I fell in love with the horses my first semester at Naz. Living on campus at the time, in an attempt to avoid cabin fever I would bring a blanket down to the barn and do my homework. Living on campus made me feel trapped, so I’d go and sit at the bottom of the hill behind the barn where none of the buildings could be seen, not even George Hall. After spending a countless amount of hours hiding next to these horses I kept wondering, “Why?” Why are you here? Why is this barn here?”
Fun fact: I asked 25 people if they knew the names of the horses. Marta? Rory? Sparkles? Golden Flyer? Not a single one knew. Interestingly enough their names are written right on their stalls––Gershwin and Cheyenne. I took this as an indicator that most people know little about them, why they’re here, or their story. So, I went to the source.
Sister Margaret Mary had all the answers. On a side note, talking with the sisters is always so refreshing. They are the friendliest people you could ever imagine running into on campus. Sister Margaret Mary lived in GAC back when the Sisters of St. Joseph still owned the campus. She lived there for 42 years. The first thing I asked her was “Why are there horses on a college campus?” She told me that she has had horses since 1973 and the college allowed her to keep them there.
The two male horses are Gershwin and Cheyenne. They are both retired. Sister Margaret Mary owns Cheyenne and Stephanie Hon owns Gershwin. Gershwin is the reddish horse, he’s twenty years old. Sister Margaret Mary was glowing discussing him. “He has an entire room full of blue ribbons”, she stated explaining his jumping career. Gerswhin retired four years ago. Sister Margaret Mary got Cheyenne when he was 6 years old. He is now 27, the oldest horse she has ever owned. Cheyenne is a pleasure horse.
Sister Margaret Mary comes and cares for the horses three times a day, everyday. She told me about the architecture behind the stables. The horses are never locked in their stall. They have free roam of the pastures 24/7. She discussed the poor side effects and health concerns behind keeping a horse locked in a stall for the majority of its life. Though they are retired the sisters still ride the horses around the trails you can find on the edge of campus.
I asked about the future of the horses and what her plans are in the years to come. I was shocked by what she said next. “Well they’re taking away two of my pastures…”, she sighed. I was lost and confused why the college would squeeze the horses into one tiny pasture. She informed me that the new athletic training center being built is going to be where her two northern pasture sit today. I was taken back a little. I was happy for new advancements, but knowing it was going to take away my favorite spot on campus––for the second time––made me furious. I began spitting out words a million miles a minute asking too many questions too fast “How? Why? They can’t do that! Why in this spot? Can’t you do something?” She went on to say there was nothing she could do, she had no say. Our discussion quickly turned to the beautiful places on campus that no longer exist. With a campus so small construction causes extreme transformations. Wrapping up our conversation she noted that everything will be fine. The horses will be okay with the limited space due to their age.
The stables are the last remembrance of Nazareth’s rich history. By 2019 this area will look drastically different. Take a look at the link below of a video my friend Madalyn and I made and share it with your friends! Let’s take in this beauty while it lasts.
Video created by Madalyn Owen and myself: https://youtu.be/l-NzdOElXBo