MSPCA-Nevins Farm Marks First Anniversary of the Miniature Horse Rescue

March 15, 2013

Methuen, Mass. March 15, 2013 – It’s been one year since the MSPCA Nevins-Farm and Animal Rescue League of Boston rescued 32 sick, thin and parasite-infested miniature horses from a small farm in West Boylston, Mass.  The 19 horses brought to Nevins Farm on March 9, 2012—paralyzed at the time by fear and unable to be touched by humans—are now enjoying lives as pampered pets in homes across New England.

The 19 horses cared for by Nevins Farm ultimately made their way into new adoptive homes that are a world away from the deplorable conditions in which they were found.  Seven ponies were transferred to various rescue groups in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island.  The remaining 12 were placed into private homes directly from Nevins Farm, with the help of rescue groups including The Mini Cruppers Group, a group of highly dedicated rescuers who work across New England, and Mocha Miniatures in Bow, New Hampshire.

 A gorgeous miniature pony named "Red" enjoys running through the fields in her new home, one year after she was rescued from deplorable conditions on a West Bolyston, Mass. farm

What a Difference a Year Makes

Upon arrival at Nevins Farm last spring the mini horses were severely underweight, infested with internal and external parasites and suffering from skin infections and overgrown hooves.  Making matters worse, they had almost no interaction with humans and were completely unsocialized.  The Nevins Farm team sprang into action and immediately solicited support from the community of horse lovers in the region.

“Those initial days were very tough because we had these 19 new arrivals, all in very desperate condition, and we were already caring for more than 40 homeless horses,” said Melissa Ghareeb, who manages the barn program at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm.  “But the community stepped up to the plate in a big way.  Monetary donations poured in, as did much-needed supplies and services.  And a volunteer team pitched in to assist with the daily socialization needed to get the horses to the point where they could be adopted.”

The first of the herd were well enough to leave for adoptive homes in April, months after arriving at Nevins Farm.  By September of 2012, the last of the herd had finally found their forever homes.  Among the first to be adopted was a horse named “Tug.”

Tug’s New Life

Karen Ober, a veterinarian from Upton and her husband Brian, a farrier, were two of the first volunteers who donated their time to care for the minis shortly after their arrival.  The couple quickly fell in love with Tug—a skinny four-year-old with patchy skin and a skittish personality—and adopted him in April of 2012.  “I cannot describe how special it was to bring Tug home and watch him transform from a lame, shy horse to a sleek and shiny animal who loves to hike and jump logs in the forest,” said Karen.

A Community of Animal Lovers Rallies for the Cause

The lengthy and highly specialized care the minis required throughout their rehabilitation was made possible through generous donations of time and money.  Shortly after the news of their rescue broke, Nevins Farm received an outpouring of support.  More than $14,000 was donated toward the cost of their care.  Volunteers spent countless hours grooming and socializing the animals, and equine dentists and farriers tended to their damaged hooves.  And donations of blankets, food and medication comforted the horses and aided in their rehabilitation.

The owner of the mini horses agreed to sign the animals over to the MSPCA-Nevins farm and Animal Rescue League of Boston in exchange for not filing animal cruelty charges against him.

About the MSPCA-Angell
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit