“You don’t need a huge budget, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers or a swanky facility. You can do life changing things with a little bit of time, the love of horses and broken-down “Weird” equestrians with aging horse trailers.”

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Photo by Becky J. Cocklin

“Weird.” Yeah, the last two years have been “weird,” but weird has taught me a lot about human nature and it taught me that my local equine community will jump in to do whatever is needed to help their own.

It taught me that you don’t need to have a lot of time, money or man/woman power to help your local community. As a Funeral Director, I saw a rare need these past few years that became more pronounced due to Covid. The funeral industry, like the equine community, is a small community — everyone knows everyone. So, I received several calls over the last two years wondering if I knew of anyone that could help with the horses of family members that were either sick or had passed away from Covid. Most families didn’t even know where to start, many were not involved in the daily caretaking or were, honestly, scared of their loved one’s “equine baby.” I called friends, and those friends called friends, and in a matter of days we had an “Equine Help Crew” in place. Equestrians helping families with feedings, cleaning, farrier and the vet care, finding new homes and, in some cases, trailing horses to new destinations when the need arose. Equestrians helping families in their greatest time of need — no fuss, no muss, just love and compassion for your neighbor.

Our “Equine Help Crew” sprang into action again on March 14, 2021, when a large brush fire was burning on the South Mountain near Dillsburg. Within 30 minutes, we were able to have 10 trailers ready to help with any animal removal that might be needed if the residents and their animals needed to be evacuated. Fortunately, the winds changed and the fire eventually was under control. But again, our little equine community’s ability to jumped right in, ready to help, when the need arose was now becoming the norm.

Photo by Becky J. Cocklin

Word got around and now we have a list of equestrians that have volunteered to do everything from helping with daily horse care for families in need to helping with emergency trailering of horses to veterinary clinics anytime, day or night. Equestrians helping equestrians, neighbors helping neighbors, and a stronger equestrian community because of it.

This story was not to sound braggadocious, but to let everyone see that with one simple phone call, one helping hand, one little thought of helping others, anyone can be the spark that can light the fire to change lives, equine and human. You don’t need a huge budget, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers or a swanky facility. You can do life changing things with a little bit of time, the love of horses and broken-down “Weird” equestrians with aging horse trailers. Sometimes the best Charity begins at Home…..

Photo by Becky J. Cocklin


About Becky J. Cocklin:

My name is Becky J. Cocklin and I am a 52-year-old Funeral Director and Equestrian. I started my equestrian obsession as a 13-year-old mucking stalls at a boarding/training barn in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. I started riding hunters/equitation at 17, graduated from Wilson College with BSs in Equine Studies, Business and Finance and Small Business Management. I applied to continue on to Vet School but due to my father’s health, was sidelined helping in the family’s funeral home.  Another two years of schooling at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, and I am now co-owner of Cocklin Funeral Home, Inc. I also have my own small retirement and equine hospice farm, Remembrance Farm, that keeps me sane.  I care for retried show, pleasure and race horses and give them a safe place to live out their final days as “Horses.” Right now, I have 7 ranging in age from 10 – 31.

My defining qualities:  Tired, always very tired; Creaky, most of my joints don’t have full RoM anymore; Sarcastic, probably because of tired and creaky; “Fluffy”, due again to tired and creaky and the ability to live on Diet Mt. Dew, peanut butter cups and ice cream or anything else that can be eaten at 12:00 AM when all the work is done. BUT, I have the great ability to laugh at myself and the goofy ponies of Remembrance Farm every day.
 
Embarrassing tidbits: I have set off my own pager to get out of “People social thingies” to go back to the barn to ride or MagnaWave one of the horses. I have also gone on several death calls still wearing my riding gear, covered in sweat and dirt (the dead wait for no-one or for that no-one to shower). I attached an add for a 4yr old OTTB to an Obituary (instead of the picture of the deceased) and sent it to the Papers. And the best was leaving two syringes of sedation that I had picked up from the Vet and that needed to be refrigerated, lying on the Clergy’s lectern at the front of the Funeral Home’s Chapel the morning of a funeral and watching the Pastor trying to figure out what they were, who they belonged to and how he could hide them with his Bible. (yeah, I’d have to say that was my greatest A-hole moment, thank god I’m blond, well, kind of…). So, as you can see, I can laugh at myself….

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