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Dear Debbie,

November 13,1999

I'm thirteen years old and in the eighth grade. I'm also a member of the Oconee County 4-H Club in Georgia. One thing I do every year in 4-H is County Project Achievement (CPA). This involves choosing a topic from numerous categories and presenting a project on the topic chosen. This is an oral presentation with visual aids that is judged on certain standards. Along with the presentation you have to give the judge a record book on all the activities you did throughout the year related to your topic. We compete on a county level first. If you get first or second place you move up to the district competition. Our county competition is on November 30th.

My topic this year is Wildlife. I wanted to do a horse-related project, but my sister was already doing her project in the Horse category. So, I decided to do my project on ''wild'' horses. This way I won't have to compete with my sister.

I plan on discussing the history of wild horses and about the wild horse population today. I'll also include the BLM adopt-a-horse program by presenting our adopted horse.

I began my research about wild horses on the Internet where I found the BLM web site. When I first started my research on wild horses my intentions were not to adopt one, but the more I learned about them the more I wanted to adopt one. So, I read over the requirements and then went and asked for permission to adopt one. My parents said that I could get one. They believed that I was responsible enough.

My mom sent in the application form, and we were approved to adopt. My parents decided that they would go up to Cross Plains, TN. But school had already started so I couldn't go with them. But I really wanted to go!

They went up to Cross Plains on August 19, 1999 and went to the adopting center the next day. It was a lottery system instead of a bidding system. So, my mom and dad went around to see which horse that I would like. At first, they decided to get a sorrel horse, but when she went around one last time she saw a dark brown horse with no markings what so ever and decided to get that one instead. The first name they drew was my mom's name and they got the plain brown horse, or number 4729, and brought him home!

I loved him since the first time I saw him and couldn't wait to start working with him. It so happens that we were in the middle of a drought when we got him. After he got off the trailer he walked around started to eat and then it started to rain. Since he was from around an Indian Territory my mom came up with the name Rain Dance. It seems as if the whole county has visited just to see the wild horse. Our other three horses found him very interesting as well.

On August the 21st we started working with him. I was able to pet him and he didn't seem to mind the brush by the end of the day. I think we all spent about five or maybe seven hours with him. On the 22nd we went out and brushed him and then tried to fly spray him, he didn't like it but stood kind of still for me. On the 23rd I had school so I went out to see him in the morning and discovered that pus was running out of both of his eyes. I went in to tell my mom and she came out and got some medicine for his eyes. To our surprise he didn't refuse the medicine at all. When I came home from school I went to see him and my mom put more medicine in his eyes. By the next morning his infection cleared up. After that we started to pick up his feet, but only his front ones. He also started to nibble at the sweet feed that we mixed in with his hay. I found out he had learned to nip at you or your clothing. So, after school on the 30th I worked with him about that, he's a little better with not nipping but still will try to some times. On the first of September he started nibbling more of his sweet feed, but we waited till the next day to just give him straight sweet feed and he ate it all! We were going out of town the first weekend of September. We felt he was able to be caught, so we led him out to the pasture. He got along wonderfully with the other horses. When we got back from the camping trip we went to catch hirn and didn't have much trouble. We put him in the round pen and brushed, combed, and fly sprayed him. Then, we got out our youth saddle and put it on him and tightened it just enough so it wouldn't come off, then we walked him around. He didn't like it at first but now it doesn't bother him too badly. On October 11th the vet came out and gelded him while I was at school. Three days later, the farrier came out to shoe the horses and he got up the courage to try to trim Rain Dance's feet. Rain Dance was jumpy but he did get all four of his feet trimmed. Our farrier is very patient and gentle with our horses.

I try to work with Rain Dance every weekend and some during the week. He loves attention just like our other horses and he comes when he is called in the pasture. I plan on using him for trail riding in the future when he is old enough to be ridden.

I hope this information is helpful. When the web site is up and running please let me know. The Oconee County extension agents are going to write a newspaper article about Rain Dance. We will include the web site in the article. Thank you for your interest in my project and my horse.


PS: I went to the adoption in Conyers, Georgia today so I could observe the adoption since I couldn't go to Cross Plains!!

Last updated: 05-01-2007