A Fairee Story: The spirit of the Wind Dancer Pony Rescue

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A pony arrives at a fine old farm and steps carefully into her new home. The new foster caregivers watch hopefully as their horse and the new arrival step nose to nose for the first time. None of them can know the important step this represents in Wind Dancer Pony Rescue’s campaign to provide caring homes for ponies and in the dream of a little girl who inspired it all.  “Even as a little one, Isabel knew her life purpose was to provide safe sanctuary for ponies in need,” says her mother, Dr. Paula Dupuy, President of the Foundation in Sheffield ON.

Fairee (the little buckskin pony to arrive at her new foster home) is the 20th pony rescued by Wind Dancer in its four years. Fairee’s new companion is a retired champion, grieving the loss of his stable mate after 35 years together.

Wind Dancer’s foster campaign aims to find homes for three ponies this year, freeing up space for those unfortunate calls that another rescue is needed, some of them desperate cases.

To read more about Fairee’s Foster Adventure, check out the summer edition of WHOA magazine:    http://online.flipbuilder.com/rsos/lzvo/#p=72

To learn more about fostering or helping our ponies:  www.winddancerponies.org/get-involved/foster or email winddancerfostering@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Do you have a “road safe” pony?

horse and motorcycleNo matter how much time and schooling you put in to prepare your pony for the road, the first ride is a new experience for them.  And ponies learn by doing – over and over and over.  But even the most experienced “road pony” can have a bad day.  All it takes is a dog barking and running at them at the end of a driveway, or an errant bug bite or sting to create an unfamiliar situation that might cause them to jump sideways.  Even the smallest sideways move can result in a collision if others sharing the road don’t know what could happen.

According to the Highway Traffic Act, “Every person having the control or charge of a motor vehicle or motor assisted bicycle on a highway, when approaching a horse or other animal that is drawing a vehicle or being driven, led or ridden, shall operate, manage and control the motor vehicle or motor assisted bicycle so as to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the frightening of the horse or other animal and to ensure the safety and protection of any person driving, leading or riding upon the horse or other animal or being in any vehicle drawn by the horse or other animal. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 167.”

Motorists should always err on the side of caution when passing a horse and need to recognize that horses are unpredictable animals that have a mind of their own. With that in mind, slow down and give horses ample room when passing them, if it’s safe to do so. Drivers who rarely leave the city streets, or those who may venture out for a “nice Sunday drive in the country” can innocently put lives at risk by assuming the animal they see going in a straight line along the side of the road will absolutely and without a doubt continue to do just that (and not only the horse or pony’s life, but the rider’s life too)!

Riders, please do your best to make sure your mount is as road-safe as they can be by:

o  ensuring your pony has received sufficient training and is ‘trail-safe’ before tackling riding on the road,

o  ensuring your level of skill will keep you safe on the road,

o  exposing your pony to all kinds of vehicles, including farm machinery, bicycles, motorcycles and ATV’s,

o  riding with a road-safe companion horse(s) until your horse or pony is confident on the road,

o  avoiding riding at dusk (or dawn) when driver visibility may be compromised,

o  pulling well off the road (into a field or driveway) if your pony is not behaving or if you are at all concerned,until the traffic has passed.

Drivers, please do your best to:

o  pull out into the oncoming lane (when safe to do so, of course!) and slowly pass (e.g. 20 km/hr) – the 30 extra seconds you spend could be life-saving,

o  stop your vehicle in a safe location if a rider is having trouble controlling their horse and until the rider has resumed control,

o  never honk your horn to “warn” a rider that you are approaching because it could frighten their horse,

o  proceed very slowly and with caution if you are pulling a trailer of any kind, or driving a truck with loose things in the truck bed or are covered in a tarp, (for example) where ends may be flapping – please recognize this adds to the overall ‘risk’ of the situation,

o  try to avoid speeding up quickly once you’ve passed, as this can shoot loose gravel back at the horse potentially causing a wreck of a different kind!

Riders everywhere appreciate your patience and your willingness to help keep our ponies safe!!

 

 

Pony Palooza! Fostering Our Volunteer Spirit!

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On Saturday May 2 the Wind Dancer Pony Rescue is hosting the 4th annual Pony Palooza at Rockton Fairgrounds. Pony Palooza is the Rescue’s volunteer appreciation event. Come and join ponies Holly and Bomber and the Wind Dancer volunteer team as they celebrate a year of volunteer spirit and dedication. Pony Palooza is a fun-filled evening that includes dinner, a silent auction, children’s games and a raffle as well as a special opportunity to meet Holly and Bomber – both adorable ponies looking for foster families!

“Pony Palooza is our chance to celebrate another successful year and to pay tribute to our wonderful volunteers,” says Paula Dupuy, rescue founder and President. “The success we’ve had at Wind Dancer is entirely due to our team of steadfast volunteers – and that includes the families who have opened their farms up as foster farms.”

Tickets can be purchased through the Wind Dancer Pony Rescue website http://winddancerponies.org/event/pony-palooza-volunteer-appreciation and all proceeds from the evening go back into the rescue and the work it does for ponies in need. This year Palooza particularly welcomes anyone that might be interested in providing a loving foster home for either Holly or Bomber – both are adorable and in need of a foster home. Come and meet these adorable and sociable little equines!

“We ensure our foster families are given as much support as they need when they take in one of our ponies,” says Allison Outerbridge, Vice President and head of the Foster Program at Wind Dancer. “The rescue’s success depends on some of our ponies going into foster care which frees up space for [-more-] other ponies in need.”

