By Sue Moore
A bond of mutual love for horses has built an even greater bond between grandmother and granddaughter through sharing a horse, says Cheri Lutz, Schoolcraft village manager about Tayler Lutz, age eight and a half, who lives in Dorr, Michigan.
“We try to ride together at least three times a week at Lou-Don Farms near Galesburg,” where they share a leased horse named Hailey, according to Lutz. It’s therapeutic for her; it helps to relieve stress from her high profile job as village manager and provides treasured bonding time with the youngster.
At eight and a half, Tayler is like a feather on the back of this 1200-pound Appaloosa bred, palomino-colored horse. She handles Hailey deftly with her left hand, while Grandma watches and coaches. She has just learned to canter on the horse and feels confident that if the horse spooks, she can handle it.
“Tayler was literally born loving horses,” Lutz said of her granddaughter. “She reads, writes, and studies about horses. It’s pretty much all she has ever played with or cares about; she even wears cowboy clothes to school. She has gone to several pony camps to learn the basics, so this year we thought she would be able to jump to the next level by learning how to walk, trot, and just recently, canter on Hailey.”
The solution seemed to be a leased horse that Tayler could ride because she wasn’t able to stable it at her home, nor was Lutz. They don’t have to feed it, groom it, shovel manure and clean out the stall, or take it to the veterinarian. “Horses are a lot of work. They need their teeth floated and hooves trimmed; they must be de-wormed; and if they get sick, the boarding family takes care of that, too. Still, Tayler is responsible to help tack, brush the horse when she rides, saddle her, and walk her down for a cooling off period.
Lutz herself always had a pony or horse growing up near Vicksburg. She had a Welch pony, but usually, her ponies were just farm animals so she never showed them, which is what Tayler says is in her future. Right now, Tayler rides with an English or Australian saddle, while Cheri prefers Western. But that doesn’t keep them from getting together every week to experience the smell, feel, and excitement of riding this sleek, powerful animal, all the while talking, sharing and strengthening their special bond.