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Hanover Shoe Farms assists Thoroughbreds in need
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

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Freehold, NJ --- The world’s largest Standardbred breeder loaded up two trailers full of Thoroughbreds this last weekend, but they’re not diversifying. 

The Sunday afternoon (May 22) roundup and transport of a herd of 22 Thoroughbreds was a gesture of goodwill and assistance for the York County (PA) SPCA, which found themselves over their head in horses last week.  

Russell Williams Photo
Horses that Hanover Shoe Farm helped rescue get off the trailer at a new location.
Melissa Smith, director of the York County SPCA, explained how Hanover Shoes Farms, located in neighboring Adams County, drove to their rescue.  “Our officer, Nicole Boyer, received a call about this property, that there were a large number of animals there and that they were in need of help,” said Smith. 

“She did her routine investigation and found that was the case. But of course, we are primarily a small animal facility.  When we need to take in livestock of any sort, it poses an issue for us because we don’t have the facilities here to house them, nor do we have the vehicles to transport.   It brings about a lot of things for us.  Nicole realized she needed some help, and that this was a valid investigation and a valid concern.  There was neglect occurring on the property.

“We started using our network of equine volunteers and enthusiasts to help us with this.  It was brought to our attention that Hanover Shoe Farms may be a resource for us.  Our humane officer did have contact with them and they were very diligent and timely in getting us the help we needed.  We’re very appreciative for all the help they’ve provided so far. 

“On the first day of transport (May 22), they actually provided trailers for us and manpower for us and they are providing blacksmith services for us.  It (the roundup and transport) went actually very well. The people we had there, including our humane officer and the people she was able to bring, everyone obviously knows what they’re doing, and this is their area of expertise.  I think, given the circumstances, everything went very well.

“Ultimately our goal is to find homes for them, I think the two things we need right now is of course funding and permanent homes for these animals as well.  The immediate plan for today and tomorrow is vet care.” 

Hanover Shoe Farms Vice President Russell Williams headed up the effort to help the herd of neglected Thoroughbreds.  “Officer Boyer contacted me, told me that there was a group of horses and could I help with any part of pick up and storage of same,” said Williams.  “I said I would see what we could do.

“I talked with Dr. (Bridgette) Jablonsky, our kind-hearted farm manager; we had no space on the farm. This is our peak time, population-wise and we didn’t have anything isolated enough to put outside horses on, but we could help with transportation.  We have trucks and trailers and good operators and good horsemen.  We offered those.

“I contacted David Meirs (Standardbred breeder), he has horses on his farm near here and very kindly offered to send some people to work on an alternative location we found for the horses. So we came up with horsemen, trucks, trailers, land and muscle in about three days.” 

Hanover Shoe Farms staff ordinarily moves hundreds of young horses a year, so the task was relatively mundane for them, said Williams.   “The farm was very remote, difficult to get to, I didn’t know we had such remote spots in south-central Pennsylvania,” he noted. 

Williams said that about five of the horses were unweaned, apparently unhandled yearlings, which called for some creativity in getting them captured and in the trailer.  “Officer Boyer’s father got a halter and a lead rope on a yearling and the yearling adopted the strategy of backing away from him,” said Williams.   Where ever he was, the yearling backed away.  So he got the yearling walking backwards and walked him backwards right in to the trailer – it was beautiful. 

“He gets the amateur cowboy of the day award,” he laughed.  “The big horses had all been handled, but they were characters, too.  Still, they were certainly more amenable to capture than the offspring.  There were several of us from the Shoe Farms, me and Eliseo Vargas, P.R. Acededo and George Chronister.  They were on the clock, but they were giving up their free time to do this.  We took two big gooseneck trailers with the partitions out and made it in one trip to a temporary site.”

The horses will be checked by a vet and get routine health care and remain in quarantine until early June, when Hanover will once again assist in moving the horses while they await permanent adoption.

“When that’s done, we have to move them again.  Looks like we’ve lined up some land for them here in Adams County, near David Meirs’ farm and Hanover will do the moving,” says Williams.  “We see where someone could get attached to these horses.” 


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