Youth Save Horses Thousands of Miles Away
Nearly 3,000 miles-close to the entire width of the United States-separate Salmon, Idaho from Abaco Island, Bahamas. Yet when the Salmon 4-H Model Horse Club learned of the plight of endangered horses living there, they took action. "Our 4-H leader told us about how the Abaco Barb horses on Abaco Island are close to extinction and we knew we had to help save them," said 11-year-old Cameron Angeny. The Abaco Barb, a strain of the critically endangered Spanish Barb breed, is believed to be descended from Spanish Conquistador horses that survived shipwrecks 500 years ago. Only nine horses remain of the original 200 due to human intervention and habitat changes. Cameron and his fellow club members developed a plan, using the writing skills they'd learned keeping 4-H record books.
They petitioned Breyer® Animal Creations® to create a model to raise awareness about the horses. The company was so inspired by the leadership of these young 4-Hers that it developed an Abaco Barb model for its 2005 line and created an annual benefit model horse program. "These young people were an inspiration for us all," said Kathleen Fallon of Breyer. "This is a powerful lesson for these children, to know that they can make a difference." Capella, named after one of the Abaco Barb stallions, was the first horse in the annual benefit series, and one of the company's top five model horse sellers in 2005.
A portion of the profits from sales of Capella models help Arkwild, a nonprofit organization that works to protect the Abaco Barbs by providing medical care and a protected forest preserve for the herd to live in. The 4-H club continues to raise money and awareness for the Abaco Barb horses through the Abaco Barb Youth Project, a program that provides ideas for others to help. Cameron encourages all youth to take on big projects themselves. "Once you have an idea, get your thoughts on paper, and try to accomplish it," he said. "The biggest thing I have learned is that I can make a difference in the world!" 4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.
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