Slowly slowly, Maryland horse farms are coming back to life after Hurricane Irene, later downgraded to a Tropical Storm, knocked out power all over Maryland. From Larking Hill and Dodon Farm in Anne Arundel, to Reddemeade and Waredaca in Montgomery, lessons were been canceled, and water hauled by hand from hither and yon.

Eastern Shore horse owners who evacuated last week are slowing making their way back over the bridge. Swan Lake in Pennsylvania took in about 20 horses from Country Comfort Farm (St. Michael’s). Owner Nancy Ashway said that the first load returned on Sunday, and the last two loads came in on Monday, but that they are still without power and could be for another week.

According to Washington D.C.’s ABC Channel 7, two horses were killed in St. Leonard in Calvert County from a collapsed barn.

Kent Island Evacuation
Wendy Costello, of Kent Island Sport Horses, had originally planned to “shelter in place,” purchasing extra feed and bedding, drawing extra water for the horses, and battening down the hatches. Nevertheless, she was particularly worried about her Hanoverian stallion, Donavan, as well as two mares with foals by their sides, so an invitation from Hassler Dressage to relocate those horses to their Riveredge farm in Chesapeake City came as a relief. While moving the mares on Friday, Kent Island was ordered to evacuate, and the Hasslers graciously agreed to accommodate all the Costello critters.

“Their facility is built like a beautiful castle fortress!” explained Wendy, who moved a variety of horses and “equine pets,” including a tiny pony, an old mustang mare, 3 dogs and two cats, moving the last of the horses in the torrential downpours of Saturday afternoon. Some of the horses ended up with Team Tate Dressage at Riveredge.

Meanwhile, back on the island, the farm suffered little damage, and with the help of Nancy Roberts and barn girls Courtney and Kathleen, the Kent Island Sport Horses (and sundry critters) returned home early this week.

Photos after the storm…

Beth Collier (Lusby) sent this photo of a fallen tree outside of one of the St. Mary’s County government buildings in Leonardtown.

Gwenn Wilmoth’s son (Old Forge Hill Farm, Street) stands next to the root mass of a fallen tree just outside of her ring. Luckily, the tree fell away from the ring and pasture fences.

Hobson’s Choice, owned by Steve and Maureen Castro (Woodbine), lost several old trees, with only two damaging fence lines. The Equiery’s Katherine Rizzo (who rents the stables) is turning the trunk and main branches of this tree into cross-country jumps.

Ginny Class of Fair Play Farm (Poolesville) reported that there was minimal damage to her farm, except for this 200 year old Oak tree that fell.

Do you have Irene photos and stories to share? Send them to by September 10th.