A New Home & Love for “Angel” The Horse
Without a doubt, my all-time favorite camp project just happened this year. Before camp started, I had made arrangements with the local SPCA to foster a rescue horse for 4 weeks. The day before camp started I went to pick her up. The horse we took had just been brought in along with 7 others, 4 of whom didn’t survive. I picked her because her mane was COMPLETELY matted and her tail was one solid dreadlock and it looked like she had never been on the receiving end of a grooming.
My idea was to show the kids what a difference some good grooming could do. I was lucky enough to find “Angel”. (We had a naming contest – and it was determined the kids wanted a name to let her know the “hell” part of her life was over.) She was fairly calm although timid about some things. She was easy to halter and stood quietly to be brushed and washed.
She had some Florida sores and her eyes were slightly runny. We talked about how to treat both and the campers were diligent about her meds. One camper a day was responsible for giving her “lunch”. They hand grazed her and turned her out for short periods of time. Every day we took a picture of her. We are making a booklet to go back to the SPCA with her called “Angel Goes to Camp” so hopefully whoever adopts her will know her little story.
I have been delighted with the response the kids have had to this. We have had some in depth discussions about how things like this happen and what can be done about it. We also talked about how very well-meaning people can make big mistakes by adopting or getting horses when they don’t have any idea about how to care for one.
I had the campers keep a diary on a poster taped to the wall. By the second week, we added hand walking to her schedule. I have to admit I was hesitant about how a horse like this would handle a little mob of kids around her every day. We couldn’t have scripted it better. Every day Angel got quieter and more relaxed. She started to nicker to kids coming to her stall. Truly, a worthwhile project if you can arrange it.