PHILLIPSBURG, NEW JERSEY
Mylestone Equine Rescue has been helping horses since 1994. A nonprofit 501 (c) 3 charity located in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Mylestone is an all-breed horse rescue dedicated to helping abused, neglected and unwanted horses. Our goal is to educate the public to the plight and suffering of unwanted horses. We hope to adopt the horses into qualified homes, but if homes can’t be found we will provide sanctuary for the horses for the rest of their lives.
Taking in unwanted horses is what all equine rescues do. Many rescues focus on horses in ridable condition, horses that are reasonably assured of finding another home where they will be ridden or have a job. What sets Mylestone apart from so many rescues is who we accept- who calls out to us- and more often it is those in the most desperate conditions, the lame, starved and elderly, the broken hearts and broken bodies. The horse in whose eyes have seen the greatest betrayal. Therefore, it is a great cause for celebration when our rescues find a wonderful home, as their best chance at adoption will often only be as a companion, and in today’s economy many people cannot afford to keep a companion animal.
Without Mylestone, where would they be? Left inside or outside to starve, tied to a tree, injured, lame and abandoned in pain, blind, or standing in the kill pen waiting for their death sentence. Waiting for that final ride to the slaughter house to the agony of a cruel and undeserved death because they were no longer useful.
In the past 20 years Mylestone has helped to rescue over 500 horses, ponies and minis while maintaining an average of 30+ horses in their care. Mylestone works behind the scenes often paying for vet care for horses in need. They have assisted many rescue groups and individuals over the years with vet, farrier, hay and feed bills to help with cruelty cases. Mylestone has also helped to pay for horses to be humanely euthanized when the owner could not afford to.
Many of Mylestone’s horses come to us through the SPCA or Department of Agriculture as abuse, starvation or weekly about horses in need of new homes.
Often you ask yourself what these horses did to deserve this fate. Quite simply they didn’t run fast enough, jump high enough or last a hundred years. They didn’t stay healthy despite their age; they didn’t make “someone” money or “someone” happy. Many of the horses Mylestone has helped over the years have been lesson horses who could no longer earn their keep and make their business owner money. When they arrive at Mylestone their imperfections are accepted unconditionally.
The backbone of Mylestone lies in its fundraising efforts, volunteers and supporting patrons who devote countless hours and monies to benefit the horses. Like most rescues, equine or not, fundraising is a constant struggle and we are always looking for creative ways to ease the financial burden and help as many horses as possible. Since the rescues’ inception we have incorporated a $25.00 monthly sponsorship program for our horses. Many of our patrons have been sponsors for years but we are in constant need of others. Sponsorship enables patrons to receive a monthly update and current photograph of their chosen horse. Donated funds are used directly for the sponsored horse’s hay, grain, vet care, drugs, blankets etc., thereby allowing that horse’s patron to have a direct link to their care.
At Mylestone we combine our biggest fundraising event of the year, the annual open house in October, with the launch of our yearly calendar featuring the rescue horses. A combined effort of donated talents by photographer Jennifer Wenzel and graphic design artist Jeanne Balsam the annual calendar is now in its 11th year of production. If you are looking for that special gift for someone consider purchasing a calendar or sponsoring one of the horses in Mylestone’s annual Holiday Gift Sponsorship or Valentine’s Day Gift Sponsorship. You can check the website for more details.
Since many of Mylestone’s horses are not ridable it is important for us to be able to give back to the community in some way. Just because horses aren’t ridable doesn’t mean their lives don’t have value. There are countless studies proving the effects and benefits animals can have on humans. Mylestone works with three local schools with 25-30 special needs students coming monthly to the farm to participate in a grooming program with the horses. In addition, the students also help with various chores and the often-needed special projects. Besides grooming, participating in the daily routine helps to give many of these students a sense of accomplishment, all while getting unconditional love from the horse.
An introduction to Mylestone wouldn’t be complete without meeting some of the horses that call Mylestone home. If anyone does rescue work you then know it’s not the same as getting an animal form a loving home. They come with baggage, and sometimes that baggage can take years to overcome. Many have gone through horrors we can only imagine and for those, learning to trust again takes time, sometimes a lot of time, consistency and patience.
In 2005, we were told about a large pony that was going to be sent to the killer buyers within the week if we didn’t take him. He was a seven-year-old mostly blind overworked hack horse who was about to be sent to the auction at New Holland, PA where he would surely have faced slaughter. This was our introduction to the horse we named Shadow.
No other rescue would take him, nor would animal control. Shadow was living in 12” of manure, but that was the least of his problems. He suffered from moon blindness, which is extremely painful. Longstanding eye infections were never treated, and one eye appeared to be on the verge of rupturing.
Clearly Shadow had been a victim of some kind of abuse as evidence by numerous scars, including one across his entire left buttock. Additionally, his owner proudly claimed he had gelded the horse himself without the use of anesthesia and had no remorse for this horse’s deplorable condition.
With no other prospects in sight for this young pony, Mylestone agreed to accept him; a compassionate family was willing to pay the owner the fee. Despite the fact that we don’t believe he was ever off his farm, he trailered like a gentleman, and seemed glad to arrive at Mylestone. We named him Shadow because he quickly became just that, wandering around behind me, whenever I was in his paddock.
Despite being almost completely blind Shadow appeared to have adjusted quite well. However, we knew there would come a time when we could no longer manage his pain with medication. In 2009 the decision was made to remove Shadow’s left eye. We knew we had made the right decision when within two hours of the surgery Shadow was looking to play with his buddy next door and when it came time to remove his sutures he allowed the doctor to remove them without sedation.
Now, approaching nineteen and completely blind Shadow continues to be as sweet and grateful as the day he arrived. Happy and healthy he spends his time next to his buddy Jackson, a paint gelding who is also blind. Though guarded with voices he doesn’t recognize he will happily come to the voices he does and always great you in response, hoping you just might have bought him a cookie.
If you would like to learn more about Mylestone and how you can help this We Ride charity continue to be a voice for the voiceless please visit www.mylestone.org or visit us on Facebook. There you will find additional information on the rescue including adoption, sponsoring a horse, purchasing a 2018 Calendar and how to become a Holiday Gift or Valentine’s Day Gift Sponsor.
Please visit the Mylestone Equine Rescue’s website to learn more:
Story by SusanKelly Thompson
Photography by Jen Wenzel of Rein Photography