Equine Rescue

150 Emaciated Horses Seized from Maryland Breeder

Story by David Nakamura of the Washington Post

Six Month Investigation Leads to Horses Resuce

Click Image to View Video

Canterbury Farms near Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the nation’s largest breeder of Polish Arabian stallions, a place where horses “feel at home,” according to its Web site, and where a walk among the paddocks “will leave you with the feeling that you are visiting puppies in horse clothing.”

But when investigators from Queen Anne’s County arrived two weeks ago, the scene was hardly so genteel: Many of the farm’s 146 pure breeds were emaciated, including more than a dozen that each were 300 pounds underweight, officials said. Their hooves were overgrown and infected, and some of the animals had parasites.

Six horses were euthanized and seven more seized by the county; the farm’s owner was ordered to improve the care of the remaining animals, said David MacGlashan, director of the Queen Anne’s animal services department.

On Friday afternoon, however, county officials, with the help of animal rights activists, returned to the farm and seized the remaining horses in one of the state’s largest horse-impound operations.

The horses were scheduled to be taken by the Days End Farm Horse Rescue group and the Humane Society of the United States to paddocks in Hagerstown and other foster farms, where they will be fed and given veterinary care, MacGlashan said.

“We’ve been monitoring these horses over the last six months, and our assessment is that they really just took a turn for the worse,” he said. “They looked bad, and it really mushroomed and went downhill really fast.”

Polish Arabians are a popular breed among equestrians, and top-level pure breeds can sell for up to $30,000 apiece, according to Days End Farm.

MacGlashan said the Canterbury Farms owner, whom he did not identify, was a longtime breeder who had fallen on hard times and could not continue to care for the animals. Food alone could cost up to $10,000 a month for that many horses, MacGlashan estimated. Polish Arabians can weigh up to 1,200 pounds.

County land records list Marsha H. Parkinson, 66, as owner of Canterbury Farms, located on a 202-acre plot, including an 80-acre pasture, on Melfield Lane in Centreville, Md. Parkinson did not return a telephone message left at her home Friday afternoon.

Real estate Web sites show that Parkinson purchased Canterbury Farms in 2001 for about $1.5 million and placed the property back on the market in January 2008 for $6.2 million. The property was not sold, and the price was reduced to $4.2 million by 2010. It is currently delisted.

MacGlashan said the farm’s owner voluntarily turned over the 13 horses two weeks ago. The owner has 10 days to contest the county’s action in court. The state’s attorney’s office is considering bringing criminal charges against the owner for neglect, MacGlashan said.

“This is just someone who has got a really big operation and, when things went downhill, did not have people to help or resources to fall back on,” he said.

Marci D’Alessio, a board member for the nonprofit Days End Farm, said the seven horses removed from Canterbury Farms two weeks ago were so emaciated that rescue workers could “see their spine and rib cage.” The animals are being fed five to six small meals a day as they are nursed back to full strength.

The rescue center estimates it will cost $1 million to care for the malnourished horses for six months, and it is seeking donations to pay the bills and volunteers to help with the rehabilitation, D’Alessio said.

47 replies »

  1. I guess breeders need to have a Plan B! What is going to happen to all their poor horses if things go south?! They need to think about this BEFORE they go into business – insurance? savings? Just letting horses starve or sending them lock stock and barrel to an auction is house is not a reasonable solution!


  2. This is going on all over the country.

    So many breeders in trouble……instead of asking for help they let their horses suffer.


  3. I can understand falling on hard times; however, this didn’t just happen in a week or two. Those horses suffered. And it’ll be an uphill battle to regain their health. I think we need to have a plan in place with funds (and in some areas I understand there are already groups to help) to help owners continue to feed, vet and otherwise care for their horses until they can rehome some horses and get back on their feet.
    Sometimes it isn’t a matter of not caring; sometimes it’s a matter of not knowing where to turn for help.



    “PLEASE mention that this wasn’t a one-rescue show!

    Days End took 8 and euthanized 7 of the 8, so please send money where it’s actually needed since they’re only caring for one of them:

    Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue rescued 10.

    Greystone rescued 10.

    Summerwinds also rescued a few.

    And there might be a few others involved as well.”

