“Two things Bridger has: people and horses. How can we combine that to make a good life for our kids?,” said Elizabeth Lone Eagle.
On October 16, the Tasunka Ohola Booster Club travelled to Manderson and attended Oglala Lakota College’s Horse Health and Maintenance Training.
Tasunka Ohola (Respects His Horse) was created by Lone Eagle and LaVae Red Horse, both residents of Bridger, and is comprised of youth horseman from Bridger and surrounding communities. The group rides every year in the Big Foot Memorial Ride, which Red Horse said is an important event for the riders and Cheyenne River.
After seeing a flyer for horsemanship training, Lone Eagle said she realized how beneficial the training would be for the group. Because of Bridger’s remote location and lack of nearby services, any type of training greatly benefits the community, as residents oftentimes turn to one another for help.
According to Red Horse, the equine training in Manderson filled a need and provided much-needed hands-on training for the group. Upon completing the course, each participant was given a veterinarian bag, instruments, medicine and supplies.
Over the course of four days, the group learned about horse anatomy classes, measuring a horses’ weight, dentistry, giving vaccinations, suturing, and providing wound care.
“This was a beginner course, and we hope that in the future the group can build on those skills,” said Lone Eagle.
Red Horse said the group is now able to perform equine first aid and wound care, which is critical because the nearest veterinarian is a 45-minute drive away.
This is not the first time the group has had formal equine training, nor is it the first time Lone Eagle and Red Horse has advocated for training for their community. Earlier this year, the club invited a farrier who taught the basics of farrier work to the youth during the Bridger fair and powwow. They also coordinated a CPR/First Aid course earlier this month for the community.
“We need to get young people the training, and to make connections, and make sure our people have access to care. Bridger is so remote and things tend to happen in Eagle Butte, almost two hours away. We are working to bring the education to the people are so that it’s not limited to only a certain area,” Lone Eagle said.