As you may or may not know, our team of horses has not been working this semester. Kate and Jenny, both Belgian mares, have been laying low since around July. The girls are reaching retirement age, and as with all horses, they are more susceptible to injury as they age. Jenny injured a ligament in one of her back legs and has been recovering throughout the last few months. This recovery has included many vet visits, surgery, and stall rest. We have all been working hard to get Jenny fit and comfortable again, and she has improved.
Throughout the process of working with an injured horse we have been forced to look at the role of the team here on campus. The girls have been an important teaching tool for sustainability in the garden and in the forest, as well as great ambassadors at Plow Day and Work Day. However, while considering the role of Kate and Jenny here, we have realized that it has changed. None of the roles previously mentioned have been met, which is due to the fact that the girls are ready for retirement.
The process of retiring a team of horses and finding a new team is a complicated one with many people involved. We are lucky to have many friends of the program who have been helping us out over the years and over the past few weeks as we prepare for this transition. One such friend in Statesville is going to provide the retirement home for the girls. The girls will be able to stay together, and do light work suitable to their age and fitness. A stipulation of this plan is that the college will have a say in the future of Kate and Jenny for the rest of their lives. If, for some reason, the farm in Statesville can no longer keep the girls, we will have a say in where they will go.
On the other side of the transition is finding a new team. There are many specific requirements of our program that require a special team of horses. They need to be gentle and well trained as they work with both beginners and the public. We are again lucky to have so many people helping us out, as we have found a team that fits our needs. They are currently on an Amish farm in Holmes County, Ohio, from the same farm that Kate and Jenny came from. In fact, when we bought Kate and Jenny, the farm in Ohio replaced them with another team of Belgians. These replacements are the team we are buying now.
The transition of the horses on campus is upon us. Kate and Jenny will be going to their new home on Friday, December 17, and the new team will be here when classes begin. Anyone who is interested may come say goodbye to the girls.
Please join us as we say goodbye to Kate and Jenny, we will miss them.
–Horse Crew, Kate, Trey, Christina, and Anya