When you ask a typical soon-to-be ten-year-old what they want for birthday gifts, most of us are not surprised by what we hear. But Charlotte Pollard’s not a typical ten-year old. When her mother, Crystal, asked what she wanted as birthday gifts for her recent birthday party, she wasn’t surprised by her daughter’s response. “I have everything I need,” Charlotte responded, “and there’s nothing I really want.”
What Charlotte really loves is riding the horses at Lutheranch. This Bremen, GA youth lives 30 minutes from Lutheranch. “She loves that place,” Crystal said of her daughter. “She would live there if she could!” Charlotte was among the first to begin riding lessons at Lutheranch almost three years ago. She’s there twice a week to ride her favorite, Mystic, and several other horses. What she really loves, it turns out, is feeding the horses. After every ride, her mother says, they spend an extra 30 minutes making sure every horse gets a treat!
“Every time we go to Tractor Supply,” Crystal says, “we try to buy something for the horses.” Why not ask those we invite to bring gifts for the horses instead of something for you? Neither Crystal nor Charlotte is sure where the idea came from, but both knew immediately this would be perfect. Charlotte’s birthday was to be a “Neon Birthday Sleep-over” for a group of her special friends. They turned to Gretchen Ahrens, Lutheranch’s Program Director and leader of the Equine program for a list of needs for the horses. Gifts for this girl’s 10th birthday included a shovel for the stalls, harness, grooming brushes and treats – not for Charlotte, but for horses at Lutheranch.
Parents of her party guests loved the idea! Now Charlotte and Crystal have other families heading to Tractor Supply regularly for gifts for the horses at Lutheranch. Riding is not all this active youth does. An active member of First United Methodist Church in Bremen, when Charlotte’s not at Lutheranch riding or feeding horses, she plays volleyball and runs track. We’re just grateful that Lutheranch has become this youth’s “happy place” and the horses there her very special companions.
God’s blessing come in all “sizes” out at Lutheranch, in the faith forming programs, the riding lessons, the equine therapy, hosted ministry retreats and so much more. You don’t have to feed the horses when you come, but if you want to provide something special for them (like Charlotte) they will be happy to take it from you. We’re grateful to a 10-year-old girl who asked that her birthday gifts go to the horses. You don’t have to direct your birthday gifts to the horses, but you could! You could consider sponsoring a horse or making a gift to help scholarship someone to one of the ministries offered there. To learn more about the equine programs as well as faith forming programs for people of all ages, contact Ms. Gretchen Ahrens at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the many ways you can support this great work, contact us at email@example.com. To make an online donation, visit our website at NovusWay.org.
Photos provided by Crystal Pollard and Sarah Carrol.