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Help a Horse Help a Human

Run the Freedom Hill People Steeplechase, Kids Canter or Toddler Trot

Horses give humans a lift at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue in Calvert County.
    In species pairings called Equine Assisted Learning, people learn leadership, goal-setting and teamwork.
    In Equine-Based Education, people learn about horses, their proper care and treatment, natural horsemanship and the basics of horseback riding.
    In Equine Connection, people get to know horses in an introductory group horsemanship lesson. 
    The three learning programs are new missions for the Owings horse rescue farm. For a decade, Freedom Hill rescued horses to rehabilitate them for adoption. The stable grew from two to nine horses. Many are sanctuary horses difficult to adopt because of age, chronic illness or injury.
    For the sanctuary horses, Freedom Hill has found new meaning.
    “We’re thinking, Wow!, we can use these horses that are deemed unwanted or unusable to impact people’s lives,” says Freedom Hill president Kristy Alvarez.
    All Freedom Hill’s work is done by volunteers. About 65 people donate their time. Some, like Alvarez, work 40 to 60 hours a week, while others donate a few hours a month.
    Financial support comes in part from boarding fees paid by horse lovers like Nicole Andraka, who started volunteering at Freedom Hill at age 12. Andraka and her father Nick, also a volunteer, now own three horses, one a Freedom Hill rescue, and board them at the farm.
    Grants and individual donations fill the coffers. Each horse costs around $200 a month, Alvarez estimates, plus medical costs for sick or injured horses, farm equipment and money needed to put together fund raising events.
    You can help at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s upcoming People Steeplechase & Ponypalooza.
    In the People Steeplechase, athletes 12 and up tackle a 3,000-meter cross country course with obstacles used by rescue horses in their training programs.
    All ages get into the fun at Ponypalooza, with games, horseplay and races including Toddler Trot (up to age 6) and Kids Canter, a 1,500-meter run for ages 6 to 11.

Saturday April 25, 10am-2pm at Hampton Plantation, Owings. Charges for some of the many activities; food and drink sold by local producers and preparers: