After the winds and damage of the past week left for other pastures, we went to the barn today. First time I had seen my four legged babies in two weeks, due to work and family commitments. Pulling up the drive, all the horses mingling around the barn for breakfast and morning hay, I remembered that long ago fall day my darling daughter took her first lesson and another generation of women fell in love.
My first memory of pony love is of a fat little pinto at the neighborhood fair. Of course back then each pony was tied to a wheel and walking in preset circles for 5 minutes then stopped for the next group. When it came time for me to leave that pony I screamed like someone was cutting my legs off. At that age it was hard to put into words the peace and sense of purpose I found on the back of that pinto.
Throughout my life I have ways to be around horses. My cousin was the lucky one, she actually became a jockey back when that was strictly a male profession. She has the injuries and scars of many pileups and dismounts but worse, she lost the passion for the horse itself. Because racing is a big dollar business, thoughts of what happen to the poor horses that don't make it on the track are avoided as the cost of doing business. That side, unfortunately, I am all too familiar with. Perhaps sadder than the grown animals discarded around the country are the poor foals, stripped from their mothers after only days in order for the mares to nurse the foals of more valuable horses.
Several years ago, my friend and her daughter became involved in the rescue networks. Working mainly with off-track thoroughbreds, they soon found themselves the savior of more than one OTTB. At Blue Skies Riding Academy we have more than 8 OTTB currently being trained for dressage, hunter, jumper, and trail professions. But these "throwaway horses" existing in more industries than just racing.
For any of my friends who are on hormone replacement therapy, I apologize in advance. In case you don't know it, the hormones the pharmaceutical companies use come from pregnant mare urine. And how do they get this urine? Mares are kept pregnant, then stripped of the foal after birth so they can be re-inseminated to produce more urine. The poor babies who are taken from their mothers are divided. If female, they might be allowed to mature, so they can join or replace their own mothers "on the line". Males are not wanted or needed. Three guesses where they end up.
So the next time you see a post on my Facebook or Twitter about a horse needing a sponsor, think about the Starbuck's latte you drank that morning and consider exchanging your caffeine habit with something better - being a part of saving an innocent from the avarice of mankind. Listed below is the link for Blue Skies Riding Academy. Your donation is tax deductible as we are a registered 501c(3) non-profit. We also do pony rides, Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs, birthday parties, lessons, and summer camp.
If you don't live in this part of the country, namely the South, check into local rescues in your state. Horse Rescue United, located in New Jersey works and listed reputable rescues in several states. In Georgia we also have Iron Gait Percheron Rescue, Georgia Equine Rescue League, and Save the Horses to name only a very few. I know there are a lot of people out there asking for money who have no viable references. Always check into a rescue before donation. But please do donate - dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, mules, you name it they need help.
To Donate to Blue Skies Riding Academy