    I don’t know much about Days End, except that they have a very high profile and get (seek?) lots of publicity. They received a large grant last year (I think it was about $100,000 from the ASPCA?), and have won many monthly Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenges by huge margins. They have lots of volunteers, which the other rescues may not. I don’t know about a paid staff. Not saying this is a bad thing, but I personally know of rescues that are out for glory and not so good about sharing donations when they claim to be “taking the lead” in a rescue. Plus, their main facility is currently under a “Code Red” quarantine for strangles.

    And then there are the nagging questions about the HSUS.

    Maybe Jerry can weigh in on this.


    • Very good obsservation, Ginger. We do need to remember the ‘little guys’ who have such a hard time doing good work because of lack of funds. Thanks for the insight and reminder to us all.


    • GinGer, Why do you think it will cost $1 million to feed and care for these horses for 6 months??? I have never seen such a big number for a small number of horses! They could buy them land, build a barn and take great care of them the rest of their lives for that!!!!! Isn’t this inflated?


      • Yes that is a very inflated price. I have been breeding horses for years and I have 21 in my pasture right now so I am very well aware of how much it costs to care for a horse and that is a ridiculous quote and looks like an attempt at a huge money grab to me. I also did not see any emaciated horses in that video. The old horse in the photo is clearly very underweight but old horses get thin and die. That is part of the cycle of life. Those yearlings just look scruffy because they are shedding out. It is spring after all. Many of the horses are on good pasture. I know that Marsha placed horses in homes for free last year and asked for help to place more horses when she fell on hard times so don’t be so quick to judge. I live in Canada and our market is being flooded by American horses that are being shipped up here to auctions where many of them go to meat buyers. Many people are also turning their horses loose and they starve. She did not do either of those things so cut her some slack.

        These horses have the best bloodlines in the world and are champions and the offspring of champion racehorses and champion show horses and many of them are champions themselves that have been imported from Poland. Marsha is a very highly respected breeder. We don’t know the whole story here and I think the media and Days End are being very irresponsible in terms of making it sound like only multi millionaires could afford to rescue and rehome these horses. As long as you have good pasture and access to good hay and grain you can provide a horse with a great home. This is a rare opportunity for people to rescue some truly fantastic horses and I hope people recognize their value and step up and give them good homes.


      • I worked with Polish Arabs for years of the El Paso/Bask lines in the late 70s and early 80s… we did not treat them like royalty… and they were healthy and smart and quite wonderful to train… exceptional athletes. No one needs that much money to care for so few horses. I hope that amount is a mistake.


      • I am with savewildhorses on this one. I can’t believe horse advocates are being duped by the anti-HSUS drivel spun by HumaneWatch – an organization funded by puppy mills, pro-horse slaughter interests, factory farms, etc. The whole point of their efforts is to sideline the largest animal welfare organization in the country – duh.

        HSUS was a big part of this rescue, in case you didn’t read the article.

        Remember folks, divisiveness will hurt our efforts, and as evidenced by criticism of HSUS here – our adversaries – like HumaneWatch and the pro-slaughter contingent are making good use of that strategy. Don’t feed into it.


      • Margo, the point I was trying to make is the other rescues should be supported DIRECTLY. IMO, $1 million is way out of line – perhaps twice what I would anticipate – but this is a high-profile case. But if I wanted to catch the sympathies of potential donors, I would have gone for a million. Nice round number to appeal to people who give from the heart, and don’t know much about the overall picture. That said, you get what you can when you can to make up for the lean times.

        This is the Days End Website: http://www.defhr.org/

        From the “About Us” section: “Besides the “Best in America” award that Days End Farm Horse Rescue has received, Days End has also received a 4-STAR rating by from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Less than a quarter of the thousands of charities that Charity Navigator has rated have received their 4-Star rating, indicating that Days End Farm Horse Rescue outperforms most charities in America in it’s efforts to operate in the most fiscally way possible. This “exceptional rating from Charity Navigator defferenciates Days End Farm Horse Rescue from it’s peers and proves it’s worthy of the public’s trust.”

        Anyway, the true cost depends on how many horses are in what condition, whether they intend to take “heroic measures”, and for how long. It’s not the feed that costs, it’s the vetting, continuing care, and possible retirement to the facility.

