Horses in Hanover
Hanover Shopper | October 2020
A trip to town through the rural back roads of western Hanover winds through miles of livestock fences and farms of all sizes. Tucked into those farms on Route 54 is Wings of Hope Ranch, where neglected horses are rescued and rehabilitated for use in providing a no-cost equestrian experience to children facing conflicts or challenges such as trauma, foster care, family crises, and other special needs.
The ranch has established relationships with various non-profit horse rescue organizations, and rehomes or becomes the permanent home to horses who have passed health and soundness evaluations and are fit to serve in this capacity. One such pony is Cody – a beautiful, green-eyed Paintaloosa (a unique color pattern responsible for the sections of Appaloosa spots on his otherwise white body.) Cody came from White Bird Appaloosa Rescue and Sanctuary, and despite being blind, is fully rideable and safe for lead line rides.
“The rescue horses in our ministry communicate unconditional love and profoundly illustrate the concepts of forgiveness and second chances to the children who themselves have survived difficult circumstances,” says Executive Director Alison Boyd. She co-founded the ranch in 2006 with friends Jane Yancey and Cindy Colon after reading the book outlining this program concept. Her management of daily operations is a fulfillment of her lifelong love of horses and desire to one day have a ranch that serves children. Her passion for both the animals and ministry was evident as she showed me the property and introduced me to horses and volunteer “ranch hands.”
In the 14 years of its existence, Wings of Hope has provided over 11,000 hours of “Rancher Sessions” and rescued, re-homed, or rehabilitated 74 horses – all at no cost to participants. To facilitate this, volunteers have donated nearly 29,000 hours working with the “ranchers” and performing all of the necessary tasks on a working ranch, including feeding and cleaning stalls.
Support from the public helps with the costs of helmets and boots provided for each rider, as well as the annual cost of approximately $3750 per horse to cover the feed, farrier, and vet needs of horses that are frequently older and often have a history of neglect. Wings of Hope is greatly appreciative of financial and non-monetary tax-deductible donations to continue offering their services at no cost. Visit wingsofhoperanch.org to view their Wish List, and on Facebook.com/wingsofhoperanch to learn more about their essential work.