Swollen Door No More

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” ~ Psalm 68:19 ~

“Remember to turn the fuel switch off whenever you are stopped.”  was the advice given to us after spending more than 50USD getting our little Suzuki scooter “fixed” only to find it worse than before.

If you’ve been here for any period of time you’ve more than likely made the acquaintance of the ‘good ol’ suzuki’ which has been our much appreciated, yet often hospitalized transport. Despite breaking down and running out of fuel more often than not, this motorbike has made getting around for us (and other volunteers) possible over the last seven years and we are very thankful for its faithful service

We took the matter to God in prayer, as we do with every difficulty we face here at HoofTrek.. especially if it involves money! Then, out of the blue, we received an email telling us that there was a donation coming in that was specifically for the purpose of buying a motorbike. Praise God!

We are extra thankful to the very kind and generous person who has made it possible for us to purchase a bigger and more reliable means of transport. We love our Yamaha YTR 250 very much and it has already taken us on a few adventures! Not only does it take the “if” out of making it to our destination and makes overtaking a breeze, it is a lot of fun to drive. And potholes, what potholes?

Thanks again to our wonderful donor! Also a big thank you to Seyha and Caleb H for helping us find the bike, and to Maria and Remi, the lovely couple who sold it to us. And we praise and thank God most of all who made it possible in the first place!

Caleb H arrived in February; young, tall, energetic, and with a strong desire to eat as many mangoes as possible; and he has been most helpful to everyone here, especially us at HoofTrek. Luckily for us he likes building things. He innocently asked if there was anything he could do… and we had a list a page long!

First he (along with the dorm boys) built us an extremely strong horse crush. Then he set about gathering posts for us to extend one of our paddocks.

Next he built us a verandah all along the front of our little house – I love it so much! No more swollen, hard to open/close front door due to the rains, and a place to hang hammocks, and eat outside even if it is raining! He also made a wooden bench for us. Everything was made out of recycled materials… very affordable for us!


Being quite an avid horseman he was also able to help us with training and exercising our horses. His help with Starr and Khzak has made things for us so much easier.

He returned to Australia last Thursday, and we are very sad to see him leave, but look forward to his return later in the year, God willing.

Thank you Caleb, for letting God use you to bless others. Thank you to our donor for the motorbike, to White Salmon Church, and to other donors and supporters whose gifts and prayers enable us to keep serving here. May God bless you all.

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness” ~ Ps 145:7 ~


HELP! He Won’t Get Up!

~ by Marissa
It was a Sunday morning when it started, Dakoda seemed off colour somehow.  I made his breakfast and my heart dropped to my toes as he refused to eat.  When a hungry horse does not want breakfast there is something seriously wrong.  Then he began rolling….  ‘Epic, he’s got colic.’
I got a lead rope on him and marched him, trembling up to Kat and Ely’s house.  I couldn’t deal with him alone, I’ve never had my horses get sick to know how to deal with it.
I sat with him for 3 hours and he wasn’t improving.  I was so scared, I thought I was going to lose him.  All the piles of school work kept pushing into my mind, and the housework, and washing.  But what could I do.  I couldn’t leave my boy.  Finally we found a vet nurse.  They took one look at him and pulled out bags of supplies and needles and syringes and began really deeply cleaning the castration wound, that, from what we could see was almost closed.  He’d been gelded 5 weeks ago and it should have been well and truly healed.
But alas. We found found out why it hadn’t.
They pulled out 4 RUBBER BANDS!  Not special medical ones that dissolve. But ordinary office work rubber bands!  We were so disgusted with the torture this poor horse had been through.  (I’ve since heard that they are working to put the guy that did it out of practice.) They left, and we thought and hoped he’d recover now.
Monday: Almost dark, Dakoda had just been cleaned and I was walking him to get the blood flowing. Another 5 minutes and I’d tie him out to grass before bedtime.
We stopped at the pond for a drink and he slumped at my feet as soon as we stopped.
My heart just stopped in my chest.  He stretched out and groaned miserably.  Tears sprang to my eyes, I honestly thought he was done with life.  His feet were in the water at the edge and I just sunk down beside him crying.  It was a miserable scene.  With all the prayers my tired brain could put together I got up and pleaded with Dakoda to stand up.
He did. He was shaking and he would have dropped again if I hadn’t immediately taken up the slack in the rope and pulled him on.  We got about 15 meters in the direction of home before he slumped to the ground again.
I was desperate by then. “WHY GOD?! WHY did you get a horse for us just so we could bury it???!  I don’t know what more I could have done, I don’t know how to help him, I don’t even know what is wrong with him?!”
Just then a motorbike was coming past, I didn’t know who it was but in the dark I called out and asked them to go get Ely and Kat.
Soon 2 motorbikes were revving in our direction. Another vet call was hurriedly made and a very tired, sick horse was convinced to get up and walk home.
The vets came and put in an IV line after an hour of failed attempts to give medicine by injection.  He was sick and tired but every bit of adrenaline went into fighting off the vet.  Finally they got in a line and superglued it to his neck.  12 litres of IV fluid were fed through the tubes.
Another rubber band had been found during the clean (done by Ely and I) earlier and we were all concerned that there was more.  We had 2 from one side and 3 from the other side.  Having an odd number meant he wasn’t out of the woods. So for the next 4 hours IV bottles were changed and he was walked every little while to keep the blood pumping through.  At 1am they left to go home saying they would return the following morning.
Tuesday: We were all a wreck, we had school and everything else to keep up with.  I had to miss a class to be back for the vet.  They pumped another 14 litres in and by then he was definitely looking brighter.
Thats about how the rest of the week has been.  Somewhat of an exhausted blur.  Twice a day having the vet come to clean him and the nights sitting out with him while he went through colic again and again from the stress of having to be roped down in order to clean him thoroughly.

