Here at LLAF we have had a really busy year. During the last year I have sometimes felt that we were kind of slow, then, as I prepared to do the end of year paperwork, I was and always am suprised at what our nambers really are.
Family Tours- in 2015 we had given 480 tours through our farm. Our visitors were from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some were just curious as to what made a Rehabilition Center different from a Rescue, others thought that homeless horses were worthless and should be euthanized. Many of these visitors were almost angry when they phone for an appointment, very agitated. A few were even breeders of high value show horses. However, when they came they were very surprised to see how many horses had arrived at our facility. Out of the 25-28 equines they saw, we were able to show them that all had value, or at least should be given the benefit of the doubt. All agreed senior equines should be able to live comfortably their last few years. Some of the visitors were pre-vet students, some were people working with at-risk teens, and some just wanted to learn about our work here at LLAF.
LLAF is currently working with Farm Credit Services in Cuyahoga, Stark, and Summit Counties to create a 3-year internship program which will allow people wanting to own a family farm to do so. This helps us out with labor, while we are teaching safe and humane animal husbandry, and how to plant and harvest quality hay for a cash crop, as well as other garden and fruit produce.
Feed Grain and Hay-
LLAF has not had any grain donated for the last several months. Therefore it is costing us roughly $167 weekly just for grain. We were able to work with an area store to purchase on credit in large quanity of grain at a savings of $1 per bag plus 5% off. We pay no interest as liong as we make monthly payments and the balance is paid in full by March of this year. Our minimum monthly payment is $274.
We need to purchase 130 round bales of hay for winter. This enables the outside horses to be able to eat as they feel hungry. This cuts down on labor, as well as ensuring outside animals can eat as they need to keep them sufficiently warm. Winter is here. If we purchase round bales in bulk (12-14 at a time0, then delivery is free. Current price is near $65/each.
We recently had a horse named Chick come to us. She is 11 years old, a large pony/small horse, with buckskin/dun markings. Chick is a papered Paint/Quarter horse, with impeccable breeding and very good conformation. She is extremely friendly and affectionate, and is becoming a favorite.
Chick was a professional show horse, doing ranch events as her discipline of showing. However, in her 6 years of competing she has had her withers broken and had substantial injury to her knees and some shoulder issues. We brought out a speacilist, a Dr. Hippy from Chagrin Falls. She has come out twice, and Chick is making huge progress with her prescribed regimen of therapies.
Part of Chicks problem is that she has arthristis in her knees and her range of motion is limited. Not only is this painful, but it will be lifelong. We are concerned that without steady flexing and moving this will lead to muscle atrophy, which will cause more pain and discomfort. Chick is in far less pain now, and is able to flex and move her shoulder and her knees far more. This shows that therapy is working and implies that we may be able to keep her conditioning from woresning for several years. Remember, she is young, only 11.
Dr. Hippy would like to inject some fluid, including meds, that could keep the arthritis from getting worse. it somehow inhibits arthritis growth. We need to inject this as soon as funds are available. The first dose will be about $400, to be repeated again after three or four months. Thereafter, it may only be needed two or three times a year. If this works to improve her quality of life for the next several years, it will the cost an average of $100 a month for her to be ridden and play a large role in our equine assisted programs. We firmly believe that this is well worth trying, and if it works even half of what the vet predicts, Chick will be in less pain and have a great fulfilling life for at least 10 years or more.
LLAF participated in ASPCA National Help A horse Day in April of 2015. We also had two horse shows that were successful fund raisers. We were able to not only raise awareness, and much needed funds for vet expenses, but were also able to complete rehab of 6 equines this past year. We are now awaiting funds to get these animals trained.
With our experienced staff we are able to perform a lot of our own first aid procedures here on the farm. This saves us thousands of dollars each year.