Dear Friends of Personal Ponies,
This certainly has been a winter to test our endurance in so many ways. As most of you know, our shetland ponies are from the Shetland Islands which are only 30 miles south of the arctic circle. Our ponies history is not an easy one having to forage for food in subzero temperatures and truly their mere existence was a story of "survival". Many of our ponies that are the core of our breeding program are first generation off the Shetland islands and do not find any difficulty in dealing with this weather. This is especially true because unlike being on the Shetland islands, no matter how frigid the temps, there is hay, water and a shetler to keep them out of the elements.
And they are grateful. You can see it in their eyes. One of the reasons this breed was chosen for our program was because of their character. They are survivors. They are hardy and willing to deal with whatever comes their way. Many of you are aware that, in addition to surviving sub zero temps, they were also the ponies used in the coal mines in England and then later imported here in the United States to be used. Again, another testament to their willingness, ability to do whatever is asked of them, and very resiliant nature. During this time, the ponies were often sent down into the mines and kept in there for months at a time with little food, no air, and no light. The never complained. Sad as it was, once the mines became mechanized, there was very little need for the true UK Shetland pony. The true UK Shetland pony is small, wide, round, hardy, short legs, very docile, and very kind hearted. Once they were no longer needed in the mines, they were bred to other breeds of ponies to create a pony that would be admired in a show ring or sold for money to the privledged children of the UK or even here in the US for showing. A new type of pony emerged that was more high spirited and of a different nature.
There are several bloodlines of the "true" UK shetland that date back to the 1800s and earlier that still have that willing, kind disposition and are very much still the hardy pony of the coal mines. Those are the bloodlines and ponies we have aquired over the years to build our program and make sure that the children we serve have a companion with this temperament. A pony that is willing to stand for hours while a child that may be awkward on their feet, leans on them and grooms them. Or a pony that willing stands and listens while a child that needs a friends talks about their struggles in life. This is the pony we have for our program.
Although this report is to share with you how your very valuable donations have helped us over the quarter, I felt it was worthy to share with you more about who our ponies are and why they were chosen for our program. In this very frigid winter, even though our ponies are hardy and do not mind the cold, we have had families that have needed extra help this winter with hay and feed for their ponies. Several families needed extra support this winter as feed and hay bills are nearly double a normal winter. And having the donations through Global Giving has been a wonderful source of assistance.
We hope you will share our program with others and let them know that every dollar you donate goes to helping one of the children whose life is changed by having the opportunity to be part of our program. Do read the story below from our Blog.
To all our friends and supporters of Personal Ponies,
Thank you all for your generous support of our program. As you all know, we are 100 percent volunteer organization and do not charge at all for any of our services. As a result, we are very dependent on each of you to contribute to our overall mission of making a difference in the lives of children with special needs.
This year has been exciting in many ways. We feel that , although not fully so, the economy is stronger and many of our families are beginning to feel more optimistic about their futures! The fianncial support we have had from so many has really helped in keeping some of our ponies with the children they serve instead of the families having to send them off to other caretakers. Our goal is always to find a way for a family or child to keep their ponies no matter what and having the funds to support them when needed is very helpful. Even if all we do is provide hay for the pony over the winter or pay a vet bill, it makes a difference.
Something else exciting this year was our National Conference held in upstate New York. Volunteers and families from all over the country met for a long weekend to share their ideas, discuss the future of our program and to enhance our sense of purpose, commitment, cooperation and evolution of our Personal Ponies family group as it enlarges the scope of our mission. It was a very successful weekend and each person gave their own time, incurred their own expenses, having to leave family and animals to travel from places like Idaho, Louisianna, Indiana, Florida, etc to participate.
Something else important to our program was accomplished this year, a formal database. We have up and running a new database of all of our ponies and volunteers making it more efficient and easier to locate, identify and keep files on the history of each pony in our program and each family. This has taken many years in the planning and experimenting to finally have something that works and can be shared by our directors.
Please do keep in touch with us through our facebook page and website. Our 2014 theme child will be announced end of December and we do post stories as much as possible about our ponies and families. As all of you are heading into the season of making your own difference in the world through financial contributions, please do consider Personal Ponies. Next year will be no different for us and right now we are in the midst of moving 8 ponies out of South Dakota to various parts of the country and the costs are prohibitive to say the least and all contributions help make it possible! Please share our website with your friends and let them know that you believe in our program.
Many thanks and all the very best to each of you!
PS. do take a look at some of the photos from 2013 that we shared in this report!
As you know, Personal Ponies has ponies all over the country and in Canada. At times, our volunteers do find themselves over burdened with life. Their burdens come in all forms, illness, finances, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. During those tough times, they often need support from us in order to keep caring for their ponies. We are so grateful to those that have contributed to our program through GlobalGiving. Each donation has made a difference for us! This summer we have used your donations to help various volunteers. One long term director of ours has had to hire help in her barn as she finished her chemotherapy and her husband is out of work. Another volunteer has not been able to care for all her ponies and we sent a trailer from 10 hours away to come get some of her ponies and leave her with enough hay for the winter for those she kept. Another young child's pony unexpectadly passed away and we have used some of your contributions to send a new pony to her. And the list goes on!
We really do appreciate every last penny that is sent our way. Our office expenses do not exceed $6,000 a year to run a large organization that reaches wide and deep. That is unheard of in today's society!!!! As each person in our program is a volunteer, it means that your contributions always goes to the core of our program, the chidren and the ponies. We cannot thank you enough!
Please do join our facebook fan page to see pictures of our ponies and see some of the magic!
All the best,
Hello Friends of Personal Ponies,
Thank you again for your support and for helping us to spread a little pony magic around the country. This spring we have used some of our donations to help move ponies to new volunteers. There are several ponies in North Dakota that have needed to move because one of our families experienced many hardships and could no longer care for them. The funds you provided were very needed and appreciated.
We have other ponies in South Dakota that will also need to be moved as soon as possible and your donations will help with that as well. Otherwise, we have used your funds to help us with buying hay for those in need and gelding a pony or two!
We are also in the process of saving money where we can to help support some of our volunteers that need money to come to our National Conference in October in New York. This conference happens once every two to three years and is the only time our volunteers can sit down face to face and share stories, learn from each other and make plans for their programs. It is truly a valuable experience and so needed since we are all spread from one end of the country to another.
As always, I encouarge each of you to please share our program with those you know and let them know that you supported us and hopefully they will too.
All the best and with gratitude,
We can almost say winter is behind us! This is always something we all look forward to because spring means shedding pony coats and more time to be out and about with the children we serve. Some of our volunteers though are lucky enough to live in warmer climates and have spent all winter out and about making pony magic!
The funds we had collected for 2012 have been very helpful and in this report I just want to share a few places we have used the donations received through 2012. We had one family in Michigan that lost their jobs and were not sure they could keep the ponies for their children. We were able, because of all of you, to provide enough funds for hay and feed for the winter are happy to report that the family is soon working again and life will be good!
We also had a long time volunteer pass away towards the end of last year who housed five of our ponies and ran a community program for Personal Ponies. We were faced with relocating the ponies and making sure they could be cared for in the interim. We provided funds for hay and feed and basic care and tehn were able to transport the ponies to a new volunteer who has taken over and actually expanded our program in Minnesota.
We also had a darling young boy who had surgery. He had many surgeries and many of you may remember him because we wrote about him once before. Through our donations, we were able to bring to him a pair of driving ponies upon his return from the hosptial. We also were able to buy him harness to use so he could drive them.
And the list goes on. We really are deeply appreciative of the support from each of you. It allows the chance to reach out to so many and keep the magic of our ponies alive for the children that we serve.
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