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With help, Lahaina father and daughter create haven for horses

By Staff | Sep 23, 2010

Goats and horses share breakfast at Pu‘unoa on Monday morning.

LAHAINA — If you call 357-6100, you’ll hear this message: “Kalee’s Retirement Stable…” from the voice of 47-year-old Stuart Farberow.

A Lahaina resident and police officer, Farberow is the single dad of 13-year-old Kalee Farberow, an eighth-grader at Lahaina Intermediate School.

Both have very busy schedules, with over 28 retirement and rescued free-range horses to nurture.

“We have seven here at Pu‘unoa, the pasture right by Lahaina on 15 acres. We have 21 down in Olowalu on 300 acres. All the land is owned by West Maui Land Company (WML), and they allow my daughter to use it (for free) for her retirement stable,” Farberow said.

It all started with a young girl’s compassion for an old friend.

“When I was about seven, I started going to a place called Ironwood Ranch. I fell in love with an older horse named Harrison. They had to put him to sleep, because he had cancer. They were planning to give him to me (before he got cancer) if I could find the land,” she said.

“He was older, and he couldn’t see good, and I didn’t like that he had to die in his stall,” Kalee explained.

She told her dad after the crushing loss, “This isn’t right … I want to make a home for all the old horses after they are done working … where a horse can just be a horse … where you can just give it love and let it be.”

“I called Dave Minami of WML,” Stuart said. “He’s the operations manager for West Maui Land, and I told Dave what Kalee wanted to do. He called the three primary partners (of West Maui Land), who are Peter Martin, Jim Riley and Glenn Tremble. He called those three primaries; and, literally within two minutes, he called me back and said, ‘How about if we give you 15 acres in Pu‘unoa, and we give you water?’ ”

Kalee’s vision has since snowballed.

“Ever since then, whenever we get more horses, they just give us more land. They (WML) have offered us over 800 acres to use so far in assisting with my daughter and these horses,” Stuart noted.

“She started with two horses. Those horses have since passed on, but she started with two, and the number grew to seven in the first year. Then it grew to 13, and then we grew to 20, and now we’re at 28. Unless we get more financial help, 28 is pretty much where we’re going to be staying,” he added.

Ranging in age from six to 40, “we have one horse from Oahu, and then the rest are all from the County of Maui. We’ve had some from Molokai, and some of these horses came from the Mainland before they came here,” Stuart said.

“Some of them are retired,” the passionate horseman and father continued, “Some of them came from people who are going to the Mainland and can’t take care of them anymore. Some of them were injured, and they just weren’t any good to anybody. So then they come here, and they have a place they can just be a horse. They don’t need to work; they don’t need stay in a stall. They’re just free-range horses.

“They just get to go be a horse. They fight with each other. They kick each other; they love each other; they get along; they don’t get a long; they’re just like a big group of people.”

Peter Klein provides the herd with pro bono hoof care.

“He is very knowledgeable,” Stuart commented, “and he helps me out tremendously.”

Klein described the duo’s commitment.

“I think they’re very dedicated; otherwise, I wouldn’t be involved with them at all,” the full-time Makawao farrier remarked. “And I think that they have a very good perspective of what they’re doing.”

It’s a time-consuming and costly pastime, but well worth the effort to the father-daughter team.

“We chose to care for these horses, because this is what my daughter and I love to do together,” Stuart confided.

It’s their quality time — at least three hours daily — both day and night at the Pu‘unoa pasture.

“We go through about one 50-pound bag of feed every three feedings and about one bale of hay a day,” Kalee calculated.

“At the other pasture (in Olowalu), there’s grazing. We go down there like twice a week, and we feed them. They get a big bag of solid green, and each bag is like 50 pounds,” the petite teenager added.

The duo is willing to extend the aloha that connects them to their four-legged companions.  

“After we first started this, Kalee got the idea that she wanted this to be more than just a home for these horses. So we bring in the special needs kids — any of the special needs kids from any of the schools,” he explained.

Students in the King Kamehameha III Elementary School Special Education Program take advantage of this generous offer from the Farberows “about three times a month.”

“The teacher makes it like a field trip day,” Stuart described. “They come out for a couple of hours, and kids pet the horses, play with the goats, with the pig and with the chickens. We have two little puppies here… There’s nothing better than kids getting together with these animals.”

In addition, Kalee and her dad have a vision to bring the equine experience to the youth of West Maui.

“What we want to do is make a big arena here in Lahaina, so kids can come ride. We don’t want it to cost anybody anything,” he said.

With lofty aspirations, the Farberows have encountered financial challenges.

“It is expensive to feed ‘em. It’s very expensive to feed ‘em. We do fund-raisers here in Lahaina Town. Lulu’s (Lahaina Surf Club and Grill) has done some fund-raisers for us. We’ve done some car washes where we’ve made some money. A lot of the neighbors from around the area and even people from the Mainland have sent us money to help with the feeding of the horses,” he said.

In addition, the Lahaina Police officer works extra shifts to pay the mounting bills.

He’s in the process of launching a website and applying for nonprofit status. He has insurance coverage.

In the meantime, Kalee’s Retirement Stable will gladly accept donations.

“We’ll take any kind of help. If people want to get us some food, all they gotta do is ask, and I’ll tell them where we get the food. We get everything from Maui Feed and Farm. We have an account at Maui Feed and Farm. They can call Mike Vita, and he’ll put money towards our account, or he’ll put aside a bag of feed for us if people want,” Stuart said.

“We’ll take any kind of help… markets that want to get rid or apples and carrots, we’ll take ‘em.”

In addition, “we would love people to come by and check us out. You can put in this phone number, 357-6100. That’s the 808 number; it’s for Kalee’s Retirement Stable. I do work. If I don’t call them right away, I will get back to them within a day.

“If they’re horse smart people — they know about ’em — we’d love the help. If they just want to learn, we’d love to have them come out and learn. We don’t discriminate or anything; we’ll take any one who wants to learn,” he concluded.