Wow – looking back through our last month’s posts, it truly is amazing how much happens in the life of the Charity.
And although this is July’s report, of course, we have to mention the wonderful result last Sunday of our float raffle, won by Gold Coast resident Kylie Ferris.
When people win our raffles, there’s always a great story behind the win, but to be honest there could be few more moving stories than Kylie’s.
Kylie comes from a horse family: “Four generations of us – my pop, my Dad, myself and my daughter Tahnaya have all ridden at Sydney Royal in showing classes,” she says.
But although horses are in the family’s blood, life hasn’t been easy. “Tahnaya became extremely ill,” says Kylie, “and we had to walk away from our farm. We sold all the horses, our float, our tack and everything. Then in the last few years Tahnaya’s condition improved, but she was convinced she would only recover if she could ride again, and so – even though I wasn’t sure if it would work, we got back into the horses, but it’s been a real struggle.”
Tahnaya has been amazingly successful including winning Runner-Up Rider at the Horse of the Year show at Lismore Championships and Champion Pony at the Brisbane Ekka last year. She has also represented Queensland at the Nationals in Werribee, Victoria for the past three years – and all of this has been achieved without their own float!
“We’ve borrowed from friends, hired at great expense, dodgy floats or been given lifts,” Kylie said, “so when I saw your float raffle I felt that even if I didn’t win, it was supporting a great cause.” And they certainly didn’t expect to win. “Tahnaya said to me, ‘you couldn’t win an argument, mum, but it’s nice of you to enter.’ I laughed and said, ‘well you never know!’”
When we rang Kylie to tell her, she told me on the day that she was finding it hard to talk because she was crying. “To be honest, I haven’t really stopped crying,” she says. “I’m so ecstatic I keep crying. Every time I tell the story to someone I cry. At first I had to pinch myself to believe it but yesterday Candice from Olympic rang me to talk to me about the float and so now it’s become real, and we are just over the moon.”
Starting from nothing was not easy, and sometimes Kylie has felt that the hard work, even with the great results, was too difficult. “No-one will ever understand what this has meant to both of us, and to the family,” she says. “It’s just amazing, and to me it’s a sign that we’ve been doing the right thing. We are so dedicated to Tahnaya’s ongoing health – even though my husband is not a horse person, he’s right behind us every step of the way, and this will make it so much easier. So thank you Olympic and SAHA!”
Holly the Standardbred
On another horse note I thought you guys might like an update on the beautiful Standardbred mare, Holly that is down my way in the Northern Rivers. If you recall, Holly was abandoned on a property and one of the tenants there has taken over her care. Holly is a big horse armed with some fairly dominant matriarchal mare attitude, and Fiona was struggling to catch and handle her so I’ve been helping her out – well, three months later and a lot of natural horsemanship lessons later Holly is a different horse! Loving, kind and calm, and generally a delight to handle. It seemed to me that she was stiff at the back end and so we called my chiropractor to call in and see her on one of his visits north from the Hunter Valley.
I’ve attached the two reports that he’s done for us showing where Holly’s sacroiliac was out and also her lumbar vertebrae. These are such common points for horses to be sore in that I thought you might be interested to look at the drawings.
It is SO important to remember that even if horses are not being ridden they can still put themselves out, just by twisting their spine if they slip in wet conditions, or by somehow misaligning themselves. These injuries can sometimes be there for years, resulting in a horse become extremely twitchy around the rump and also often – if you persist in riding them, in bucking, or being reluctant to move forward, or once they are moving forward being reluctant to stop.
It’s so essential to look after a horse’s spine, so if you have a horse do avail yourself of knowledge about how to keep their spines healthy and supple, and also if it’s a riding horse look after saddle-fit which is paramount for back health.
Back to Charity general business and our success stories for July included the adoptions for beautiful Gordy, tiny Romeo, our lovely Opal, and the sweet-natured Birdie. But just as we were congratulating ourselves on the shrinking numbers, Tyke, Gangster, Santa, Dusty, Freya and Kateena came back! And even with my maths I think that makes more horses coming back than we adopted out, so at the moment the status quo is staying fairly even at 108.
However, we’re hoping all these friendly horses will find new homes very soon.
In July of course, we also announced the winners of our Horseland Raffle – and our raffles are so important to our ongoing growth and stability. We really appreciate your support so much.
We also fenced the land we are leasing from the neighbours, and I have to say what a complete delight it was to watch the oldies who were introduced to their beautiful new surroundings, take off on what looked like several victory laps. You would never have guessed watching them gallop the perimeter that most of them are on joint supplements, and are in the very aged category! They are so happy in there, and it’s been a great way to relieve some pressure off our paddocks.
Australia – we love a sunburnt country…
It’s only a few months ago that we were still coping with the ravages of the floods, and unfortunately going straight into a dry, cold winter we have literally no grass in the paddocks. Of course, our horses are on two hard feeds and hay every day, and they are all in great condition but keeping them this way this costs us a fortune and so this week we will be launching a hay drive so we can keep some of our feed costs down and our barn full. If only 480 of our supporters give $10 we will have raised enough to pay our hay providers – just click on this link – Save a Horse Buy a Bale or if you prefer to use text, SMS the keyword HAY to 0459 114 411 to donate $5 or more fast and easy.
Candida Baker, President