Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

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October/November 2020

columns 18 Unexpected Herd Support Horse Logic

20 Windrush Farm 7


Small Victories, Big Impact Lend a Hoof

36 Events Calendar


Stacey Stearns

Massachusetts Only


features 7 Hoary Alyssum and

Other Poisonous Weeds

in every issue 16 Angela Kazanovicz

5 From the Publisher

Exceeding Expectations

6 Your Letters

Horseperson Feature

Lead Feature

24 Partners 29 This Olde Horse


The Big Red Barn Restoring the Past, Enjoying the Present, and Building the Future


30 Overherd

Southern New England Trunkline Trail Trail Guide

41 The Neighborhood 42 Is This Your Horse?

Farm Feature

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


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HORSE vol. 18, no. 6 October/November 2020

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From the Publisher special thank you to the wonderful people in our community who have been so amazingly supportive and kind to me. My heart is tremendously full of love for all of you. The new year will bring changes to the magazine! We have some great ideas and welcome your input. Go to to take part in shaping the future of Massachusetts Horse! (And be entered to win a $250 prize box of equestrian essentials.) Enjoy the autumn days — the crisp air, sharp blue skies, and colorful foliage. I hope you’ll take a moment, put your feet up with a fresh apple and a cup of tea, and enjoy reading this issue. Maddie Fortin


t’s been an interesting year — subscriptions for an additional three COVID-19 made it impossible for issues. Our apologies for the missing many in the equestrian commuissues! nity to continue serving clients and customers during the early days of the pandemic. And, a lot of horse owners and riders were unable to visit their favorite equine until reasonable measures were put in place by the state. As a result, many events were cancelled or rescheduled; some even became virtual competitions. In addition, our advertisers were cutting back on all spending due to the pandemic. (Advertisements pay the printing, postage, and Miniature horse Peanut getting wrassled by yearling colt all other expenses to publish Pequeniño at Pocketful of Ponies Farm. They’re the best of Massachusetts Horse.) friends — grazing, playing, and napping together every day. We made the painful decision to On a personal note, I’ve been not publish the April/May, June/July, battling endometrial cancer since and August/September issues. For our February with major surgery, hospisubscribers, we’ve extended your talizations, and chemotherapy. A very

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Hoary Alyssum and Other Poisonous Weeds

Dried Hoary Alyssum tiny white flowers oblong seed pods

ra nd ssa Ale

tiny hairs on stems

le Me

greyish green stems and foliage

by Alessandra Mele


ate last summer, a mug shot of branching white florals was spreading among horse owners like, well, a weed. The specimen went by the rather promiscuous name of hoary alyssum, and most of us had never even heard of it. But soon, veterinarian authorities, trusted barn managers, and local forage experts alike were telling us just how dangerous this little plant was to our equine friends. Accounts of sickness, lameness, and even death from poisonous plant ingestion circulated across barns, breeds, and disciplines. Scrolling through a mile-long comment section filled with horror stories, I started to sweat a little. “Hmm,” I thought, “I’ve seen a dried flower or two in my second-cut, and seedpods certainly aren’t unheard of. Maybe I should check that out.” Cut to half a day spent analyzing every bale in the loft, chucking suspicious flakes in the reject pile, and blessing clean bales with a seal of approval. Meanwhile, the horses nickered impatiently, as if to say, “Hey, play with your own food.”

So how concerned should we be

about hoary alyssum? When it comes to feeding our beloved horses, we can certainly never be too careful. This viral topic last summer raised awareness toward keeping an eye on what’s in our hay and pastures, and the importance of acquiring a general knowledge of dangerous plants for happy, healthy horses. Hoary What? The notion of a foreign weed in the proverbial haystack can seem a bit overwhelming. Consider all of the different leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems that make up the many varieties of first-, second-, and third-cut hay bales that pass through the barn — it’s vast! Unfortunately, the majority of us horse owners aren’t expert botanists. The fact is, there are hundreds of poisonous plants native to North America, and many of them are common, even here in Connecticut. The good news is, most of these weeds pose little threat to horses because they are unpalatable, and a healthy full-grown horse can typically metabo-

lize the occasional bad mouthful with little effect beyond some diarrhea. There are a handful of weeds that do pose a serious threat to equines, however, and it’s important to have their characteristics on your radar when checking out your horse’s forage. Hoary alyssum is one of them, and fortunately it is not difficult to spot as it exhibits a few easily remembered traits. Dr. Jenifer Nadeau is an Associate Professor and Equine Extension Specialist at University of Connecticut in Storrs, and she advises horse owners to use common sense when inspecting hay for poisonous weeds. “Basically, if it doesn’t look like the type of hay you are supposed to be getting, and it doesn’t look like dried grass, it’s probably a weed,” she says. “Healthy, nutritious hay should be green, leafy, smell like fresh-mown grass, and not have any weeds or other foreign materials in it.” Hoary alyssum in particular will stand out in contrast against healthy, grassy hay to even the novice botanist pretty quickly. Just keep an eye out for

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


the telltale white flowers and oval seedpods. “A mature hoary alyssum plant has white flowers with four petals,” says Jenifer. “When it has seed pods, they will be hairy, oblong-shaped, and swollen, ending in a point. The weed has hairy, grayish green stems and is one to three feet tall with many branches near the top. Its leaves are oblong-shaped, grayish green and covered with rough hairs.” If you start pulling stems of this weed from your flakes, it’s also important to note how much of it is present in the bale. A high concentration will increase toxicity, but it’s not a good idea to let your horses consume any amount. “If you suspect hoary alyssum weed is present in your hay, you should not feed it, and be sure to notify the person you got the hay from,” Jenifer says. When it comes to ingesting poisonous weeds, the best medicine is prevention. Always keep a keen eye on your horse’s hay, know what’s normal, and if you see something out of the ordinary, it’s best not to feed it. Jenifer also recommends soil testing and hay analysis as great measures toward strong pasture growth and knowing exactly what your horse is ingesting. “Using soil testing so you can fertilize pastures and hayfields accordingly will ensure healthy grass has the best chance to grow,” Jenifer says. “We do soil testing right here at UConn. Additionally, chemical hay analysis is a service that most horse feed companies provide for free in order to make recommendations for complementary feeds. This testing will provide insight into exactly what nutrition is present in your hay.” Symptoms and Treatment Ideally, your horse never eats anything but the purest, grassiest hay crisp with nutritious content. Let’s talk worst-case scenario for a moment, though: Your horse accidentally ingests an uncomfortable amount of hoary alyssum. What happens next? When it comes to hoary alyssum poisoning, horses react in different 8

Hoary Alyssum in the Field clusters of tiny white flowers (five petals)

oblong leaves covered in rough hairs

long, branching, hairy stems; greyish green in color

Alessandra Mele

ways, and the severity of symptoms can range greatly. Some horses can ingest with no symptoms, some will suffer a little swelling, and others can become terribly laminitic. A horse’s response to the weed will depend greatly on their metabolism, age, and the amount of noxious weed they have ingested. Last summer, the veterinarians at Salmon Brook Veterinary Hospital in Granby were surprised to see a rash of hoary alyssum poisonings in their region. Three barns reported characteristic symptoms and the weed was found in the hay each time. Marjorie Bruce, DVM, was on call for two of those cases last summer, and saw similar symptoms between the affected horses. “The experiences I had occurred at two separate barns, both of which had about four horses being fed the same hay,” Marjorie says. “In each case, only one or two of the horses were affected. The symptoms we saw included distal limb edema (stocking up) and laminitis.” These are symptoms typical of hoary alyssum poisoning, as per Colorado State University’s Guide to

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Poisonous Plants, a database started by Tony Knight, DVM. Notes filed under hoary alyssum include a range of musculoskeletal issues. “Horses can develop lameness after eating hoary alyssum due to swelling of the legs and laminitis. Signs range from stiffness, swollen lower legs, laminitis, and severe lameness.” If you suspect your horse has ingested hoary alyssum, the legs are the first place you should look for symptoms, running hands along the limbs to feel for swelling and heat, and checking for stiffness. Then, call your veterinarian. “As with any medical concern with horses, we recommend you reach out to your veterinarian immediately,” Marjorie says. The symptoms of hoary alyssum poisoning can be treated with careful veterinary support that will depend on the horse’s individual reaction. “In each case of hoary alyssum poisoning we saw last summer, we took the horses off of the hay containing the plant, and treated them with supportive care for laminitis,” Marjorie says. This can include

