Time passes quickly when you’re watching a baby grow. We spent a little while most summer evenings handling our foal. Learning to lead, stand, and pick up feet, (and NOT bite!), is much the same as learning to share, and to say please and thank you. Necessary skills that go unnoticed, unless they are not taught or learned. As horses owners we must make an effort to raise respectful creatures with the skills to go out into the world, and to be good, useful citizens, even if it means getting a few bruises in the process.
Recently I had the good fortune of working with a group of Hants County senior 4-H members who exemplify these principles. Their positive attitude, organization and communication skills are proof that country kids with responsibilities, and with animals to care for, have much to offer the world. They did exactly what they said they were going to do, and did it with confidence, helping to make Future Farmers Friday at the Hants County Exhibition a success.
This summer I rediscovered the feeling of climbing on a horse and having my busy-day worries evaporate. Judith Scrimger’s story on the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Program illustrates just how powerful this feeling can be to those who have much greater challenges, day to day, than anything most of us will ever know. The story is also a reminder of the difference we can make in the lives of others by giving of ourselves, and our time. The Free Spirit volunteers are as crucial to the success of this special program as the patient and kind equines they handle.
We had a great response to our request for your Pony for Christmas stories. It turns out there are more than a couple of moms and dads out there who have worried about horse poop under the Christmas tree! Judith has compiled a few of our readers’ memories for you to enjoy. They may bring back happy thoughts of your own stories about horses at Christmas time. We also have a sampling of Christmas Wish Lists from our readers scattered throughout the magazine (watch for the green gift tags), and two beautiful handmade gift ideas. At our house, every Christmas, it is bittersweet and really special to decorate the tree with animal-art likenesses of Barney, Bruno, Chester, Kramer, Hook, and other much-loved members of the family, both past and present.
Also in this issue, Mary McIntosh brings us a story on Clydesdales doing something a little unexpected, as well as part two of her series, A groom’s life. Dr. Helen Douglas provides useful information on Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Carolyn Wanamaker profiles young New Brunswick eventer Justin Smith.
Long time contributor Pam MacKenzie is taking a break from the Horses in Harness report. We wish Pam all the best, and look forward to hearing from her when she is out and about with her camera in tow. Driving news will now be included in the provincial reports. If you have anything you would like to share please contact our report writers Judith, Ruth, Carolyn ,and Jana.
From all of us at Atlantic Horse & Pony have a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends–both two legged and four. Watch for our “long haul” January issue!
In the August-October issue, the photo on page 21 of Bill Cook pole bending was taken by Lisa Everett.
Horse and Pony wishes to apologize to Leslie Wade of Coldbrook for incorrectly reporting her age as 70 in the article “you are only as old as you feel” in the August-October issue. It should be noted that Leslie was seen recently jumping her horse Pavann without a bridle. Pavann is 26. Their combined ages are 95. Close enough Leslie, close enough. (Judith Scrimger photo)