This past Saturday the Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue held its annual Hoedown at Cloverbrook Farm. It was worthy of the name, as unseasonably warm and sunny weather brought people out to eat charcoal grill and drink cider, dance a line or two, watch the pony rides, and overall have a very nice Autumn picnic with the community at a beautiful place.
Akindale Horse Rescue (AkindaleHorseRescue.org) was a gift from Mr. John Hettinger and has been a pride of the region since its inception in 2006. It is a horse rescue, primarily thoroughbreds but not exclusively. Erin Pfister is the extraordinary woman who manages an equine rescue operation of enormous scale. There have been at times 140 in her care, in a facility designed for 90-120; but she cannot turn a needy horse away, and she has always managed, doing what was the best thing for the most horses. One need only look at any of the rescue horses, on any day, in any weather, to see how well she succeeds in this. A pickup in adoptions and an expanded marketing and fundraising staff since the rescue was initiated have materially improved the situation and outlook.
Cloverbrook Farm is 80 or so acres of gentle field with waiving hedgerows of maple, oak and evergreen. It is a farm, with cows and horses. In the summer it also is a day camp. It is owned by the McCarthys, Jim and Gail, who introduced me to their children and grandchild as we chatted. Jim’s mother, “Grandma Joan” McCarthy bought the place in 1969 and with her family made it what it is now.
“There are four generations of us here,” said Jim, beaming with pride in his holdings and the family he has around him to run them, and apparently pleased to be sharing it and showing it off today to the happy crowd. It has the additional distinction of being right next door to Glen Arden Farm, the rural retreat of one of our most famous residents, Edward R. Murrow.
It was a party of people enjoying the outdoors, glad to be at a harvest party on such a wonderful day, and glad to be helping such a worthwhile organization by it. Included in the festivities were the aforementioned barbeque with pulled pork along with substantial burgers and dogs, the requisite summer salads of potato and shells instead of “mac” making a familiar old friend look new. There was cider. There was pumpkin painting, horse petting, a bonfire, and pony rides on some of Cloverbrook’s quietest, kindest equines.
There were several sponsors and patrons whose support enabled this lovely day: Utter Bros., Nutrina and Von Essen; raffle sponsors included the Pawling Animal Clinic, Pony Up Kentucky, Molli Eickelberry, Tractor Supply, Dutchess Auto Body, Dutcher Golf Course, Laura White March – Avon, Diane Horton Photography and Cloverbrook Farm. Raffles included works of art in every medium, lovely matted sketches full of equine energy; craftworks of earthy jewelry and textiles; really lovely stationery, like from a different age; a foursome at the golf course. A profusion of pumpkins for decorating and enjoying was donated by Rob Pfister.
The day was surrounded by so much that is good about people and nature; the Akindale Rescue; the McCarthys of Cloverbrook Farm. And, as Halloween is not far off, the ghost of Edward R. Murrow undoubtedly in attendance as people gathered to support something decent and important. It was encouraging to see the kind of support the rescue has, even in this particular economic hiccough; never enough, of course, but enough, around here, to make you feel proud to be part of it.