It's Heaven For The Horsy Set At Hampstead Shop

Charlie Has It All At Equine Emporium

August 28, 1991|By Jane Lippy | Jane Lippy,Contributing writer

HAMPSTEAD — From an Arabian stallion on a mailbox to an Appaloosa design crystalnecklace to a "Zebra X-ing" sign or zinc-laden bee pollen, Charlie Horse has it.

If not, Charlie Cole, the owner, will gallop all overthe riding world to get it for you.

Cole aims to please, be it for a rocking horse or rocking chair. Last March, the 35-year-old Snydersburg-area resident opened Charlie Horse on Hampstead's Main Street, beside the wooden Indian of Hampstead Hardware.

Festive banners, a custom-painted redwood pony planter filled with cascading ivy and a life-like doll perched on a rockinghorse in the window attract customers' attention.

Inside, a selection of equine gifts from 150 vendors in the United States, Canada and overseas awaits.

Elsewhere, Cole said, "It's difficult to find aplace with a wide selection of items on the breed you are into."

Charlie Horse offers more than 100 personalized motifs in hinged, oak-frame boxes in addition to stoneware, glass and ceramic magnets. Many one-of-a-kind pieces are the work of area craftsmen.

Mark Buck of Baltimore County hand-carved and painted a carousel horse that soldfor $1,825 at a Charlie Horse open house. Buck makes one horse a year for Cole, who'd like to have more.

Carroll County artist Joan C.Moore hand-paints T-shirts, mailboxes, visors and coats. Joyce Clayton, also of Carroll, knits warm sweaters. Ronnie Liggett of Manchester crafts benches, including one that features a seat that opens for storage.

Painted sweat shirts bearing the trademark "Noah" are the work of Phil and Phyllis Grout of Hagerstown. Without their encouragement and suggestions, Cole said, he could not have designed the colorful 58-page Charlie Horse catalog that offers everything for the rider from underwear and Australian saddles to Stampede Cologne for men and Morning Dew fragrance for women.

Jewelry runs the gamut from a 14-karat gold, D-bit necklace for over $2,500 to a $6 key chain. Other items for sale include a SMART CART that holds up to 600 pounds; a custom carousel horse; and a stained-glass panel of a horse's head, sparkling with pink, white and blue hues. Cole said he's "filtering in" cat and dog items.

Besides finding stickers, coloring books, hobby horses and games, children can write with a horse-shaped "Bentcil," or just an ordinary pencil decorated with a horse, of course.

For two years, Cole sold his wares from a converted pigpen at his 12-acre farm on Cape Horn Road on holidays and weekends. Now, after 10 years as part ownerof a janitorial maintenance company, he has his own shop.

"I'd rather be happy and make less money," the ever-effervescent Cole said of his new venture. "I've always been a horse lover anddecided to devote full time to the industry."

Cole's father did carpentry work at the famous Sagamore Farm in the verdant Worthington Valley of Baltimore County.

Cole assisted there on weekends when he was 15, learning to care for the yearlings, mares and foals, and working with Restless Native, son of Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion Native Dancer.

His interest in horses grew with jobs at Huntingfields farm near Alesia, Ships Quarters in West minster and ImperialEgyptian Stud Farm in Baltimore County.

Cole sings the praises ofan all-natural vitamin supplement for horses and people -- bee pollen. He carries 20 pollen products, including the President's Lunch peanut bar, First Ladies Lunch almond bar and the "Bee Pollen Bible."

"I use bee pollen myself," he said.

When Cole's not at his shop, it's because he's taken his van "on the road," circuiting horse showsup and down the East Coast.

"I'm planting seeds for the future and covering every avenue," he said. Recently, he "made contacts with top people in the professional horse industry" at shows in Culpepper and Upperville, Va. He also set up a one-day display June 23 at the Maryland State Fairground in Timonium, Baltimore County.

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