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Stardust Sanctuary helps Hampshire horse herd

Laurie Kay Lake Hills with one quarterhorses Hampshire farm thKay's Stardust Sanctuary helped out recently. | Submitted

Laurie Kay of Lake in the Hills with one of the quarterhorses at a Hampshire farm that Kay's Stardust Sanctuary helped out recently. | Submitted

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Updated: February 3, 2014 12:00PM

HAMPSHIRE — More than 100 quarter horses that had to be moved from their original home almost two years ago and have been boarded at a Hampshire farm since then recently received a helping hand from the animal rescue organization Stardust Sanctuary.

The 112 horses originally lived at Bingham Quarter Horse Farm in Harvard. When family illnesses forced Karen Bingham to give up the farm, the horses were moved to Hampshire.

Bingham has ensured that the horses are well fed and watered with plenty of hay, shavings and grain. There were other things, however, that the horses really needed.

That’s where Laurie Kay of Lake in the Hills and Leslie SanFilippo of Elgin stepped in. The two are the founders of Stardust Sanctuary in Barrington Hills. The sanctuary was started more than eight years ago. Its mission is “to help animals and people on their journey to divine grace, peace, joy and love.”

Kay and SanFilippo called Bingham to volunteer their services.

“They said they would be my angels,” Bingham said.

Stardust Sanctuary recently received a $25,000 donation which it was used to set up four shelters at the Hampshire farm. The shelters, which rest on skids, are 20 feet wide by 30 feet long. The shelters provide a place for horses to go when they are not inside the barn.

“The horses range in age from four years old to their mid-30s,” Kay said.

Before the shelters could be set up, heavy duty equipment costing $450 an hour was brought in to clear the pastures. People donated sheets of plywood so that the sides of the shelters could be shored up. The fences were also shored up, and grain buckets were added in the 70 barn stalls. A sick kitten found in the barn received medical attention. It has since been adopted and now lives at its new home.

All of this work was done in just a month’s time.

“There were ferriers, carpenters, electricians, veterinarians, trainers and local area volunteers who all came out to help,” Kay said.

Both SanFilippo and Kay said they were happy that they were able to help the horses.

“Our purpose in life is to help people and animals,” SanFilippo said. “There is no way this project would have happened without the help of God and our angels.”

Kay said she visits the horses almost every day. SanFilippo also likes to spend time with them and photograph them.

“We were guided to this farm when we were looking to set up our own sanctuary,” Kay said.

SanFilippo and Kay became friends when SanFilippo would drive her mother, Carol, to Tenaya Farm in Woodstock to visit Kay’s two horses that were boarded there. Carol was battling Alzheimer’s disease, and working with the horses helped her. Carol’s friends from senior daycare were soon coming out to also experience horse interaction therapy.

“We believe all animals have purpose and value,” Kay said. “They help people become whole.”

Stardust Sanctuary has placed 12 horses in “forever homes” and rescued more than 100 cats and dogs, they said.

The organization offers groundwork therapy classes, an Alzheimer’s enlightenment animal interaction workshop, Twinkle Stars animal interaction workshop for children, animal rescue/rehab program, and an emergency veterinarian/medical fund.

The work at the Hampshire farm is ongoing. SanFilippo said that donations of gravel and limestone are especially needed while the horses are in transition to level the outside paddocks before the spring rains fall.

For more information on Stardust Sanctuary or to make a donation, contact; (847) 774-6139.

Checks can be sent to: American Chartered Bank c/o Stardust at: 100 West Higgins Road #S, South Barrington, IL 60010, or c/o Laurie Kay at: 119 Indian Trail, Lake in the Hills, IL 60156.

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