When last we left our intrepid heroes, Dwight Jones and Jackie Hill of Hidden Stables Equestrian Rescue Facility on Gorman Road, they were busy rescuing unwanted and abandoned horses.
They had boarded other people's horses on their 80-acre spread but, moved by reports of several horses that were abandoned in a stable this past winter, decided to open their hearts, their wallets and their stables to abandoned horses.
So, here, seven months after they opened, is a progress report. There are nine horses and one burro in residence, along with the horses boarded there. The mares stroll about on 40 acres, the geldings on the other 40.
The public is invited to become "foster parents" to the horses, visiting the animals, riding those well enough to be ridden, grooming them and contributing to their upkeep. In short, generally behaving like horse owners but without bearing all the responsibilities of care and maintenance.
Once an abandoned or injured horse is well enough, it is eligible for adoption. Ms. Hill tells me that most often those who adopt their horses know little about them. But she and Mr. Jones are available to answer questions and make the placement more successful.
"They are just regular people who show up and fall in love with horses," Mr. Jones said. "We work with them, tell them what they need to know. Our purpose is to give the horses a safe, loving home, and, if not, they stay here."
The facility follows up for one year, making sure that everything is going well, handing over ownership after that year.
The animals come from different sources. The Humane Society brings horses that it has received. Some are donations, such as Stoney, 15 hands high and still growing. Jackie bought Sweet Pea at auction. She couldn't resist. This pony-size burro is a demon for ginger snaps.
The facility has touched a responsive chord in animal and horse lovers. For example, a former trainer has just come on board as a volunteer to help rehabilitate horses that need it. A veterinarian is donating his services.
As Jackie said, "We're just a little down-home country farm with lots of know-how about horses. We don't have any fancy equipment."
They know how to get what's needed. A horse named Spunky has a bone infection in his ankle that will need an operation, due to take place in Leesburg, Va. They are trying to spare the horse the 3 1/2 -hour trip by seeing if the operation can be done locally. If not, they have the use of a trailer that was used to transport racehorses.
Still, the facility can use a little help. For example, it could use someone to apply for grants.
In addition, a foster share in a horse is a great gift for a young girl. It's a good way to see if your horse-mad delight is ready to take care of one at a fraction of the investment in time or money compared to owning one.
It's especially nice for parents who live in apartments or townhouses and don't have the space to keep horses.
Call the Hidden Stables Equine Rescue Facility at (301) 490-3558 for more information.
South Columbia Baptist Church members are taking a well-earned rest after their very successful Vacation Bible School. Their thanks go to Nanette Taylor, Karen Laforme and Danita Kinnison for organizing an entertaining and educational program.
xTC Of course, that doesn't mean that the church shuts down for the summer. In fact, every other Sunday, the church will hold a small social just for fun after the 6 p.m. service. This Sunday is Favorite Desserts Night. Members will bring their favorite desserts to share.
On July 24, there will be watermelon after the service. On Aug. 7, the congregation will be entertained by a trio while eating ice cream after church. On Aug. 21, the after-service social is billed as Salad Night.
For more information about South Columbia Baptist and its programs, call (410) 381-1877.