dietary changes, antibiotic administration, cold therapies, and specialized farrier care. “Laminitis can vary greatly from horse to horse, Marjorie says, “and the ability of a horse to recover and return to their previous levels of work varies dramatically.” The horses responded to treatment well, and this is generally the case if hoary alyssum poisoning is treated promptly. Again, Marjorie stresses that poisoning is very preventable in horses when a watchful eye is kept on hay and pasture forage. “The best prevention is to feed good-quality hay and keep an eye for any signs of the weed,” she says. Hitting Close to Home Last summer’s outbreak of hoary alyssum poisoning in Connecticut wasn’t the first in New England, and the issue triggered an exchange of horse owners’ experiences with the weed over the years. Michele Collins could immediately relate to worried horse owners, as she recalled having a barn full of sick horses that had ingested hoary alyssum back in 2008. At the time, Michele was the owner of Blythewood Stables in Dalton, Massachusetts. She was surprised one June afternoon to discover one of the ponies was foundering. “This was very unusual, nothing had really changed,” Michele says. “The vet came right out and started treatment. Then a few days later, some of the other horses started having issues. Horses that had never stocked up before in their lives suddenly had legs the size of tree trunks. It was startling.” It wasn’t long before 20 horses in the barn were exhibiting a range of symptoms from swollen legs to high fevers to lethargy and lameness. Working with veterinarians from the Equine Clinic at Oakencroft in Ravena, New York, the team at Blythewood Stables tried desperately to find the source of the problem. “No one had any idea what this was at first,” says Michele. “We thought it could be Potomac Fever, so blood was drawn on all the horses, but it wasn’t that. Finally, Dr. Jennifer Safford made the correlation between

a weed called hoary alyssum and our horses’ symptoms, and brought us a picture. We looked at the picture, looked at our hay, and there was no doubt: Our bales were full of the weed.” Michele had recently had three wagon loads of hay delivered from a local supplier, and knew the only thing to do was to get rid of it all. “We took the horses off of the hay as soon as we realized what was going on,” she says. “It was a long road to recovery, though. It took two veterinarians, myself, my husband, every boarder, all of the trainers, and our team of workers to pull these horses through. It was exhausting work, day in and day out.” Part of the challenge was that the tainted hay seemed to affect each horse differently. Some had mild symptoms, while others suffered severe swelling and lameness, and even neurological symptoms. Only three horses seemed unaffected. “Once they were all off of the hay, most of the horses recovered within seven to ten days, and some had lingering symptoms for a few weeks,” Michele says. “It seemed to be hardest on the older horses. Two of my horses, both in their twenties, went on to exhibit neurological symptoms, which lasted for about six months after the event. That was really difficult.” No matter the severity of symptoms, the poisoning meant aroundthe-clock care for all horses affected. The team at Blythewood Stables worked day and night to cold hose, ice, wrap, and poultice legs, take temperatures every two hours, and administer medication. “It was a group effort, and everyone pitched in,” Michele says. “After a lot of hard work, excellent care, and thousands of dollars in vet bills, every horse did fully recover.” Blythewood Stables wasn’t the only barn that suffered from hoary alyssum poisoning that summer, although they were hit the hardest. A handful of other barns in Berkshire County reported sick horses and weeds in the hay, all of which had come from the same fields. “The event prompted us to switch

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hay suppliers, and we became extremely diligent about checking our hay for strange weeds,” Michele says. “I’d never heard of hoary alyssum before that fateful summer, but you can be sure I’ll never forget it.” Other Poisonous Weeds Hoary alyssum, of course, isn’t the only poisonous weed that threatens our horses. There are a number of plants that pose a serious threat to horse health when ingested, and it’s a good idea to know what they look like. It will keep your horse safer as he munches his hay, grazes the summer pasture, and even when he manages to grab sneaky bites out on the trail. Going back to Colorado State University’s Guide to Poisonous Plants (, here are some plants native to New England that horses should avoid at all costs:

Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa) Introduced from Europe as a rotation crop, hairy vetch has since become an

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Hairy Vetch

Alessandra Mele

Hemlock established weed especially along roadsides and field edges. An annual with stems four to six feet in length with hairy stems. Leaves have 10 to 20 leaflets up to one inch in length which are narrow and lance-shaped. Tendrils at the end of the leaves are well developed. Flowers are purple, 10 to 60 per spike, all on one side of the flower stalk. Seed pods are about one inch in length. Sudden death may be associated with cyanide in the seeds. Hairy vetch was found in hay in western Massachusetts a few years ago and several horses died from eating the seed pods.

Hemlock (Conium maculatum) Another white-flowered temptress, hemlock is a common and notorious weed that can be devastating if ingested in large quantities. The plant is about four to six feet tall with smooth branching stems adorned with little purple spots; a key identification feature. The leaves are coarsely toothed with a fern-like appearance,

and the five-petal flowers are tiny and white, blooming in clusters. Hemlock is generally unpalatable to animals but is rather common and can creep into pastures. It is most toxic during early spring growth, and can cause muscle tremors, incoordination, low heart rate, labored respiration, and possibly colic. Death can result from respiratory failure. Any signs of hemlock growing out in the pasture or hayfield should be immediately addressed with herbicides.

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Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii) Water hemlock is extremely toxic to animals and people. In fact, it’s considered one of the most poisonous plants in the country. It’s found in wet, marshy areas, growing about four to six feet with stems rising from tuberous roots. The leaves are long and toothed, flowers are also tiny and white, blossoming in an umbrella formation. When the stem is cut, it will ooze a yellow, smelly fluid. All parts of the plant are highly toxic, and as little

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020



as two ounces of the root, if consumed, will prove fatal to livestock. The toxins primarily affect the brain, and will cause convulsions, difficulty breathing, muscle degeneration, and usually death. Any water hemlock near grazing areas should be immediately destroyed by digging up and burning.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Red maples are very common in New England; their flaming red fall foliage is nothing short of iconic to our landscape. Unfortunately, those red leaves can pose a serious threat to horses. When leaves are wilted and dried they are highly toxic, so fallen leaves in the pasture are dangerous. Signs of red maple poisoning include lethargy, lack of appetite, dark urine, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, and dehydration. Horses should not have access to pastures with large amounts of fallen red maple leaves, and it’s important to rake horse areas clear of these leaves in the autumn and thoroughly clean up any fallen branches after a storm. 12

Red Maple

Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) No doubt we’ve all seen these delightful little yellow flowers pop up in fields throughout New England. However, buttercups are not the best snacking for our horses. The good news is these plants are only mildly poisonous and are rather unpalatable. Horses will usually graze right around the yellow blooms. Buttercups have erect, leggy stems and toothy leaves, which give way to a bright yellow five-petal flower. A horse that has eaten too many buttercups will salivate excessively and may have diarrhea, but usually recovers quickly once removed from the buttercup patch. Buttercups aren’t as much of a concern in hay, as the dried plant is nontoxic, but your horse probably won’t like the taste.

Alessandra Mele

Water Hemlock

muscle tremors, weakness, and lying down. Milkweed remains toxic when dry and can be a problem in hay.

Bracken Fern


(Pteridium aquilinum) Bracken fern can grow in open woodlots, pastures, and along roadsides. Bracken ferns cause a thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency with symptoms of severe depression, blindness, weakness, and eventual death if untreated. The majority of clinical cases are related to the feeding of poor-quality hay that contains high levels of the fern. Signs of thiamine deficiency occur when hay containing bracken fern at 10 to 20 percent or more of the horse's dry-matter intake is fed for approximately four weeks. For the average 1,000-pound horse, 2.2 to 4.5 pounds of bracken fern would have to be consumed each day for a minimum of a month.

(Asclepiadaceae) Milkweed contains various toxins that have cardiotoxic effects. Symptoms of ingestion include abdominal pain, colic, bloat, and diarrhea; additionally,

GOING INTO AUTUMN, it’s good to keep these species of poisonous weeds tucked carefully away in the back of your mind for reference when

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Alessandra Mele

Bracken Fern

Milkweed opening each bale of hay. The hoary alyssum scare of 2019 reminded us that we should remain mindful of what our horses are ingesting, and that we can never be too careful when it comes to their health. So, if you see an odd cluster of seedpods mixed in your hay flakes, pull it out! Notice a rogue patch of white flowers creeping along your fence line? Remove it! The saying holds true: better safe than sorry. At the same time, it’s important to remember the evolutionary advantages of our ancient equine friends, appreciate their uncanny ability to select the vegetation that is nutritious for them, and trust that given a healthy environment to graze and play, they will thrive. Always investing in good-quality hay and maintaining a clean pasture is the very best step toward poison control and will keep your mind at rest through every season. Alessandra Mele is a freelance writer and designer in Wilbraham. She enjoys spending time with the horses on her family’s farm, especially riding her Quarter Horse, JoJo. To see more of her work, visit

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Farm Feature

North Attleboro by Alessandra Mele

The Big Red Barn

Restoring the Past, Enjoying the Present, and Building the Future

A Friendship Saves a Farm Cheryl and Lynn have been friends since grade school, and to see them interact is to witness a deep bond that has withstood the test of time. “Cheryl and I have always had an incredible connection,” Lynn says. “Even when we took long hiatuses from one another because we were raising families, we were always connected somehow.” Horses were a big part of this friendship, as they grew up riding and showing together, and both got back into the saddle later in life. Lynn’s family owned a 300-acre parcel of farmland in North Attleboro that her grandfather had purchased in 1938. In the 1970s, her uncle developed a portion of the property into a horse farm where Lynn’s cousin trained hunter/jumpers and held horse shows. Both Lynn and Cheryl have memories of riding horses as young girls on that property. The facility was highly respected in its day, even hosting the Vienna Riding School’s famed Lipizzaners on one occasion. Over time and a number of ownership changes, the farm fell into disrepair, and struggled through the years to maintain purpose. In 2012, the parcel went up for sale, and caught the attention of Cheryl, who was by now the owner of a local real estate business. “When Cheryl told me she was interested, I knew the deteriorating state of the place and asked her frankly, ‘Do you realize what you’re looking at?’” 14

