There were lots of smiles on Monday at the Rainhill Equine Facility, where the Bowling Green Cumberland Presbyterian Church youth group was painting fences and helping feed horses at the rescue facility.

Rainhill is on the outskirts of Bowling Green near Richardsville and currently houses 50 abandoned and battered horses – 39 of which are completely blind.

Owner and founder Karen Thurman has the difficult job of looking after the animals. With the vast majority being blind and fearful, the endeavor can be considerable.

This is where the Bowling Green Cumberland Presbyterian Church youth group comes in.

With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the group from missionary travel this year, youth leader Jordan Bybee wanted to find ways to instill ideas of service and love for others with the youth group in the church.

Thanks to church colleague Danna Jacobson’s recommendation, Bybee found out about the horse facility and saw an opportunity to help.

“It’s amazing,” Thurman said of the Church’s efforts. “I’ve had the paint and the paint sprayer for about two months. It is absolutely amazing when someone calls and asks. It’s 90 degrees. Who else would ask to train in the scorching sun? “

About a dozen children and adult companions made their way to the animal shelter on Monday. Jacobson, chair of the Church’s Christian Education Committee, had visited Rainhill with her grandchildren as part of their birthday present.

Since the youth group needed projects for the summer, Jacobson admired the work Thurman was doing and wanted to help.

“What she’s doing out here for these horses is incredible,” said Jacobson. “The fact that she brings these blind horses with her and dedicates all of her resources to it is such an amazing, inspiring thing to me. It just makes sense to go out and do something for someone who doesn’t ask for help. “

Jacobson said the effort also serves as an opportunity for youth group members to “show their love for what God is doing for them in their family life by coming out and helping these animals.”

Thurman is now retired after working for Western Kentucky University and Cracker Barrel. The non-profit animal shelter began as a place to care for horses and offer riding lessons.

However, over the years she felt a need to help blind horses that other horse rescue organizations do not normally accept. Needy horses from all over the country can now be found on Thurman’s facility.

The youth group also spent time meeting some of the horses.

Bybee said the group’s enthusiasm came as no surprise to him.

“We have a great group of children. They always listen quickly. They take in every guide you have for them, ”said Bybee. “They look forward to doing other projects like this for the rest of the summer. They are super happy to serve their community. “

Rainhill is run almost entirely through donations and Thurman’s own money. She said the need for assistance is always there as the food alone costs over $ 600 a week.

Donations can be made to Rainhill Equine Facility, 11125 Hwy. 185, bowling green, KY 42101.

Rainhill can also use food donations like apples or carrots, gift cards for home improvement or feed stores, and donations through PayPal at rainhillrescue.wordpress.com.

Forage commissioned by Rainhill can also be purchased from Southern States at 640 Plum Springs Loop in Bowling Green.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.