The Generous Gift

The Generous Gift
Karen Pickering

Two Haflingers Find Meaningful Work at Youth Camp



New additions to Stonewater Ranch’s Horse Program, Alex and Andy. Photo courtesy Doreatha Coomer.

It was hard watching her two equine friends load into the horse trailer. My friend Megan made a tough decision to donate her beloved horses, giving them a job and purpose. They were leaving for their new home in Plain, WA at a youth camp. Stonewater Ranch has served as a safe place for young people to learn how to make a difference in others and themselves. Taking students to horses and the beautiful outdoors, Stonewater Ranch challenges young people physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Megan’s gift will certainly be a blessing to the ministry at Stonewater. Many times people will offer to donate horses that are too old, have health or behavioral issues that the ranch cannot utilize for the safety of the students. It’s a generous gift to donate two middle aged, well-broke geldings to the program. Prayer is an interesting thing.

HaflingersI try and check in with Stonewater’s Equestrian Manager Ken Solem periodically to see what some of the needs are at the ranch. The usual answer is donations and hay so Ken can spend his time working with the kids and the program rather than putting up hay. When Ken mentioned he’d had quite a time this year with lameness and other health issues with his string I asked him what he needed. He said two geldings.

Out of the blue I was watching Facebook posts one day and saw a name I recognized. Through a referral from another Facebook friend I saw the post on two Haflinger geldings that needed a home. The catch was they needed to be kept together. It’s often hard to sell horses under those conditions but I immediately thought of Stonewater. It’s so amazing when you put a prayer out there or make your needs known how God magically comes through at times.

HaflingersThe real cool part about this whole story is reconnecting with an old friend. Megan was my best friend in school. We did so many horse things together with our two geldings, Brandi and Sam. We did 4-H together, rode all the time and just had great adventures. After school we lost touch. Now, many years later we’ve reconnected because two geldings needed a new home. Megan’s job is demanding so she is unable to spend much time with her horses. It was a selfless act to donate these two magnificent horses to Stonewater’s youth program.

I’ll keep you posted on how Alex and Andy are doing at Stonewater Ranch. Thank you Megan for such a generous donation. If you would like to help this amazing program visit Stonewater Ranch at or read their story

Quote: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

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Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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