Interview with Amy Ramey
How about we start the interview with you telling us a little about yourself?
Amy: Sure, I am 49 years old. Married for almost 23 years. I have a daughter that is 21, she is a full time preschool teacher and finishing school. She is a free spirit full of joy, and is active in community theatre. I have a son who is 19, he leaves at the end of July for basic training. He will be serving in the Ohio Army National Guard. He is very active in church and teaches 5 yr olds on Sunday mornings. He says it is like herding cats. We live in a very small farming community. Our home has always been the place that the kids hang on the weekends no matter where that home is.
In our previous conversations you mentioned that you rehab horses and hold training classes for disabled children. What made you lead you to do something that must help so many kids?
Amy: I worked in juvenile corrections until my father-in-law passed away and we needed to take my mother-in-law in to care for her during her battle with Alzheimer's. During that time, I was in a car accident that made it impossible to go back to work in a prison setting when she passed a couple of years ago. While I was working there, I always thought that I wanted to reach out to those kids before they got to that point. That is where the dream was born.
How long have you been rehabbing horses and offering training classes to kids?
Amy: I bought my first horse when I was 19 years old. He was boarded at a friends and had been abandoned by his owner. He was an amazing soul and taught me so much. We rode like the wind. Then came marriage and babies and my sweet Willi had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I went many years with no horses. We knew we wanted to live on a farm and were working toward that goal. When my daughter was 8, we were finally in position to do so.
The first rescue mission came when a friend called me about a horse that was abused, malnourished and the owners were giving lessons on this poor guy. I went to look at the horse and decided that we could help him. He was in a muddy field with a mare who would not leave his side and was in much worse condition than he. I made an offer and bought them out of that situation. They came home to a new life and new names. Duke and Duchess were an amazing pair. My vet and I worked tirelessly to doctor them back to health and sanity. Both were physically and emotionally broken. Duke came along very well, took much patience and we had some scary moments, he was dangerous. Duchess seemed to be grateful and was an excellent patient, however after a few months, it was clear that she would not recover. It almost appeared that once she knew he was taken care of, she could let go. Our vet was wonderful, charging only for meds and stopping in often to check in on them. During that time, another call came in for a pony. He wasn't in terrible condition, so he was taken on and was a wonderful pony for my kids. I have a passion for horses and kids in trouble, and knew they could help each other.
When I could not go back to my career, I knew I had to do something and the two merged. I started researching and volunteered at another facility in our area to learn as much as I could. Years had passed, dreams take lots of crazy twists and turns.
We acquired and rehomed several rescue horses. My phone often rang and I would hear on the other end, "you are the only person I know who can help this horse".
My first lessons were given to the little boy who use to live next door to us. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. His mom communicated with his therapist and we came up with exercises and riding skills to work on to help him work on some muscle control. He absolutely loved his lesson time, he was 3 when he started riding. It takes 3 people to give that lesson, 1 to lead the horse and one on each side to help stabilize. From there, we picked up several students with differing needs. We had one young boy on the autism spectrum who didn't like to leave his house. After a few lessons, his mom had to start putting pictures on the calendar and the clock because he was so excited to come see his Gunner.
How many horses do you currently own?
Amy: Right now, we have 3 horses and a mini. The mini has quite a story and is truly a joy to be around. He is wonderful if kids are afraid of the big boys, they can be quite intimidating at first. One of the horses can not be ridden, his story is one of tragedy. He will never be ridden, but we sure do have fun playing on the ground. He is one special guy that shows his gratitude and has come so far.
Two of our boys are Quarter horses, Cruz is a mustang mix of some sort and Charlie is our mini. The little herd we have now is completely different than what we started with. And we now live on a farm that we lease. Other than 3 very special students, we are on a one year hold. The certifications, tax issues and insurance are very different when leasing. But I will continue to chase the dream. Keeping horses at home is not as expensive as some would imagine. There are many things that I do myself that some owners do not. All of my own training, I did feet myself until my accident and because we have rescues, I have a wonderful working relationship with my vet. I make some choices that allow us to do that. And leasing a farm out here costs the same as living in an apartment would.
The horses and the kids give me hope and purpose. It is hard work and worth every second.
I also have 4 students that I travel to see. They are each people who have rescued a horse or two and are rehabbing them. It is amazing to share what I have learned so others can also make the world a better place for those horses.
I've always wanted to own a horse but it's not something I'll likely ever be able to afford. Is it wonderful to be able to go horseback riding whenever you want?
Amy: On the question of riding, there is nothing like it. When the connection is there it is a feeling of complete oneness and freedom. It is difficult to put into words. And yes, it is wonderful to ride whenever I want to. It is most wonderful to be in their presence, they are my connection.