Resource Helps Military Families with Horses Make their Move

In March 2008, horse owner Valerie Van der Veer launched a Web site to help military families locate on-base stables when they experience a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

"It tends to be very difficult to find a stable on base when relocating" she noted. "It's almost like they are hidden."

Van der Veer should know. The daughter of a Navy Chief and the spouse of an Air Force Colonel, she has owned horses since 1973. She created her Web site to help others overcome the problems of moving to a new base with horses.

 Valerie Van der Veer and horse

Valerie Van der Veer has participated in a variety of disciplines while moving between military bases with her horses.

The growing site lists contact information for 70 different on-base stables. Averaging about 2,000 hits per month, Van der Veer said the page is gathering great reviews from military horse owners.

Even with the inconvenience of frequent PCS moves (which can occur every 1-5 years) the military can offer advantages to horse owners on the move. "Because of our many duty stations, I've ridden trails in Utah, jumped horses in Hawaii, played polo in Rhode Island, and soon plan to fox hunt," said Van der Veer from her Shaw AFB home near Sumter, S.C.

Plans for the Web site include the addition of shipping contacts. "Not everyone owns a trailer," notes Van der Veer. And sometimes a trailer just won't get the job done. "I have friends who have shipped horses from bases in England, Germany, and Hawaii," she noted.

Military families make many sacrifices, but giving up their horses shouldn't have to be one of them, Van der Veer said.


About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

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