“I went out to the paddock and apologized to the horses. I promised them that as long as I was here it would never happen again.” With those words, that apology and that promise she released the sad souls of the horses that had perished on that land. Now they could be at peace and life could start anew.
Last May the OSPCA ( Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals) revealed that a stable in the Stouffville area had horses that were emaciated and severely neglected and as many as 13 had died and were buried on the property. The Small family, who had been renting the property, were charged with animal cruelty. It was subsequently discovered that the Smalls have done this before, more than once, at other locations.
Despite having been charged by the OSPCA with a criminal offence, the Smalls don’t appear to be willing to appear for their day in court and this has prompted horse and animal lovers to start a petition and also prepare an impact statement to put pressure on the courts to get these people to court and have justice served upon them.
That is the sad history that Krista Pollock was faced with when she decided to set up her business, KP Dressage, at this property. This is why she went to the paddock to apologize and give peace to the horses who had died there.
I went to see Krista at the farm in early September. I walked around the stable and spoke with some of Krista’s students who had horses there. Was there still any feelings of the horrible past? How had the horses reacted when they moved in? I was told that the horses had arrived and settled into the new stalls easily. They were happy in their turn out paddocks.
Krista had set the tortured souls of the dead horses free. Now they can rejoice in the new arrivals and the new life at the stable.
Krista and her students , with the help of her husband and some other “horse husbands”, have completely renovated the stable; new stalls, new footing in the arena, new fencing , new wash stalls. Now all the stalls are light and airy.
The horses here are never in want of feed or water or…..carrot treats.
All the horses, including this handsome fellow, are calm and enjoying life.
The doors to the barn are open and welcoming.
Krista told me that when she was a child, long before the Smalls rented the property, she used to come to this barn for a summer riding camp. She hopes that now this barn can recover and not be a victim of what took place there. She feels that the past has been laid to rest and even when she is there, alone at night, there is only a feeling of calm and peace.
Krista brought her students with her and has room for more in the new barn. She is a coach who is amateur friendly and has plans for a forest trail ride and pancake breakfast in the early fall. I thought that sounded like a really fun idea. Several years ago I trained with Krista and I can remember going to shows as a big group and supporting one another and having a lot of fun. This is the spirit she has brought to this stable now.
In the renovated viewing room there is a wonderful artwork on the wall. Looking closer I could see it was made up of dozens of pictures of horses. Look closely. You will be able to see each square is a picture of a horse.
Then when you stand back you can see a horse galloping forward. This is how I see this stable. All of the horses, from the good times past, all the riders young and old and in between are represented here. They all come together to show us a beautiful horse, powerful and strong with his gaze on the future. I believe this represents the redemption of this stable and this property. It has risen from the ashes of the past. Krista Pollock and KP Dressage are taking it to a happy future.