        Open the “150 Horses Impounded!” PDF, and it states, “”An individual horse in this condition will cost close to $5,000 for the initial six months … With 150 animals and unknown health and care issues that add to the cost, Days End Farm Horse Rescue is looking at bills EASILY SURPASSING $1 million over the next six (6) months just for these animals.”

        I magine “this condition” relates to the two horses in the PDF. I’d classify Jellybean Henneke 1. Hard to tell about Helania, but I’d say 1, because of her prominent hip bone. Their heads and ears are up, and there’s good light in their eyes. They don’t appear to be in pain. Jellybean is “emaciated” by Henneke standards, but is standing four-square and appears to have good legs and hooves. Barring other health issues (Cushings?), he/she looks like an excellent rehab prospect. I want to know if both these horses are alive, and if not … why not!

        Note: There’s a link to their Financials. I’m not an accountant, but I find their “Payroll and payroll related expenses” very interesting.

        This is the Days End sponsorship page: http://www.defhr.org/horses/Equidopt.htm
        It says: “Nursing each neglected or abused horse back to health COSTS ON AVERAGE $2,500 FOR THE FIRST 6 MONTHS!” ….. So which is it? $2,500 OR $5,000? ….. Check out “What Horse Care Costs”, which makes absloutely no sense to me. It asks donors for $6,000/month ($72,000/year?!?) for “facility rental”, whatever that means. I don’t know how that’s expressed in their Financials.

        Their “4 Adoption” horses average about $500 for a “green” horse to $1,000 for a good-to-excellent saddle horse. They’re a good looking bunch, and I expect the majority of the Arabs will eventually be just as fine. Plus they’re papered.

        I helped rehab a 17-year-old Arab mare (no papers) … Henneke 1 with no significant health issues. Overnight at the vet for normal intake procedure (exam, worming, hoof trim, teeth floating, vacs, etc.), then free-choice grass hay and grass/Alfalfa mix in colder weather (no true pasture available), worming rotation, barefoot trims. Plenty of Equine Senior at first, but gradually cut back as she gained weight. She was at Henneke 3 in about 3 months, and a “chubby” 5 at 6 months (then Senior was a little “treat” rather than feed!). There were a couple of vet checks along the way.

        From the day she arrived, she showed wonderful Arab spirit, hardiness, and a great attitude toward people. She was originally a riding horse, so two weeks with the trainer for a tune-up and she was down to a “trim” Henneke 5. A final vet exam (required) at 7 months, and she was out the gate to her new Mom for a $500 Adoption Fee.

        Did it cost more than $500 for her 7-month stay, plus training? YES IT DID … but it DIDN’T cost $5,000! The rescue’s normal “sponsorships” are $100/month. Believe me, they take a monetary loss on every one … far outweighed by the “emotional reward” of seeing a good horse go to a loving home!

        Some may call what I’ve said wrong or insulting to Days End. If so, please educate me. I’d be happy to applogize!


      • Margo, my comment was about donating to the rescues that actually have the horses, rather than a central clearing house.I want to see these horses well taken care of, which Days End appears to do. They have a great reputation and an excellent charity rating, which will validate them in the eyes of donors.

        Do I think it will be costing $1 million, or, from the PDF on their website, “… easily SURPASSING $1 million …” over the next 6 months? NOT EVEN CLOSE, but we all know when charities gets high-profile publicity they run with it to cover the lean times, and have been know to direct funds elsewhere. My question: How lean is lean re: Days End, and where else could donations end up?

        I orginally wrote a huge reply (with my usual over-the-top research) that “magically” disappeared while my computer was updating. The upshot is they claim it will take $5,000 for the first 6 months in this article. They quote an average of $2,500 for 6 months on their website, but claim it takes $2,500 per horse FOR THE FIRST MONTH in the audio inteview link in the PDF.

        So what’s the “real deal”?


      • Thanks, Ginger… I think you have educated me considerably about the cost commitments made when rehabing horses. I do appreciate this!


  5. “according to its Web site, and where a walk among the paddocks “will leave you with the feeling that you are visiting puppies in horse clothing.”
    Yes, like you are visiting a puppy mill in the backwoods of Missouri.


