SPIRIT's Lucinda is 'OK' After Weekend Attack
Horse in SPIRIT Open Equestrian's riding programs purposely wounded for second time in little more than two months.
SPIRIT Open Equestion's Executive Director Davorka "Dada" Suvak says Lucinda, the horse injured a second time over the weekend on a property near Frying Pan Farm Park, is "OK."
It's the second time SPIRIT's horses have been purposefully wounded since April and the third time there has been an attack on the animals living in that area. The other attack occurred in May, injuring a number of Frying Pan Farm Park's animals.
Suvak said the organization purchased and installed cameras in the paddock after the first incident. However, the quality of the camera footage taken at night in the dark may not be good enough to identify a suspect, she said.
Lucinda's wound isn't as severe as those in the first incident, Suvak said, describing the horse's most recent wound as a deep scratch or cut. When the horses were injured in the April attack, they had deep gashes about six to eight inches long, she said.
SPIRIT teaches children with disabilities to ride, many of whom are autistic. Beth Eachus, of Vienna, has a 10-year-old son, Jackson, who takes part in the SPIRIT program. She said the most recent attack is cause for concern.
“She’s just such a wonderful horse,” Eachus said of the animal her son often rides. She said those who are involved in SPIRIT thought the attacks were over when a 17-year-old Herndon-area teen was arrested in connection with them in June, but now the concern is back.
Eachus said they hope the cameras that were installed after the first attacks caught something that may give them some clue as to who may have harmed Lucinda.
“What’s so sad is these horses are trained to be welcoming to anyone who approaches them,” Eachus said. “They walk right up to people.” Even after the first attacks the horses were around people and children again soon after, to make sure they wouldn’t have lasting fear of their riders, she said.
Eachus said taking part in SPIRIT’s programs are one of the highlights of her son’s week. “He has such a great relationship with these animals,” she said. Jackson has a language disability, and is able to have a nonverbal relationship with the horses since he began the program in January.
“This is something that has been really great for him,” Eachus said. She said SPIRIT’s programs enhance his self-esteem and he is able to put his ribbons on the wall at home. The program brings out something in children that isn’t seen elsewhere at home or school, she said.
Eachus said SPIRIT’s volunteers have been wonderful to her family as well. “As far as therapeutic riding, we’ve been hugely impressed,” she said. “Dada is trying to reach out every way she can to help kids and others with disabilities. She’s been amazing, she really has been.”
She said she hopes the police are able to find the person who did this to Lucinda so they can all feel safe again. Eachus has four children and used to bring Jackson’s siblings with when they would go to ride, but since the attacks she hadn’t been bringing them.
Eachus said since the attacks, they pay more attention to who is wandering around when families are at the park for their sessions. The attacks cast a shadow over the area and over a great program, she said.
Fairfax County Police ask anyone with information possibly related to the case or who may have seen something suspicious to contact the department at 703-691-2131, or to contact Crime Solvers anonymously at 1-866-411-8477.
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