Lynn says. “Cheryl indicated that she did, and she’s never looked back.” Cheryl smiles, thinking back to that spark of inspiration and all that it has led to. “When they say love is blind — it truly is,” she says, laughing. “When my family and I purchased this farm, it was a relic. Since then, my husband John and I, along with the help of our four sons, have spent countless hours repairing, rebuilding, and reviving.”

stalls in the big barn, and additional inand-outs across the street,” she says. “Our indoor riding arena is 14,400 square feet, and we have multiple outdoor riding areas including a 100' x 200' arena complete with LED lighting, as well as many trails both on and off the property. There’s a heated lounge, observation area, and tack room with 38 lockers for our boarders. Our hayloft holds around 5,000 bales of hay, which

From Relic to Radiance Coming upon The Big Red Barn today, it is difficult to imagine that the site was ever a “relic.” The farm now gleams with the hard work Cheryl’s family has put into its immaculate restoration. Lynn can’t help but agree. “My uncle would be so happy with the way this property has been brought back to life,” she says, her eyes shining. “What Cheryl and John have done with this farm is stunning.” Cheryl and Lynn manage the facility on a day-to-day basis, with the help of Cheryl’s daughter-in-law, Ashlee Walsh. The three women walk down the barn’s aisleways with purpose and pride, working together in perfect harmony to keep the farm operating at the high standards that have been established upon its renaissance. Cheryl points out many amenities and features that came with the renovation, much to the benefit of the nearly 50 horses currently boarded at the The Big Red Barn. “We have 46 roomy box

we harvest on our own land. And, of course, lots of space for turnout with more than 40 paddocks with safe fencing. It’s a big facility, and we do our best to make it feel like home to everyone.” The atmosphere in the barn is certainly one akin to home, as boarders chat and laugh while tacking up their horses together. There’s a mix of ages and experience levels, breeds and disciplines from driven competitors to backyard trail riders. Lynn explains that the barn is open to all kinds of horse owners, which creates a dynamic and supportive community. “We have a very relaxed, friendly atmosphere here,” Lynn says. “We don’t insist you ride with any particular trainer, and we allow boarders to bring in their own licensed trainers if they choose. We have a variety of boarding options to suit individual needs, we’re multi-discipline — we’re all of it. This place can be whatever you need it to be, and we’re just happy to have you here.”

courtesy of The Big Red Barn


icture endless white fence lines, rolling green pastureland, and a big, red barn. This classic New England image is alive and well on Ellis Road in North Attleboro, but it wasn’t always as pristine as it is today. It took a lofty vision, earth-moving labor, and the devoted teamwork of three horsewomen to restore this historic piece of land and make The Big Red Barn the equine haven that it is today. Cheryl Walsh, Lynn Houle, and Ashlee Walsh keep the history of The Big Red Barn close to their hearts as they manage the place day in and day out, inspiring a beautiful future.

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

The flexible boarding options are intriguing for horse owners considering The Big Red Barn. “When we started this business, we wanted to make horse ownership accessible and enjoyable,” Cheryl says. “We offer flexibility in our boarding options that allow people to take care of their animals in the way they see fit, and that best fits their lifestyle.” The result is a menu of boarding options from full board to semiboard to co-op style rough board, and straight rough board. Many of the boarders take advantage of the co-op board, and Lynn has noticed the positive impact it has had on the barn community. “Our co-op board is unique in that it holds clients responsible for certain shifts, so they are contributing but still have plenty of freedom; they don’t need to be here twice a day every day,” she says. “It works like a well-oiled machine. As an added benefit, everyone gets to know each other and all of the horses very well, so whenever there is a crisis, someone always steps up to help keep things running smoothly. Everyone here always lends a hand when needed and makes sure every horse is taken care of.” This sense of barn camaraderie, combined with Cheryl, Lynn, and Ashlee’s quiet but meticulous management style, makes for a truly pleasant and productive place to be. “We have a great group of people here,” Cheryl says, smiling. “There are a lot of moving pieces, and a facility this large couldn’t run with just one person at the helm. We all benefit from each other’s skills and strengths.”

Distinction and Beyond The gleaming facility, thoughtful management, and family atmosphere at The Big Red Barn have not gone unnoticed. For two years in a row, the farm has been named a Horse Farm of Distinction by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. “Given the original state of the farm, this is a pretty big deal!” Lynn says. “Cheryl’s family has gone above and beyond and continues to make improvements and create a wonderful environment for people and their horses.” Cheryl is humbled by the award, but even more so by the kind words of her friend. “This is really Lynn’s baby,” she says. “It was her family that started all this, and she has put her heart and soul into it over the last eight years. It warms my heart every day to drive up to this property and see all the beauty here.”

The town of North Attleboro also appreciates the beauty and considers the farm a local gem. “People love to take drives up here and enjoy the horses,” Cheryl says. “This land is now agriculturally protected under the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, so the farm will remain intact in perpetuity. I consider this our way of giving back to the community; it’s a legacy.” Furthermore, The Big Red Barn has achieved great respect within the local community and is known for its high standards when it comes to animal wellness. “Veterinarians and farriers have come to know our expectations and appreciate how stringent we are with the health of our horses,” Cheryl says. “Even in the larger community, the board of health and animal control will often reach out to us for advice and assistance.” It’s these values that set The Big Red Barn apart and promise a bright future for the facility. For all three women, this means continuing a legacy that’s rooted in family and friendship. “It’s been such a gift to have family and friends so involved in building this facility,” Cheryl says. “It’s become a gathering place, and my hope is that it will continue for generations to come.”

Lynn, having seen this property span generations, agrees wholeheartedly. “For me, The Big Red Barn means an ongoing way of life that I wouldn’t have had if Cheryl had not purchased the farm,” she says. “To be able to have these two families’ legacies continue is just amazing to me.” Ashlee, happy to have joined the family after a beautiful wedding at the farm in 2018, sees a bright future as well. “In this world we live in, it’s so important to have beautiful, wide open spaces like this and be able to get back to basics. Horses are a kind of therapy,” she says. “We’re hoping to keep it all going and keep this piece of history alive and well.” Cheryl sums up the three women’s shared feeling nicely in one word: “It’s just love,” she says with a smile. “We love being together, and we love what we’re doing here at The Big Red Barn.” Alessandra Mele is a freelance writer and designer in Wilbraham. She enjoys spending time with the horses on her family’s farm, especially riding her Quarter Horse, JoJo. To see more of her work, visit

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Horseperson Feature

Angela Kazanovicz Exceeding Expectations

by Kara Noble

heater producer Brian Clowdus says a “kismet experience” led him to equestrian Angela Kazanovicz and her Dutch Warmblood/ Thoroughbred mare, Aurora. Brian was in Massachusetts preparing for a new production titled The Sleepy Hollow Experience. Based on Washington Irving’s gothic short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the show was scheduled to debut at Old Sturbridge Village in the fall of 2015, and Brian was looking for the right horse and rider to create the role of the


to jump up and down in it as they rode past. Lots of peppermints and patting built Aurora’s confidence about special effects including screams, thunder, lightning, and hissing fog machines. Finally, in a rehearsal just days before the show was scheduled to open, it was time to try their first gallop in full costume across the bridge. “Angela and Aurora charged like lightning,” Brian says. “The sound of Aurora’s hooves on the wood was thrilling! I heard Angela shout, ‘Don’t

mals for companionship and formed a special bond with a Welsh pony mare named Yankee Doodle. “I didn’t have a saddle or bridle and I was only allowed to ride side saddle,” she says. “I used my intuition and love for the pony to train her and learn myself. We rode through the fields daily and I hung out with her at the barn. That pony saved me from a hard, lonely childhood.” After graduating from high school, Angela knew she had to get away from the isolated community, even though it

