What a Bad, but Good, Spring it has Been
Save the Horses during Covid 19
It all started innocently enough. In late February, we were operating our usual late winter sleigh rides at full tilt and heading into what looked like good steady business for the March break. Then suddenly a new word came into our vocabulary – Coronavirus – soon to be known as COVID19.
COVID19 and the measures associated with it changed everything.
Overnight, our world and all the security we thought we had was thrown into a turmoil. Our business was shut down completely, nobody could visit or volunteer and there was no income coming in. We had to face the stark reality that we had 12 horses to feed. Twelve horses to keep happy and healthy at the cost of approx. $300 per horse (feed, bedding, farrier and hay) per month.
Things looked bleak. What should we do? Most of the horses were older rescued and/or retired and after a lifetime of service, we had planned for Back of Beyond to be their last forever home. We did not qualify for any government funding and although we had enough hay in the barn for a few months and some funds in reserve we knew the cost of keeping the horses would add up quickly.
The stark reality of the COVID19 situation was not an easy thing to face. Summer is the period we run local Christian Outreach Ministry but without our regular source of income, we were unsure how to proceed.
So, we did the only thing we could do. We prayed to God the Father who holds all things in His hand – even COVID19. We prayed for direction, read our Bibles and looked to Jesus for encouragement and comfort. We found peace and hope even in the trials and uncertainty.
What happened next was truly remarkable and an answer to prayer. Many people from all walks of life stepped up to support the Mission. Some people brought carrots and apples; some people sponsored a horse or made a donation; Harvest Church supported us with a video; many people bought horse manure from us for their gardens; others encouraged and prayed for us. It was truly remarkable to see how generous people were even when they were facing their own struggles and challenges.
There are some perks in the whole experience. Since we must wear a mask in the barn the smell of horses is not so pervasive, and everything moves slower which the horses like better. Smaller groups allow us more one on one interaction and everything is very clean.
So, what is happening now at Back of Beyond? We are in tier 1 of the Province’s reopening plan, so volunteers can return to help us, and families can reconnect with the horses. We are looking forward to setting up our summer Mission programs (with some restrictions and changes) and sharing the hope we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. In addition, we have some new ideas to help young people flourish through these troubled times.
We are not out of the woods yet. It will not be business as usual for a very long time. Group sizes are smaller and everything is less efficient and more time-consuming. Surfaces need to be sanitized regularly, equipment sterilized, new policies and procedures implemented and the horses continue to need feed, medicine and care.
We do not know what the future will hold, however, we have confidence and faith in our God and trust He will never fail us. We know that “This same God who takes care of us will supply all our needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
We hope that all of you who have visited Back of Beyond in the past will rally round us to save the horses.
You can make a difference by giving a donation, sponsoring a horse, providing funding to allow young people to attend Mission Programs, becoming a volunteer, or continuing to pray for us.
Bill and Cathy