  6. Poor planning, bad organisation and too much overbreeding going on around the world. If you really put the interests of the animals at heart. you would not allow them to suffer in your care, in times of bust. The complaint of economic recession is a good excuse for breeders to hide behind, and get away with animal neglect. In not asking for help, you are failing in your duty to the animals in your care, and you should be prosecuted. I would starve myself rather, than allow an animal in my care to go without. In the case of this breeder, the financial exploitation of the animals was in the forefront, and their welfare came second. The protection of the animals is abysmal, in times of crisis. It is a case of stuff you Jack, as long as I am alright.


  7. Didn’t go through with the direct links to the rescues, so I removed them. Hope this will make it.


    “PLEASE mention that this wasn’t a one-rescue show!

    Days End took 8 and euthanized 7 of the 8, so please send money where it’s actually needed since they’re only caring for one of them:

    Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue rescued 10. (Link removed)

    Greystone rescued 10. (Link removed)

    Summerwinds also rescued a few. (Link removed)

    And there might be a few others involved as well.”

    Gentle Giants has take in 10 BROODMARES, so there may be babies on the way!

    I couldn’t find a website for Greystone Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation (MD), but they’re on the HorseChannel’s rescue list.

    Summerwinds Stables (DE) has a website, but also has a pretty serious “Rip-off Report” from 2008. Hopefully, it was resolved.

    I don’t know much about Days End, except that they have a very high profile and get (seek?) lots of publicity. They received a large grant last year (I think it was about $100,000 from the ASPCA?), and have won many monthly Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenges by huge margins. They have lots of volunteers, which the other rescues may not. I don’t know about a paid staff. Not saying this is a bad thing, but I personally know of rescues that are out for glory and not so good about sharing donations when they claim to be “taking the lead” in a rescue. Plus, their main facility is currently under a “Code Red” quarantine for strangles.

    And then there are the nagging questions about the HSUS.

    Maybe Jerry can weigh in on this


    • I used that time to find the additional information about the three rescues included in the comment without the links.


  8. Where is HSUS? They’re certainly getting a lot of taxpayer money from their patent on PZP, which is now being used to make non-reproducing wild horse herds (aka trap, treat and release).


    • What do you mean where is the HSUS? I believe they are involved in this rescue as they involved in many major rescue operations. The HSUS bashers are starting to sound like birthers with the conspiracy theories.


  9. Many of us see sound economic and political reasons for Criticizing HSUS. We are not Bashers. HSUS is falling short and is distracted by publicity and is very hypocritical about the wild horses. I am amazed you do not see their shortcomings. I will say no more. Suzanne could tell you a thing or three about HSUS.


    • I agree, Margo. I can attest to first hand experience with HSUS during the Katrina/Rita aftermath as I was directly involved in the rescue efforts in our state for that next year. Great fundraiser for them!
      Another note, I am new to the horse rescue efforts, but recently rescued a highly bred overo paint stud from a local breeder, underweight approx 350 lbs. Coggins, worming, vacs, natural hoof treatments, chipping, castration, nutrition regimen, etc. has cost me a fracture of what is stated here by others.


  10. It’s reports like these that make me upset with our breed registrations. There are so many unwanted animals out there and yet they allow embryo transfer and registration of multiple babies from the same mare in the same year! As if there aren’t enough out there looking for homes. We are such a non-caring, over-indulgent society and it’s the animals that pay the price. Personally, I prefer to look to the small, quality breeder when I’m looking for a new horse. Prices aren’t as inflated and the owners really care for their animals. I wish I were near to help take some of these poor souls in. My hats off to the people and organizations that are there to help them.


  11. If these so called breeders had any moral thought,that not evry foal born will or can be sold..but they get it in their ” ego minded heads” that these Polish Arabians are worth allot of money! And all that started way back in the 70’s 80’s 90’s and now..it the Trainers, Agents that talk these people into these things..but you hardley ever find a trainer owning or importing or for that matter breeding. Marsha writes for the Arabian Horse World.. I wonder if she will own up to her neglect! The problem that I see way to often by these people is..they want so much money for the ” Arabian Horse”, and if you were to offer them a reasonable amount, they will turn you down..and then they haul it to the Addis sale, pay them $500.00 to be in the
    “prefered” session, pay some agent or trainer milage to haul that expensive Arabian, and then it only brings 500.00 bid! But, they thought the horse was worth, 20,000.00 thousand..not to smart are the breeders. All I can say is if she can afford $ 1.5 million for the farm, she could have afforded to find decent homes, and downsized! Lets get real Marsha, if your reading this…lets not buy what you can not afford! Lets not become the back wood puppy mill as they have here in Missouri…those people dont get it either! ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY FOLKS!!!!


