The Barn-Warming Party on September 18th provided a sneak preview of the farm for many students, volunteers, and their families, as well as folks from the local community. We had a BEAUTIFUL (though hot!) day celebrating our new home, with music, drinks, and demonstrations.
The event kicked off with an Honor Guard ceremony, presented by 3 of our veterans that participate in the Horses for Heroes program here at LTR. Program Director Kathy Blaine read a blessing, written by her father, retired pastor Ray Pollard, to honor the new farm.
Longtime participant Amy Stone provided guests with a demonstration of the Adaptive Carriage, assisted by the volunteer driving team. The Adaptive Carriage is a very special vehicle, custom-made for LTR in Holland to be wheelchair-accessible, which enables those who cannot ride the opportunity to work with horses.
Executive Director Susan Koehler, Board President Susan McMunn, and LTR Spokeswoman Amy Stone all spoke at the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, but truthfully it was little Gnomeo who stole the show! Gnomeo is a 22-year-old therapy pony with a silvery-white coat who captures the hearts of all who see him. In 2020, Gnomeo was named the PATH Intl. Equine of the Year; this year, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors honored him with a Proclamation, for his service to the Loudoun County community. This proclamation was presented by Chairwoman Phyllis Randall, and Gnomeo loved every second of it.
Many, many people helped paved the way to LTR’s forever home. Some of these individuals were honored with stall plaques mounted on the horses’ stalls. These plaques were unveiled after the Ribbon-Cutting ceremony, to honor the following individuals who donated their valuable time and funds to LTR:
Amy & Chris Walton
Susan & Dave McMunn
Susie & Garret Pierce
Ali Joyce, Total Equine Veterinary Associates
The Giusti Family
The Leach Family
In the midst of these demonstrations, speeches, and awards, the guests enjoyed music by Chris Ellinghaus, beer from Lost Rhino Brewing Company, and wine from Forever Farm and Vineyards. Children and adults alike played cornhole and horseshoes, toured the barn, and petted the noses of our friendly, sweet therapy horses. Nothing could be more fulfilling than to see our home be a place of safety, comfort, and peace to the community.
We look forward to many more fun events like this at our new home.
Christie McKitrick, Interim Executive Director