It's been an amazing year for me as a Wings volunteer. I started last March as a total beginner horse person. I hadn't been near a horse in probably 15 years, unfortunately. Now, I can walk out into a field, catch and halter a horse, bring it to the barn, groom it, and pick hooves. I've learned a little massage, I've done PEMF therapy, I've even washed a horsey rear end! I never thought I'd be doing all these tasks, as well as regularly feeding horses and helping make decisions on their daily care. I've gone from newbie to board member and volunteer coordinator. I never could have done all this without the great team at Wings that takes such good care of these animals.
I ask questions...a LOT of questions. And I've just scratched the surface of the vast amount there is to know about horses, from their psychology and behavior to their physical needs and nutritional needs. Everyone at Wings knows more about horses than I do, and it's been a great experience to learn from them, especially our Executive Director Debora Lay and our Facilities Manager Sherry Herman. They are extraordinary women giving extraordinary care to the horses and donkeys.
A lot has happened for Wings in the same time period. We took in around 16 equines last year, which is a lot for our operation. Several horses passed away, some were adopted to good homes and others are still with us being re-habilitated. I'm so glad I got to know all of these animals, and although it's hard when they leave us, I have good memories. I still think of Amigo every time I fill the hay boxes in the front tents. He used to sneak up behind me and loom over my shoulder, but he was always a gentleman.
I get a thrill every time I drive into the facility and see our new arena building, which is going to be such as asset to our equine-assisted therapy program. It's also really nice to get out of the wind on a chilly day! A lot of people have helped us out this year with donations of feed, hay and help at the facility as well as monetary donations. I hope all of our donors know how very grateful we are.
We're actively looking for volunteers now as Spring is just around the corner and a lot of our summer tasks are on the horizon. There will also be a lot of grooming needed when the horses start to shed their winter coats. I wish I could say that was going to start happening this week, but I peeked at the weather forecast and we'll have no such luck!
We're having a volunteer orientation on March 19th at 10:00am, so if you've ever thought that you'd like to spend some time around horses, this is your chance. Wings is a special place. You can fill out a volunteer application on our Volunteers page and I'll be giving you a call.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.