Karla Deacon has her hands full at Spruce Meadow Farm in Clarence. “We really wish we had more land. We fenced in everything we can and we keep on working to improve that aspect of it.” She cares for more than 40 horses and runs the riders training schedule.
But Karla isn't alone. She has help including from her husband, Al.
“My main job is to keep everybody in line. I've become an excellent mouth worker,” Al said.
Al has Multiple Sclerosis. It's an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. But, Al isn't discouraged by his diagnosis. “My wife and I were actually really happy because something was wrong. I didn't make sense. I was tripping over sidewalks,” he explained.
A lot of that positivity comes from his time on the farm. "It's amazing to see life change here. I love to see it.”
Karla said Al isn't able to help with much of the manual labor around the stable these days. But, he's still a vital asset to the farm. “He is very good at meeting people, greeting people, talking to people. But, that is important because if we have an event, and I'm out here, I can only see so many people really and talk to them so it really helps.”
Al, a self-professed people person, likes his role just fine, and he's an odds on favorite to make you smile in the process.