Headless Horseman. While having dinner at a Sturbridge-area seafood restaurant one night, he overheard a woman talking about horses and he told her what he was doing. “I know someone who would be perfect,” she told him. When Angela heard about the project, she fired off an email to Brian. She was thrilled when he contacted her to say she and Aurora got the part. Caroline Teich, Angela’s eventing trainer at Orchard Hill Equestrian Center in Berlin, was dubious. “You’re going to gallop in costume through a covered bridge with a crowd standing on it?” she asked. “I wouldn’t trust most horses to walk through a covered bridge.” But Angela was determined. “If something is difficult, I want do it,” she says. To prepare Aurora for the role, Angela started riding at night carrying a flashlight and shining it around the mare. She got permission to ride through the bridge once a week after Old Sturbridge Village closed for the day and even asked the security guard

worry! We can go faster!’ The memory still makes me smile.” The pair rode 40 performances as the Headless Horseman that year, and they’ve ridden in at least that many every autumn since then. In the fall of 2020, Angela (now 68) and Aurora (now 15) hope to gallop through their fifth season of The Sleepy Hollow Experience at Old Sturbridge Village. Training and riding a horse in a full-staged theatrical production is a significant accomplishment for any equestrian. It is a particularly impressive one for someone who took her first horseback riding lesson just seven years before their premier performance. The vibrant spirit and deliberate attitude that enabled Angela to achieve riding and training success grew out of a difficult childhood. She was born on a communal farm in the Still River section of the town of Harvard. She and the other children in the community were separated from their parents and siblings at an early age, and they weren’t allowed to have close friendships. Angela turned to the farm’s ani-

broke her heart to leave Yankee Doodle behind. In 1970, she moved in with an aunt and uncle in Connecticut, found an entry-level job in health care, and started taking classes at local colleges. Three years later, she met a young man whose mother had abandoned his family; the two married within six months. A daughter, Alexandra, was born in 1980; a son, Nicholas, arrived a few years later. Motherhood and a busy career left no time for horses. Angela worked her way up through the health care field, eventually becoming an administrator and supervisor first at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and later at Partners Health Care and the Mental Health Research Department at Cambridge Health Alliance. Her mother’s death in January 2005 left Angela grieving the loss of a parent while also confronting the pain of being denied a nurturing childhood. She fell into a deep depression. A bike ride with her son in the summer of 2007 unexpectedly showed her how to regain her sense of purpose


Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

and joy in life. On that ride, they met a mounted horseback rider at Century Mills Farm in Bolton. Angela realized she needed to reconnect with horses. After a few lessons at Century Mills, she moved to Maplewood Farm in Berlin. Within months, her passion for riding was so great she decided to buy her own horse. She wanted a young horse she could train herself to build a strong bond. “Everybody told me that was a bad idea,” she says, “but I’ve got a stubborn, rebellious streak, and nobody was going to tell me what to do.” Reluctantly, the stable owner introduced Angela to a scrappy, untrained, two-year-old filly named Aurora. The little bay from New Hampshire didn’t look like much, but her sire was a Dutch Warmblood Grand Prix stallion named Fair Play and her Thoroughbred dam, After Labor Day, traced her pedigree to War Admiral. Then the owner revealed a crucial piece of information: Aurora’s mother had died soon after she was born. That news sparked Angela’s emotions over the loss of her own mother. The filly sensed her grief and slipped her soft muzzle into Angela’s hands. Angela knew she had found the perfect horse. She bought Aurora on March 15, 2008. Angela started groundwork with Aurora, relying on experience she’d gained with Yankee Doodle and lessons she learned from Pat Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship videos. Angela and Aurora worked together daily in any available space, from barn aisles and round pens to stalls and pastures. In May 2009, the pair moved to Maple Grove Farm in Hudson, where they began working with trainer Courtney Slade to bring Aurora under saddle. Angela insisted on attending every training session and doing much of the training work herself. “I wanted Courtney to teach me at the same time she was teaching Aurora,” Angela says. “She would get on and show me what to do and then I would get on. I worked with Aurora seven days a week.” Aurora had only been under saddle for about four months when Angela and Courtney took her to her first horse show at August Farm in Holliston. “While we were warming up, Aurora spooked at a truck near the warm-up ring,” Angela says, “and I took a swan-dive into a puddle.” Undaunted, she brushed herself off and rode into her first class. The pair ended the day with seven ribbons, including reserve champion.

With Aurora successfully under saddle, Angela set to work to become the best rider she could be. She bought a truck and trailer, and she and Aurora explored as many riding options as possible. They tried dressage, jumping, fox hunting, and eventing. They rode hunter paces, took trail rides, and led parades. To build her bond with Aurora and to concentrate on their life together, Angela sold her home in Northboro and bought a two-and-a-half acre farm in Sutton abutting Purgatory Chasm State Reservation. She enhanced the barn, expanded the paddocks, and brought Aurora home. In 2012, she began taking eventing lessons with Caroline (which Angela now augments with bimonthly dressage clinics taught by international trainer Niall Quirk). In 2014, she eliminated her long commute to Boston by starting her own, now thriving business, Angela Pet Care. Aurora and Angela love performing and do it together often. In addition to Sleepy Hollow, they appear in Revolutionary War reenactments in Sutton and Sudbury. Each June they take part in the Strawberry Festival hosted by Sutton’s First Congregational Church, and they ride in Sudbury’s annual Troop of Horse March every Patriot’s Day. This year, they were invited to ride in Harvard’s Fourth of July parade but the parade was cancelled due to COVID-19. In the fall of 2019, they made their film debut playing horse wranglers for a movie about the Mormon faith titled The Witnesses, which is scheduled to be available in theaters in summer 2021. According to Caroline, Angela and Aurora are proof that “the more you ask of your horse, the more confident your horse becomes and the more confident you become with your horse.” Together, the pair has surprised many people by accomplishing things others thought they could never do. Angela is proud that she has proved the naysayers wrong, moving past the trauma of her childhood and achieving joy through her strong relationship with Aurora. She hopes her story will help and inspire others. “I hope it lets people know they too can find their purpose in life,” she says, “and they can do what their heart tells them against all odds.”

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


Horse Logic by Nicole Birkholzer

Unexpected Herd Support


f you have been reading my columns for a while, you know that I’m inquisitive about herd dynamics. In the October/November 2019 issue’s Horse Logic column, I discussed how one horse’s dis-ease can affect another. A few years back, I wrote that a herd is not merely hierarchical, but that there are many different positions individual horses occupy within the herd. This creates a tribe-like community that provides overall safety for the herd. During a recent barn visit, I was able to experience a remarkable herd dynamic that enhanced everyone’s well-being. Let me take you into the field with me so you can see the exciting dynamics within a well-balanced herd.

insights on how she could help her horse be more consistent. As Margery and I walked down the dirt road toward the pastures, she pointed out a stunning caramel-colored Norwegian Fjord with a long and full forelock. “There he is,” she said.

Need for Insights Margery had contacted me because she wanted some insights on her nine-yearold Norwegian Fjord gelding, Oden, that had joined the family a year and a half earlier. They already had one horse, Kristie, a Thoroughbred/Andalusian cross that Margery shared with her daughter. They had added Oden to the family so Margery and her daughter could go on rides together. Oden was green when they got him, but he had made great strides under Margery’s tutelage. Margery and Oden did a lot of ring work. He learned how to stay balanced for more extended periods in each gait, and he was responding to Margery's aids consistently. Together, they had gone on several trail rides and even a hunter pace. Oden seemed to take it all in stride. Yet there were also some sticky points. Occasionally, Oden would take charge and take off. And, sometimes, he would throw a little buck, and Margery would lose her balance and slide off. Plus, he was not easy to catch in the field. Margery reached out to me, hoping I could provide some 18

Next to Oden was a buckskin and off to the left were two more horses, Kristie, Margery’s bay mare, and Trond, another Fjord.

Herd Inquiry When we stepped through the gate, Trond approached to greet us. Though I’m very familiar with Fjords, I’d never encountered a Fjord of his size. As Trond came closer, he lifted his muzzle to my face to take me in through his dessert-plate-sized nostrils. Looking up the length of his muzzle toward his eyes, it seemed his head was of a prehistoric nature. His bone structure was strong and his gaze was solid. I felt this horse was the representation of earth energy, absolutely grounded. “I take it Trond is the leader?” I asked, and Margery confirmed. I sensed Trond was there to greet us and to assess the situation. We explained to him that we were there to hang out with Oden and learn a little more about his needs. That explanation appeared satisfactory to Trond. He turned around and

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

went back to graze with Oden and the buckskin. Margery and I went to greet Kristie, whom I’d met at a prior barn visit. At first she was shy to approach but eventually visited with us for a few minutes, sniffing our hands and jackets before she too walked away to continue her nap. Now it was time for us to focus on Oden. Margery wanted to know how she could enhance and deepen her relationship with her gelding. She felt that they had come a long way together, but after her recent fall, Margery felt she and Oden had plateaued and were now stuck, doing only groundwork and rides at the walk. “Let’s interact with Oden close up,” I said, “I want to be closer to him to observe him and see what he has to share.” And, with that request, our session began. The moment Oden saw Margery approach, he trotted away from her, saying ‘No, thank you!’ Oden circled once around Kristie, who was at one end of the two-acre field, and then came back to Trond and hid behind the enormous horse. When Margery approached Oden again, he ran back to Kristie and hid behind her. Let me clarify — this is not an article about how to catch your horse in a pasture. This article illustrates that without using typical horsemanship tools, we can get help from unexpected sources/contributors. Oden kept this little game up a couple more times. Every time Margery took a few steps in his direction he'd run off to either Kristie or Trond. Observing Kristie, I noticed that she was getting more and more aggravated about Oden crashing into her

personal bubble. And, Trond, though calm, looked puzzled. At one point, I heard him say, “Why all the fuss?” Basically, he was suggesting that Oden should stop the games. I must have missed the moment when Kristie and Trond decided to take charge of the situation.


