Young riders adopt aging horses

Young riders adopt aging horses
Young riders adopt aging horses

LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) – In horse barns everywhere sit aging horses who don’t get the same attention they used to. One barn in Lutz, FL is trying to change that. It has created a new adopt-a-horse program called Project Equine Golden Years.

Charlie Kellner owns and runs Kingsmeade Farm in Lutz. A barn filled with expensive show horses and little girls who are horse crazy. On a rainy Saturday she thought wouldn’t it be nice if the young riders adopted one of the older horses. “I’m not getting any younger myself so it has kind of brought home to me how these older horses must feel.”

By all accounts, it’s working. 10-year-old Emma Hechtman loves to dote on her adopted horse, Yaeger. She spoils him. “When you’re 28 years old, you get to do whatever you want.”

12-year-old Hailey Debrunner bonded with Brownie. “He’s just like me. Crazy and always wants to run around and get treats. I didn’t want to just leave her sitting in her stall and doing nothing.” Especially since Brownie also has cancer.

Sixer is an old retired racehorse. 14-year-old Elizabeth Suddath fell in love with him immediately. She grooms Sixer and takes him out to graze a few times a week.

Kellner says: “they just let it know that it’s loved. It gives the horse something to do and I think it helps the kids too.”  Project Equine Golden Years is going to be featured in a national horse magazine called The Plaid Horse this month. Kellner hopes once other barns hear about it, the concept will really take off.

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