Saskia Kelly (right) with her family and horses pose with tack donated by the local community. (Alex Hamilton photo)

Saskia Kelly (right) with her family and horses pose with tack donated by the local community. (Alex Hamilton photo)

Teen’s tack taken in Cowichan

Community rallied to replace stolen gear

Saskia Kelly woke up the morning of July 9 and went to the barn on her family’s farm to prepare for the second day of her Pony Club event.

It didn’t take long for the 13-year-old to realize something was amiss. The tack room door was uncharacteristically open.

She soon discovered all of her riding gear had been stolen overnight. Everything was gone: saddles, bridles, halters and more.

Devastated is not a strong enough word.

“I was in the depths of despair and had no idea what to do,” she said. “I felt so violated and completely shocked that somebody would sneak through my horse’s paddock and break into my barn.”

It was a blow to the family who worked hard to save up for the costly gear, Kelly explained.

But it didn’t take long for the news of the theft to reach Cowichan’s equestrian community and, like Cowichan does, the group stepped up.

“Right away the community helped us out,” Kelly said. “I went from feeling extremely worried and stressed out to feeling very grateful and supported.”

Farrier Alexandra Hamilton coordinated the effort and secured contributions from the Jane James Used Tack Shop, Equine Emporium, Top Shelf Feeds, the Backcountry Horseman of B.C. (South Vancouver Island Chapter), Teresa Bach McKinnon, Ybo Jane Plante, Lyn Bull, Desiree Bader, Meghan Morrison, and Rachel Eldred.

Though she’s received quite a bit of replacement tack, she’s still seeking saddles for her horse and miniature horse.

A donation jar has been set up at the Glenora Store to help raise money to replace them.

Those with equipment they would be willing to donate can contact the Kelly family at 250-746-3656.