Unexpected Support While Margery and I watched her little gelding speed around the pasture, Kristie and Trond suddenly appeared next to us — Kristie on our left, Trond on our right. Had they figured out that Oden was avoiding us and would avoid them too if they stayed near us? Or, did they know that standing with us would help us get closer to Oden? I’m not sure. However, their strategy worked. Since Oden no longer had a horse to run to, he stopped about 20 feet away from our group and looked at the four of us. He wasn’t sure what to do. When Margery approached Oden from this vantage point, he took off for a few strides but stopped quickly. Margery was now much closer to Oden, but as she approached him again, he still walked off for a few steps. During her third attempt a big presence suddenly appeared on her right. Trond had joined Margery. Quick to adapt, Margery wrapped her arm around Trond’s neck, and together they approached Oden. I heard Margery say, “Thank you, Trond, are you walking me over to Oden?” And, indeed, with Trond by her side, Oden did not move his feet when Margery stepped next to him and greeted him. She held out the halter and then slipped it over his face. Margery thanked Trond for his services, after which he turned around and walked over to the buckskin and began to graze. Twice more, Kristie and Trond supported us in our session. Once Kristie came over when I was struggling to explain a visual. Oden had shown me how Margery could help him improve his balance. As I was looking to find the right words, Kristie came up behind me to nudge my right leg again and again, her nose pointing to my feet. I knew she wanted me to dig deeper and find the right words, and eventually I did. A while later, while Margery offered Oden some energy work, Trond visited with us again. He reached over Oden’s back and touched his nose to

Once upon a time, you fell in love with horses. You felt drawn to their warmth, their power, their soft eyes, and their gentle spirits. You loved the freedom of riding — the liberated movement, the rush of wind in your hair, and the feeling of limitless momentum. Over time, the practicalities of horsemanship — the grooming, the behavior issues, and the communication blockades — started to strain your love affair. And some days, you wake up and wonder if all the hard work and money is worth it. Here’s the good news: there’s nothing wrong with your horse and there’s nothing wrong with your heart.

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Nicole Birkholzer Animal Communication Specialist Author - Speaker - Educator

Margery’s cheek. We both felt the appreciation he showed her for taking care of his herd mate. When our session was complete, we had a hard time leaving the horses. We were excited that Margery now had a plan to help her horse become more balanced and self-assured so he wouldn’t feel the need to buck or take off. But the journey we’d taken to find those answers was equally thrilling. I wish we’d had a drone follow us to capture how the horses had moved around us, how they had orchestrated the haltering and supported us in our session as we attended to Oden. It would be a fabulous video to see healthy herd dynamics in action. The next time you step into your pasture or paddock to halter your horse, notice what else might be going on around you. Is there a horse that wants to be acknowledged as a leader?

Is there a horse that grounds the herd and provides some support? Is there a horse that tries to distract you from getting to your horse? What’s his or her role? If you go in with the plan to connect with your horse while also becoming aware of the broader herd dynamic, you might even become part of a special pasture moment like Margery and I did. Nicole Birkholzer is an equine behavior and communication specialist, originally from Germany, who works with horses and riders across the globe. Nicole helps people create mindful connections with their horses by attuning to and communicating with horses in meaningful and effective ways. Her focus is to understand the logic behind horses’ behaviors and the wisdom in their expression. Interested in building a meaningful, mindful relationship with your horse? Check out Nicole’s webinar series Horse Logic at online-learning. Nicole also offers private barn calls, phone consultations, and workshops.

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


North Andover

Lend a Hoof

Windrush Farm Small Victories, Big Impact

by Alessandra Mele

ach day at Windrush Farm, small victories, in all their quiet beauty, are visible everywhere you look.. A boy who normally spends most of his waking hours in a wheelchair is lifted up onto the back of a trusty Haflinger, and with a confident “Walk on!” they are off on a new adventure. An elderly woman with


prised by the lack of awareness that persists. “Having grown up in England, I was always very aware of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), a wonderful program that has long been championed by Princess Anne, an accomplished equestrian in her own right,” Janet notes. “Here [in the U.S.], I often

today has a committed staff of 20, a volunteer force of nearly 200, and 20 special horses that serve up to 160 clients a week. Windrush Farm is a premier accredited center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) and is a nationally recognized leader in the equine-

dementia carefully brushes a horse she’s just met, and mentions the name of her childhood pony. A little girl, considered nonverbal, hums to herself in the backseat of the car on her way home, reflecting on her riding lesson. These are subtle moments, but they are the powerful results of a larger mission. For nearly six decades, Windrush Farm in North Andover has been working to improve the confidence, self-esteem, and well-being of individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. With each small victory, it is clear they are doing just that for the many people who return to the farm week after week.

have to explain what therapeutic riding is and what the benefits are, as it remains largely misunderstood.” Even as the United States was slow to accept animal therapy as a powerful healing tool, a lifelong horsewoman named Marjorie Kittredge had the foresight to pair learning-disabled young people with horses. “In 1964, Marjorie started Windrush on her family’s farm with just six of her own horses,” Janet explains. “She offered six troubled teenagers the opportunity to ride.” Marjorie’s forward thinking resulted in the establishment of Windrush Farm, one of the first therapeutic riding centers in America, decades before formal research proved the undeniable benefits of equine-assisted activities. “Marjorie knew the physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits of spending time with horses,” Janet says. “In that way, she was truly a pioneer and a visionary.” Since its inception Windrush Farm has grown significantly, and

assisted activities and therapies community. Janet is immensely proud of the impact Windrush Farm has had on so many lives for more than 50 years. “We’ve served thousands over the years, bringing many moments of comfort, warm memories, and countless smiles,” she says. “It’s hard work, but anything worthwhile is. It makes me very honored to be here.”

A Pioneer in Equine-Assisted Therapies Therapeutic riding and its benefits are still relatively unknown, but the connection between humans and horses is ancient, and Windrush Farm was one of the first to build on this relationship. Janet Nittmann, CEO of Windrush Farm, is always sur20

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Caring in Action Seeing that hard work first hand on any given day is when the extent of what Windrush Farm is accomplishing really sinks in. Scores of volunteers are being trained and deployed, strings of horses are meticulously groomed and tacked up, and instructors and therapists are mindfully adapting to the particular needs of each rider, all to ensure every experience at Windrush is positive and productive. The result is a collaborative atmosphere conducive to learning, and Windrush is a picturesque setting

for it all to take place. Janet points out the features that make this facility safe and fun for all. “On our 38 acres, we have 23 stalls and plenty of turnout space for our horses,” she explains. “For our riders, we have an oversized indoor arena as well as a large outdoor riding ring, with miles of our own trails as well as access to over 160 acres of conservation land. Each of our rings is equipped with mounting ramps, and the indoor arena has an electronic lift that can comfortably lift the rider up and out of a wheelchair and onto the back of a horse.” These accommodations make clients feel comfortable at Windrush no matter what their needs are. From careful horse assignments to adaptive tack, every consideration is taken to set each client up for success in the saddle. “Our riders are pushed and encouraged to learn as much as they are able, and we do all we can to make sure that experience is comfortable and fun,” Janet says. The programs at Windrush are designed with that goal in mind, and accommodate riders of all abilities and ages. “In our therapeutic riding program, clients are truly learning how to ride,” Janet explains. “We teach horse care, tacking and mounting, and then proceed with lessons in controlling the horse, walking on, stopping, turning, trotting, riding patterns, and even cantering and jumping when possible.” Keeping lessons fun and social is always top priority. “Most lessons are done in groups, and nearly every lesson includes some play,” Janet says. “We have a very creative program director who is always coming up with new games for both children and adults to enjoy.” Windrush Farm also offers occupational therapy services including hippotherapy. This modality uses the multi-dimensional movement of the horse to help clients engage their sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems. “We have a relationship with a highly qualified occupational therapist, Monica Wu, who runs our hippotherapy program,” Janet says. “The movement of the horse is so beneficial; it aids in balance, coordination, and sensory development. This is particularly useful for children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.” Windrush Farm is aware of the shifting needs in a modern world,

and is developing new programs in response. These include programs with a focus on addiction recovery, and for clients with dementia. “We have a riding program for people with early-stage dementia, and are currently developing a second dementiafocused program that teaches clients to groom and tack up horses, preparing them for other riders, Janet says. “We’re finding this really fulfills a very human sense of purpose, in providing dementia patients the opportunity to help others.” Making a Difference Helping others is a common theme at Windrush Farm, whether it is staff and volunteers helping clients, horses helping humans, or clients helping each other. It can be seen on every level, in every program. “I see so much caring every day,” Janet says. “I see it in our willing horses, in our hardworking staff, in our dedicated volunteers, and in the smiles of the children and adults who come ride with us every day.” The thousands of smiles that result from such genuine care has not gone unnoticed. Windrush Farm has been recognized repeatedly for carrying out their mission with dedication and sincerity. Most recently, Amanda Hogan, a PATH International Master Instructor who has been with Windrush for more than 40 years, was honored with the James Brady Professional Achievement Award by PATH International. “This is considered the highest achievement in our industry,” Janet beams. “We are immensely proud of Amanda’s accomplishments, and grateful for all that she has given to Windrush over the years. “ The Windrush horses are also well known for their unwavering dedication to their riders. It takes a very special equine to be a therapy horse, and the herd at Windrush is made up of the best of the best. “We’re always looking for suitable horses, but this job calls for a very particular sort of horse,” Janet explains. “While it’s very important that the horse can walk, trot, canter, and jump two feet, moreover they need to have an extremely steady, quiet temperament. We depend on these horses to be there waiting for our students at every step,