Pony Palooza begins at 6 p.m. at Rockton Fairgrounds (812 Old Hwy 8, Rockton, ON L0R 1X0). Tickets for Pony Palooza are $35 for Adults and $15 for kids under 12 and can be purchased in advance from the Wind Dancer website. For more information and tickets please visit:
http://winddancerponies.org/event/pony-palooza-volunteer-appreciation

WindDancer and the Stardust Dots

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The Wind Dancer Pony Rescue Foundation is a proud partner in launching the children’s picture book, Wind Dancer and the Stardust Dots, written by Neil Currie and illustrated by Jennifer Lambert. This beautifully illustrated and inspirational story about a foal named Wind Dancer, and her dreams of galloping among the stars, was written in honour of Isabel Dupuy’s indomitable spirit.

Books can be purchased online at www.volumesdirect.com and net proceeds from book sales will go toward helping the ponies at the Wind Dancer Pony Rescue. The book launch on Family Day, Monday, February 16, at Amani Acres promises to be a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family. Come and meet the REAL Wind Dancer!

Hello again friends!

This blog is going to be my way to keep you up to date with what is going on at Wind Dancer, and give you a bit of a more personal feel of what it is like to not only run a pony rescue, but to live and work at it every day. It is December now and the nights are getting colder. That makes for beautiful mornings. I feed the ponies on Monday and Thursday mornings. They do get fed every other morning as well – just not by me!

First I go to my own barn, as it is on the way to the rescue. They hear me and call out. Most often they have eaten all of their hay by the morning, and even though there are still bits of grass to graze on, they love to get a new batch of hay every day. In the main paddock there are currently seven ponies, and they jostle for the prime real estate, which is standing at the gate where I am going to enter with the hay.beans2

Now ponies may be small, but they are mighty, and mighty hungry it seems with those round bellies. And although some may think my day as a veterinarian carries a risk of danger, nothing is trickier than that first moment you enter the pony paddock with a wheelbarrow of hay! Beans can be irritable, and he can place those hind feet straight up in the air in an effort to claim his territory. I throw a small bit of hay over the gate to the left – he moves to that spot and defends it against the others. Then I can enter the paddock with another big handful of hay that I distribute into several small piles as I run fast away from the bickering herd. That gives me enough time while they eat their two bites so that I can bring the wheelbarrow through in peace.

I love old Ruben who stands back and watching, with a quiet knowledge that the hay will come – and for him a loving pat too. We fill slow feeders with hay. At a cost of $800 each (thank you donors), these allow our ponies to “graze” on hay throughout the day. Especially in the winter when there is no grass, the slow feeders keep the ponies busy. Without these they would eat their hay quickly and then just stand around all day waiting for their next meal. Instead they have to work the hay out through small holes in the feeder and this takes them some time.

On the topic of hay, it is by far our greatest expense. We feed good quality first cut grass hay and purchase it in large square bales. We have an attachment on the tractor that we use to move these bales and we are putting one bale in our small pony shed every 4-5 days. This is quite a bit of work as first the attachment needs to be put on the tractor and then the bale is picked up and placed in front of the pony shed. Rayna, our wonderful operations assistant, then opens the bale and stacks it flake by flake (or slice by slice) onto the pallets in the shed. With some of the looser bales this can be very labour intensive. Then at feeding times, the volunteers move these flakes to the pony paddocks.

We are hoping to invest in a larger hay storage building at the rescue so that the tractor can drive right through the open doors and stack the bales for the volunteers to use. We would like to be able to store 6-8 bales in this structure and this would eliminate handling the hay twice. As well we would be making much better use of the tractor and Johnny’s time! Such a building will be an expense not covered in our existing budget, so watch for donation requests as we hope to move forward with this project before winter sets in.

Our work couldn’t happen without the ongoing support of our volunteers and donors.  We are thankful for that support every day.

Believing in ponies!

Dr. Paula

Welcome to Wind Dancer!

Paula and WindDancer

Welcome to the new Wind Dancer website! We hope that you enjoy reading about our ponies and our volunteers. Here you will be able to learn the ponies’ stories, both the sad ones and the happily ever after ones. You can read about our events and make plans to attend one or two. You will be able to shop for Wind Dancer apparel and a few other items that we will introduce to you – that will definitely be easier than having to find me and sorting through a box of clothes in my office. Most importantly you will be able to help the ponies through donations and you can learn about our costs and know where your money is going (hay, hay, hay). Enjoy!

At the end of my day, I always walk out to the rescue and take a quick look around. I love seeing how happy the ponies are munching on their hay or sheltering from bad weather in their cozy run in sheds. Often the sun is setting and it spreads beautiful colours over this peaceful scene. Our logo stands out in the sun where it is displayed on the ends of the run in sheds. In it I see the silhouette of my daughter Isabel jumping her pony Dancer – a fond memory comes back to me of a day when Isabel jumped that pony bareback, no shoes on her feet and Dancer’s filly Gracie jumping along side. It makes me very happy how that magical moment is recreated at Wind Dancer again and again as our ponies receive daily love and care from our many volunteers.

This past month two of our volunteers, Brianna and Meredith, have been working with nervous Babe and have gained her trust, saddling her and working with her on the ground. And this is happening in the very same ring where Isabel and Dancer developed their relationship. So really, at the end of my Wind Dancer day, it feels good to be part of something so special and I am thankful to everyone who is part of this great organization that we have created and carry forward.

Believing in ponies!

Dr. Paula