By Diane Grant Czajkowski
One of Pennsylvania's finest horse people has passed. Sandra Forster age 72 has gone home to be with the Lord and to reunite with the many family, friends and horses that she nourished in her lifetime. On the morning of January 4, 2016 she fed her horses, then later in the day her husband, Art, took her to the barn as she was caring for her other animals and she passed away in the barn. We should all be so blessed, that on the day we pass, we will be doing the thing that we love the most. For Sandra it was being with her horses and her family. I am so proud of Sandra, she lived her passion to her final day.
Sandra lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and for over 20 years she served the horse community in the Pennsylvania Equine Council (PEC), the state equine council. The PEC was organized over 25 years ago and Sandie played an important part almost from the beginning. I am a first-
As Sandie worked in her amazing capacity, we spent hours sorting out things about her role in the group and how to bring horse people together. I traveled many miles with Sandie to PEC meetings, seminars, events where she would promote PEC in order to do good for the horses. Sandie was a PEC Board member and secretary for many years. She also assisted in the organization of the Pennsylvania Equine Foundation, as secretary/treasurer. Often I sat beside her, assisting her with anything that I could, doing helpful tasks.
Sandie worked diligently on the various aspects of roles in the PEC and she played many different roles. When something needed to be done, Sandie made sure it got done. No matter how many phone calls or emails it took, it was going to get done.
Sandie was always ready to serve, always ready to do the difficult and easy tasks. Sandie was a servant, yes she served people, but her goal and her passion were to serve the horses. No one that I know has put more heart and soul into the love of horses than Sandie Forster. It would be hard to match the depth, compassion and the passion that Sandie had for the horse.
As with many other people that Sandie knew, she was always inviting people to join her at the horse events. I participated with her at the local horse events and seminars, educating people about PEC. When the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo began, Sandie was there setting up the booths, working the booths talking and educating visitors about the PEC and the welfare of the horse. Through my friendship with her, I met so many wonderful people.
On the home front, her husband Art, structured his wife addition office space, so Sandie could to do the things she loved. This is where she worked on PEC materials.
Sandie's code of ethics and her Christian beliefs have deeply influenced my life. As we shared many times of prayer, sharing the word, reading to each other our poems and we watch the plan of God unfold in our lives. Sandie was one of my very best friends, and although she is no longer on the earth, she will forever be an influence and a guide in my life. She was kind and thoughtful. From her life, I have learned of a deeper love and learned more about horses. She instilled in many young people love of horses that will last forever.
Whether it was our local shows, county fairs, Ag-
She not only served in Pennsylvania but also had communication with the American Horse Council, traveling to Washington, D.C., Kentucky and other places to participate in the horse world.
From manure management to training, stabling, education, youth, barn fire protection, feeding and care, veterinary needs, liability signs, tours, establish new sectors, membership, the foundation, budgets, raising support, encouraging volunteers, booklets, booths, through her role as secretary she was involved in them all in one way or another.
Sandie poured her heart and her life into the welfare of horses. Her passionate love for the horse was unmatched. When I first met Sandie and she invited me to come see her horses. At the time, I could not walk very well due to a health issue and the horses were way up in the field. I made it to the pasture gate, she opened the gate and said, “Step inside the horses will come to you.” I stepped just a few feet inside of the gate, and it happened, all her horses came down from the field and surrounded me. Since I love horses, this was like having a heavenly host surrounding me.
She wanted everyone to enjoy her horses. On the day of her funeral many people came to pay their respect, condolences and comfort the family. Her daughter Amber told me the thing most said to the family on that day was, “I know your Mom because I rode the horses at her house.” I personally enjoyed Sandy and her horses many times. Riding and sharing our faith in God and the beauty of nature. Whenever I talked to Sandie she would say to me “When are you coming up? Come up and see my horses!”
Bonnie Darlington said, "I thought the world of Sandie, she was content to be in the background doing things, that made her unique. She loved the Lord and served him, served people and animals. One of Sandie's goals was to help people enjoy the horse. She did a lot for the Equine Industry. She recognized the need for protecting and educating. There's not an award made for someone like her."
In case you wonder who this woman was, look on your barn. Do you see the blue and white liability sign that is just a small part of Sandie’s life working for you. You may not have ever met her but she has been working for you and your horses for over 20 years. If you did know Sandie, she was kind. In her honor, do all you can for others, be a blessing and one day it will come back to you many times over.
“The Pennsylvania horse world owes a great debt to Sandra Forster. Sandra brought people together. Now that she has passed, in honor of her memory, I believe it would be respectful to continue the work to preserve and protect the horse world that she so passionately loved and worked so diligently in, for the love of horses.” Diane Grant Czajkowski
A portion of this article has been published in The Pennsylvania Equestrian Newspaper
March 2016 Issue
A portion of the article has been published in The Pennsylvania Equine Council Newsletter February 2016 Issue