To the Editor:
Over the weekend, Camp Henry received some negative social media commentary that quickly went viral on Facebook. We wanted to let you know about this situation, so you have accurate information.
On Jan. 4, a person who sold a horse to Camp Henry posted on social media that this horse, Tessa, as well as other horses here, are being neglected. This is absolutely not the case.
Her post went viral, with significant negative and inaccurate commentary following her post.
We take all comments, complaints and accusations very seriously. We also want to be sure the facts are presented fairly and accurately.
Please be assured that Tessa and all of our horses are under the care of our veterinarians as well as our on-staff certified Horse Program Coordinator.
Some background: A couple of months ago while pastured on our rural property near Newaygo, Tessa was attacked by a wild animal – possibly a bobcat. The animal harmed Tessa’s jaw and lip area – creating a facial wound and causing paralysis of the lower lip – which made it difficult for Tessa to eat and she lost weight.
After the attack, we immediately contacted our veterinarians and have been working closely with medical professionals to ensure Tessa’s recovery. We've been keeping her in our corral to make sure she gets fed a good diet every day. We’re also providing additional care to other horses that require special treatment, including feeding them special rations. Again, these and all our horses, are under the care of our vet and our Horse Program Coordinator.
When the person posted yesterday about Tessa, we wanted to affirm to everyone that Tessa is healing and that all of our horses are well-cared for. Although our veterinarian has been treating Tessa and the other horses all along, we immediately contacted the vet again, and he examined Tessa and the herd today. Our vet affirms that Tessa and all of the other horses are under good care. Both the vet and the farrier (a specialist in equine hoof care) are regularly at our camp to ensure the health of our horses.
Our veterinarian’s report from today’s visit states: “The entire herd was presented to me to review. With the above-mentioned exceptions [Tessa’s injury and the needs of three other horses receiving special supplementation], the herd is in good condition. I do not find evidence of neglect or misuse of the horses at Camp Henry. On the contrary, it should be remembered that a number of these horses are in some sense ‘rescue’ animals. That means they have issues. Some have chronically bad teeth and a couple have swayback. Many are old. These situations are, by definition, not ‘curable.’ They can only be managed. As a result, they may not look like a stable full of equine athletes. They do however have a good life there, and they provide campers experiences they may never be exposed to elsewhere in their lives.”
If you would like a copy of our veterinarian’s report from today’s visit, we would be happy to provide it.
In response to the concerns expressed on social media yesterday, we also invited Newaygo County Animal Control to visit us as soon as possible to see for themselves the condition of our horses and living environment. At this time, we have not received a response from Animal Control, yet we will accommodate any requested site visit at their convenience.
We welcome all questions, comments and concerns. We also welcome the opportunity to engage more horse lovers and community members in the care of our horses. If you have questions, comments, concerns or would like to learn how to help us and our horses here at Camp Henry, please contact us at 616-459-2267 or me personally at 616-717-5565. We are very appreciative of all of the folks that have reached out to offer support and assistance.
We are happy that a Camp Henry experience for so many campers and guests includes our equestrian program with our 22 horses – giving many children and even adults their first experience with riding and handling horses. Our horses are a part of what brings campers and guests back year after year, and their care and health are very important to us. We’ve been a camp and retreat destination since 1937 and are very glad to provide this experience for thousands of campers and guests each year, as well as a loving place for animals to reside and connect with people.
For more information about Camp Henry, visit us online at www.camphenry.org – or contact us as indicated above.
We appreciate your support!
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