Ironwood Maine Web Update

“The history of mankind is carried on the back of a horse.”

Jimmy Dean

            Recently, there have been numerous notable changes and events at the Farmhouse Barn. The mini horses, Napoleon and Fancy, have been moved down from the big barn back to the mini barn at Frye. Farmhouse barn interns visited last Thursday during Frye’s horsemanship class to instruct Frye residents how to halter, groom, and work with the minis. This transition has left more space in the big barn for two new horses, Athena and Alibi (who is returning to Ironwood after a few months break). There are now six geldings, two mares, and a pony at Ironwood.

            These changes have benefited Frye residents by exposing them to working with horses early, and it has benefited Farmhouse by making room for the larger horses which require more space and attention. However, the barn faced a major challenge this Wednesday, when the barn intern discovered Alibi lying on her side in the corner of her stall. When the barn manager realized Ali was unable to get up, numerous barn staff and experts arrived to assess the situation. Ali had accidentally cornered herself overnight and was unable to stretch out her legs to stand. She grew exhausted and numb, to the point she was unable to stand even with assistance. Eventually, Ali’s owner and a local equine vet were called to help, and most residents were not permitted in the barn for safety. In the meantime the rest of the horses stayed indoors for observation and, thanks to the efforts of the brave and dashing barn intern, were cared for with fresh hay and water. Given time to rest along with medication and an IV, Ali was moved away from the stall’s corner and able to stand on her own. She’s now healthy and walking in the pasture, though still being monitored for any resulting medical complications. Incidents such as this are extremely rare, but it seems that Alibi is going to fully recover.

            The skills residents learn in the barn provide them with the empathy, commitment, work ethic, responsibility, and people / animal relations which are essential to becoming hard working and caring citizens. Furthermore, it prepares students of various backgrounds and prior experience for potential equine, livestock, and agricultural careers

            As with any animal, working with horses can be dangerous and requires a learned sense of level-headed confidence. However it is also extremely rewarding. Persevering when one is stressed, overwhelmed, and tired inspires students with a greater feeling of accomplishment and capability. Ironwood’s equine program, through its challenges, provides endless opportunities for these experiences.

            The Farmhouse Barn is a living, growing entity – constantly adapting to the needs of horses and residents alike. With the recent change in management, many improvements and alterations to the equine program are currently in progress. While such drastic changes come with challenges, they also encourage originality, innovation, and problem solving. Over time, Ironwood’s big barn and mini barn alike will develop to improve the efficiency and quality of their services within the community.

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