Who are you?
Our caretaker team is a husband and wife duo, River Coakwell and Dr. Em Loerzel. Em is White Earth Ojibwe and the founder of The Humble Horse, who holds her PhD from UW-Seattle. She currently works as an assistant professor for the UWisconsin system. River works in aviation and is an aspiring pilot. We also have a dynamic team of a board of directors, majority Ojibwe. All caretakers and board members are entirely volunteers, so they don't get paid for their time or efforts. They do it for the love of the herd.
What are the ponies like? Where can I get one?
Our ponies have big personalities and are generally friendly and curious. They keep us laughing. We do not sell our herd- They are permanent residents here at the farm. We do not have any of our ponies up for leasing or adoption. We are working on something that could support that option in the future, and this is one of our "5-year" goals.
Though these ponies are friendly, easy keepers, and generally healthy, you must be willing to learn about their special genetic needs in regards to inbreeding and genetic bottlenecking, even if you don't see breeding in your future.
When asking how to become a caretaker for an Ojibwe pony, ask yourself a few things: Why do you want to? Are you willing to humbly educate yourself and others on who their original family members (Anishinaabe people) are? Are you willing to be reflective and critical of your motives for caretaking if non-indigenous? These are the beginning steps of thinking about becoming an ally caretaker. Because the numbers are so small, it is vital that people also take conservation efforts seriously.
How can I help?
We rely on the generosity of our community! The only people involved in our organizations who get paid for their efforts are our veterinarians, farriers, and horse trainers, often students from the UW-RF equine program. We believe in supplying students with a fair wage, and our ponies benefit from basic ground training to be the best equine citizens to interact with our visitors and on outings safely. However, our caretakers and board members are entirely volunteer- Meaning that all the donations our organization receives go back to the care and wellness of our herd and to help facilitate outreach events into the community. We use donations for food, hay, farrier, vet services, and a slew of other things the ponies need to keep them healthy and happy.
What are your breeding plans?
We do not consider ourselves breeders but are working extensively with equine reproductive specialists and The Ojibwe Horse Society (our international breed association) to carefully find good genetic matches. Many of our herd members are related, so breeding them can cause sick and inbred offspring. We have worked with other organizations internationally to find good genetic breeding matches. Unfortunately, because our resources and land is limited, we have to take things incredibly slowly to take space and safety into consideration.
Can I come visit?
We are currently suspending our visiting program for the season (as of 11/2023). Please check back in spring when it is warmer (and it will be a much nicer time to be outside!), anticipated around 4/2024.
Please do not show up unannounced. Remember, both horses and humans live here, and ultimately, it is their home. Because we operate a closed herd, biosecurity and their immunity and health can also be compromised by outside sicknesses.