Cindy Lou has luck on her side

Young horse Cindy Lou, who was once abandoned in a Langley field without food or shelter, now has a young sponsor looking after her.

Cindy Lou

Cindy Lou

In the course of her short life, Cindy Lou has experienced the worst of people and the best of people.

Abandoned in a Langley field without food or shelter, the blue-eyed filly had the great good fortune to be taken in by Sharon Wells-Ackermans, managing director of the Horse Protection Society of BC.

Sharon knew the chances of finding a forever home for an unbroken, completely untrained baby were slim to none. So, instead of casting about for a home for the little horse, she committed to teaching Cindy Lou the skills and providing the emotional support that would ensure her long-term survival in a world where horses are becoming disposable.

Local businesses like Vanderveen Hay Sales helped by providing donation receptables near the cash register. Local horse lovers contributed spare change for Cindy’s warm blanket and the special feed that got her through her first winter at Sharon’s farm.

Now Cindy Lou — fussed over and pampered by the team of Horse Protection Society volunteers at Sharon’s barn — has gotten lucky again:  a young girl has stepped up to be the almost two-year-old’s sponsor.

It’s an arrangement that benefits both the horse and her 19-year old sponsor, who grew up on horse farms in Langley.

“There’s just something about Cindy Lou. Normally I don’t like to work with babies but she really is special. I asked Sharon if I could spend more time with her and started bringing her into the barn at night. It kind of escalated from there,” said Nicole, who boards her horse at Sharon’s barn.

Nicole is now Cindy’s personal volunteer, and grooms her, cleans her stall daily, and prepares her feed.  Baby has  acquired lots of bling, courtesy of Nicole, including pink and purple matching brushes, halters, lead ropes and feed tubs.

“Pink is definitely her colour. Cindy is so sweet, laid back and willing, it’s hard to say no to her. I’ve started to do ground work with her under Sharon’s supervision. It’s great to have Sharon as a mentor. We’ll start her under saddle when she is three year old. It’s nice to be a part of her development and to play a role in her future, however small. I really enjoy spending time with her,” said Nicole.

Nicole, who is considering adopting Cindy Lou one day, said being able to spend so much time with the young horse gives her great insight into the temperament of an animal who may become a lifelong partner.

“I think sponsoring a horse like this and spending time together is a great way to avoid making a mistake, and choosing the wrong horse.  I can see how she reacts to new situations, and how well she learns. She always remembers what we did in the last lesson and is not fazed by new things.”

While Cindy’s human caregivers methodically prepare her for a riding career, her personal nanny and pasture mate, a mare called Iris Mae, is teaching her the finer points of herd etiquette.

“When Cindy Lou does something bad, Iris gives her a little nip. Not that she ever does anything bad,” Sharon joked.

By providing the orphaned filly with a herd environment, slow and steady training, and matching her with a devoted volunteer sponsor, Sharon has created a “star” who will one day have her choice of permanent homes.

“She definitely knows she’s special. She knows she’s loved,” said Nicole.

For more information on HPSBC programs and sponsorship opportunities, go to: www.horseprotectionsocietyofbc.com

Anne Patterson is a Langley writer and horse owner. Contact her at accidentalrider@yahoo.com.