DeeAnn Smith claims she was brought home to the Equestrian, Inc. property as a baby.
“This is home,” the now-21-year old said with a smile.
There is no way to remember if her first hours in the world were spent at the Carrollwood property but, over the last two decades, the memories she’s made there will be hard to forget.
All thanks to her mom.
“She was very special. Very kind and compassionate,” Smith said of her mother, Glenda. “It was her passion for her lifetime so it’s mine now, too.”
Glenda Smith died from a brain tumor in January. She leaves behind friends, family and her passion -- horses.
“I was raised with horses,” said Carol Burnell, who has volunteered with Equestrian, Inc. for seven years. “My dad owned thoroughbreds. When I retired, I knew I had to be around horses and I found this place and it’s just wonderful.”
Glenda was a woman who made instant friendships. As DeeAnn describes her as someone who “couldn’t say no”.
The problem for Glenda’s legacy is the property owner where Equestrian, Inc. currently sits is saying no to the future of the horse rescue.
“We would definitely like to keep it going, especially for her,” said DeeAnn.
The company plans to develop the 10-acre plot of land. The asking price is $1.65 million.
That’s money that DeeAnn doesn’t have.
“She did everything in her life for these horses,” said Burnell. “Some of these horses, this is the only home they’ve known.”
It’s possible that Equestrian, Inc. could live on if the land is, in fact, taken away from them. They hope to find another home for their 12 horses. It costs about $2,000 just to feed the animals now. Equestrian, Inc. is a non-profit that is run 100 percent on donations.
Money is always tight.
“This is what Equestrian, Inc. has been for so long,” said DeeAnn’s boyfriend of two years, Rob Cavanaugh. “It’s tough to think of it somewhere else.”
The group has started a GoFundMe account in hopes of raising the money they need to keep Glenda’s legacy in the place where it started.
With a lot of uncertainties ahead, DeeAnn hopes they can find a way to stay “home”.
“I couldn’t picture life without it.”
As of now, they’ve been told to be out by the end of the year.