spirit that is willing to serve all the souls that need to be held up when they cannot stand themselves, when they are weary, wounded, or seeking a new beginning. That is our wild mustang. That is our Randi.
Randi has had her dawn, she has had her noon and evening sun. Now is her sunset on Agape. After 12 years, Randi will be retiring at the 2018 Christmas break. Her light has shone brightly in our lives and she has given so many of us such a great deal of hope, joy, and strength. All the things, I believe, one cherishes about the American Mustang. Randi has been to 9 Special Olympics, carried at least 350 riders in summer camps, and served in about 5,000 regular lessons at Agape. She has brought hope, joy, and strength to so many families in our community that it is hard to count them all. Like any beautiful and beloved friend, it is hard to let Randi go, but it is time to honor her with a much deserved retirement.
Have you shared a memory with Randi? Each of us at Agape would like to invite you to share them with all of us. We know she has meant the world to so many, from adult campers who are “being good for Randi!” to weekly riders who “have learned that even if you are small, you can be the biggest.” With Randi’s help, riders have been able to do things they could never do before. They can sit up, hold their own reins, ride independently, conquer their fear of horses, and touch a piece of living American history. As one long-time rider said, “Randi is awesome and she is a mustang!” Her character, her spirit, her heritage–they have all been special to us. What is your most special memory with Randi?
Randi is at least 24 years old. She has been here so long that it is difficult to remember a time without her, but if we truly want to honor her we will set her free once again. Free to graze in pastures all day long, free to nap in the afternoon sun. Randi is being welcomed with open arms to the farm of a team member. She will be headed to her retirement home at the Christmas break, but before she goes we want to celebrate her service with Agape at the Christmas party. We hope each of you will be able to join us on Dec. 14 to hear Randi’s story and share your personal stories with all of us.
Thank you Randi for 12 wonderful years of service! May your mustang spirit enjoy retirement and remember those wild places in the past when the wind catches under your mane and blows it free in the clear blue horizon!