Sperryville column for Feb. 5

Ride to remember

Rappahannock’s own Maeghan Boucher had a special ride at the Salisbury Rodeo recently. © Taylor Ejdys Photography
Rappahannock’s own Maeghan Boucher had a special ride at the Salisbury Rodeo recently.

Several years ago, we wrote about Sperryville’s Maeghan Boucher, a gifted barrel racer, horse trainer and all-around equestrian who has been on horseback since she was just three months old. Her mom, our own Sally Petty of Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs, would ride out and strap her daughter into a child sling; at the culmination of the ride, Maeghan would start crying, Sally recalls, not wanting to be wrested from her snug equine perch.

Now 27, the 2006 graduate of Rappahannock County High School is a fearless rider, a survivor and one who has suffered many an injury in pursuit of her passion. (At one medical exam, she was asked to list all the bones she’d broken, to which she respectfully responded that it would just be easier to list the bones she hadn’t.) Both Sally and Maeghan shared the special support of one man, Sally’s dad and Maeghan’s grandfather, who would travel all the way from Massachusetts to see his granddaughter compete in barrel racing.

After a year off to train a young horse, Maeghan returned last year to the professional circuit, and “hauls” most every week and weekend and travels far and wide. It’s what she does and what she loves. A recent competition in Salisbury, Md., at the Salisbury Rodeo garnered her a first-place win and was, in her words, a “special run.”

“Salisbury rodeo has and will forever have a special place in my heart since it is held the same week that my grandfather passed away,” she says. “To have done so well on such a difficult week/weekend on a horse grampa adored means the world. I know he’s smiling down on me. And I can’t thank him enough for all the fantastic things he did for me during his time on this earth and now he lends me his wings. I am over the moon! Grampa, it was all for you. Thank you so much. I know you are always watching over me!”

Maeghan has a handsome seven-year-old son, Cole, who is already following in his mom’s footsteps. He’s also fearless, and loves all things quadruped. But he has decided that “ barrel racing is for girls” and he is “handy with the rope,” his mom says, so maybe he’ll be roping in the coming years. Congratulations, Maeghan!

Point and shoot

Photography classes are happening at River District Arts. Old Rag Photography has scheduled classes in iPhoneography and Point-and-Shoot Cameras in the coming weeks. The iPhone/smartphone class is scheduled for this Sunday (Feb. 8), when Joyce Harman will walk students through several applications and accessories to enable them to take and enhance smartphone photographs both for creative or business purposes. A second Sunday class on Feb. 22 will take point-and-shooters to the next level by going over many of the buttons and menu items on the cameras. The student will gain control over the camera and the quality of its images. Classes are $95 at River District Arts in Sperryville. Contact Ray Boc at 540-987-9706 for details and registration.

Helping hands in Madison

Madison teacher Mary Grace is trying to help fly five-year-old Sudanese orphan Khan to the U.S. for surgical help. Courtesy photo
Madison teacher Mary Grace is trying to help fly five-year-old Sudanese orphan Khan to the U.S. for surgical help.

Children touch all our hearts, especially those who have experienced profound loss and need a helping hand.

Tracy Slaughter, associate minister of Antioch Baptist Church in Madison, responded to a plea from a parishioner, and so recently passed on the request of Mary Grace, who is spearheading the “Get Khan a Leg Campaign,” for which Grace is seeking frequent-flier mile donations and monetary donations  to help Khan, a five-year-old orphan she met only two months ago while in South Sudan teaching English. Khan’s dad was killed in the country’s war for independence, and his mom died in the same car accident that mangled Khan’s leg, necessitating the original amputation. He lives in a hut with his grandmother and had such difficulties keeping his stump clean that he had to have it re-amputated.

Khan continues to struggle with infections and, Grace says, simply can not heal properly in the muddy environment there. The funds to get him here are in place, she says; prosthetic specialists, surgeons and a pediatrician are all willing to care for him for free, but he needs more miles to get him safely back home to his grandmother after his time of healing and treatment. They have $5,000 thus far, and monies are still needed for airline miles and for visas, vaccines, passport and other details.

“Even just telling the story brings the people who read it to a different place,” Mary tells me. “A different place in their world. It kind of makes the world a little smaller. I just want to help this little guy.”

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Antioch Church, PO Box 881, Madison, Va 22727 (please write “Khan” on the memo line). You can also donate to at www.gofundme.com/if7kac, or contact Mary Grace for further information at 571-334-8265 or mgrrrace@gmail.com.

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Chris Green
About Chris Green 127 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.