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Welcome to the
Legacy Farm Project

Building a sustainable home for generations to come.

February 25, 2024


Dear Friends,


Thank you for being here to share a historic moment with us! Many people don't know that for almost 12 years, the Dorset Equine Rescue has achieved incredible outcomes from a home base of just 5 borrowed acres and a network of foster placements. A larger home has been part of our vision for years. 

In 2022, with a substantial founding gift dedicated to a permanent home, our search began in earnest. However, our plan has always been for a big leap. Goals of increased capacity, hay sustainability, environmental security & room to grow in perpetuity were priorities, but hard to come by in our beloved home region of Vermont. 

In August of 2023, by chance and possibly fate, a supporter who knew of our search helped us make a connection. We were offered the chance to buy an ideal, pristine piece of land on the Dorset ~ Rupert line, off market, if we could do so in short order. 

With the founding gift in hand, we approached a group of long-time supporters who we knew understood our vision. In response to what we called our 'miracle moment', an outpouring of support followed. An intensive few months ensued, with a beyond-happy ending: the Dorset Equine Rescue's purchase of 178 acres where the legacy of our work will take root forever. 

Our deepest, heartfelt thanks go out to our land donors whose belief in our vision, at a critical moment, has made this landmark development possible. 

We know everyone has questions, and we can't wait to tell you more! Please visit our Q&A section below. Feel free to send us more questions as we progress through the planning process, and if you'd like to talk about supporting this project, reach out any time. 

All our best, 

Jen Straub, Executive Director

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Become a 'Friend of the Farm'

If you're as excited as we are, join our 'Friends of the Farm' list to make sure you don't miss a moment of this great adventure!

Questions & Answers

  • What are the next immediate steps in this project?
    The farm requires strategic planning and development before it will be our primary home. While we will begin using the land in the season ahead for some of our purposes, our next big focus is creating a sound, clear Farm Development Plan. We've secured professionals for site design and assessment, and have had support from a wonderful, long-time volunteer who is working on barn plans. We'll have more details to share soon. However, our planning phase involves collecting a lot of information and decision-making to ensure that we know what we need to make the property ready for our comprehensive, and sometimes complex, work. Once we have a clear plan to share, with lots of details (including costs), we will be launching a Capital Campaign for this development. While the campaign will launch this fall, we welcome conversations about supporting the project any time.
  • Where is the new property located?
    The Farm, formerly known as 'The Hathaway Farm', is just over the Dorset border in Rupert, Vermont, and a 6 minute drive from the Dorset, Vermont Green.
  • Will the new farm be open to the public?
    We will offer scheduled tours and welcome the public to multiple open houses and fundraising events each year.
  • What will the total horse capacity be at the new farm?
    Our goal is to be able to comfortably house 30 horses. The property has plenty of space to grow over the years, so this number has the flexibility to increase over time.
  • Where can I donate toward the future capital campaign?
    You can donate directly to the Legacy Farm Project now by clicking here or by mail at: P.O. Box 92, East Dorset, VT 05253. Although we are still gathering estimates and information for the entire scope of the Legacy Farm Project in preparation for the campaign, we greatly appreciate any support for this project on any timeline. Our essential, every-day work will not stop while we pioneer this effort. In order to continue meeting our mission and caring for the horses we now have throughout the campaign, we plan to allocate 15% of funds toward the Legacy Farm Project to our current operational budget. By rolling our annual operating budget into our capital campaign, we ensure the sustainability of our organization and the horses in our care throughout this essential growth period. We're happy to make time to speak with you if you would like to learn more about becoming a founding donor of this landmark project. Please reach our to Jen at
  • What will be happening with the house & barns that are currently on the property?
    The property we've purchased to develop the Legacy Farm has a rich history that we honor and appreciate. Presently, there is a late 1700's house, a large main barn and several outbuildings. The property has not been lived on full time for many years and, as is typical with properties of this nature, time and decay have taken significant toll on the infrastructure. The short answer to this question is: We don't know, but we are working on figuring it out. We're collecting expert assessments and estimates to determine the way forward. The house, barn & outbuildings all present with significant structural compromise. At the same time, we acknowledge that the structures - particularly the farmhouse - present with historically significant features. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we are obligated to connect our expenditures with our mission. The farm and our work will require a new barn facility. This will be designed with great care toward aesthetics that are cohesive with the pastoral nature of the Rupert community. It will be equipped with features to care for traumatized and critically ill horses, and to keep our rehabilitation work happening year-round. The fully operational farm will also require a residence for live-in staff. We are exploring dovetailing this future need with the existing house but cannot make a commitment about a plan yet. We are also committed to carefully salvaging historic elements of the infrastructure if preservation is not possible. The best way to stay abreast of all that we're learning and planning is to join our special 'Friends of the Farm' email list for project updates, right here. While historic preservation isn't a part of our organizational mission, we honor this land and its earlier legacy. We are already exploring grant-funding opportunities and other resources which will help guide the way with respect and reverence for the property's rich history. PS: Are you a history-holder of the property? We'd love to hear from you if you have any insight, photos or knowledge to share!
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