  12. I personally think that Marsha Parkinson is getting a bum rap!

    As I understand it, the horses that were originally impounded were all of very advanced age, between 25 and 35 years-old. Anyone who knows anything about equines knows that in advanced age their teeth start to fall out and they are incapable of eating sufficient feed to maintain their normal body weight. Like every other animal on this planet, they eventually starve to death.

    It seems to me that there are a lot of vested interests at play in this case and too many people are jumping to conclusions that may not be true at all.

    The news-hungry press just loves to over-blow and sensationalize these stories and often they do so without very much foundation.

    The articles tell us that it will take a million dollars to care for these horses for the next SIX months! What a pile of BULLS**T !

    Do they plan to house them in the Plaza Hotel? This looks like a ploy to get donations to fund the rescue center. How much does the Vet stand to earn from this seizer?

    It seems to me that everyone is being too quick to pounce-upon and judge


  13. This is yet another example of an important issue the horse industry needs to act on – the regulation of breeders. Every mass neglect case we’ve seen this year has been a large breeding operation without adequate resources. Their irresponsible practices and poor management become the problem of animal welfare and equine rescue organizations. Not to mention the constant problem of finding pregnant mares at auction.

    Although there are many breeders who have always employed responsible practices, in addition to breeders who have scaled back because of the economy, in this case, a few bad apples are necessitating the need for action.

    Just like states are trying to regulate puppy mills by limiting the number of breeding dogs, we should consider legislation that limits the number of mares in a given operation, requires segregation of intact stallions, and provides for regular inspections to ensure the animals are being appropriately provided for.

    I would also advocate for gelding clinics, although I think many of the breeders actually causing the problem won’t be gelding their prized horses on their own volition.


  14. I am sorry that all of these horses have had to suffer in some way, but as some of you have already stated the young horses that were out to pasture really didn’t look so bad, just scruffy due to shedding. And I must also agree that horses who are in their mid 20’s start loosing their teeth and get a general look of bad health and no matter what you do there’s nothing you can do to change it except euthanise them. One of my best mares when she was 25 acted like she was still a 2 year old, but was very thin despite all the chopped hay and senior feed and supplements I fed her. But winter was coming and I knew she just wouldn’t make it. So I did the hardest thing I had ever done and put her down. Then there are horses that are “hard keepers” and if you miss a “few” meals here and there they will look horrible! As a one time small breeder of Quarter Horses, I decided on my own many years ago when all of this mess with the economy and the unwanted horses first started, to stop breeding. I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE REGULATION from anybody!!! If we, as horse owners and breeders can’t regulate ourselves and the breed organizations can’t regulate how many foals we can register in a year by embryo transfer, then Shame on us!! We as horse owners will have to take up the slack and help rescue horses like these from this Arabian Farm in Maryland until such time as WE GET IT!!! I also don’t want someone telling me that I HAVE TO GELD my Stallions!!! As a breeder, I know which colts need to be gelded and which ones don’t. This is called “culling.” But don’t come in to my area with a gelding clinic and “tell me I have to do it!!!” That’s the problem with our country right now in the first place. Every body is telling everybody else what they can and can’t do and that is why we have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights! But we don’t have to abuse or starve our animals either. Does anyone know where the rest of the horses are? By my count, of the Rescues mentioned in all of the articles, only about 50+- of the horses were moved from the farm. The reason I’m asking is because I would like to adopt a couple of them and I don’t know who to contact about that. Can anyone help me out? No, not to breed them either! We have way too many unwanted’s in the auctions now.


