*photo from Sept. 2019
As we move into what looks to be a warm and beautiful summer, we want to update you on our program reopening as well as some changes in our herd! Read to the end to hear about our last scheduled drive-through day!
Our Riding, Vaulting, and Rehabilitation Services, and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy programs are continuing to expand week-by-week. We continue to exercise caution, only bringing back a handful of clients to each program each week, so that we don’t overburden the systems we have in place. We understand that many of you are anxious to return and we are anxious to see you again! However, we are following a deliberately slow reopening process to ensure the health of everyone onsite, including staff, horse owners, and clients. Our community’s health and well-being is (and always has been) our very top priority. With this in mind, here is our current list of protocols that all program participants are being requested to follow when onsite!
- Red Rain (Redford): It is with mixed feelings that we announce that Red Rain has been retired from our programming at Forward Stride. On one hand, we will miss his lively personality, trustworthy steadfastness, and magnificent mustache. On the other hand, we are so excited for him to live with his owners, Jennifer & Greg, at their new boarding facility. We wish them all the best and expect to see Jennifer and Red Rain trailering in every now and again!
- Mr P: At the ripe old age of 28, and after several years of service to Forward Stride, we have made the difficult decision to retire Mr. P from our program at this time. He has his good days and his bad days, and we feel it is time to let him relax. He has a loving home waiting for him with one of our volunteers who is prepared to give him the best of care. We expect him to move to this home by mid-July.
- The Donkeys: Sapphire and Roscoe, our loveable miniature donkeys, will be joining Mr. P at his new home to keep him company. Mr. P and the Donkeys have become close friends while they have been pastured next to each other and we expect they will all settle in more comfortably together.
- Pepper: Pepper is in a hospital pasture and off-work for an extended period due to lameness. He is under veterinary care and is being seen to daily.
- Lenna: Lenna is on extended stall rest due to an suspected bone bruise. She is under veterinary care and is being seen to daily.
- Rune: 22 yo Hanoverian on trial for the Varner family. We are hopeful he will enjoy being a program horse in our Vaulting, Riding, EFP, and EFL programs. He was once a dressage horse, competing at 1st level with training beyond that. He has an amazing canter that we can’t wait to share with others. Once he is up to a better weight, and has passed his trial, he will enter the lesson herd.
- Dan: 8 yo Clydesdale on trial for the Conwell and Vaughn families. We are hopeful he will enjoy working in the Vaulting, Riding, EFP, and EFL programs once he has passed his trial and has more training under his belt. Dan is trained as a driving horse and can go in a single, double, or 4-horse hitch. However, he has very limited training in other areas. Look for him to potentially join the lesson herd in about 6 months to a year.
- Welcome home to Cindee and Sterling who are back from vacation at the Irish house! While we missed having them around, we know that they had a wonderful time with the Irish’s and we appreciate their willingness to care for them while we were closed.
Twist of Debonair, Twister, suddenly and so sadly, departed our herd on May 29th, on the Forward Stride property, on the sunniest and warmest of afternoons. He experienced a very sudden and cruel colic, which could only be treated surgically, and that was not an option that he would have chosen.
He loved, and was adored by, his Forward Stride family.
Thank you, from him, to his aunties and uncles who cared for him when mom was away visiting “those grandchildren of hers!” Thank you to morning feed crews who appreciated his good manners, as grain arrived. Thank you to turnout crews who giggled as fly spray made him do his back leg thing, and walked him out so carefully on his rubber mats. Thank you to those who appreciated and giggled at his “squeals of dominance!” Thank you to those who repaired the electric fences four times. Thank you to those who blanketed and unblanketed, at the whim of mom, who often called in to be sure that all was perfect for him. And to those who walked him, and lunged his crazy self, and saw to his dental health, and applied creams and lotions to save mom extra driving. Thank you to everyone who survived getting him barefoot with those pink things, and for endlessly taking care of his poor, shallow feet. Thanks to his turn-in evening crews who always came through with the hugs and treats, and body-face rubs that he came to expect, along with a great nickname for his silly and awesome self. Thank you to those who mucked his stall, big mess that it always was! And thank you to night checkers for bringing him hot tea in the frigid cold, and who always made sure he was good for the night. And thank you to everyone in the aisle ways that would converse with him as he nodded his head in agreement.
And mostly, thank you to everyone who encouraged our journey together to achieve our potential as a riding duo. Thank you to each and every one of you who watched us work and commented on our loving relationship. Thank you to SJ for so appreciating the opportunity to ride him! His body was never his strong suit, as breathtakingly beautiful as he was. But we had goals, just simple ones. Walk, trot, canter, to the best of our abilities, to keep him fit and healthy. We reached those goals in the entire month of April, and then got an awesome bareback pad, and were committed to spending the remainder of his days playing on the trails and grazing. Which we did.
And thank you to the staff of Forward Stride, for keeping us open, during these tragic times, so that he could stay at our much loved barn, and we could be together until, and at the end. He hopes that you remember him with a smile, and that somehow, he made your world a better place.
-Janet, Twister’s owner and best friend
Due to both Mr. P and the Donkeys’ departure, we will be having one more drive-through to give you a chance to say goodbye to them on the morning of July 4th, from 10-11am. We are limiting the time to an hour this time due to the increased number of people onsite. As usual, please stay inside your car while onsite.