A Need and a Request

As we mentioned in our last post, Khzak and Shiyra are our only two reliable riding horses. They’re both still young and we are careful not to overwork them. Starr and Jaral are coming along but it will still be some months before we can use them consistently as riding horses for the students. We’ve been praying about our need for another able riding horse for quite some time and yesterday a prospect came up.

Mac, a local small-time horse dealer, approached us about a mare for sale in a northern province. She is 4 years old, rideable, larger than Shiyra and seems suitable for our program.She is for sale for $1500 USD. We don’t have the funds at the moment; so we told Mac that we would pray for a week and get back to him.

If you or someone you know would like to help us out in any way, please contact us. Please pray with us that God’s will be done. Thank you!


The Mango-Muncher, the Clown, and Others…

We’re 3 months into the second semester and our HoofTrek students are working on mastering their seat at the trot. Each one is very special to us and we’d like to introduce you to them so that you can know a bit about them too:

Grade 7

left to right – Hong, Srey Nath, Theavy, Keo

Srey Nath is a quiet, watchful girl with beautiful wide eyes and cute smile. After starting off being quite timid around the horses, we are proud of the bravery she has developed. Despite having the horses step on her feet and falling off, she climbed back on and kept persisting.

Keo is tall, lanky, confident and skilled. She has taken to horse riding like a duck to water and the horses respond well to her. She has even handled Starr a few times and was the first student to ride him.

Theavy is that perfect, kind girl who wants to do everything the right way. She’s quite at home on the back of a horse and looks like a first class rider with her correct posture and seat. She gives everything a go without question and puts in 110%.

Hong – Mr. Mango-muncher. Every class without fail, he turns up munching on a mango, which can affect his arrival time. We enjoy seeing how proud he is of himself when he manages to accomplish something new. We wish you could see the smile he flashes when he trots a lap of the arena.

Grade 9

Sokreah is a vivacious, elegant 16 year old who always tries hard and likes to do well. Although a little nervous of riding Khzak, she was the first student to get him into the trot unassisted.

Chomnan is like another Theavy but perhaps a little more timid. That said, she gives it her best shot, puts her fears aside, and rides around improving all the time.

Mab, an aspiring popstar singer, or ‘dara’ as they say in Khmer, always serenades the class, sometimes at the most inappropriate times. He really likes Khzak and you’ll often see him whispering sweet-nothings into Zak’s ear during grooming time. He’s very relaxed when riding and has almost mastered the trot.

Sokha is our funny man. He’s the class clown, always making us laugh and distracting us from whatever topic we were meant to be discussing. He’ll say anything and everything that comes to mind. Whilst riding he gives a running commentary, most commonly mentioning how his backside hurts! He’s that arms and legs in all directions rider.

We have some other faithful, informal students who can’t keep away. After school’s out for the day, they’re sure to be at our gate raring to spend time with the horses and help out in any way. Here they are:


Visal is our little protege. He rides like he was born on a horse and his sunny nature is a joy to have around.

Theara and Vandy have just recently started coming over in the afternoons. They are both studying the horsemanship honor in pathfinders and seem eager to learn all they can about the horses. We appreciate their willingness to help out at feed time, hose the horses, groom them or do anything that needs doing.

We give these boys rides whenever we can and hope that they’ll go on to become great horsemen. With only two reliable riding horses, the boys come second to the HoofTrek students and our trainees.

Shiyra and Khzak are our two troopers. They are used almost every day except Sabbath and are learning well and teaching well. We are excited that Shiyra is in foal, due next February. Our demand is more than our supply though and we are praying that God will provide at least one more rideable horse for HoofTrek.

Starr is coming a long in his training, but will require a bit more time before he is ready to be used by the students. Jaral has just turned 2 years old and we will commence his ridden training  after 6 months.

The Team


1000 Words

New Semester, New HoofTrek Classes!

Having older students who understand more English has certainly helped make our lessons more impacting. Also having less students per class. We are able to give more one-on-one time to each.

Here are some pictures from Gr. 7B, who meet on Tuesdays

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And here are some pictures from Gr. 9, who meet on Wednesdays

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“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and He shall make peace with Me.”

~ Isaiah 27:5 ~

One Year!

It has now been one year since God gave us our first two horses, Khzak and Jaral.


A year ago we were both beginning to think that God was leading us in a different direction from HoofTrek and both starting to pray about different plans for the future. We told God we would give up this dream, as we only wanted His will to be done and Him glorified by our lives, when He worked marvelously and gave us these two horses.


In the past year He also gave us Shiyra and Starr, bringing us up to four horses. He has provided for all our expenses, and guided us through our first semester of HoofTrek classes. We have been so blessed, have learned so much, and have been able to be a blessing to the children and youth here in WPY.


Thank you to all who have prayed for us and with us, those who have encouraged us, and those who have supported us financially. We look forward to what God will do this year.


Horse Updates

Khzak – he has been started under saddle and can walk, trot and canter on cue. He is still quite mentally immature, and makes the children work to gain his complete co-operation.

Jaral – he is still growing and spends most his time just being a horse. That said, he leads well, stands for grooming, lunges, and has gotten used to wearing a saddle/bareback pad with girth. He is safe around the children as he has learned that biting people is rude.

Shiyra – she is our angel. She goes very well under saddle in all paces. She is patient, polite, and easy for everyone to handle.

Starr – we have only had him a few months, but he has come so far. He was very excitable and nervous when we got him, but now he has learned to trust us and is calm enough to use for grooming sessions in HoofTrek classes. Over the next year we will slowly start him under saddle as he can physically and mentally handle it.


“I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to you among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, And Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.”

