There’s a place out in the beautiful Maryland farm country that is a haven for horses that have been neglected and mistreated. The Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland has been giving a second chance to horses in need since 1989 and with their life-saving program adopt out over 50 horses a year.
An organization that started with a giving and caring heart, this grassroots enterprise created by Kathleen (Kathy) Howe began by her saving Toby from a neglectful owner. When one visits Days End Farm now, the scale of the operation and the impressive well-oiled machine the farm operates as is truly impressive.
Relying on donations and volunteers, Days End Farm receives horses in need for their expert care from Animal Protection Agencies in Maryland and surrounding states, selected for their success in recovery, rehabilitation and adoption. For those horses that are beyond help, they assist in making the difficult decision for what is best for the horse.
As a horse owner, I understand the amount of constant, and continual care that is needed to take care of one horse. Let alone a farm full of special needs horses. Days End Farm with their 1,200 registered volunteers and 200+ volunteers present daily they are able to provide day-in and day-out care for both the horses as well as the facilities.
With care, a volunteer takes two hours each feeding to prepare the meals needed for each horse. Other volunteers bring them in one at a time to line them up along the fence line so that they can eat in peace. Then those that are in training for adoption get tacked up and are exercised. Feed buckets are organized by color, grooming gear is sorted by type in large buckets. And with so many different hands in the pot, it’s impressive how everything is put back exactly where it belongs.
Along with caring for these special needs horses, they also have outreach programs and Minimum Care Standards for Horses was developed by DEFHR’s founder. In addition, they have Educational programs for both care and how to handle horses. After all, having a horse is much more than just riding. In fact, it’s just a tiny part of the relationship one has with a horse. How to handle a a horse on the ground is just the beginning and the farm offers “Lead Line” classes where one learns the basics of horsemanship.
For the four hours I spent there this weekend, not a single horse acted silly and the handling of the horses was expert, calm and kind. A true haven for both horse and human. Following my photography class I observed that being in such a place of serenity, all of the class participants had a rather Zen state. It means the world to experience kindness in a gentle and peaceful way.
Only one escape pony who figured out how to get into a very grassy side paddock was the renegade of the day. Looking quite innocent, he was a great poser for us. Sort of like a Mini-Fabio.
And so we left the farm with a sense of appreciation and harmony for all of the hard work everyone puts in at Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The horses? Happy as can be with the beautiful rolling green pastures with not a care in the world.