So what happens to horses and ponies when they get old and can no longer work? One might prefer not to think about it, or not dare ask.. Or one might just assume they have happily gone to reitre somewehre. Unfortunatly, often this is not the case. Keeping old horses involves time, care, space, effort and significant costs.
At Belle Ferme ponies and horses are considered as members of the family. We therefore find it essential to make sure they can enjoy a well deserved retirement after many years of work. The majority of them have lived toghethr in a herd where very strong friendships are formed amongst them, so we also do our best not to separate them. We have been around for over 30 years now, and have always found solutions for them, but of course the more time goes on, the older they get and the more there are!
Over the years this approach to our 'oldies', which is quite unusal for a reasonably large riding school, has been much appreciated by many of our clients. Some have helped contribute in various ways to the costs, care and upkeep of our old friends. So thoughts have been going through my mind for the past few years about how to make it possible for those who appreciate our efforts to join in and help in a more structured way. The possible plan and idea of an Association just for them was quite well formulated in my head for the past few years, but bringing it to life and reality was a completly different story! To my amazement, thanks to strange circumstances (probably a broken arm!) and some exceptional people, that the plan in my head suddenly jumped to life and became reality! "Association Saxo Belle Ferme" came to life on the ,,,,,,,,,,,.
How did it come to life and who are the amazing people?
I was sitting in my farm kitchen having a cup of tea on a Friday afternoon. Orignaially I just needed a hand with writing something in correct French, and had asked one of our riders, Alina, to give me a hand. She had acutally broken her arm and was not able to ride, so she was more than happy to help . Over a cup of tea, with Alina's husband Gilles who had joined us, the convesation came to talking about retired ponies, and I shared with them my idea of an association. All the thoughts that were nicely planned in my head came out. As it turned out, putting such a thing together - knowing and understanding French law etc, was just up their street. They left at the end of the afternoon on Friday. By Sunday lunchtime, I received an email with (many!) pages of "statuts", (hours of work), all the paperwork needed, all the possibilities for a web page, a facebook page, the costs. Basically everything I had dreamt of for our old ponies, in less than 48 hours!
So my biggest Thanks go to Alina & Gilles. We got straight to work, but needed a team. Many of our clients, a lot of whom are also considered friends and to whom Belle Ferme is a second home, have the same understanding towards our horses. So I asked some of them if they would be willing to join in and help us set up our Association. Each one I asked joined us with no hesitation and lots of enthsiasm. I believe we put together and ideal team, each with our different qualitie experiences, and capabilities. So my next biggest thanks go to our Founding Members of the Saxo Team, along with Alina & Gilles; Anke, Cynthia, Laura, Steevie, my husband David, and honarary members my parents, Angela & Attila, who taught me, among other things, to find solutions. I will forever be thankful to all of you, in the name of all our old ponies and horses who are enjoying life in their beautiful fields. Because a team of people with great ideas and lots of hard work isn't necessarily enough, thank you to each one of you who have joined up and supported us!
For more information please follow the link to Saxo's website, where you will find information on becomming a member, donations, news, and information and photos about each of our old ponies and horses. Some of the site might still be under construction! Thank you.