. . . continued on page 39

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


Trail Guide Franklin

by Stacey Stearns

Southern New England Trunkline Trail


Douglas. One section of the SNETT is in the Blackstone River Greenway, a 50mile greenway. Groups raised funds and paved 3.7 miles of the SNETT in Blackstone, Millville, and Uxbridge for the greenway. As with the paved sections of the Nashua River Trail (see our June/July 2019 Trail Guide) there is a shoulder for equestrians to use in paved sections.

here’s a stretch of pristine trail that winds its way through eastern Massachusetts. The trail begins in Franklin State Forest in Franklin, crossing through four other towns before reaching Douglas State Forest in Douglas. The 22-mile Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) is a former railroad corridor that’s open to equestrians; it’s also one of the longest trails in the Bay State. The SNETT doesn’t stop at the state line, however. It continues into Connecticut before ending in Hampton.

I parked at Douglas State Forest on my recent visit to the SNETT using 107

SNETT is 74 miles from Franklin, Massachusetts to Hampton, Connecticut, and is designated as a National Scenic Recreational Trail. It will be 86 miles upon completion of an additional trail in Connecticut that will connect to Willimantic. Footing on the SNETT is superb — most of the trail is relatively flat and tree-lined. Equestrians can ride along at a leisurely pace enjoying the company of their fellow riders or move out at brisker gaits. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) owns and manages the SNETT. Trail maps are available at I picked up a trail map at Douglas State Forest, but since the SNETT is a linear trail, and one that I’ve ridden before, I was more confident in my abilities. Bicyclists, cross-country skiers, equestrians, walkers, and hikers all use the SNETT. Marked entrances are available in each of the six towns that the trail goes through: Franklin, Bellingham, Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, and

Wallum Lake Road in Douglas for my GPS. There is no parking fee at Douglas State Forest in the off-season. There’s a large paved lot down near Wallum Lake that’s easy to maneuver a horse trailer in and out. From that lot, you can ride over to the Spur Trail and connect to the SNETT. Douglas State Forest has portable restrooms available in the main parking areas. Trails are well marked and easy to find. Other parking option in Douglas are the pull-offs on Route 16 at the horse-crossing signs. These are only 4.3 miles from I-395 and connect directly to the SNETT. Route 16 is a heavily traveled road, so be careful if you choose to park here. The Midstate Trail (for hiking only) also connects here. The Grand Trunk Trail also runs through Douglas State Forest and connects to Wallum Lake Road. Parking is also available at Franklin State Forest. Use Forge Hill Road in your GPS, and then ride down to the SNETT via the trails, Spring Street, and

Stacey Stearns

A Leg Up

unpaved road. If you ride this section of the SNETT, be advised that the trail ends at the paved Grove Street, where an active railroad line begins. The SNETT is the eastern part of the planned Titanic Rail Trail network, as is the Grand Trunk Trail (see our October/November 2019 Trail Guide). The Grand Trunk Trail is another of my favorite rail trails in Massachusetts. Trails such as the SNETT, the Grand Trunk Trail, and the Nashua River Trail are usually accessible to equestrians year-round because their contour slopes


Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

moisture off the trail, and have gravel and dirt base for footing. Water is available in several ponds and streams along the trail for horses to access. Pack your bug spray if you ride here in the warmer months. The ponds and wetlands are prime breeding grounds for biting insects.

Out Riding It The Douglas section of the SNETT is 7.4 miles from the Connecticut border to the Uxbridge town line. It’s a gravel trail that’s been graded. While the trail was wet on the day of our ride from recent flooding of nearby water sources, it’s still a great place to ride. We were leaving hoofprints, but not tearing up or damaging the trail. The trail is lined with a mix of pine and deciduous trees. It was chilly, and even on a sunny afternoon the pines blocked some of the sunshine. In warmer months those same pines keep the trail cooler than other areas. It felt almost as if I was riding through a tun-

nel, with the wind blowing through the pines making a gentle whooshing sound as I rode under the pines. For me, the SNETT and the other rail trails are like getting on the interstate with your car. It’s a smooth trail with good footing, and you can ride faster than you would on other trails. I love to find a stretch without any other trail users on it and have a good canter or gallop with my horse. The SNETT is also a great place for long, steady trot work to build endurance back up at the beginning of the riding season. Just remember to slow down when you see other trail users. Hoofprints of other horses and telltale piles of manure showed that equestrians frequently use it. (Since this is a multi-use trail, please kick your manure off the trail.) As you ride further east toward Franklin, the SNETT presents more challenges. In Uxbridge, there’s a barrier blocking access to Route 146/146A. This is a main road, and not safe to attempt crossing. After that is the paved 3.7-mile Blackstone River Greenway section with seven bridges and a tunnel. The section from Blackstone to Bellingham has gaps because of wetland areas, and is not ideal for equestrians

either, unless you live close to the trail and can ride over. The section of the SNETT from Route 126 in Bellingham to Prospect Street in Franklin is 3.3 miles and more equestrian friendly. If you ride west on the SNETT from the parking area in Douglas State Forest, it will take you toward the Connecticut state border. I recommend that history buffs head west first, and then backtrack toward the main entrance of Douglas State Forest and Uxbridge. When you get close to the Connecticut border, the trail dips south, and connects to a smaller side trail. Go left on this side trail, and back toward Massachusetts. In a small clearing in the woods, you’ll arrive at the TriState marker. This granite marker, dated 1883 and inscribed with the initials for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island marks the point where the borders of the three states meet. Ride a loop around the marker, and then you can say you’ve been in three states at once! Another piece of interesting history in this section — on the Connecticut side — is the Great East Thompson Train Wreck of 1891. This occurred just a short distance from the Tri-State

Marker. On a foggy morning in December of 1891, four trains crashed. It’s the only time in history in the United States that four trains have crashed and was caused by a series of unfortunate events and miscommunications. I know that some equestrians prefer trails that loop, and would rather not ride an out-and-back trail like the SNETT and other rail trails, but for me, the SNETT is a fun ride where I can ride on autopilot. I don’t worry about maps, footing, or getting lost. I just ride and enjoy the time in nature and with my horse. When we’ve had enough, I turn around, and can usually count on my horse to know where we left the trailer. The SNETT is a fun way to get some easy trail miles in, and enjoy the investment that the DCR and the towns have made in recreational opportunities for all trail users in the Bay State. Happy trails! Stacey Stearns, a lifelong equestrian from Connecticut, enjoys trail riding and endurance with her Morgan horses.

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020



Please check all dates and events for COVID-19 updates and cancellations before you plan to attend.

Bay State Trail Riders Association 2020 has been the year of delayed plans and finding flexible ways to engage socially while remaining physically distant. What better way to do that than trail riding? BSTRA rides are back, although some were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. BSTRA volunteers have done an awesome job safeguarding participants. Attendees are required to wear masks, use hand sanitizers, and follow all mandates for social distancing in common areas. These sensible precautions have not hindered the fun. It’s great to be back on the trails with our friends, equine and human. The Nancy Maenzo Memorial Benefit Ride, sponsored by David Maenzo, was moved to June 20 at Douglas State Forest. We had a good turnout and the trails were superb. It was wonderful to see everyone after a long quarantine! Lunch was provided by ride hosts Kelly and Jim Shaw, and was followed by a raffle. Leah McCarthy from Touchstone Crystal was on hand to display jewelry and take orders for our jewelry fundraiser. Proceeds raised from the ride will go toward the Wallis Street, Douglas parking lot expansion project and improvements to the Red Pine Trail. 24

The Lea MacInnis Judged Pleasure Ride, sponsored by Milford Federal Bank, was held June 28 at Pell Farm Conservation Area in Grafton. As in past years, riders were judged on a series of trail challenges. The ride offered a five- or sevenmile loop. The seven-mile loop crossed over to Upton State Forest’s Rabbit Run Trail. Becky Kalagher was high-point champion of the

The National Trails Day Ride is always a blast with big raffles and prizes. Register early because the first 50 riders to sign up will receive gift bags. Most important, by participating, you’re supporting trails. Your contribution can be increased if you sign up sponsors — raise more than $250 and your registration fee can be refunded. Prize packages will be awarded to the top eight participants!

