" Some days we paint with large bold strokes, like when someone finishes a book report or gets a piece of music ready for performing. Most of our days are softer in color. A little dab here a little dab there, following a rough draft, but allowing ourselves to paint outside the lines when we want too. "
~ Deborah Jean

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Heart for Helping Horses

Have you met Murphy? 
There comes a time in every horse lovin' farmgirls life when she has to put her money where her mouth is! That's right! I'm talkn' about little ole me! Finding my way back to horses has been on the forelock, I mean forefront of my mind for a few years now. You can read more about that here.
In the mean time, I've been doing some pokin' around locally looking for a horse rescue that is convenient enough for repeat visits and I found it last weekend not too far from home. 
Darlene Nickerson has a heart for helping horses. She owns and operates Black Feather Horse Rescue in Plymouth, MA. She is clearly a woman of great faith, commitment and drive, but it’s plain to see no one woman can do what she does alone. She never married nor had children. God did not bless her with the life of wife and mother but she's all HEART when it comes to nurturing her horses and other animals at the rescue. 

They are her family. 

She cared for her mother who had Alzheimer’s until she left this earth and her 96 year old father still lives in the house on the property where she runs the rescue and a small trout farm. Although, to hear her tell it she’s just an ordinary woman who is greatly blessed and gets to live with horses everyday.  She has help from volunteers, and horses get adopted too but there's still lots of work to be done! She raises funds with Barn Dances a couple of times a year and that helps with the high costs of running the rescue.

Murphy is her miracle horse. He came to her as a very sick horse after getting an infection in his guttural pouch. I learned that this type of infection leaves 99 percent of most horses unable to ever swallow again. Darlene tirelessly nursed him back to health never doubting for a minute he wouldn't recover. He can eat, chew and swallow all of his food and water now. Apples too!  

With the help of family and friends, Murphy's New Home ( the first of a series of books written about Darlene's EARTH ANGELS for children) has become a reality and is for sale now to raise awareness of the kind of care and funding it takes to keep a horse rescue not just alive but thriving in these often  challenging economic times.

 A second book is in production now about this handsome fella! 

As we visited and fed the horses apple snacks, Darlene shared her vision for the rescue with us. She has a deep belief in the healing power of horses. One of her goals is to eventually partner with Children’s Hospital in Boston so children can come see the horses in person or via  a web cam from the hospital to motivate them to get well enough for an in person visit to the rescue. 

If you're new to volunteering, or just plain shy about giving it a try, start with a passion near and dear to your heart. It just might lead you to a place where your help is much needed! Start in small doses to get the feel of things and in time you'll see just where your talents can be of use.

Here are some ideas for places to help.

  • Food Pantry
  • Church
  • Horse/Animal Rescue
  • Nature Center
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • International Order of the Rainbow Girls
  • Elderly Neighbors
  • Council on aging 
  • Where else? 
Do you have a Heart for Helping Horses too?  Pop on over to Black Feather Horse Rescue and meet Darlene, Murphy, Billy the goat ( I'm not kidding) and the gang. You'll just feel better. I promise! We sure did! 

Read more about Murphy the miracle horse in Darlene Nickerson's words here and get your very own copy of Murphy's New Home. Every little bit helps! 

Till next time,
Deborah Jean 
PS. Two more days to enter my book give away for SUNFLOWER HOUSES by Sharon Lovejoy here!  
The lucky Gardner/winner will be announced January 16th.


  1. What an inspiring woman!

    I am an home-schooler of 3, in New Zealand. My husband and I separated two years ago. Our eldest, almost 18 has a horse who has been such a blessing to her. I am trusting in the Lord to restore our family.

    I am a passionate animal lover and many times I have wept into the coat of one of my fur-babies.
    We have about 20 animals living with us! :-)

    God bless,

  2. Great post, love to get up there some time.
    Hope all is going well with you guys!

  3. How cool is that! I grew up in Plymouth and never knew about Darlene's work. I just sent her an email and left a comment on the Horse OT's blog (also in MA) to see if they might connect somehow. Could be a wonderful match!

  4. Thank you ladies... I hope this post helps the rescue in some small way! I appreciate your kind words!
    Tell me more about the OT's blog Martianne!

  5. You asked on a comment at THH: The horse OT is also the recycling OT., She is fabulous! http://horseot.blogspot.com/ http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Recycling-Occupational-Therapist/113805848640610 Have a gorgeous day!


Thanks for visiting today! Id love to hear about your home school happenings too. I read and enjoy each and every comment so leave one for us all if you have the time!
Happy Creative Homeschooling
Deborah Jean