  15. I don’t usually comment but since this is so relevant on so many fronts for me, here goes. I work with equine rescue, am a veterinarian, and have had/bred Arabians on a tiny scale for over 10 years. I have experience with Natural Horsemanship, dressage, cowwork, and trail riding. Well, maybe I’m just old and have had time to do a few things. BUT….no matter how nice and well intentioned this gal is/was, facts are facts: No sense. She’s in trouble financially, the economy is down, Arabian market is nonexistant (as a good friend and fellow Polish breeder said to me, Arabians are like Kryptonite right now) and yet she has young stock and pregnant mares on that farm. Why did she breed anything last year or the year before? Why did anyone? And for the comment on “I know who to geld”, well guess what. In times like this, it’s about 49 out of 50 colts. The “cull” factor just changed dramatically. I retired my old broodmare and she is now teaching kids to ride. The other older one went out to pasture 3 years ago and sadly I lost her last year due to age related infirmities. My younger broodmare went out for training and will come home next month with a degree in cows and trail. The best colt I ever bred, pure Polish, I gelded and sold because I thought it was the morally responsible thing to do in these times. We are seeing fabulously bred Arab broodmares at the kill auctions with alarming regularity. And their 2 and 3 year old offspring? Listed for high prices at the home farm. Comparing too many horse farms to puppy mills is sadly all too true, and Arabians have always been overrepresented in this group due to their unique beauty and human bonding traits. Everyone who cares, will start breeding at least only half their stock. That right there will reduce the birthrate by half (If we could only convince the AQHA and APHA folks of that one! ) And really, rehab costs? A clean stall, unlimited chopped alfalfa/timothy mix, lots of grooming and love, dental care, that is not that expensive. And will save 90% of horses no matter how thin.


    • Thanks for posting, Jennifer. You understand this very well and so few do. I am saddened at the loss of these wonderful horses and the mares getting sold at auctions is such a horrible betrayal of trust.


    • Right on Jennifer; I’m from Canada. I grew up using horses to farm and ranch. I saw this coming and quit breeding in 1999. Up until then I bred very carefully and minimally. I may have made one serious mistake – I did breed 2 of my daughter’s with a famous stallion of breed that is rare in our area. By the way I still sit on 4 of the same breedings, but cannot see my self ever them considering a horses” life should be 25- 35 ish. Unless we are going to use horses as food – How can we possibly continue breeding? No one wants to be told what to do, so we must self regulate. I did and my many, many neighbours and friends did not. This, in spite of the fact that we discussed it time after time.

      I do not like the word “rescue” as it is often so misused. To some it just means “cheap” or “I’m really good”. I took on some horses in need and without government help; I do all my own work and use the vet as little as possible. I have given all my horses a happy & healthy life. The mistreated ones I took on, did cost me LOTS more both money and time wise – they now have an equal quality of life and you might be hard pressed to pick them out of my herd. The sad fact is I can NOT continue. Not only am I working myself into the ground, but we cannot continue financially. I tried to give mine the edge by having their teeth done by an equine dentist. It turns out it was very under -appreciated, and while my horses are comfortable, I incurred more debt.

      There is still a small healthy market for the elite, however the average buyer today wants to pay about a tenth of what it costs me to get them to this stage. As I mentioned previously – I do it very old fashioned and minimally – no horse cookies here. My horses are shiny, energetic and respectful. Can I ride all 26 regularly? No but I’ve worked my butt off, hired some help and ridden most for on lengthy trails. I try to instill the desire to work, rather than mere obedience. They should have moved in a normal market. Previously they did. I’ve got brood shoulders and can face reality….. I’ve slashed my prices, let them go out on “try out” and even had one stolen. I’ve often risked my life working with them when there is no money to get additional help. I love them and I am not a hoarder. I’ve lent to stables, for use in lessons and shared with what I thought were responsible persons. While many have misused my kindness, others have reciprocated and it was a win- win – win, the horse included.

      The scene has changed rapidly and the good buyers are getting far and few between. I now find myself with a large herd, yet I will not sell to just anyone if the “match is not right”. Many idealistic, unrealistic buyers are out there – the ones that dream of the horse the media or literature has “cooked up”. We all know it’s a buyer’s market; most squeeze and intimidate owners who are in dire straits for “auction prices”. Within weeks the same poor horse is back on the market, with his confidence shaken. Often the new owner is adamant, accusing the previous owner of deceitfulness or of being abusive – because the horse did not “act” as perceived. In reality, those of us familiar with these remarkable animals, know that horse count on us to lead in a confident respectful way – this is how they love to work. The real problem is the inexperience and unrealistic expectations of the new owner. “Firm but fair” is misunderstood and not only do buyer and seller become disillusioned, but the horse is damaged and recycled or sent to destruction. I even though needing to reduce my horse numbers refuse to sell to this type of buyer, they are way in over their heads ,and unless I feel they have the support necessary while they learn, – the money is not worth it. Another red flag is the buyer who likes a horse, yet insists on waiting “until spring so they don’t have to feed it” – while I feed a herd – how realistic is that about horse ownership?? They could use the winter to really get to know the new personality.