~ Psalm 57:9-11 ~

We All Know…

That one kid that throws a tantrum when they don’t get their own way.

In our little God-given herd it is Jaral.


Jaral is nearly 18 months old, he is now gelded and much better behaved then when we purchased him back in Februrary. But one thing about him has never changed; and that is his way of communicating his dislike of whatever it is he is being asked to do.

What does he do? He lays down and kicks his feet in the air like a naughty child!

We first noticed it when we began teaching him how to lunge. He would do a little and then try to take off, when that didn’t work he would lay down and roll around on the ground!

Then when we began trimming his feet, he would lay down when he’d figured we’d had enough time.

One night we were hanging out in the paddock with him around a bonfire we’d lit. Ely was holding a stick which he came and took from her, then gave back and took again a few more times. Then he figured she should move, and when she didn’t,  he tried to lay down on top of her!


Another time I put the bareback pad on him. I’d just done the girth up and he whipped around to look at it, turned his head back to look at me and promptly fell over and lay there like I’d killed him. Took me a while to convince him he was still alive and could still walk around.

Lately, during HoofTrek classes we have been bringing him in for the grooming part of it, then leaving him tied while we do some other activities with the other horses… without fail, after 10 minutes of standing there he will lay down and roll, and then just lay there all stretched out until someone comes over to get him standing again.

He makes us laugh. Usually once we get him up, or catch him going down and make him stand, he stops trying to lay down and cooperates nicely. We still find it funny when we all turn around and see him stretched out pretending to have died.


God is so good!

The 4th Horse

As I write, or rather, type this post from my desk in the staffroom, the sounds of school surround me. A classful of voices recite their lessons and I watch as tiny grade 1 students happily follow their teacher to practice their english in the outdoors. Its a beautiful, sunny Friday morning, the end of the eighth week of school. My days at school begin with Bible with my grade 7a (lots of grade 7s this year) class, followed by piano classes, and end with hooftrek classes with the special needs students. Kathleen and I are so thankful and excited to finally bring the horse program, during school hours, to the students. Its been a long time of planning and praying and God has brought it all about at last!


Kathleen spent the August holidays here, working Khzak and Shiyra, preparing them for the HoofTrek classes. Both horses are doing very well with the children, although they still have much to learn. They are also teaching our 5 HoofTrek Trainees the fine art of horsemanship. We are very thankful for our trainees, who don’t just learn the ropes of horse riding, but also assist us with the upkeep and management of our paddocks and arenas.


Since I returned to Cambodia after August holidays we have had Jaral, our 1 1/2 year old pony, gelded. We hope that this will help his often overbearing behaviour to tone down a bit and also help him to ultimately grow a bit more in the long run. He has proved to terrorise more than a few of our students with his antics so we are introducing him into the program slowly. Meanwhile Khzak and Shiyra have been real gems, earning the students’ affection by their patience and calmness.



We have been very blessed by the visit of a group of teachers and grade 8 students from a school in NSW. They built a log roundyard and an extra 30 by 30m wooden railed paddock for us. We are still working on pulling out the copious amounts of spiky plants and leveling the ground, but are so thankful for the extra place to put the horses out to grass and area for training.


Kat and I are very happy to be joined by a new co-volunteer and friend, Marissa, who has slipped right into our routine and family here. Marissa is a joy to have around and along with helping us out with Hooftrek classes, has also taken on teaching some added classes in the school. It is Marissa’s hard work and generosity, and that of her family and friends, that has enabled us to purchase our fourth horse. Nahal Starr (guiding star) is a 2 1/2 year old copper coloured gelding that God found for us in a near-by village. He comes from a loving home where he was very well treated, and apart from some spoilt habits he has a gentle, sweet nature and likes people. I am especially excited about Starr’s arrival as he is my special project to work with and train.



These first two months of school have been jam packed with not only plenty to teach, do and train, but also overflowed with blessings from the Lord. When I reflect on it all and on how far He has brought me, all I can say is “What a mighty God we serve!”.


We are so thankful for your prayers and support, whether through donations or through emails or messages of encouragement. May you all be blessed and brought closer to our heavenly Father.


Next Year is Coming

Shiyra is settling in and has easily slipped right into our family. Since exams are over we’ve had some time to work with her and she has proven to be a very intelligent girl. She has shown herself to be very willing, easy going and a quick learner. We put a saddle on her the other day to get her used to the feel of it and pressure of the girth. We aren’t sure if she has been saddled before, but she wasn’t phased by it at all. She is very sweet natured and seems to enjoy being with us.


Some of the grade 11/12 boys came over to ride this afternoon. They really enjoyed it despite the rain that came and cut their ride short. Khzak was very opposed to working in the rain, I might add. As a result of the downpour, our day paddock has become a lake, at least knee deep in parts. We are thankful these horses are so used to being picketed out, making it easy for us to tie them out in grassy areas on higher ground.


We’ve had a meeting with Tim about plans for next year. We plan to take on the students from special class, 12 in total, but broken into two groups of 6. We will take each group for the last two periods of school in the afternoon, twice a week, for semester 1. That amounts to a total of 24 lessons.  Most of them have a physical or learning disability, allowing them to join a special english class which will be tailored to help them learn. The first few lessons will be focused on helping the students become comfortable touching and grooming the horses, leading on to riding and other activities that their physical capabilities allow. Our aim is that this program will be therapy based, helping these students develop spiritually, mentally and physically.


We have one month to make sure we have all the equipment that we need. We are still trying get correctly fitting tack for Khzak and Shiyra. Ely will be in Australia for the month of August sourcing tack and other items, so if you know of any saddles of bridle parts etc. lying around in need of a home, please email or contact us.