Westminster couple use horses to help protect environment

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ANYONE WHO HAS spent any amount of time in Carroll County knows the place is made for horses.

We see them in fields. We hear about them through 4-H, local pony clubs, and on the English and Western show circuits. Horses are a modern hobby.

But Rex and Terri Penick of Westminster use the horses on their Lost and Gained Farm to turn back the clock, doing things as they were done in a simpler time. They are making many see that "progress" is not always the way to go.

"My husband subcontracts for a company out of Pennsylvania called Horsepower Wood Products," Terri Penick said. "They use horses to clear land, and there is a lot less destruction. Backhoes and bulldozers tear up the land, knock down small trees and scar larger ones. They can't get in and out of small spaces like horses can."

She should know. The five black and gray Percheron draft horses her family owns have proved their efficiency again and again, providing the family with more work than it can handle.

"I went to work with him just last week," Terri Penick said, "to a logging demonstration up by Camp David. A lot of government officials came in to see how it is done and the environmental effects. They saw that clearing with horses does not destroy the land much.

"There are no problems with washing and other permanent damage. A recent survey showed it takes the land about 14 years to regenerate after a backhoe has cleared it. It's something like four years when horses do the job," she said.

The family also uses its five draft horses and four mules to work the garden, do sharecropping and for occasional hayrides.

"Draft horses have, in the past 10 to 15 years, really come back," said Bob Shirley, Carroll County extension agent.

This fact led Terri Penick and Westminster resident Heather Bankard to start the first 4-H Draft Horse Club in January. Westminster resident Sarah Backhaus, 16, is club president. She said it is something she has always been interested in.

Terri Penick promotes horses in many ways. "We even got married in a wagon train," she said. "We left our farm on Kriders Church Road, and traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street and out to the Carroll County Farm Museum with 20 wagons and 60 or 70 outriders. They surrounded us at the farm museum, and we got married in the center."

Terri Penick said they don't join as many wagon trains as they used to, but they still enjoy their horses.

Terri Penick has two children, Brandy Gibson, 16, and Jason Gibson, 14.

"They both like the horses, and Jason has [participated in horse shows], winning high point youth in showmanship, cart classes and a team class at local fairs. He [participates] in some of the big shows in Pennsylvania, too," Terri Penick said.

Yard sale to benefit center

Hope Family Center will sponsor a church yard sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 28 at St. Paul's Church and Bell Grove Square.

The sale will include participation by other area churches, which will donate items. Proceeds will benefit the Hope Family Center's spiritual assistance programs.

St. Paul's youth will sell food. Music and balloons will be featured.

The church and park are on Bond Street in Westminster.

Anyone wishing to donate to the sale may call 410-848-8379.

Lois Szymanski's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/16/97

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