Starr was a Quarter Horse, of the best breeding, born about 1988 in Berks Co. She was a rich Chestnut, and was trained the best. She was shown when she was young, but due to a leg injury, she was retired from showing, and became a lesson horse. We bought her in 2004, and she was our primary lesson horse for adult and teenage students for almost 14 years. She was one of the best horses we ever owned, used for lessons, practice rides, and trail rides. She did it all, including being featured in a wedding shoot for Philadelphia Magazine with a world-renowned model wearing Vera Wang dresses worth more than the farm we rented! She was poisoned in March, 2013, and struggled to keep her weight until she finally gave up in early August, 2013.
Before she was poisoned.
After the poisoning Starr got very thin, and died one morning in August.
Nosey was a larger pony, of uncertain derivation. She probably had some Welsh blood, and who knows what else. She is typical of "grade stock" that is bred because they are so good in so many ways. She was a plump little thing most of her life, with a real affectionate personality for everyone who worked with her on a regular basis. Until she got to know you, she was a bit aloof, but as soon as you worked with her, she sweetened up. She was Joe's favorite lesson pony, and she started hundreds of kids on horse handling and riding. She was so dependable, that we used her for years for lessons and also with total beginners as young as three years old in our trail riding business.
When we first saw her, she was in Franklin Co, and was being ridden by a three-year-old. She was originally from New Jersey, and was shown and ridden in parades. She never was panicky or flighty, always thoughtful. She had three babies to a mini-stallion prior to our purchase. After we bought her, Joe bred her four times to his Morgan stallion, Black Ayr Jo, and she had four babies: Knickers (paint), Missy (buckskin), Josey (buckskin), and Patches (paint). We kept Patches, and in every way, he was an outstanding horse, reaching 14.3 and used heavily in our lesson and trail program. Nosey did it all. She loved the show ring so much that she had to be led out of the ring at every show. Once she was in the ring, she just did not want to leave it!
One day, Joe decided to break her to drive. By the time the harness settled onto her back, she was broke. After a few laps around our training area, Joe decided to take her out on the road. It was mother's day, and a mother and son came by and asked for a carriage ride. Joe loaded them up, and off they went, Nosey was paying her way on her first drive. She did everything right on that first drive, she held the carriage on the hills, slowed it with confidence at the stops, and was absolutely amazing. If she was trained before we got her, no one told us about it, but after that, we also gave driving lessons with her.
In March, 2013, Nosey was poisoned, she struggled to survive, but gradually her health declined until she died in July, 2013.
Joe was looking for a draft horse to replace Nellie in the hitch with Burt in January of 2012. Bob was advertised as an aged gray Percheron, so Joe and Amber went to see him. When they saw him, they were shocked at his condition. He was absolutely skin and bones. Joe asked why he was so thin, and was told that he was 30 years old, and his teeth were so bad it squeaked when he chewed. Joe told the owner that he was in trouble, and that if a humane officer saw Bob, the owner would get a citation. Joe advised the owner to put him down.
After they drove away, Joe and Amber drove about five minutes in silence, and Joe looked at Amber, and said, "I keep thinking about Bob, and I know that we can help him." Amber smiled and said that was exactly what she was thinking. The next day they went and got Bob, and took him to the farm in York Co. They took pictures of him, to document his condition, and began to feed him a diet entirely of Joe's special Senior Feed. Within a month, he was showing significant improvement, and sure enough, a warning was left on the door one day by the York SPCA, who had a report from one of the gang in Lancaster Co about the skinny horse.
Within three months, Bob had gained so much weight, that he was actually getting fat. Joe took him over to the lesson stable, and developed his riding skill enough that he began to be used lightly as a trail horse. Joe never did hitch him, because he did not want to stress him with hard work. In late fall of 2012, Bob looked so good that he was chosen for a special set of wedding photos. In March of 2013, he was poisoned, and died in April of 2013.
Cocoa came to us in the summer of 2010. Her original name was Pocahontas, or Patches. She was about 35 years old and had a thick coat of hair, like a Shetland. When Joe saddled her the first time, he called the staff, and showed them that under that heavy hair, she was just skin and bones. He put her on his special Senior Feed, and she got roly poly again. She was used for three years for lessons, trail rides, and especially for pony parties. She loved giving tiny children rides at pony parties, it was totally her element.
Cocoa was poisoned in March of 2013, and died in April, 2013.
Frankie was bought in 2009 for use in our pony rides, birthday parties, and lessons. He was a spunky, dapple gray Shetland gelding of about 9 years old. He could not be ridden by beginners for lessons, as he was too mischievous. Once a rider was practiced, he was a great little pony. In 2012, we sold him to a family whose daughter was taking lessons and riding him well. He was boarded at our stable, and on March 23, when the trail and lesson horses and ponies were poisoned, Frankie was the first to die. It was his death that was the final straw, and as a result, we closed the business.
Geronimo was a Thoroughbred, off the race track. He was a great racer, and won quite a bit of money, until his knees went. He was quite crippled and if he was trotted with a rider on his back, he went lame at first. We gave him a good home for three years, and he gradually recovered. We had just started riding him in the winter of 2012 - 2013 and he was doing well. He was poisoned on March 23, and died about three weeks later.
We include Bert on this list, although he died in January, 2013. Bert was a Percheron, the lead horse on an Amish farm for 17 years. For five years, Joe would borrow Bert every winter, and he tried to buy Bert for five years, but John wouldn't sell him. Then one day, John decided to retire, and Joe bought Bert. He was with us full time for almost four years. He was a great carriage horse, work horse, and wonderful lesson and trail horse.
Bert began to suffer with poor oxygen usage and poor cellular metabolism in January of 2013. We thought he was suffering a heart attack, and had him put down. As we learned in March, his exact symptoms were the same as the horses poisoned in March of 2013. We believe that he was the third horse poisoned, a targeted poisoning, intended to disrupt our business.
Misty was a paint mare that we bought from a family in Adams County, Pa. She was out of control, and had found that she could get away with anything she pleased. Her former owner was a farmer who could not ride, so he would saddle and bridle her and she would take him for a ride wherever she pleased, for as long as she pleased, until she was tired of it. Then she would bunny hop until he got scared, and got off her. The day we went to look at her, the owner heard her whinny loudly, very unusual as she was a quiet horse. Misty ran from the house, down to the road, and watched the hill until we came over it with the horse trailer. She trotted beside us all the way down the road, and up the lane and waited for us. Joe rode her, and could feel her potential through her stubbornness, so he bought her.
Misty was ridden for two years by Keith and Joe, until she was totally reliable, and then she was used by all the staff, and with customers on trail rides. She was one of the most loved horses in our barn, and was used by Joe in the Trail Riding Safety Video.
We include Misty on this list, because her exact symptoms were the same as the horses poisoned in March of 2013. Misty was down in the pasture one morning in November, 2012. Usually, when that happens, the horse will never get up again. However, when Joe talked to her, she responded, got up and walked the 1/4 mile down the hill to the barn. She was very weak, with white gums, and panting for breath. Misty suffered with poor oxygen usage and poor cellular metabolism and got weaker over two days, and died the next night. We believe that she was the second horse poisoned, a targeted poisoning, intended to disrupt our business.
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