I feel compelled to write this from a place of humanity or rather a love of all animal beings, compassion, love and need for change. The recent events of the assaults at the Equestrian Centre have deeply affected my family and spurred a sense of urgency that the perpetrators are apprehended and made accountable for their actions. This disgusting crime has bred a fear in me that no parent should feel.

But first you must understand where I am coming from. The Equestrian Centre is the only place I took my first born child to ride lead line at the tender age of 2 where the wonder of a horse and its majestic grace inspired a love of animals that has transpired to all three of my children. Such that my youngest begged to ride horses from a very young age and had to wait until she was 8 years old to take her first riding lesson with Ms. Mary. Let me fast forward five years to a young 13-year-old on the brink of becoming a young woman with a poise and maturity all her own. I have the Equestrian Centre, Mary, Jessica and all the staff to thank for contributing to her growth both as a person, an equestrian rider, but more importantly, a horse owner.

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My daughter’s love of horses has progressed to ownership of a spunky Cayman-bred beauty. She is down at the stables six days of every seven to care for, exercise and train her horse for a minimum of three hours. This is no breeze in and breeze out kind of hobby; commitment is full on. Her reward is to be able to share a fragile bond that only comes to a horse and rider after much dust, tears and hard work finally reveal a joy and confidence that no parent, school or friend can replicate.

The Equestrian Centre is my child’s second home, and at this very juncture in her life the security and well-being of the very thing that is most important to her is under threat. No parent should have to explain sexual assault to a child. No parent should have to explain how someone could do this to an animal that has no defenses and no ability to ask for help.

How can my child feel safe in an environment where someone has been watching, waiting and planning to act out the most horrific of crimes against the most innocent of animals? How can I feel safe? How can a place of sanctuary where anyone in the community has been welcome to watch events and visit these special animals, along with all the other ponies, donkeys, goats, rabbits, chickens, cats and dogs be the target of twisted individuals with barbaric intentions?

Yes, individuals, because there is no possible way that these injuries could be inflicted upon these ponies by only one person. Why?

I am imploring the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to take these criminal acts seriously and dedicate the resources to finding these perpetrators. This is a crime against a business, property, my child and her horse. This is a crime against our community. Where does it stop? What if the next victim is not a pony? When will it be important enough? There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of the individuals who have committed these crimes.

I beg of you to share any and all facts that may pertain to these acts with the RCIPS or contact Crime Stoppers 800-TIPS or 800-8477 or www.CrimeStoppers.ky. We can shape our future and make our community safe.

Marcia Milgate

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