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Bonnie and Clyde ponies are out to make people smile By Ana Bykhovskaia firstname.lastname@example.org
Two little brown ponies pulling a miniature cart that sometimes can be seen in the Arcola or Lampman areas serve a number of very serious and important goals. First of all, they make people smile. And as their handlers, Jeremy and Rhonda Garling of Kisbey, take them out to the neighbouring communities, little ponies named Bonnie and Clyde make sure people around them feel happier. One of their favourite destinations is the nursing home in Lampman, where they always have a very warm reception. “The residents love the ponies and the ponies love the residents,” said Rhonda. During the Garlings’ last visit, there was also a band playing for the residents, however, according to Rhonda, Bonnie and Clyde were the real stars of the day. “When they introduced the band there was applause by all the residents, there were residents’ families
there also. But when they said, ‘We’d like to thank the ponies,’ boy, the applause… If there was an applause meter, it would have maxed out. It was just hilarious,” said Rhonda. The therapeutic effect the two ponies have on people is hard to overestimate. They build relationships with residents and do their best to comfort them. Thus Clyde recently was brought over to one of the bedridden residents and just placed his head on her elbow. “It was a very peaceful, very tranquil moment,” said Rhonda adding that it lasted for about 10 minutes. “Just the best therapy you can have.” Not only do the ponies bring comfort to people, but their attire and appearance also awaken a lot of memories in seniors. For many of them horse travels were very common at one time. “We heard stories about how they drove their carts to schools or to the neighbours. My husband heard stories about how they had their carts in storms,” said Rhonda.
Besides visiting the seniors, ponies also travel around. People can wave them over to get to know them better, take pictures or even get a ride. Quite often the crew also stops at the Lampman gas station. “It’s a thing for us, we say, ‘Hey, we are beating the carbon tax with ponies.’” Rhonda and Jeremy are trying to hit the road as often as they can to make sure that a lot of people get a chance to get to know their team. But the ponies are therapeutic not only for people they meet, but they also help their handlers. And as is often the case, none of this probably would happen if not for a sad page in Garlings’ life. “My husband got sick January 2017… They still haven’t diagnosed him, but some days he can walk, some days he has to walk with a cane … Some days he needs a walker. Some days he can’t walk. And same with the speech,” said Rhonda. Soon after, the family ended up with seven rescue
Jeremy Garling with two of the miniature ponies that he owns with his wife Rhonda. Photo submitted
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Bonnie and Clyde have been a hit with people of all ages. Photo submitted
ponies. The Garlings always had bigger horses, but Jeremy couldn’t safely ride them anymore. The family gave the animals a temporary home, but it turned out that ponies had a lot to give back too. It was especially true about one of them named Drewfeus. “He was from the first round of rescue ponies that we got… We kept Drewfeus … because when Jeremy was outside he would fall. All of a sudden, he would yell Drewfeus, and Drewfeus came to Jeremy like a dog and would lower his head to help Jeremy up. He was never trained to do that… He just adores Jeremy,” recalled Rhonda. So Drewfeus joined the family. Last summer, the Garlings took Wilbur, Rhonda’s three-year-old stud, and Drewfeus to Arcola for the first time. They invited people to pet or ride Wilbur and interact with Drewfeus. And the excitement they saw around their fourlegged friends made them turn that experiment into a more frequent activity. So soon after, most local businesses and people in town got to know the animals and also fell in love with them. The new addition to the family, Bonnie and Clyde,
came in this year when Estevan resident David Andersen gifted Jeremy these ponies, so the Garlings would give them a forever home. And with two ponies pulling the little cart Jeremy now could go on a ride along with Wilbur and Rhonda and also could offer others to share this experience. “My husband just goes around and shares his passion with his ponies… Whoever wants to pet the ponies, can pet the ponies, they want to ride in his cart, they can ride in the cart. It’s all free, he is just sharing his passion. He is paying it forward, putting a smile on other people’s faces,” said
Jeremy Garling rides down a street with Bonnie and Clyde. Photo submitted
Romeo is just the sweetest little kitten. Him and many other kittens are still waiting at the shelter for their forever home
CALL ESTEVAN HUMANE SOCIETY Marin is around two years old, she got lots energy and loves people. Come down and take her for a walk tonight.
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Rhonda. “And it’s a therapy for my husband also.” The family hopes that visits to the nursing home will become regular. They are also talking about probably going to Carlyle and having their trips at least once a month, but it all depends on Jeremy’s health. As long as they are going, they encourage people who see them on the road to come over and share their positive energy. “If anybody sees us, just wave us down. And we’ll stop and they can get a ride or pet the ponies,” said Rhonda. “To us seeing the smiles and giggles are worth more than any amount of money.”
Spayed and neutered pets are much happier pets.
The Estevan Humane Society reserves the right to refuse any adoption.