2018 Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab
In Loving Memory of
Penny L. Snyder
July 21, 1978 - August 29, 2018
Penny, long before helping us found Pony Tales, was a close friend and confidant to us all. She worked hard, day in and day out, sometimes working three jobs, all while raising her 3 boys, Jesse, Tommy, and Luke.
Penny lost her mother at a very young age, but she picked up the pieces and took over running the household and taking care of her younger brother Dave, Jr (Junior) while her father worked to support the family. Sadly, at just 18 years of age, Junior was in a freak accident and passed away as well.
Penny knew all about loss, sadness, and heartbreak, but she was a strong, independent woman and she always put her family first. If it needed to be done, she would do it. Penny had horses of her own in the past and dreamed of (and was preparing for) the day when she could have horses again. But, in the meantime, raising her boys and taking care of her family were top priority. So, until the boys were grown, she was happy just to dream.
Penny and her boys were very active in FFA and raised and showed cattle and pigs at the Colfax Fair each year. She taught her boys the value of hard work and dedication and how to property raise and care for animals. Living far out of town, people would often drop off cats near her father's farm and she would take them in, get them vetted, and give them the best life possible.
In her "free" time, Penny would go around to the local taverns, though not a drinker herself, to visit with the local farmers and residents to see how things were going with them. Penny was always very down to earth and real. She had no false reality regarding the plight of the American horse. She grew up with hard working farmers and those who saw them as livestock. Yet, she saw them for more. She saw their beauty and knew their healing power. While a realist, Penny also wanted to help them all. Every one of them. If at all in her power.
When we got the "hair-brained" idea to start Pony Tales, choosing Penny to be a part of it was a no-brainer. She was happy to do so and in August 2014, Pony Tales was born. Over the next four years, Penny helped organize fundraising events and helped raise funds when she traveled to the area taverns from the thoughtful, caring farmers and residents in our community. She would often bring her boys to help at events, though in time as Jesse and Tommy grew older, it would often just be her and her youngest Luke. Luke was always so much fun to have around and was always willing to lend a hand. His favorite thing to do was run 50/50 raffles at our events. He loved talking to people and just going around and seeing everyone there.
On August 29, 2018, Penny contacted us and let us know that she had picked up an awesome raffle prize from Bresina's in Tilden for the 2018 Pony Tales Trail fundraiser that was kicking off just two days later. It never made it to us. That night, around 10pm, we received word that Penny had passed away from a brain aneurysm. She was just 40 years old. Devastated does not even begin to describe how we felt. We had not even really fully processed what happened when the 2-day trail ride began. We had plans to pony a riderless horse in her honor on the trail ride and even were lucky enough to have 2015 nurse mare orphan Penny come back to be the riderless horse in honor of her namesake. Things did not go as planned though as Penny was not very comfortable with the saddle and we did not want anything bad to happen to her.
Since then, we have been struggling to find our way again without her. Yet, at the same time trying to find a way to honor her memory. It is still not easy for us to even talk about, though we think about her constantly. As November approached, we remembered that just one week prior to her passing, we had convinced us during our board meeting to try one more bowling fundraiser. Waning attendance at the last couple had the rest of us not much wanting to do it again. She convinced us to try one more time, but keep it simple: just bowling and 50/50 raffles (for Luke to run). We had agreed and had set November for the time to do it. Suddenly, November was upon us. Not sure if we were ready or not, we decided to hold the event anyway, for one reason: because we had told her we would.
The date was set a little while back, but we still could not quite muster the ambition to move forward. It just wasn't feeling right. We still had not honored her in any public way. We still had not even really come to terms with her absence. We worried that people would think we were trying to "profit" off her loss. So much to think about and figure out and the days kept passing us by. We wondered if we could somehow use some of the funds from it to help someone or something else she cared deeply about, other than just Pony Tales. We thought back to her hard work with the boys and the farm and FFA and had the idea to set up a scholarship fund in her honor with a portion of the proceeds from the bowling fundraiser she wanted so badly for us to try even just this one more time.
We spoke to the FFA organization in Colfax and they were happy with the idea, stating only that we must direct that the scholarship go to individuals doing something in particular. With the shortage of large animal veterinarians in rural areas, we have decided that the funds will go to a scholarship for those who are pursuing that career. School loan debt is a major reason for the shortage and if this scholarship can help even one more person pursue their dream and begin filling in an impending massive void in veterinary care access for rural farmers and ranchers, we feel that Penny would be very happy.
How can you help?
There are many ways you can help with the bowling fundraiser, the scholarship fund, and/or Pony Tales.
1. Attend the fundraiser on Friday, November 30, 2018 at the Viking Bowl & Lounge in Colfax, Wisconsin at 7:00 p.m. Bring your friends and family.
2. Send a donation to Pony Tales here.
3. Become a monthly donor here.
4. Send a memorial donation in Penny's honor here.
5. If you are a vet or a vet clinic, please contact us to set up a sponsorship for either Pony Tales or the Scholarship.
6. Challenge your friends and family to help and to challenge their friends and family to do so as well.
7. Contact our feed suppliers and send the funds directly to them as a credit on our account. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to reiterate time and time again that no amount is too small. Every little bit adds up.