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Beyond bucks: Ways to make a difference

When I was a young girl, Horse Crazed, my family didn't have the financial means to support such an "Expensive Hobby". That doesn't mean, that my family didn't support my love of horses. We just found other ways for me to emerge myself into these wonderful animals lives. My mom would drop me off at Baker's Stables, every weekend, and I would clean stalls. I remember the first horse I ever had, Midnight Mel, and my mom worked extra to help me pay for him. He was a chestnut OTTB that got banned because he would throw and chase the jockeys. That's what I was told. He picked me, while I was walking in Mr. Baker's Ara-Appaloosa fields. He was the only OTTB. I distinctly remember Mr. Baker saying to me, "I don't think that he would be a good first time owner horse for you". So, of course, anyone who knows me, I said, "I want him". I was in 9th grade. Before him, I would help others, in exchange to ride. When I was given him, it was work, but not to me. I dreamed of Mel while I was in school, and couldn't wait for the weekend to go to the barn. I bargained with friends, that if they drove me to the barn, I would let them ride Mel (Mel would always have other plans for them though). This "horse thing" goes back to my "babyhood" . I tried very hard to "make him look like a Quarter Horse", because that was the only shows I could ride him in. What do people think when you have a 16.3 hand, Chestnut with 2 white socks and a white blaze and snip on his nose, who was FAST. Tying a sock to his tail didn't work for us. We were asked to leave many times, but who cared. I match raced him at the barn against Morgans and Apps. I was with Mel. He was my first love. My life has always been with horses, and when I didn't have them, my life was not me. Unfortunately, he died in an accident when I was on vacation to my cousins in Lake George New York. I was devastated. My mom was there and tried to understand me grief. I went on to ride in college at Wilson College, and then left for Standardbreds. I have done more in my life than I could ever have imagined, and it was with the love and help of others.

You don't always have to have the "Financial Means", if you have the desire and the drive. There are ways. You may not always smell so wonderful, and you may think that the smell of Sweet Feed is the absolute best smell there is on earth (others won't), but you go forward and you overcome the obstacles. That is what money becomes to those who do not have the means. You barter your labor for the chance, the opportunity, the privilege to ride. Now that I am able to give back to others, my family, and my mom, it is what drives me. So many talented young, and old, don't have the opportunities. I want to break those barriers.

So when you are thinking, how........think NOW. We didn't have the internet when I was younger. It was footwork and putting yourself and your time out there, no matter what the cost was to you and your pride. I have become a Resource Guide for people, in horses, and in healthcare, so why not.....Our Not-for-Profit is just that. I believe that if we have the ability to help others, and "Feed their souls" it is our responsibility to do just that. I have many ways that people can have horses in their lives if they choose, all they have to do is reach out and ask. Resources galore will open to them. Whether you are a parent of a child with a disability, or a parent of a child without, we can and we will help.

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