BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS AT RYERSS
Visiting the farm for the blessing were a few cats and a wide variety of dogs. There were golden retrievers, poodles, pugs, a greyhound, and many other beautiful dogs with their owners. Beginning at noon, people began to arrive at the farm to visit the horses, enjoy refreshments from Yellow Springs Catering, browse the Gift Shop and mingle with other attendees.
The blessing took place in Ryerss’ main barn, home to 60 of the farm’s 75 retired horses. For the blessing, the horses were all in their stalls to greet the visitors (2 and 4 legged.) The horses especially enjoyed the treats given to them by the 2 legged visitors. Another fun treat for the horses was meeting all of the wonderful dogs. Many of the horses even got nose to nose with some of the dogs!
The retired residents of Ryerss include some former trail and pleasure horses, polo ponies, a police horse, dressage horses, hunters, jumpers and even some race horses. Ryerss is also a safe and loving home to some rescues that have come from the SPCA, LAPS (Large Animal Protection Society,) and other humane organizations. Other animal residents include 2 cats and 3 potbellied pigs. One of the newest (and smallest) residents to greet the visitors was Omen, a miniature horse who was rescued from an unfortunate situation. Some of the dogs were actually taller than Omen!
President of the Board of Managers, Sam Griffin was there with his wife, Holly, and their three friendly basset hounds. As everyone gathered for the Blessing Service at 2pm, President Sam greeted the crowd of people, horses and pets in the barn and welcomed all, thanking them for coming out on a day of somewhat inclement weather. He then introduced Animal Welfare Manager, Lisa Shotzberger who expressed her enthusiasm that this Blessing of the Animals was so well attended. She also commented on how the former owners and sponsors make Ryerss a special place for the retired and rescued horses that reside there. She was also appreciative of the volunteers and staff for their dedicated work to Ryerss.
Next, Pastor Rick Hostetter and Pastor Whitehorse offered a brief non-denominational service celebrating our love of all animals. After the general blessing service, the pastors walked through the barn giving some of the animals individual blessings. The Pastors each read a prayer for the welfare of the animals. The group was dismissed with a blessing for their continued health and welfare.
At the conclusion of the service, people from the group visited the Gift Shop at the farm and enjoyed complimentary cider and cookies served in the president’s office. Many bought new 2013 Ryerss Horse Calendars which are now available. Others bought a variety of different horse related items from the Gift Shop. It was a good day despite the weather and all who came seemed to enjoy the activities and the spirit of the event. Ryerss wants to thank all who participated for helping us to continue with our mission to provide care and shelter for rescued and retired horses. St Francis of Assisi would have been proud of this continued celebration of the animals held every year at Ryerss Farm.