      Tire kickers take up valuable time, many allow their children to write and become hopeful, while the parents know they will never buy. I need to deal with a parent / guardian or those of legal age. I’ve even been lied to and about by underage ones stating they are older and on their own.

      I do not want to my horses to be hungry never mind to starve; this was a very hard winter. I literally had to chip with a plow and dig with a tractor for 2 long days to get mine out of snow up to their bellies, I lost my reserve of pasture due to unusual snow storms and had to feed longer and harder. They’ve come through in really good shape. I haven’t and I have until the end of summer to give my horse a chance to live a decent life. I’d planned on keeping a few, and mostly mares as I do not want them bred. If I could I’d sterilize them, but there is no more $$$. I’ve turned myself inside out, and work very hard at marketing, which is frustrating with the type of average buyer out there now. I sell very honestly and tell all about each individual horse. This all takes me away from the riding, so they’re getting greener in that respect… Any spare time is spent doing hoof triming, grooming, and worming. When I help with a charity or ride..I’m always the one on a green horse even though, I’m a grandmother. I must do double duty so that horse gets a better chance.

      My horses are wonderful. Not perfect. I am very happy if they can go to a home as good or better, than they have it here. Normally they would all be in good homes by now. I was very proud of that for years, and made good friends through it. . I do not want them to go to the slaughter house, but prefer that end to the hands of vultures waiting for a too cheap or free horse. This type of person is also perpetrating the disrespect or misunderstanding of them. I am not greedy. I also have to satisfy the bank and balance my cheque book, like everyone else….I’m willing to take a loss and to share any monies made …..but will not sell to those that rape when we’re down. Horse or any living creature does not do well with that type.

      The good rescues are having a hard time too. Many are selective in breed; others charge to take them off our hands when we’ve proven ourselves over time. Some rescues are an outrage and are no better than bad or neglectful horse owners. They are not helping the over population either way. It seems the problem of horse over population has become more prevalent as horses have moved from necessary and valuable in industry – to toys of pleasure.

      Who is there for us when we have no home left? I am not a hoarder, I am not unrealistic and have put horses down in the past, if there was no future for them. This is different I’ve more than done my part, but am being forced to consider the slaughter house for the money. I need to live too and to assure my horses do not fall into a neglectful future, in new hands.

      I also help many persons, and need to remember that good people’s lives come even before my love of animals. While I am open to decent communication please try to put yourselves in other’s shoes and more than anything – look at the total picture. If there’s a sensible and realistic solution for the present, I’d sure like to hear it now. There are ways to possibly prevent reoccurrence- but what to do we do NOW?? I saw it coming, did everything I could think of, and took action over 12 years ago – I am still being pulled into the under tow, the system has allowed.


  16. This is from 2008. I don’t know anything about the place, or whether they’re continuing their commitment, but the attitude is “right on”!

    “Ahead of the curve: Standardbred farm honored for dedication to horse welfare

    “With the number of unwanted horses in the U.S. rising each year – recent estimates hover at 100,000 neglected equines – the burden now more than ever rests with breeders to ensure their horses avoid a trip to the slaughterhouse, or worse, lives of abuse and abandonment.

    “Hanover Shoe Farms, the world’s leading and largest Standardbreed breeding and racing operation, not only carefully and responsibly manages their breeding operation, but has pledged that each horse – whether a Breeders Crown winner or retired broodmare – will always have a permanent home at the farm in Hanover, Pa.”

    IMO, these folks should be an example to breeders who DO make “big bucks” from horses. They should be ASHAMED to do otherwise. The question is whether their Breed Associations and/or peers are doing any “shaming”. You can read the rest of the article here:


    • Hanover Shoe Farms is just a few miles away from me and they also retire their old brood mares. Just last year they took a Hanover horse that had ended up at the infamous New Holland sale as a rescue. They also donated matching funds to our SPCA for a run in shed for horses. And their farm is always open for walk-ins to tour. They have set a standard for other operations to follow in my opinion.


