It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to post to the blog. That’s largely because it’s summer and we are outside with the horses as often as we can! Since February, Toni’s Ponies has changed and grown dramatically. We went from a few very loyal volunteers on a semiregular basis to a workforce of dedicated people coming twice a week! We’ve been working hard on improvements to the property including new steps to what will soon be a camping area near the lower pasture, an outdoor kitchen/covered teaching space, cleaning and clearing the back trails and of course new shelters for the horses! We’ve also been fundraising like crazy! We had our annual fundraising Yard Sale for feed and hay and we are happy to report that our barn is FULL! The price of hay has gone up dramatically this year and it’s even been a little hard to find. We sighed a breath of relief this week when the last of it was delivered! This week we hosted our Farm Friends Summer Experience for kids! In short we had a blast! The kids got to spend a week around horses, learning about what it looks like to run this place, playing in the woods, doing chores, getting creative and having some horse time as well! We also have a concert here on the farm TODAY! We would love to see you!
So we’ve been a little busy and we’ve been meeting a lot of new people and fielding a lot of new questions. While Toni has been doing this for quite a while now we are still pretty new as a nonprofit and the amount of growth we’ve gone through in just the last six months is significant. As this has happened our rescue has changed. We’ve discovered needs that our community has and how we can be a part of it in different ways. We wanted to take this time to answer a few questions we get on a regular basis and let you in on what the direction of Toni’s Ponies looks like!
1. How long does it take to “rehabilitate” a horse?
This might be one of our most asked questions. And the answer is tricky. There’s no set time on how long it takes to rehabilitate a horse and get it ready for their new home. Many times we do not know the horses background and it’s a little trial and error as to what is going to work to make them feel safe and loved. What it usually involves is figuring out a feeding regimen that works for them as often the horses that come here need weight put on badly. Also we have to figure out what the best course of action for the horse will be. Many of our older horses will live out the rest of their lives here at Toni’s Ponies as we are also a sanctuary. After we get horses healthy we need to work with them to get them used to having people around them. Sometimes a horse is rescued or has come from a surrender due to the families inability to provide for it and that horse might be ready to find a new home very shortly. Other times it takes years before we feel that a horse is ready to head to their next home and sometimes this is their last home.
2. Do you have any horses for sale or adoption right now?
First things first we do not sell horses. When we adopt out a horse we do ask for a donation to be made directly to our feed store. Right now we do not have any horses up for adoption. In the last year we’ve rehomed five horses. That’s actually quite a bit for us. We will absolutely let folks know when we have one that is ready for adoption.
3. When can I come and meet the horses or help on the farm?
That’s a great question! We have been having regular volunteer days since mid April and they have been awesome. While the rescue is definitely a full time job we are not open to the public 7 days a week. Toni has two other jobs outside of the home and we are completely volunteer run. That said we have volunteer days Wednesdays and most Saturdays. Every once in a while we have an event on Saturday and the rescue will be closed to the public. You can also make an appointment by contacting us via the website, facebook, or phone.
4. What’s next for Toni’s Ponies?
Well this is a big one and it makes my heart skip around a little just thinking about it. Since February we’ve had quite a bit of exposure. People have reached out to us and have started volunteering. We’ve noticed that the farm has become this place where people come to connect. They connect with horses, which in itself is incredibly therapeutic and with others as well. We have such a neat mix of folks that come to work together and spend time with our equine friends here. We really want to lean into that. Toni’s Ponies hopes to be able to connect more people within our community through these horses. There’s something for everyone here. We want to focus on giving these horses the best life they can have and also give people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with horses a place to do so. We want to see families come and enjoy a day working and playing together. One of the things that has been great about our kids program this last week is that the parents seem to enjoy the farm just as much as the kids. They’ve brought treats and have followed their young ones around the field meeting their favorite horses. That’s really the dream. There are always going to be horses in need of rescue and we want to be there for them. We want to provide a place where they can grow and heal and find their forever home and in the meantime we want to be able to have people here who will show them love and who absolutely need them in their lives just as much as they need us.
5. How can we support Toni’s Ponies?
Our community has been incredibly generous and we want to thank everyone! It takes a lot to keep this place running and we have been blessed with volunteers and folks that donate monetarily as well. We are not exaggerating when we say every little bit counts. We’ve set up a new form through our giving platform, Zeffy. This for is a horse sponsorship form. For those that want to make a monthly donation of any amount please head over to this form. You will be prompted to choose a horse from a drop down menu and as a sponsor we want to send you monthly updates and photos of your chosen horse and we will have sponsor events as well! Monthly sponsorship helps us so much! The other ways to support are liking and sharing us on FB. This helps get the word out and we so appreciate this!
Ok another long post in the books! Thank you readers if you’ve made it this far. We have so many other questions that we will get to at another time! I’m getting ready to head out to our last day of our kids program and also get ready for a concert this evening on the farm. We would love to see you! Music is from 7-9 and we will be selling pulled pork sandwich dinners (sandwich, coleslaw, chips and water) for $10. As always thank you for being our village!