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Depsite challenges, Dots is a winner

December 22, 2004

Dots, a 27-year-old former polo pony, is the December Horse of the Month at the Ranger Foundation of Greenbriar Farm in Keedysville.

Appropriately named, the red-spotted appaloosa gelding retired to the farm in the fall of 2002 from Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa. He ended a career as a high-goal pony who traveled far and wide.

He went to Valley Forge from Cornell University in 1997, from a previous home in Houston. The Valley Forge barn manager noted that Dots was a hard worker in his job as a polo pony, and that he acquired the nickname "Boris Becker" after the temperamental, red-haired tennis player.

Blind in one eye and extremely sensitive to movements around him, Dots is one of the most challenging horses at the Ranger Foundation. Those who know him say his eccentricities began long before his eyesight declined. The Ranger Foundation was warned before his arrival that he was difficult to catch, but didn't know he was almost impossible to touch. Caring for Dots requires lots of patience.

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A friendship has developed between Dots and Ranger volunteer Chesley Simmons. Simmons has spent two years working patiently with Dots and has established such a bond that he can handle Dots almost as if the horse were normal.

While Dots may be suspicious of humans, he is the complete opposite when it comes to fellow equines. The most social horse at the farm, Dots is friend to all and gets along with any horse in his company.

The Ranger Foundation is a nonprofit retirement home for horses that have served people either as police horses, military horses or therapeutic riding horses. Its mission is to provide quality care in a peaceful setting. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Sponsorships sought


Each month, sponsors are sought for the horses, either as individuals or businesses. Sponsorships cost $100 per month, which covers feed, supplements, veterinary care, and farrier and dentist fees. Half sponsorships of $50 a month also are available, and $1,000 donations count for one full year. Businesses and distant individual sponsors receive periodic reports and photos of their horses.

Nearby sponsors may visit and care for their horses.

Dots is in need of a sponsor.

Learn more about The Ranger Foundation and sponsoring a horse by going to www.rangerhorse.org on the Web.

If you would like to volunteer to work with Dots and other horses of the Ranger Foundation, call Diana at 301-432-2110.

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