The Maryland Horse Rescue makes a difference for every horse they rescue. They are aiming to make a difference for McDaniel students through facilitating ways for them to be involved with the animals and opportunities to hone the passions they are pursuing in school.
The Rescue had their soft opening on Jan. 31 at their new farm about 10 minutes from the McDaniel campus. They are 100 percent volunteer-run and there are many opportunities for people to come get involved at the ground level to get things set up.
The herds at the farm are made up of horses mostly obtained from owner surrenders, horses given up by their owners. The Rescue’s goal is to rehome all of the horses they rescue. They do offer sanctuary, but with the hope that they will one day be adopted.
In an effort to give these horses the opportunity to have their own homes, the Rescue offers a program that goes by CHAPs, Companion Horses Are Priceless. It is a tax-deductible foster forever program for horses that are not rideable. The adopter can receive tax deductions for all care and expenses for the horse for the life of the horse.
One special horse being fostered on the farm is Star. She is a retired horse from a Texas state prison they discovered when she was nearly emaciated. They received her alongside a blind horse that had bonded to her. On her shoulder, she is branded with a star common of Texas State Prison horses and a number nine for her year of birth. On her butt, a 12 is branded for her sire in addition to a “T” for the area of the prison she was once assigned to. She has an open trach she functions normally with, and arthritis as well.
The Rescue has come to specialize in the care of the blind and seniors as other rescues are more eager to take the rideable horses that can easily be rehomed. Their blind herd is comprised of horses that come from abusive and neglectful situations. They have taken horses from as far away as Texas and Wisconsin, since many rescues will not take in blind horses. The horses are often needlessly euthanized because people deem them to be dangerous or useless.
“They are wonderful animals,” said Melanie Biemiller, who now runs the rescue, “they have taught me more about trust and forgiveness than any of the others.”
They have not yet found many homes for their blind horses, but they will always have a home with the rescue.
The Rescue is looking for volunteers to be hands-on and behind the scenes. Volunteer work on location may look like caring for the horses by grooming and feeding, doing barn work, or making repairs around the farm. If a volunteer is unable to help in-person, there are opportunities for fundraising, event planning, and marketing. For people wanting to get more involved on an intimate level, they can sponsor the care for a horse in the herd.
Biemiller first got involved through her daughter. They both had an interest in horses and when they drove by the Rescue’s previous location in New Windsor, they thought it would be a great way to earn service hours during the summer. Biemiller fell in love with the animals and is still working with the organization 14 years later. She has been involved with horses her whole life and said she “swears I was born with boots on.”
Biemiller sees a lot of potential in every talent that McDaniel students may offer. She feels that people typically associate helping at a horse rescue with petting ponies or shoveling manure all day but, “There is so much else that goes into running a farm.” Work for the organization ranges from mechanical work and sustainability to business and communications.
Biemiller shared many ideas of potential volunteers in action like students in theatre helping out at a haunted Halloween event or art students contributing to a showcase. The Horse Rescue’s goal is to form a relationship with McDaniel College and create a space for students to pursue artistic, academic, and service projects at the farm.
The Rescue is particularly excited about getting involved with McDaniel students in the environmental program. In addition to the acreage and wildlife, the land features a pond and wetland area with a stream running through it. Biemiller imagines students walking onto the property finding projects they would like to work on.
“We want to be as environmentally conscious as we can,” said Biemiller. She hopes to improve on what the Rescue has established through collaboration with students and faculty.
Students and organizations interested in getting involved should visit the Maryland Horse Rescue’s website and reach out for more information on how they can personally volunteer or regarding a project they are interested in setting up. General volunteer inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org and specific project proposals can be sent to email@example.com.