VIOLA, Idaho — Brent Glover works his way through the herd, exchanging greetings with each steed as he searches for one in particular.
“They all have stories,” he declares.
They’re all orphaned — neglected and abandoned horses that, if it weren’t for Glover’s nonprofit enterprise, would surely have met their demise.
“Most of them come in malnourished and abused,” said Glover, 51. One horse sneaks up from behind and nuzzles Glover’s ear. “This is Attitude. If you let him sniff you, he’ll be your friend forever.”
Another horse named Hart approaches in search of Glover’s attention.
“He came from an older gentleman who couldn’t take care of him anymore.”
Yet another horse, Banner, vies for just a touch from Glover’s hand.
“He has quite a history. See this here,” said Glover, pointing to scars on the horse’s rump. “He got attacked by a mountain lion.”
And finally, after the herd has acquiesced in the gentle nudging, Glover breaks through the ranks to the horse everyone seems to know.
“Hey Blue,” said Glover as a gray-white gelding lifts his head to acknowledge the greeting. “Lil Blue McGoo is standing over here.”
Blue, like all the other 50 horses currently kept at Orphan Acres, gets treated with the same caring hand. But unlike the others, Blue has known loftier times.
He was one of the “star” equines in the movie “Dances with Wolves.” Blue was ridden in the Oscar-winning film by Sioux holy man Kicking Bird. After the movie, unfortunately, McGoo’s story took a turn for the worse.
According to Glover, someone hoping to make money from McGoo’s fame purchased him as a “trophy horse.”
But the plan didn’t pan out. And Lil Blue McGoo soon became the product of neglect.
Glover heard about the horse, made arrangements, and McGoo has been at Orphan Acres for almost two years now.
Orphan Acres, on the other hand, is now in need of help.
“We’ve grown to the point where we’re overpopulated,” said Glover.
The 6.9-acre spread, purchased by Glover in 1986, needs to expand. And the needed property, said Glover, is available in the form of 160 acres of farmland surrounding the site. The problem is money.
“They want $450,000,” said Glover, whose only source of income is from Social Security disability and two rentals.
“We would grow hay and it would also give us much needed pasture.”
Enter a number of Washington State University students who hope to help the dream come true.
“Once you go out there, you can see the need,” said 22-year-old senior Jill Anderson, who’s a member of a human development class taught by Kim Kidwell at WSU.
About 30 students, explains Anderson, joined together to not just help with chores at Orphan acres, but also to seek funding and promote the cause.
Anderson sees Orphan Acres as a much-needed service to the community. Glover is also licensed by the state of Idaho to rehabilitate orphaned wildlife.
“This amazing operation is run single-handedly by its owner who relies solely on volunteers and donations to run the operation,” said Anderson.
“One of our class goals is to increase public awareness about Orphan Acres so that people have the opportunity to contribute to the amazing work that Brent and his volunteers do, either through financial, goods or service donations, or by volunteering at the site.”
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