Nestled in the rolling hills of the Idaho Palouse, Orphan Acres is a haven for horses in need of a helping hand. Since 1975 thousands of horses have found their way to these pastures and pens where many receive the care and training they need to go on to new homes and new families. At the helm of Orphan Acres is Brent Glover, chief operator, stall-cleaner, fund-raiser, fence-builder, spokesman, and caretaker for over 43 years. "Around here it never quits. There’s always something going on and only so many hours in the day," he says.
Orphan Acres serves in three different ways; Rescue, Rehab, and Refuge. The rescue portion of the operation does just that, rescues horses in dire situations. Horses that are ill or injured come for rehabilitation under the watchful eye of Glover and often go on to have a good life once they're healed. Other horses simply cannot be adopted and find refuge at Orphan Acres, spending their remaining days being cared for in comfort. "They receive the dignity of living out the rest of their lives here," says Glover.
Most horses come from well-intentioned horse owners who find themselves no longer able to care for their horse. “People don’t realize horses aren’t like dogs and cats,” says Glover. “A horse can live so much longer. A horse is a long-term animal.” Several horses currently residing at Orphan Acres are considered quite old, the oldest in residence being a 46-year old horse brought in over twenty years ago. Younger horses, thought by their original owners to have significant problems, come to Orphan Acres for training and rehabilitation and are typically adopted. According to Glover, of the 4600 horses that Orphan Acres has cared for, nearly 3500 have been successfully placed after a thorough rehabilitation. “I try to place the right horse with the right person based on the rider’s skill and the horse’s capabilities,” says Glover. “In 43 years we’ve only had about fifteen come back.”
Orphan Acres is a non-profit organization that runs solely on the donations of dedicated patrons and the effort of committed volunteers. Many volunteers from the local universities, including nearby University of Idaho, help Orphan Acres care for the many horses that come through the gates. Volunteers can help in many areas including doing routine chores, cleaning stalls, fixing fence, and fundraising.♦