Editor, The Spotlight:
The normal life expectancy of a horse is about 20-30 years, but with good care and regular check-ups a horse can live a lot longer. For example at Walden Farm, Karen Burrows has horses that are around 35 years old.
I have known Karen since I was in third grade when I started riding at Walden Farm. Over the past five years that I’ve been at the barn, my family and I had bonded with her. I have met many horses at the farm, and I loved them all.
In fourth grade, I remember when a jumping horse named Zoey came to the barn during camp. When Karen got her, she had a broken leg from being injured at a jumping show. The owner sold the horse to Karen. Karen had her leg set, and now she is recovered.
Every day at 8 a.m., the kids at horse camp would go into the pasture and the stalls to fill the water buckets and feed the horses. If the lessons ended early, we would help Karen out with other chores like mucking out the stalls and putting horses into their stalls. Karen thought we did it to help out, but we really just wanted to stay longer. In the winter, we got shovels and went out to break the ice that had frozen in the water bucket overnight.
Once when a horse came in without teeth, Karen went out to buy special food for it. Most horse owners would put a horse down because of that, but not Karen. She believed in the horse and did everything in her power to help it.
On a normal day, Karen would wake up at 5 a.m. to feed and fill the water buckets for the horses before starting to get ready at her part time job as a lunch aid at Slingerlands Elementary. After work, she would feed and fill the buckets for the horses before the kids started showing up for lessons. When I would show up in 40-degree weather, I would see Karen out in the pasture with muck boots, pants and a short-sleeve shirt putting the horses in the indoor barn so they wouldn’t get cold.