This morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and decided to take a few minutes to look over my April copy of Horse Journal. Since my time is so limited I usually browse through my magazines for topics that help me with some issue I am dealing with at the moment. I looked at the cover and decided to check out the articles on fly sheets or helmets. Whatever force made my eyes look at Margaret Freeman’s picture and read her editorial, ”Getting A Start,” knew I needed to hear from you.
I run a small local business offering horse lessons on five acres in Port Charlotte, Fla. I never owned a horse until I turned 52. We started with one horse for my daughter that grew to three horses. Now, six years later, we have 15.
Obviously, three people can’t justify needing 15 horses, but every time someone had an old horse that they couldn’t take care of they brought the poor animal to me. Most are over 23 years old. These horses needed a home and love and care. I really can’t afford to keep every horse that comes down my driveway, but I can’t say no.
I decided that the horses needed kids to help in the loving department, so I opened my door to children with emotional needs with the help of a local school teacher who told me about equine therapy. For a small fee that helps cover the bills, the kids come and groom and ride these needy creatures. What a difference it makes to the horses to finally have a purpose again. And what a difference it made to the children and they families.
Most of these kids are ADHD, bi-polar, manic depressive, etc. The families are in need of a place, too, where they can come and forget their problems. They need a place to replenish their spirits. They need a place with no demands or challenges where they can smell the simple life. Horses do that for us.
So, when I wake up in the middle of the night with fears of how I can keep the roof over my family’s heads or feed my horses, pay the vet bills or find good hay, I pray to God to help me. I feel in offering this to the families in my neighborhood I am fulfilling God’s plan. Somehow, we’re making it.
I say thank you to people like you who understand why horses are needed and maybe through articles like yours we will get the help we need to stay around and help the future generations of horses and kids.
You have rekindled my spirit.
”Fun” With Goats
I enjoyed your April article ”Goats as Companions.” Having been at a few places with goats, I would like to add a few points for your readers:
1. Sometimes dogs attack goats. You might be surprised what breeds will ”rip apart” an unsuspecting pet goat.
2. You can come back from a ride and find a goat standing on the hood of your car. Goats climb everything.
3. Supplements must be moved from buckets on stall doors, because the goats would jump up and sample and knockdown everything.
Fly Sheets Can Be Hot
I enjoyed your April article on fly sheets and agree with your assessments. I have used Schneider’s sheets and blankets for many years. I love their adjustable shoulders, their open or closed-front options, belly bands, elastic removable leg straps and rubber bands for surcingle buckle management.
I live in extreme southeast Virginia (hot and humid). I’ve tried both the soft and ”firm” fly sheets. However, no matter which kind of fly sheet I use, by the middle of June, my horse sweats under the fly sheet. So I end up taking it off to keep her cool. She does like the protection of the sheet, but in the hottest weather, it’s fans and fly spray.