Guest Post – Days End Farm Horse Rescue

Please welcome Maryland Horse Council (MHC) Youth Correspondent, Holden Rafey, and her guest post on Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR). Days End is featured in Believing In Horses, Too, and I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of the great staff and volunteers there over the past few years. I’ve also been honored to serve as Holden’s mentor in her MHC internship for almost two years now and share with you her 19th post to the MHC’s Youth Blog discussing this tremendous organization.

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

By Holden Rafey

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Time off from school can be time spent with horses, though riding is only one of the ways to get your horse fix. Did you know you can learn about rescue horses and help with their care in spring break and summer programs?

I was lucky enough to spend time at Days End Farm Horse Rescue during two of my summers, once when I was little as a volunteer bucket washer and stall mucker, and once as a teen Legacy program participant.

Holden with Mini

While a Legacy camper, I had tons of fun with this miniature horse at DEFHR (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR) is a nonprofit, volunteer-based animal welfare organization whose mission is to ensure quality care and treatment of horses through intervention, education, and outreach. Founded by Kathleen Howe in 1989, DEFHR has grown from a small farm to a national rescue and rehabilitation facility. The farm shelters 110 to 150 horses annually. Trained staff and volunteers rescue and rehabilitate ill and injured horses impounded by animal control authorities and humane agencies. The farm gives horses a second chance and strives to adopt them out to loving homes.

This winter, I returned to DEFHR and was treated to a tour by the farm’s Volunteer Coordinator, Carrie Koehnlein-Alden. We visited the paddocks and training ring while we talked about the rescue and rehabilitation work performed at DEFHR. We watched trainers work with horses and saw supporters with their special horses enjoying their time together. I met the foal of a rescue mare who came in pregnant, and we talked about DEFHR’s emergency rescue process, including how volunteers will go help anyone with a horse in crisis.

DEFHR not only rescues and rehabilitates horses, but also works to prevent abuse and neglect through community outreach. They offer a variety of internships and educational programs so that the community can be involved and informed.

Holden with Foal

Meeting a foal born at DEFHR (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

According to Nicky Wetzelberger, the farm’s Community Outreach Director, “DEFHR is able to offer youth volunteers a unique experience working closely with horses that have once been neglected or abused. It’s a fun way for volunteers to spend their summers outside, learning about horses, working with horses, and even playing games on horseback! Volunteers provide over 55,000 hours of service each year, and we are so thankful for each and every volunteer!”

DEFHR offers a variety of programs for youth and adults. The Youth Legacy Program is for volunteer’s ages 12-17 who want to get involved. Volunteers learn about horse care through classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience. And they even get to participate in some riding activities! Youth Legacy Volunteers feed and care for the horses, as well as complete barn chores, and receive educational instruction. There is also a Junior Legacy Program open to children ages 7-11 who want to volunteer at the farm.

DEFHR Training

Trainers at work at DEFHR (photo by Holden Rafey)

Even if you are unable to volunteer at the farm over the summer there are other ways to get involved.

Ms. Wetzelberger also said, “Many youth volunteers support DEFHR by hosting their own fundraiser or educating people about equine neglect and informing people about DEFHR and the services we offer.”

You can find more ways to support DEFHR on their Ways to Give page.

DEFHR is also a valued Maryland Horse Council sponsor. The Farm is located in Woodbine, Maryland and has tours open to the public every day of the year.

Visit their website for more information and plan to spend some time at this amazing place.

ABOUT MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL’S YOUTH CORRESPONDENT:

Holden photoMy name is Holden Rafey, and I am honored to be serving as the Maryland Horse Council’s Youth Correspondent. As the MHC Youth Correspondent, I will be posting monthly to this blog about horse-related topics in the state of Maryland to give a youth perspective and share information of interest to MHC youth members. I live in Montgomery County and attend Walter Johnson High School, where I play softball and field hockey. My equestrian trainer is Melinda Cohen, and I ride at her barn, Dream Catcher Farm, in Frederick County. In addition to being the Youth Correspondent for the MHC, I have been selected to serve as a student intern for the American Horse Council this spring, and I will write about my experience in a future blog post.

To see more of Holden’s blog posts, click here: http://mdhorsecouncil.org/youth-members-blog  

Thank you for stopping by, Holden!

Taking Chances

AIE_VeteranWritingServices (1)It’s been three years since a Navy friend asked me if I was interested in applying for the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program.  At the time I thought:

“Entrepreneur? Doesn’t that mean someone who wants to get rich?”

Fortunately, I learned through the program that the true meaning of entrepreneurship was not about getting rich, but about taking chances. I embarked on my entrepreneurial path and officially launched my business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC in March 2014.VWISE_Proud_Graduate_Logo-JPEG

I consider January a good time to reflect, and I count my blessings as I look back to some of my business highlights in 2016. Veteran Writing Services:

  • Earned a spot as a subcontractor to Kforce Government Solutions (KGS) on the $22.3 billion Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) contract.
  • Received Acquisition International Influential Businesswoman Awards for Most Outstanding Writing and Editing Consultancy in Prince George’s County and Most Outstanding Local Businesswoman, Prince George’s County.
  • Continued good partnerships and met new, exciting clients and business friends.
  • Shared lessons learned on the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) process with fellow Veteran business owners through Maryland’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
  • Enjoyed press coverage through the local Bowie-Blade News which led to additional business.
  • Celebrated recognition in its book division by inclusion in the Equus Film Festival’s Literary Collection, and attendance at the Calvert County Local Authors Festival and Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s award-winning Pony Palooza event.
  • Won a Maryland Horse Industry Board grant to distribute “Believing In Horses, Too” to all county libraries in the state.
  • And so much more….VeteranWritingServices - Copy

Yes, I took chances. Rather than starting a second career in an established job with a predictable income, I took a chance. It started with a hobby book – “Believing In Horses” – and then led to more. To me, entrepreneurship has opened the door to new opportunities I would never have considered. It has provided a wonderful way to learn, grow, and help share lessons learned.

I look forward to the future and thank all those out there who have helped turn the chances I’ve taken into a successful new adventure. Here’s to 2017!

A Fun, Timely, Sensitive, and Perceptive Story

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By Valerie Ormond

J.B. Max Publishing, 2014

ISBN 978-0-9736330-4-7

Fiction, 246 pages

Soft Cover, Kindle

Reviewed by Margaret Evans

“Sadie felt so isolated. She couldn’t share or communicate her worry with her family. And living in a community with no other military people, no one else would understand. So she lived a life of constant secret fear which grew every day. She needed a distraction.” [Read more…]

Tribute to Loftmar Stables

DSC00882Today marks the final day of Loftmar Stables’ operations at the end of a 33-year successful business impacting so many lives. My husband, Jaime, and I, and our three horses –  Chance, Billy, and Lucky – enjoyed 10 years as part of the Loftmar family. I wish Jan and Raul Martin the best in their well-deserved retirement. In a small way of thanks I wanted to recount some of the positive influences Loftmar Stables had on us. [Read more…]

Maryland is for Horses

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The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

“Believing In Horses, Too” Awarded Grant

MHIBThank you to the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) for selecting “Believing In Horses, Too,” for a 2016 grant award! The funds will be used to purchase and donate a copy of “Believing In Horses, Too,” for every Maryland county public library system and Baltimore city. “Believing In Horses, Too,” tells the story of a young girl who worries about her Navy father serving in Afghanistan. She turns to her love of horses to distract her from her problems. Her adventures with horse rescue, show competition, and equine-assisted therapies present her challenges, and she learns about overcoming adversity through friendships and personal growth. [Read more…]