One night I tried to give him a dose of charcoal after a little research.  I was desperate to relieve his pain and willing to try almost anything to be able to get some sleep.  Maintaining patience in the classroom was increasingly challenging with lack of sleep.

So anyway, we try this charcoal. I had gone down and woken Ely to come check him as I had hardly seen colic before and wanted a second u.  We thought charcoal would be great so we got it mixed and into a syringe and gave him the first shot, no problem, walk in the park.  So I drew out the next lot and put it in his mouth, and the pressure inside the syringe …. Sadly had built up while he had his tongue against the opening….  And it exploded in my face.

I was thrilled.  Charcoal… everywhere.  My eyes, my ears, my mouth, my neck, my clothes, everywhere.  Ely took one look and just dissolved into giggles.  It was after all… hilarious!

He’s doing much better now. Still nervous anytime anyone looks at his back end. We hope and pray that the hard part is past and he will make a full recovery soon.

Picture from before his infection became serious

2018 Already!

Khzak, Starr, Shiyra and Jaral have galloped into the new year with fabulous progress, if not a little rounder (especially Jaral) hehe. Our four trainees who come to help us each afternoon after school are having so much fun working with and training the horses. These are the students we hope will one day be able to take over from us if God ever called us to another field. Yesterday one of the boys was riding Starr around the round yard, bareback and with only a rope around Starr’s neck. For me, it was like watching a miracle. Starr was the horse who we could never separate from his best buddy/girlfriend, Shiyra, without him going into an anxious frenzy of whinnying, galloping the fenceline, or bolting – wrenching the rope from my hands if I was leading him. He was the one who would walk over me, in to me or away from me. He’d overreact to or ignore my cues at the worst of times. But thanks to God, some awesome training techniques and hours of patience, Starr still has a long way to go but is beginning to live up to his name. (If any of you are horsey, I’d highly recommend looking up 4bp Horses on facebook!).

This years trainees – left to right – Makara, Keo, Mayreah, Sros, and Pich

Keo working Khzak

We are saddened at the loss of Shiyra’s dear little chestnut filly. She gave birth to the stillborn foal in the week before Christmas, a month and a half premature. There are many reasons why a mare will abort her foal. In Shiyra’s case we aren’t sure exactly why, but trust God’s wisdom and know He has a reason and a purpose. Shiyra was in great condition for all of her pregnancy and we’d limited her work load months before she gave birth.
I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the new year! Here at WPY preparations are full steam ahead for the coming camp meeting at the beginning of February.

Ely and Starr

May the Lord be your constant companion this 2018,
God bless and Thank you again for all your prayers and financial support!

Multiplied Blessings

I’d like to express gratitude on behalf of all of us here at HoofTrek, to all who attended the HoofTrek fundraiser concert which my sister Emily organised last year in August. Over $700 was raised on that night alone, along with the addition of various donations given during and around that day. That money has been the means to buy the countless banana trees, kilos of salt and bags of bran that has fed our horses over the last five months.

Thank You!

Also it has funded the wooden boards and rails for a small training pen and an extra paddock. It has bought tie out ropes and clips and many other necessities.

And now it is going towards a vet bill.

Riss’s horse had an infection from a poorly performed castration. Thanks to the Vet team from Happy Ranch, he is doing much better now.

When I think about how long it has lasted and how extensively it has been used, it reminds me of the feeding of the five thousand. God has blessed and multiplied it!

Dorm girls last Sunday

Thank you especially to Em for her hard work putting the concert together; to Manjimup church, who’s support then and continually, is a huge blessing; to all the friends and family who travelled far to attend. Your support has been long lasting.


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 ~