The Heart and Hoof story begins with a woman, Nancy Hicks (affectionately known as Maggie) living alone on a small horse farm in Grantville, Pa. Nancy was a retired local school teacher who had owned and raced horses most of her adult life. Her husband had passed away a number of years ago and now it was just her and one of her favorite race horses, Binky, left at the farm. In the 1980’s Binky had been a talented race horse, running under the name Fleet Spender, but now, at 38 years old, he was in his twilight years.
In 2015 Maggie passed away. Binky was devastated at the loss and not sure what was to become of him but, with the great heart which had won so many races in the past, rather than despair, he decided to enter the gate one last time and create the Heart and Hoof animal sanctuary in Maggie’s honor. With Heart and Hoof, Binky would create a sanctuary that would take in animals which had been abused, neglected, or just not wanted and give them a loving, safe home for the rest of their years.
Binky knew he could not do it alone. His first call was to his friend Ella Muhlenburg. Ella, a proud Penn State graduate, has been a horse trainer her entire life. She had taken care of both Maggie and Binky in Maggie’s last years and even though she could be a self described “stubborn Dutchman” on the outside, Binky knew she had a heart as big as his own on the inside. Ella agreed to become the full time manager of the farm and animals and, in April of 2016, the Heart and Hoof Sanctuary was born.
Binky has since passed on but we believe that both he and Maggie still look down at the farm from above and smile when they see the thoroughbreds, ponies, minihorses, donkeys, cats, and dogs that now call Heart and Hoof home.