Becky Kalagher

Our goal is to foster connections within the horse community throughout the Bay State, and one of the ways we do this is with our Partners Program. Massachusetts organizations that partner with us receive a free one-year subscription for each member and space in the magazine for news, photos, and event listings.

Bay State Trail Riders Association members Kathy Rich and Bethany Chadbourne.

day. Congratulations to all who participated. The annual Poker Run, held at Inman Hill Wildlife Conservation Area in Mendon, was delayed a week due to forecasted storms. However, the new date turned out to be hot with high humidity, so the ride start was pulled forward to beat the heat. Everyone was back by 12:30! Lunch was served while poker hands were tallied. The best hand of the day, three of a kind, belonged to Kathy Rich. She scored a $25 Amazon gift card! Our largest event of the year, the National Trails Day Ride and Fundraiser, sponsored by Yered Trailers, is normally held in June, but has been rescheduled to October 17. This year’s ride will be at Great Brook Farm State Park.

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Funds raised on National Trails Day go directly back to trails. In 2020, BSTRA has several trail projects planned in Douglas State Forest, Upton State Forest, and Pell Farm in Grafton. These include a parking lot expansion, bridge enhancements, and other maintenance projects. So, please join us in making the National Trails Day Ride and Fundraiser a success! See you on the trails!

7Annamaria Paul

Charles River Dressage Association The 25th anniversary year of the Charles River Dressage Association has been very unusual! In February, the club was looking forward to celebrating its 25th year with a full show season, energetic meetings, and some great

clinics. CRDA welcomed new officers: Carol Mayo, president; Amanda Hancock, treasurer; and Nancy Zacks, communications and publicity. Club officers and members started the year with new ideas for fun club programs and the energy to make them happen. With the lockdown in March, meetings moved online and the club assessed ways to keep CRDA membership fun and interesting. The club arranged a video on the training pyramid with Bill McMullin, United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) ‘S’ dressage judge and United States Dressage Federation (USDF) gold medalist, as well as two virtual summer shows. The first virtual show, judged by Sue Roberto-Buchanan, had more than 75 entries, very close to the usual number of entries at an in-person show. Crystal Taylor will judge the second virtual show. Crystal is a USDF certified instructor, an “L” graduate with distinction from the USDF Judging Program, and has been awarded her bronze medal from the USDF. Virtual shows have become very popular, offering a way to keep riding and training while staying safe. Members who participate in all three virtual schooling shows (a fall show is planned) will be eligible for high-point and division awards. With Massachusetts’ reopening, Lynne KimballDavis came back to Apple Knoll Farm July 18 and 19 to deliver a great clinic with a full schedule. Getting back into the saddle and into the arena felt good for everyone. On August 2, Sue Roberto-Buchanan delivered a Ride-Critique-Train Clinic, a new twist on the Ride-

the rings, equipment, and impromptu rides. Although we cancelled our March meeting and speaker presentation, by April we were prepared to host monthly virtual meetings via Zoom. Our May Zoom meeting featured Masoud Hashemi, extension professor from the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture, who

Chris Rice

Critique-Ride format. Riders rode the test of their choice. Sue judged the tests, and then worked with riders on improvements. Sue packed a lot of great pointers into a very short period of time, and riders got a score they could take home. CRDA invites members in good standing to apply for a $500 educational

Angela Rice on Juno at the Charles River Dressage Association’s Sue Roberto- Ride-Critique-Train Clinic in early August.

scholarship. The winner may use the money for mounted or unmounted lessons and clinics, or travel expenses for educational seminars. Applicants must answer questions about their riding goals and experience. Nonmembers may register for membership when they apply for the scholarship. For more information and the application, visit or contact Carol Mayo, CRDA president, at Year-end activities include a silent auction that will be conducted online, and the 25th Anniversary CRDA Clinic October 17 and 18 with Bill Warren at Elmwood Acres Equestrian Center in Mansfield.

7Nancy Zacks

Hampshire County Riding Club Although our club-sponsored clinics, trail rides, and camping weekends have been cancelled or postponed for most of the riding season, members have been getting together in small groups to explore new riding areas. Facebook has provided an opportunity to share experiences with fellow riders for these small group rides. The HCRC grounds remain available to members for use of

spoke about manure and mud management. This is an issue of concern for large farms and stables, and one we all struggle with, if we keep even one horse, especially in the spring in New England. His talk was an important companion to last year’s presentation on pasture management. In July, our virtual speaker was Stephanie Vassar, DVM, who operates Great Falls Equine in Gill. Her presentation on the ABCs of Equine Health covered the names and description of conditions behind the common equine acronyms from EPM and EMS to PPID and PSSM. Both presentations were visual and provided for audience interaction. HCRC was honored to present scholarships to Rory Flynn and Tate Mason, outstanding high school graduates who are planning to pursue college or a program in equine/animal husbandry. Both recipients are HCRC members who volunteered for workdays and participated in club, 4-H, and school extracurricular activities. They also received and trained young Mustangs from Wyoming to participate in the 90-day Youth Mustang Challenge in 2019. Thanks to the generosity of two Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


cue in the picnic area. The ride is open to HCRC members and their guests. Our annual meeting and election, scheduled for October 21, will be either vir-

hampshirecountyriding and follow us on Facebook.

7Diane Merritt

Jamie Kubosiak

HCRC members who personally donated to our scholarship fund, the club was not only able to award two scholarships but to also increase the amount of the award. We’re hopeful that our October events will take place as scheduled. On Sunday, October 11, we’ve scheduled a Fun Day, open to the public, featuring gymkhana and fun games in divisions ranging from Lead Line and Walk /Trot to Open. Our spacious club grounds provide ample room for parking and will honor the state guidelines for safe COVID-19 practices. Our Fall Foliage ride at Northfield Mountain Recreational Area is scheduled for Sunday, October 18. Riders can navigate the mapped trails in small groups at their leisure. If state guidelines allow, the ride will be followed by a potluck barbe-

One of the many obstacles at the Hampshire County Riding Club’s Woodland Obstacle Course in Goshen.

tual or altered to accommodate the state guidelines. To learn more and to see our updated calendar of events, visit

Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association Greetings from the MQHA with a message of community and support as we continue

through this health crisis. To continue is to carry on after disruption; to last, endure, a definition that embodies the historical resilience of the people of Massachusetts. We will find our way forward as we always do and make the necessary adjustments required. The American Quarter Horse Association’s Region Six Super Six Show was held in West Springfield during August. Regardless of your discipline, we remain united as a community of equine enthusiasts. Take this time to connect with family, loved ones, and your beloved horses. These are the ties that bind us together. There you will find your strength. Remain well, every stride counts!

7Lori Mahassel

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

New England Equestrian Center of Athol NEECA has started holding gymkhana events at the park. During this stressful time, we are glad to be having fun with our friends at the park that’s located in North

to state mandates. Please go to for the most up-to-date information during these unprecedented times. Frank Whitney and his crew are ensuring that all COVID-mandated guidelines

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The American Quarter Horse Association’s Region Six Super Six Show was held in West Srpingfield in August.

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out on the trails. NEECA has also offered the use of this vehicle to local fire and police departments.

and will be missed. NEECA’s president, Pam DeGregorio, brings her organizational skills, new ideas, and fantas-

and events. NEECA continues to grow, welcoming all ages, levels of riding/driving horses, mules, minis, and ponies. Come and see what everyone’s talking about. Stay safe everyone. We hope to see you at one of our events!

7Debbie Martin

courtesy of NEECA

Park clean-up and maintenance is ongoing and being done by small groups. Repairs and new obstacles to the confidence course were completed in the spring. Please contact one of the board members should you want to get out of the house and lend a hand to help make your park even better. You asked for new trails at the park, and we listened. NEECA has obtained a special grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Recreational Trails program to expand the trails. We’ve also added a John Deere Gator with MedBed to help with the trails and allow for the extraction of injured people from rough terrain, otherwise impassable by ordinary vehicles. While we hope it will never have to be used, NEECA is very happy to have this option available in the event of an accident

NEECA members with the new gator from left to right: Sue Ellen Mowcomber, Althea Bramhall, Caroline Mansfield, Pam DeGregorio, and Frank Whitney.

