Teddy Bear, a horse that was rescued from horrid conditions last fall, is now enjoying life at Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue in Sagaponack with some tender loving care. His pint-sized new owner has taken up the rescue cause by raising money and awareness at her school.
Marketa Grant, a fifth grade student at the , recently adopted the gelding in his 20s, and with the help of her family, she is dedicated to caring for him.
Teddy Bear was neglected, shy, and "scared of everything and everyone," according to Irena Grant, Marketa's mother. "He was locked up in a straight stall. With no wall, it was so narrow. He couldn't even turn around, so he'd just been standing there for years," she said.
Christine Barrett-Distefano, who founded Amaryllis in 2005, brought Teddy Bear to her Southampton farm, and began to rehabilitate him. It took some time she said, but slowly Teddy Bear began to trust. Promise, another rescue horse, took Teddy under his wing, she said, and helped bring his spirits up. Now, these two horses are inseparably, and even share a stall together.
Once Teddy Bear began to trust other animals, he had the confidence to start believing in humans again. "It finally got to the stage when he was ready, " said Grant.
Barrett-Distefano thought Marketa and Teddy Bear were a good match, and suggested they spend more time together. It took until this past springs, she said, for Teddy to be healthy and comfortable enough for Marketa to ride him.
When Marketa was asked what made her fall in love with Teddy Bear she said: "His eyes, and how gentle he is; not all horses are gentle."
Marketa began coming to the farm every chance she had to brush, feed, and care for Teddy. By all accounts, Marketa loves all animals, and when she comes to the farm she helps care for them all. During summer vacation, she tried to spend every day with Teddy.
"When I come here, first, I get him out of the stall, and I brush him really nicely, and I give him a carrot, because he was so good," Marketa said of her time at the stable.
Marketa and her family have taken on a responsibility with Teddy Bear that goes beyond caring for him physically. Last year, the Grants helped organize and run a fundraiser that carried on throughout the year, called "Pennies for Ponies," in which jars were placed around the Springs School for students to put loose change into to help support the rescue horses. The students would draw pictures and write letters to the horses, sending them to the barn.
Marketa's mother said that bringing her children to the farm, being around the animals, understanding what it is to rescue an animal, and the responsibility of what it takes to care for them has been a wonderful experience.
Barrett-Distefano said that looking at Teddy Bear, and watching Marketa grow so much with him, that she knows they were simply "meant for each other."