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It’s with a heavy heart and a lot of anxiety that we make the following announcement. Toni’s Ponies Thrift will be closing in a few weeks. We are no longer able to accept donations at this time. We were given an amazing opportunity to open a small thrift shop in the heart of Kingston. We went in knowing that it might be a temporary location but had no idea it would be this short lived. Many many hours have been dedicated to gathering donations, sorting, cleaning, and putting together a very homey environment that is welcoming to all. We have had so much community support and it is heartbreaking to start thinking about closing up shop and packing it all away. This shop has been a long-time dream, and while it has been successful, we no longer have access to our retail space. While here, we have met so many amazing people and feel so blessed to be able to serve our community.

For those of you who don’t know about the thrift shop, I would like to tell you a little bit about it. Each year we have our annual fundraising yard sale. This is where we collect starting in January and put together a HUGE sale in June or July where everything is sold by donations. We don’t price anything. With this money, our goal is to be able to put hay in our barn for the year. We have been doing it for the past five years and it has become our biggest fundraiser to date. This year we were privileged enough to use the Mercantile building in downtown Kingston across from Henry Hardware. It was then graciously offered to us to have a pop up thrift shop to continue raising funds to support the care of the horses at our rescue. Just like the yard sale, we only ask for donations. We don’t price all of our inventory. This synergetic approach to fundraising had us so excited. The shop was a place that people could thrift for great treasures and give what they could and folks could donate locally to help build a shop in their community, all the while raising money for Toni’s Ponies horse rescue. We’ve been blown away by the interactions and relationships we’ve made in just a short time. We’ve also been humbled by the generosity we’ve seen. This thrift shop is needed here in Kingston. We have home goods, artwork, records, furniture, and amazing children’s section, kitchen ware – you name it we’ve got it. If you haven’t popped in yet, you might want to do so soon. As of now we have to find a new space by the middle of September.

We are on the lookout for any available retail space in Kingston that we can afford. If you have any contacts at all or any ideas of where we can set up shop more permanently please contact Toni. Please spread the word and as always, thank you for your support.

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Tomorrow we get ready to open the gates to the public. We’re open for volunteering twice a week pretty much every week but this is a little different. Mostly in that we aren’t asking anyone to scoop poop tomorrow between the hours of 10am and 2pm. If you show up early – you’ll be handed a scoop! But seriously, we are so excited to see some new and familiar faces.

With the addition of the Thrift Shop in Kingston we are meeting new people every day! If you haven’t popped in to check it out, I cannot recommend it enough. I (Alex) don’t personally volunteer at the shop but I’m in almost every week shopping and there’s new stuff all the time. We're open Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10am-5pm. We are so grateful for the support and the excitement that everyone has been sharing with us. All proceeds support the ponies. What we would like tomorrow to be is an opportunity for folks to put a face and story to the horses they have been supporting. Volunteers will be there to give tours, answer questions, and let you love on the ponies in a safe way. We’ll have stories posted around the farm about each horse – if you would rather read.

Tonight, we were working on some last-minute things and were going over some print outs of the horses and their stories and Toni said “hmm how come there aren’t any pictures of me on here?”

She was totally joking but that was a really good question and I have been thinking about it since I got home. And here’s what I’ve come up with. She doesn’t stand still long enough to get in the pictures… or she’s behind the lens. Toni Houck really doesn’t stop. She runs the rescue, makes sure her volunteers are taken care of, works at the thrift shop, does all the shopping for the rescue, feeds mornings and evenings and has her hand, if not both hands in every event we put on. And at the end of the day, she’s still on call in case something goes awry in the night. But when you do find her in pictures – she has the biggest smile of anyone I know. I just wanted to take a minute to point that out. She loves her horses and she loves her volunteers and she works hard to make sure they all feel it.

So, when you come tomorrow and put a face to the name of each horse, take a minute and put a face to the name of Toni as well. We are super excited to host you. We’re curious about your stories too. What made you come by? How did you hear about Toni’s Ponies? Is your favorite color pink too? And now I’m going to search for some of those illusive Toni Ponies photos! See you at the farm! (July 29 · 10am - 2pm 23473 Seatter Rd. NE Kingston, WA 98346)

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Darby was rescued by Olesja Lapteva of Poulsbo from the Eugene Sales yard in August of 2022. She was running with a paint/draft stallion and was presumed bred so Olesha saved her and brought her home. She added her to her herd but Darby was low man in the herd and did not thrive as she should have. Olesja reached out to us on March 21st concerned for the well being of Darby and her possible baby. Darby was being bullied by the other horses, including being run off her food, wasn’t putting on weight and had chronic diarrhea. She asked if we were interested in giving her a home and we immediately said yes. On Monday march 27th she arrived at the farm and settled in. This afternoon, Tuesday March 28th we had our vet out to give her a wellness exam where she was given an ultrasound and confirmed that she was in foal. She was wormed and given her first round of prenatal shots. She also had her teeth checked over. This girl is in definite need of some more groceries in her diet so she can put on weigh before foaling. She will also need her teeth floated and it was suggested that she is put on a high dose of psyllium because she has quite a bit of sand in her belly.

Darby had quite a full day today! She met other horses, saw the vet, walked over to Alex’s house to graze on some lush grass, snuggled in the grass, and then came back to the farm just in time for dinner! We can not wait to get her all cleaned up tomorrow during our volunteer day! We know the volunteers are going to fall in love just as fast as we have! Stay tuned for some after bath pictures!

It's hard to tell in the photos but Darby is a BIG girl. She is easily the tallest horse here at the farm. She will probably eat twice if not three times as much as the other horses due to her condition. While she is quite underweight, things look good otherwise. It’s going to be quite the journey getting her ready to have this baby but we are excited to be here for it. As always, we so appreciate that Olesja reached out to us when it was clear she was not going to thrive where she was.

If you would like to help support Darby’s journey here at Toni’s Ponies and the journey of her foal there are several ways to do so. This girl is going to need vet care coming up on top of her wellness exam. Donations can be made to Sound Equine of Poulsbo Washington 360.779.5557 on the Toni’s Ponies/Toni Houck account. Gift cards to Tractor Supply help us buy grain and specialty vitamins and supplements. You can also support Toni’s Ponies and the horses we rescue here by a one time or even monthly donation. Our partnership with Zeffy assures that we get 100% of all electronic funds donated to us and pay 0 transaction fees. Click here to become a sponsor.

Follow us on facebook for more photos of Darby and to keep updated on her journey!

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