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Horse owners have an attachment to their animals that for many, go beyond ownership; they offer them companionship as well.
Eight-year-old Kaellum MacDonald of Florence may be a little too young to know the full extent of what it means to own a horse, but he is content with the knowledge he does have.
“I love my horse, she is very gentle, I love to ride her, she is like my friend,” young Kaellum said.
According to his mom Amanda Long, Kaellum didn’t take to the horse immediately.
“I can’t say that Kaellum loved Ebony the first time he saw her. He was a little scared in the beginning. He was only a little boy then, so I guess that was normal.”
It wasn’t until Kaellum got to tend to Ebony a few years later that he began to understand what it meant to care for an animal.
“I have had Ebony for 18 years, long before Kaellum was born. When he was born, I knew eventually I wanted him to be a part of her life and have the experiences that come along with owning a horse,” said Long.
“The more I took Kaellum to see Ebony, the more interested he was in getting to know her. He asked one day if he could ride her, so I let him. He was still a little nervous so I decided maybe I should just start him off by doing little things to help feed and take care of her.
“Ebony is boarded at a small farm in Bras d’Or and Kaellum asks all of the time to go see her. He has a really strong bond with her. He always asks when he can see her and feed her. He really loves her and is very protective of her,” Long said.
“Ebony is a lot of fun to ride but being up that high can be a little scary sometimes. I know she will be careful when we go for rides,” the youngster explained.
Perhaps one of the most tended to horses on the Northside, Ebony’s coat shines magnificently due in large part to the effort Kaellum and his mom put into keeping her looking and feeling her best.
“I know that a lot of people fear horses, I can understand why some people are nervous around them,” said Long. “They are very big animals and sometimes people think they can be unpredictable. When you own a horse as long as I have, they become a part of your life. They know you and you know them, so there's no reason to be scared.
“Ebony is a former racehorse. She is a very gentle horse, she is very sensitive, and I trust her, otherwise, I would never let my son be around her. She is always so relaxed and is ready to ride anytime we want to. It is not always easy to find the time to go for a ride, but when we do it is very enjoyable.
“I think there are a lot of benefits to owning a horse. I think it provides Kaellum the chance to learn responsibility at a young age. I have seen a huge difference in him since he started caring for Ebony. He is very kind toward her. He is concerned that she is getting the right amount of food and exercise,” said Long.
Both Long and Kaellum’s dad, Cory MacDonald, agree that it is good for him to have the connection that he does with Ebony. They feel that tending to her can teach him things that will help him in other aspects of his life as well.
“My horse has given me so much and I love being with her. I hope that Kaellum’s relationship with Ebony continues to grow. Maybe in time he will make friends with other horse owners and riders. There are so many possibilities for Kaellum to become more involved with people who share the same interest as he does,” explained Long.
Sherry Mulley MacDonald is an author and freelance writer. She is a lifelong resident of the Northside with an affection for the community in which she lives.