Horses find salvation at Reverie Farm

May 06, 1994|By Jody Roesler | Jody Roesler,Special to The Sun

All Sharon Myers wanted when she took over a horse farm on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard a year and a half ago was a place to keep her 15 Appaloosas. Now she has 34 horses, many of them saved from the slaughterhouse or starvation, and a growing riding school.

Ms. Myers had a full-time job as a clerk at United Parcel Service when she and her husband, Charles, leased the dilapidated, 38-acre farm. But working nights and weekends to rebuild it "just got to be too much," she said.

Six months ago, she left UPS to work full time on the farm, which she named Reverie.

At the beginning, eight youngsters who were interested in horses helped her.

"Then, kids started coming down the driveway asking if they could help out and ride the horses," she says. "Any time you have horses, you have kids."

Now, she and her assistant, Marti Miller, teach 75 children to ride both Western and English styles. Ms. Miller teaches English style, hunting and jumping, while Ms. Myers teaches the Western style, roping and barrel riding.

But Ms. Myers says she teaches them more than riding.

"Horses aren't like cars. You don't just start them up, ride them and turn them off. The kids have to know how to feed them, brush them and groom them," she says. "They have to know that they have feelings -- that they're not just machines."

Ashley Hubbard, 6, tells Ms. Myers that she can brush Onyx, her favorite horse, and can groom her, but she can't lift her foot and clean her hoof. At least not yet.

Janice Hubbard, Ashley's mother, says that if her daughter weren't in school, she would be at the farm from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"And she'd never run out of things to do, I mean besides riding," Ms. Hubbard says.

And Ms. Myers wouldn't mind having her or the others around.

"I love it," she says. "I can't have kids of my own, so God gave me everyone else's."

While she's teaching the children, she also is trying to help horses. Onyx, for example, was being auctioned, destined for a slaughterhouse, when Ms. Myers bought her.

"The prime lifetime of a horse is between nine and 15, and Onyx is over 21," she says. "But the kids adore her. She's a good old girl."

Another horse, Mystery, was starving when Ms. Myers got her. "She was so skinny that every bone showed. The kids asked if she was a camel or a horse."

Some horses are donated to the farm. "A lot of people love animals but can't afford to feed and keep horses," she says. "So, they'd rather give them to me knowing that they'll be loved and taken care of."

She has saved more than 20 horses, kept the ones that would be good with children and found good homes for the others.

"We have to make sure each horse on the farm is bomb-proof," Ms. Miller says. "We have to be sure they can deal with the kids."

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