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Where it all began

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is to start a Horse and Buddy blog. 2022 is the year! You can expect to hear from me (or my guest bloggers) once a month. I’m sure there is a way to follow us so you see new posts, but I’ll let you figure that out. And we’ll definitely put links on Facebook and Instagram when something new comes out. By the way, if you aren’t already following us there, please do!

In deciding where to start, I thought a little history might be interesting. Many of you know parts of this, but I’m guessing there may only be 2 or 3 of us who know the whole story. It’s a little long, so grab your favorite beverage and read on!

Horse and Buddy became “official” as a 501(c)3 non profit with the IRS in 2004, but our story actually begins in 2001. That makes us 21 years old this year; someone should buy us a drink! We began at a place called Five Star Farm in Apex. We didn’t have a name, or an IRS status, or a board, but therapeutic riding was happening with a handful of kids, one of whom is STILL with us!

Little Sarah
Sarah now!

We actually have a lot of riders who have been with us for 15 or more years. Here are a few more fun then vs. nows! Hint: Use the slider to see the full photos!

Zoey – 20 years
Brittany – 18 years
Kathleen – 18 years
Elianna – 17 years
Abbey – 17 years
Alex – 16 years
Anna – 16 years
Jack – 16 years
Corey – 15 years
Seth – 15 years
Riley – 14 years

We left Five Star after a couple of years, and moved to Chapel Ridge Farm in Apex. They had a brand new facility with grooming stalls (we still miss those). We rode there for a couple of years, then moved to Victory Hill Farm on Mason Road in New Hill. We finally got to use some of our own horses, including our very first donation, Greyson!

Greyson, our first Horse and Buddy equine staff member!

We moved right down the road from Victory Hill for a couple more years while we built our wonderful facility on Old US 1 in New Hill. We have had our own magical place for 12 years and we adore it!

Our wonderful farm

So how did we finally get our own place? That’s such a great story! We had a fabulous article published about us in the Cary Newspaper. You can read it here (you will for sure have to enlarge it to about 200%!). Within a few days, I received an email from a local citizen. I’ve copied a bit of that email here: “Dear Ms. Mason, Thank you so much for the work you’re doing with the kids and horses through your Horse and Buddy program. It was a very uplifting and moving experience for me to read about your efforts in the Cary News last week. I know a program like this takes an enormous amount of effort and sacrifice from many people, so again, Thank You! I’ve been looking to get involved with kids and horses for a while. It turns out we may be able to help each other. I’m in the process of buying a horse farm and it sounds like you’re looking to have your own facilities to expand the interaction between the kids and horses.”

I thought “Well this is WAY too good to be true.” I emailed my small staff and said, “He’s clearly a serial killer, but I am meeting with him anyhow.” True story. LOL I met with him and he was the most wonderful person. We land shopped together, and bought the 35 acres we now call home.

We do not own this land however, and that’s the challenge for 2022! We are entering into a sales contract, and we will finally start making payments to own the dirt we sit on! HURRAY! If you have been out our way, you know the developments are starting to squeeze in, so we are thrilled to be able to own our property before it gets into other nefarious hands. And we are SO grateful to our angel, who chooses to remain anonymous. You will just have to trust me that he is the best human being on the planet.

We planned our capital campaign to start in spring 2020 to prepare for this purchase, but as we all know… 2020 had other plans. We are once again taking a very large leap of faith into this contract, but we believe our loyal donors will take care of us. If you are one of them, THANK YOU! And stay tuned for more on the capital campaign that wasn’t.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about Blog Post #1! Thanks for reading!

Hope to see you at the barn soon!
Janet Mason
Executive Director


5 responses to “Where it all began”

  1. Great blog! I loved seeing all the then and now photos! I am very happy to have been a part of this awesomeness from nearly the beginning – and yes, our land owner is the BEST!!!!


  2. coralpistachiodione66172 Avatar

    Love it! Love the program. Looking forward to the next one.


  3. Love the blog. We love the program and staff (human and equine)!! There is no better program for us!!


  4. Horse and Buddy is special. Love the blog. Keep doing what you do.


  5. Great blog! Love knowing Horse & Buddy’s beginnings. This place and it’s amazing volunteers have made a huge difference in our lives. You all hold a special place in our hearts…..


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