Do I Make A Difference?
My name is Patrice Bryant Akers, and I am the Treasurer for Horse Protection. I have been a bookkeeper for most of my life – learning from my mother at the age of ten and continuing the family business for over fifty years. I like numbers. They are logical. There are no shades of gray or in-betweens. Accounting is good for me. It balances the logical part of my life with the emotional – and that’s where the horses come in…. I’ve always loved horses, taking after my father who told me stories of his beloved “Chief” all throughout my childhood. I was never around horses, but always wanted them. Seven years ago, my mother said to my husband and me, “Let’s do it!”. So, packed up our home in Southern California and moved to Ocala to our farm – Psalms Farm. I had no idea the journey that would come. We rescued all three of our herd members and began to study Natural Horsemanship. We began training with Christine Massinger, and that opened up a world of understanding. Our three guys changed over the months and years and have become who they were always meant to be – confident, fun-loving, playful, respectful and trusting of humans – but most importantly, desiring to be with us. It is literally the lamb laying down with the lion. The ultimate prey animal and the ultimate predator – becoming one in partnership. Humans have the capacity to abuse equines. I know this in my head, but it is still so difficult to accept on the heart level. Still, even after witnessing so much atrocity, I am captured by hope and uplifted by the amazing work of our team. Our farm manager, Lisa, who intakes the wounded and works side by side with our Executive Director, Christine and our team of equine associates – Chelsea, Tammy, Michele, Stephanie plus so many amazing volunteers. They suit up and show up each day, loving the horses in a way that rebuilds broken trust.
Saddled CastawayIn November 2021, Pablo, a Paso Fino, was abandoned at Horse Protection complete with a saddle on his back. He was extremely emaciated, with a body of score of 2. When he first arrived, Pablo stood with his back to everyone – facing away – head down, eyes averted. I saw several of the team try to coax him with a treat or come close – slowly, slowly – Nope! He made sure to stay far, far away from any human!!
Welcoming CommitteeFast forward to the middle of March, 2022. I had not been to Horse Protection since December’s “Blessing of the Animals” due to tax season. I was at Horse Protection for the Lead from Within workshop. We had about twenty participants in the workshop. During break, we took them on our customary tour of the facility to meet the equines. I was surprised to see Pablo trotting quickly to the fence to greet all of the people!! What TRUST!! Oh, my heart be still!!! What this team has done for this one individual each and every day…feeding, caring, grooming, mucking, singing and whistling while they worked (thank you sweet Chelsea!) each part, each person has helped to restore our amazing Pablo.
So, do I make a difference? Do WE make a difference?We are all part of a team. A team of people from various backgrounds who have a common passion – a passion that is expressed in our Code of Values: “We place the welfare of the Horse Protection equine first. We commit wholeheartedly to our duty of protecting them. As their stewards, we base all our decisions on our entrusted service to them. We acknowledge that Horse Protection is greater than any one individual. We therefore proudly join as a unified team ethically working to promote our mission.”
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