Shining Light Equestrian needs new place

Sandra ClarkFeature, Powell

Sara McGinniss is running out of time to find a new home for herself, two dogs, a cat and 15 horses. Actually, she’s found a perfect place in Powell. She’s just a bit short on cash – $140,000 short.


And she’s got about a dozen days to be gone. McGinniss currently leases a farm in Hardin Valley where she lives in a small house and her animals enjoy a great barn and fenced pasture. She’s been there several years while the property has been for sale. Suddenly, a deal was struck and Sara had 30 days to vacate.

This bunch is just not going to fit under a bridge.

Sara McGinniss with the two-year-old filly who interrupted our interview for a hug.

In Powell, McGinniss has identified 45 acres over the ridge behind Knoxville Wholesale Furniture. It’s the site, she said, of an old community pool. One wall is still standing. Her plan is to grade a bit and fence the land. She would live in her camper until the animals are cared for.

And for a temporary place, she needs at least two acres, with or without a house and barn.

Shining Light Equestrian is a place for special needs kids and adults. Two huge Clydesdales are mainstays. “They were born at the Anheuser-Busch farm, sold at auction and acquired by a resident of Maynardville,” McGinniss said. “He decided to travel and donated them to us. He said they ‘needed a job.’”

McGinniss grew up all over, traveling with her family as her dad was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. But the family retained a home in Blount County and McGinniss completed her degree (in child and family studies and psychology) at UT.

She said Shining Light does not rescue horses. “We rescue people.”

Her website contains testimonials from some she has helped. Kids come with autism or physical limitations. “It’s a level playing field when they’re in the saddle.”

Upcoming fun and fundraiser

One of the resident horses is a tan mustang with markings similar to the cartoon character in the movie “Spirit.” Shining Light Equestrian will show the movie outdoors and let kids pose for pictures with the real horse from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Agape Holistic Center, 2424 Diggs Road, also in the Hardin Valley area.

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