From the community

‘Aisha’ and Her Community Helping Each Other

Posted Feb. 21, 2014, at 7 p.m.
'Aisha' and one of her best friends, Mud Pony Club member Matthew Poitras
'Aisha' and one of her best friends, Mud Pony Club member Matthew Poitras

Would you want a therapy horse to keep doing her work? As a healthy and cooperative member of her team, that’s what ‘Aisha’ does. A majestic Brabant draft horse, she offers herself as a companion, physical and emotional support system and even a platform for teens learning vaulting, or gymnastics on horse. Her days are spent with veterans, special needs children, adults, families, and the local ‘Mud Pony Club.’

‘Aisha’ was donated to the Van Buren therapeutic farm in 2012. She has become a magnet to visitors and clients who are drawn to her for the support she provides and the lessons they can learn from her. Aisha is an essential member of the equine staff. At age ten, she has a long life ahead of her and many opportunities to make a positive impact and change in the world of people who visit, interact with, and ride her.

You could say she has a ‘fan club.’ When it became apparent in 2013, that Aisha may have an ovarian tumor/cyst or other reproductive issue that started affecting her work, many people stepped up to help raise extensive veterinary funds for Aisha to visit Southern Maine’s Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic, in Monmouth, for full evaluation and treatment.

Manes and Tails nonprofit (supporting the use of horses therapeutically in Aroostook), has stepped in as fiscal sponsor. Online, the GoFundMe, ‘Save Aisha’ project has risen over $500, Individual donations have brought the total given to over $1,000. Donation containers have been placed in several towns throughout Aroostook. Even a group of local school students have created a class project to help support their gentle giant on four hooves. Total costs for Aisha’s exams, treatment and travel may go between $5,000 to $10,000, but the group remains optimistic and will NOT GIVE UP!

So far Aisha’s regular veterinarian, Dr Victoria Swanson, has prepared Aisha for her trip with preliminary tests and vaccines. Dr Vicky has also consulted with several vets about Aisha’s condition, confirming that a trip south is the next step.

As facilitator of Equine Assisted Learning and Therapeutic services at Perfect ponies, Nancy Dumond Violette is amazed at the support from the Aisha fan club and community, reminding people who do want to contribute to this cause that all donations are tax deductible; either online through http://www.gofundme.com/53u9fw or, if preferred to send directly, checks should be made to Manes and Tails, write Aisha in the subject area, send to Manes and Tails c/o 489 Main St., Van Buren, ME.

Aisha’s home/farm is a mission rather than a business, a ‘pay as you can’ system and any donations go directly into the hay fund; no one is turned away from equine assisted services. A Facebook page: Perfect Ponies Learning Center has great photos of Aisha and other equine staff doing what they do best, making positive changes lots of smiles.

FMI: Nancy Dumond Violette 207-868-5324, ponygirl489@msn.com for Manes and Tails, which supports the use of horses therapeutically in Aroostook County : Facebook, Manes and Tails Aroostook, on the web at www.manesandtails.webs.com

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