Return to Freedom is incredibly thankful to all of the young people who have visited, volunteered, or written letters and emails. In an expression of appreciation, we like to highlight special young people who have gone above and beyond to help us in our mission to protect wild horses and burros.
Lauren Menz, a nine-year-old girl from Danville, Arkansas, wrote the poem below for the Arkansas Valley Riding Academy as part of an assignment at her riding program. She was the winner of the contest and her riding academy shared the poem with us. Enjoy!
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary would also like to wish Sophie Pollack a Happy 8th Birthday. Sophie asked her friends and family to make donations to Return to Freedom in honor of her birthday. So far, she has raised almost $600 to help us care for the horses here. Thank you, Sophie!
“When I first met Summer, I thought that she was beautiful with her unique color patterns, but she was very frightened of people and it was hard to get close. I immediately knew I liked her, but I also knew it was going to take some time for her to get used to me.
Working with Rob, we spent some time with Summer just getting her used to having people close by. Sometimes, I would just sit in her stall with her, reading a book or talking with my mom, so she could get used to us. Then Rob came to me and told me I should undo the giant knot and matted part of her mane. He told me that she would be very used to me by the time I had untangled the knot. He showed me how to work on the knot to get it untangled without hurting her. Then he left me alone to do my work.
The first day it took me several hours to get half way through the knot and it was difficult to get her to stand still while I was working on it. I had to give her alfalfa to calm her down and talk to her to reassure her. Then, the following day, she was much more used to me and it was easier to get her to stand still while I continued to work on the knot. I was finished within the first hour. The next couple of days, I sat with her some more, watching her eat, and studying her habits or “having a conversation with her”.
Before the end of our stay, I was determined to be the first person able to groom her and by the second to the last day we were there I succeeded in doing so. By that time, she was used to me and I approached her while she was having dinner. She didn’t spook or scare at all but she was cautious and made sure she could see me while I groomed. I took the curry comb out of the box and gently started to comb her. I talked to her the whole time and she stayed calm. I was able to comb and brush her on both sides. I offered her some treats but since she was eating, she was happy just to have dinner.
Throughout the time I worked with Summer, I could tell that she learned to recognize and trust me, and be comfortable with me by her side. It was a wonderful feeling! It was great working with Summer, as well as some of the other horses at RTF. I was even able to help with getting some of the horses used to halters, and was the second person ever to get a halter on Autumn, one of the other mustangs. I’m glad I got to work with such amazing horses, especially Summer! I had a wonderful experience and I will always be grateful for the chance to work at RTF and meet such great horses and people!”
—Molly Cordell, 12 yrs old