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Horse Beating Generates Calls for Stiffer Animal Cruelty Laws

by Amy Worden - September 2016

A disturbing scene straight out of Anna Sewall’s classic Victorian-era novel “Black Beauty,” played out on a Lancaster County road last month: A man in a straw hat bending over a horse lying on the pavement, appearing to beat the animal with his hands. Behind the bay horse was a wagon full of watermelons.

A horrified passerby stopped to snap some pictures she posted to Facebook and reported the incident to the police. The downed animal had to be euthanized later that day and a huge outcry erupted on social media.

Ephrata police on August 5 charged Marvin M. Sensenig, 20, with two counts of animal cruelty – one for kicking the horse in the abdomen and punching it in the head; the other for forcing the horse to “pull a farm wagon with a burden too great for a single horse.”

Sensenig’s father told Lancaster Newspapers that the family disagreed with the charges, but said they would accept them “if that will make anyone feel better.” John Sensenig said his family would never intentionally abuse a horse and accused passersby “who have absolutely no knowledge of horses" of exaggerating the situation.

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Horse Found After Two Weeks Lost in Maryland Park
by Marcella Peyre-Ferry - September 2016
Play Doh Horse Found in MD

Well organized searches, publicity, and a little luck brought Paso Fino gelding Play Doh back to his owner Susan Crawford after he was missing for twelve days in the Patapsco State Recreation Area in Maryland.

Crawford is from York, PA, but she frequently travels to area parkland with her horse as training for competitive trail. She was riding and camping at the Patapsco site with her 10-year-old, chestnut Paso Fino, Play Doh. Even though the pair are very experienced on trails, accidents can happen to anyone.

Crawford and Play Doh were on the trails, riding with a friend on Friday, May 27.  Crawford came to a fork in the trail in the heavily wooded area, and chose a path that turned into a dead end.

As they turned around to get back to the main trail, the footing along the edge of the trail began to give way and they started to slide down and backward. Play Doh’s hind legs went out from under him, and Crawford came off.

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Thoroughbred Breeders Suffer Financially Due to Wording Change in Racing Bill
by Suzanne Bush - September 2016
Governor Wolf signing HB941 into law

There were smiling faces all around the table on February 23 when Governor Wolf signed HB941 into law. That was the legislation that promised long-sought reform for Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry. The bloom came off that rose pretty quickly, when it became clear there was a problem with the way the final bill described breeders’ awards.

Under the legislation that previously governed Pennsylvania racing, special breeders’ awards were offered for Thoroughbred horses that were PA-Bred, that is, horses that met at least one of these conditions, as described by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA):

  • Horses that were foaled in Pennsylvania, and whose dams had resided in the state from October 1 of the year of conception through foaling.
  • Foals born in Pennsylvania from a dam purchased at auction after October 1 of the year of conception provided the dam was brought into the state within 14 days of the auction, and remained in the state continuously for at least 90 days.
  • Foals born of dams bred to Pennsylvania stallions.

In the final bill, the language specified that breeders’ awards would go to owners of horses that were “sired in this commonwealth.” The revised language shocked industry executives who had been working with the legislature on the reform; and very soon afterward they realized that the machinery of government is complicated and unyielding.

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Howard Taylor Having a Great Year with a Stable Full of Superstars
September 2016
Shamballa at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day

He’s been in this business for decades and has certainly possessed some outstanding horses along the way, including champions Buck I St Pat and Economy Terror. But Howard Taylor is a little superstitious regarding the success he has enjoyed in 2016 with Shamballa, Control The Moment and Lady Shadow.

“I am almost embarrassed by the wealth of riches we have at this moment,” the Philadelphia attorney explained. “There are so many years you have such high hopes and then so many things go wrong. You can never imagine having a year like this and there is so much racing to come. You just hope everything keeps working the way it does and that your luck continues to hold on. In fact, I don’t know if you heard me but while I’m talking to you I’m knocking on wood right now. I still have to keep pinching myself to believe this is real.”

And there very well may be more to come, as Taylor also owns the undefeated 2-year-old filly Candlelight Dinner and numerous horses that are doing extremely well on various Sire Stake circuits.

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