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Horses Die, Whodunit Unfolds
by Stephanie Shertzer Lawson - May 2013
There’s a mystery unfolding in south central Pennsylvania: Who killed Joseph Meyer’s horses?
The trail riding and lesson stable owner has no dearth of enemies, or trouble. His neighbors admit in public hearings to calling him “a habitual liar,” a “creep,” “delusional” and an “arrogant carpetbagger.” His attempt to continue operating and expand Allimax Farm resulted in a contentious, protracted 10 month zoning battle with West Hempfield Township. Local horse owners reported him to PETA and actively tried to shut his stable down. Protestors in 2010 demonstrated outside the farm after a horse named Beauty died there. He was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals after he failed to obtain veterinary help for a second horse, Dusty, whose bacterial infection he treated himself over the course of about two weeks. The mare was seized and euthanized. Meyer was cleared the following year when Lancaster County Judge Harold Kneisley ruled that he acted slowly to treat the mare but without malice or cruelty.
On March 21, 2013, Meyer, a former history teacher, called 911 to report that eight horses at a farm he rents in Lower Windsor Township, York County, had died. The next day a pony at Allimax Farm in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County died. All suffocated, foam billowing from their labored nostrils. None of them was insured.
Many Holes Exist in the Safety Net of Organizations
That Monitor Cruelty
by Suzanne Bush - May 2013
If horses, dogs and cats could vote, would their lives be better? Would they ask legislators to require better working conditions for them? If they could form unions to help them secure greater leverage in their negotiations with the people who own them, what would they ask for? Would they demand better kibble? More hay? Or maybe their top priority would be the creation of a better network of protection from abuse and neglect.
Of course, animals can’t vote, and unfortunately those that are abused, starved, abandoned and neglected often have to rely on chance or on the kindness of strangers for relief and rescue. It’s a profoundly asymmetric and unfair relationship, especially in light of the millions of dollars in revenue horses, dogs and cats bring to owners, breeders, veterinarians, trainers, and the hundreds of businesses that exist to support them.
Pennsylvania Eventers Shine at The Fork, Get Ready for Rolex
by Jenni Autry - May 2013
Leading Pennsylvania eventers were out in full force at The Fork Horse Trials in Norwood, N.C., last month competing in the last major preparation event before the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. While no Pennsylvania riders took home a win in the CIC3*, CIC2* or Advanced divisions, local riders secured top-three finishes at each level.
The weekend started out truly miserable for spectators and competitors alike, as Thursday dressage saw 40-degree temperatures and a steady rain that made the day very long, cold and wet. Rain fell heavier in the afternoon during the start of the CIC3* dressage tests, leaving the arenas sloppy for the remainder of the day and Friday dressage.
Mercifully, temperatures warmed up by Friday afternoon, leading to a beautiful rest of the weekend with temperatures in the 70s and plenty of sunshine. Spectators enjoyed the new CIC format introduced this year by the FEI, which requires horses and riders to show jump on the second day and places the cross-country phase on the final day of competition.
by Marcella Peyre-Ferry - May 2013
The Pennsylvania point-to-point racing season got underway in Chester County with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds Point-to-Point Races on Easter Sunday March 31 and The Brandywine Hill Point-to-Point Races the following week on April 7.
Cheshire’s races in Unionville were run under overcast skies that turned to rain before the day was out but it did not dampen the enthusiasm for the sport. The featured Open Timber Race for the Cheshire Bowl was won by Grinding Speed, owned by Michael Wharton, trained by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Mark Beecher.
“He’s such a good jumper and has such a good mind. He did his very first race over timber here last year and he had to go in the open race. I think he was fifth or sixth but he did it,” Murphy said.
Beecher was also pleased with the horse. “It was a big field, bigger than what we were hoping it would be because we just wanted a nice prep run for the sanctioned races,” he said. “He traveled his way into the race. He jumped his way in, we were happy with that.”
Penn Vet Lecture:
Worrisome Wobbling and the Neurologic Horse
Worrisome Wobbling – What to do for the neurologic horse was the subject of a March 5 presentation at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center by Amy L. Johnson, DVM, DACVIM – LAIM and Neurology. Dr. Johnson is one of a small handful of veterinarians in the world board-certified in both large animal internal medicine and neurology. She is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, based at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center campus in Kennett Square, PA. The lecture was part of the First Tuesday Lecture series at New Bolton Center, offering the public open lectures on equine topics, at no charge, the first Tuesday of each month.
Neurologic: What Does it Mean?
The presentation began with an overview of equine neurology. A neurologic horse has a problem somewhere in its nervous system. Structurally, the nervous system is comprised of the brain, cranial nerves, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Functionally, the nervous system controls everything in the body. This includes the horse’s ability to learn and process information; the horse’s vision, smell, taste, and hearing; coordination and balance; limb movements and muscle strength; and basic bodily functions such as urination and defecation. When there is a problem with the nervous system, the horse will lose control of part of its body. If control of limb movements, strength, coordination, or balance is lost, serious injury to the horse or rider may result. Although this “loss of control” sounds terrifying, neurologic disease can cause a spectrum of disease ranging from inconsequential or mildly incapacitating problems to performance-limiting, hazardous, or even life-threatening problems.
Most Adopted Horses Need Multiple Homes
Twenty-four years of statistics compiled by the Standardbred Retirement Foundation show that 76 percent of horses adopted for the first time need another adoption, and 49 percent need more than two homes in their lifetime.
“These numbers are a little higher than expected, but not surprising,” stated Judith Bokman, wife of racehorse veterinarian Dr. Stephen Bokman, a SRF founder. “Unlike dogs, horses are now living into their thirties. People have lifestyle changes, get divorced, their kids move on to other hobbies, some have financial issues, there are so many reasons a person can no longer provide good care for a horse. Very few organizations take on a horse for life where only the animal's natural passing, or required humane euthanasia by a veterinarian, ends the responsibility of the organization to the horse.”
The SRF keeps track of every horse in their program for the life of the animal. They require semi-annual reports on the condition and the care of the horse from the adopter's veterinarian. Horses adopted are never released from the safety net of the organization. Should an adopter no longer be able to provide good care, the horse must be returned to the SRF. The design of the program made the compilation of the statistics possible.