  17. I do so agree with Jennifer, PoorGinger and MargoWolf. I have rescued horses myself and I have registered with AQHA that any of my offspring that I bred, I will take back if an owner cannot keep their horses any more. I just can’t stand to think that any of the few horses that I sold should end up at the slaughterhouse. Please understand, I only have 2 stallions left out of my own son of Zippo Pine Bar. I haven’t bred either one of them at all and haven’t bred any horses for 7 years due to this horrible problem we have in this country. But when I was breeding, I did know which colts to “cull” and which ones were stallion prospects. That was so very, very long ago though. I would like to help out with these horses if anyone knows what is going on with them.


  18. This HSUS report is the most recent I’ve found. Interesting that the number of head is down to 133. At Days End’s $5,000 per horse for 6 months, that’s $665,000. At $2,500 (on their website) it’s $332,500. Both amounts are outrageous, but a far cry from $1 million plus!

    The video is graphic in places, but I’ve seen worse.

    Many of the horses look like they’d be ready to go tomorrow, but, now that they’ve been seized, they’re essentially “wards of the court”. In my state that means they can’t be adopted or sold, none can be gelded, and foals can’t be weaned until the legal issues are settled.

    I haven’t read that charges have been brought, but it takes time to prepare a strong abuse case, especially one of this magnitude. If she’d voluntarily surrendered the horses that were in bad shape before the mass seizure, she probably could have avoided the whole thing.

    I think she’s going to fight if she has the funds. Not only would she save her reputation, but she’d get back horses someone else paid to rehab or care for. I hope the attorneys have the snap to go for restitution. Sometimes they tack it onto the criminal case, but, if she gets off, it might be denied. I’d file a separate civil suit for damages.


    • This is the website for Paradise Stables (mentioned in the video). They took in over 70 of the horses. There’s a contact number for Stacey at the HSUS. It’s probably for donations, but I bet you could find out about adopting a horse, as well as info about the legal timeframe.


      All I can say is WOW!!! IMO, these horses couldn’t have gone to a better place.


  19. Marsha Parkinson has been in the Arabian breeding and showing business for a very long time. She has imported horses from Poland and has owned horses with bloodlines that others could only dream of owning. She had the big names handle and show them. Surely with all of her contacts in the Arabian world these fine horses could have found homes before reaching this terrible state of neglect. At the very least some could have been sold to feed the others. Greed does strange things to people and it caused Marsha Parkinson to hoard animals that she made no provision for. People like this consider horses objects and possessions, they’re always looking for the animal that will make them the envy of everyone else. The Arabian business is exceptionally cruel and full of people who live and show way beyond their means. Marsha Parkinson, long time breeder and owner of the farm that has the most Polish Arabians in America is no exception. In my opinion she is either stupid and cruel or has completely lost her mind. Horses don’t get this poor over night, particularly Arabians who, more often than not, are easy keepers.


  20. Slightly off-topic, but I wanted to make people aware of an alternative animal humane organization: the American Humane Association. They aren’t as high profile or well-funded as the ASPCA or HSUS, but they seem like a dedicated organization. I checked out their financials, and about 45% of their donations go DIRECTLY to support programs, including their Red Star Fund for animals. They donated $20,000 from the RSF for hay for the Leachman horses, and sent a crew to help out.

    Now they’re helping save animals in peril from the terrible floods along the Mississippi and other recent disasters.

    Re: Leachman articles in the Billings Gazette. There were a number of commenters who called the AHA “bleeding hearts”, “bunnie huggers”, and worse. They said the AHA would cause trouble for the area’s ranchers, and demanded NILE return the donation. I pointed out their CONNECTION to agriculture, and that they not only donate, but also put working boots-on-the-ground. There were no more accusations after that. It’s amazing what a little “education” can do!


  21. Marsha Parkinson pretty much stopped breeding horses in 2009. There were no pregnant mares seized.

    2009 – 0 registered foals
    2010 – 4 *Equifor fillies registered – Very select mares like Pastoralka – All 4 sold – 3 to the group on 13 April 2011 just before seizure.
    2011 – 0 foals
    2012 – 0 foals unless the rescue groups oopsed


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