Special thanks to Pete Whitmore (2019 president and advisor) for getting electricity into the park quicker than anyone could imagine. NEECA would also like to thank Pat France for her dedicated service to NEECA for many years. Pat is relocating

Would your Bay State equestrian organization like to join our Partners Program? Each of your association’s members will receive a free one-year subscription to Massachusetts Horse and your club will be given space in the magazine for news, photos, and event listings. To learn more, email

tic leadership to this exceptional organization. We also have two new board members, Terry Lupien and Debbie Martin, who have both hit the ground running. Join the NEECA family for amazing new friendships

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News in Our Community Renee Suprenant of Ashford is this year’s recipient of the annual van Schaik Dressage Scholarship, awarded by the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA). Renee was chosen from a group of eight excellent candidates. Having competed in dressage riding Hanoverians with many different instructors for more than 30 years, Renee got her first Morgan, Touch Of Rum CH (fondly known as Prin), six years ago. They have been competing in Morgan and open dressage competitions ever since. Currently, Renee is working with Vincent Flores. When asked about her transition to Morgans, Renee says, “I’ll never look back.” She describes Prin as the ultimate Morgan ambassador who attracts attention simply with her presence. At just 14.1 hands, Prin presents herself much larger with her elegance and extreme suppleness. “Prin is so smart, and she only has to be taught once, so I need to make sure I teach her the right way,” Renee says. Renee and Prin plan to start their 2020 show season at Intermediate I and are schooling through Grand Prix level. Renee also plans to debut her young Morgan mare, Kennebec Jubilee, this year at Training level. Renee says, “I love sharing this breed with the dressage world, because the temperament and athleticism of this breed is truly amazing. I believe Morgans are more affordable for the average rider and they have the ability to do this beautiful work. They are also a better match 30

for many riders due to their size and trainability. Training and competing with Morgans at the FEI Levels surely shows the equestrian world what these horses are capable of.” Renee cares for and trains Prin and Jubilee at her home farm, along with

now has his sights firmly set on the 2020 Games in Tokyo this summer. Last fall he was crowned the British Dressage National Champion for the tenth time. “The spectators were very welcoming and attentive at my last NEDA Symposium, and it was wonderful to have so many talented horses and riders to work with," says Carl. “I’m really looking forward to returning to New England next year.” To learn more, visit

comes Olympic gold and silver medalist Carl Hester to headline the NEDA Fall Symposium in 2021 at the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center in South Hadley. “We’re delighted that Carl Hester will be joining us

Saving At-Risk Equines in the COVID-19 Emergency Denlore Photography

Renee Suprenant Wins van Schaik Dressage Scholarship

Renee Suprenant riding her Morgan, Touch Of Rum CH. Renee won the annual van Schaik Dressage Scholarship awarded by the American Morgan Horse Association. Congratulations!

another Morgan and a Hanoverian. The van Schaik Dressage Scholarship is awarded in memory of Dr. H.L.M. van Schaik who fought to preserve the classical art of horsemanship in dressage. This scholarship is to aid an AMHA member in furthering his or her skill, knowledge, or proficiency in classically ridden dressage. The AMHA and its members congratulate Renee for her dedication and hard work, and wish her the best in future dressage competitions.

7Suzy Lucine

Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Hester Coming to Massachusetts in 2021! The New England Dressage Association (NEDA) wel-

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

for next year’s NEDA Fall Symposium,” says NEDA president Iris Berdrow. “Our 2017 Symposium with Carl received rave reviews by the sold-out audience. He’s great at moving horses of all levels forward and makes his teaching accessible enough for auditors to take home implementable lessons.” Carl is the most successful British dressage rider in history and one of the most revered in the world. A fivetime Olympic veteran, he was an integral part of the gold medal-winning British team that made history at the 2012 London Olympics by clinching the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal in dressage. He took the podium again at the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning a team silver medal and

What does a small, nonprofit equine rescue do in a pandemic, when surrender requests from distressed horse owners are on the rise, and traditional fundraising has been curtailed? “You have to get creative,” says Mary Martin, founder and president of New England Equine Rescue (NEER) North. A volunteerrun, 501c(3) nonprofit based in West Newbury, NEER North has been rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming at-risk horses and donkeys in Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 2008. The rescue accommodates about 25 animals on site and supervises an average of 13 animals in foster situations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. For Mary, the weeks have been a blur since the COVID-19 crisis began, “We’re fielding a high number of surrender inquiries and requests for feed-fund assistance from local owners who are unemployed, struggling to care for their animals, and facing some

ucts. “This is a fantastic way for horse owners to support those who are struggling to keep their animals by just mailing in or dropping off

Susan has owned Morgan horses for almost 60 years and has been promoting them ever since she was given the great gelding

Mary Martin

painful choices,” she says. “We’ve also taken in animals from area rescues that have had to shut down.” Like many who run nonprofits, Mary is used to operating on a tight budget. But the double whammy of increased demands for assistance and curtailed opportunities for fundraising has her concerned about the difficult winter months ahead. “Our expenses always go up in the winter, and we don’t expect the need for our assistance to decline,” she says. “You don’t get into rescue work unless you’re an optimist,” Mary says, “but I have to admit we’re facing some very tough challenges.” An annual fall auction and dinner, a booth and educational demonstrations at the Topsfield Fair, and family-oriented open houses at NEER North’s 13-acre facility are crucial fundraising events that won’t happen this year. Mary says the rescue’s “amazingly dedicated” volunteers are working hard to come up with alternatives to keep the organization going. The popular volunteerrun tack shop, adjacent to the rescue’s barn, is back in business after some adjustments to the new COVID-19 safety standards. “All tack shop proceeds support our mission, and in recent years, it’s become an important source of funds for us,” Mary says. The shop is stocked with gently used horse- and rider merchandise — from boots and saddles to fly sheets and supplements — all donated by generous individuals and companies. To learn more, visit neer-north-tack-shop. Volunteers are spreading the word about NEER North’s Feed Fund, which provides short-term assistance to New England horse and donkey owners facing financial hardship. This program is funded by proof-ofpurchase redemption from Lucerne and Nutrena prod-

Horses at NEER North enjoying some turnout time.

their feed tags,” Mary says. For more information, visit Looking ahead, there are tentative plans for an autumn virtual ride/run/ walk-a-thon and a virtual gala and silent auction around the holidays. “There are a lot of at-risk animals caught up in this human emergency,” Mary says. “I can’t say enough about the volunteers, donors, businesses, and community partners who are going the extra mile in difficult times to help us keep them safe.”

7Deborah Blagg

NEMHA Honors Susan Colleton The New England Morgan Horse Association (NEMHA) and Maine Morgan Horse Association held joint annual membership meetings and awards banquets at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, Maine. Long-time NEMHA member, volunteer, and Morgan enthusiast Susan Colleton of Sturbridge was inducted into the NEMHA Hall of Fame.

Townshend Selectman in 1962. During her school years, she worked with her high school newspaper as well as local and regional publications in promoting Morgan activities in southeastern Massachusetts. Susan worked tirelessly for the Horsemen’s Yankee Pedlar. As Morgan editor and a natural writer, Susan showcased Morgan horses and people, with articles on local, state, regional, and national horse shows. She was well known for her farm and individual profile articles, as well as her column, Youth On a Horse . . . Morgan of Course. When Pedlar publisher Kelley Small put a camera in ng ializi Spec rting in sta rses g ho youn and ding for ri g n . drivi

Susan’s hands, it was the beginning of a new adventure of Morgan promotion. With much support from Kelley, Susan’s love for photography turned into a real passion for visually capturing Morgan moments. Susan was a dynamic member of the promotional team at The Morgan Connection and now contributes both written and photographic work to The Morgan Horse. Active in NEMHA for decades, Susan served many years on the Board of Directors, chaired the Annual Banquet, kept circuit champion points, and worked at Equine Affaire. She continues to serve on the New England Regional Morgan Horse Show Committee, her all-time favorite horse show. Susan was also key in developing the NEMHA website as well as serving as the originator and first editor of the club’s newsletter. Whenever something needs to be written or photographed, Susan is the go-to person. A former NEMHA Person of the Year, Susan embraces all things Morgan with her words and photographs. Her enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in wherever needed have defined her lifelong commitment to promoting the Morgan horse to diverse audiences. Susan is also the administrator of the NEMHA group on Facebook. Susan’s enthusiasm and

Devin Burdick USDF Bronze Medalist Trainer/Manager Instructor

25 Queen Lake Rd., Phillipston, MA 01331 (978) 696-1269 . . Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


passion for the great Morgan horse have defined a huge part of her life for more than five decades. She loves celebrating all things Morgan with her wide circle of Morgan friends, and, with camera in hand, is always excited to meet them at the out gate.

$100 or more will receive a limited edition Beach Ride T-shirt! Learn more at

Funds raised will help the MSPCA be at-the-ready with proactive programming geared toward helping horses and the people who love them stay together, and offer rehabilitation and rehoming

7Julie Pesek

AMHA Honors Bay State’s Young Adult

7Suzy Lucine

The current pandemic may have changed a lot of things, but one thing remains truer than ever — horses are often the first species to suffer during times of economic crisis due to their size and cost of care. This is one of the reasons that the MSPCA at Nevins Farm feels that its annual Horses Helping Horses Fall Beach ride is more critical than ever. The organization has switched to a virtual event this year. Riders will register as individuals or as teams and raise funds to help support the horses and programs served by the MSPCA. The only difference is that this year, instead of gathering as a large group to ride along the beach, riders will be encouraged to ride in small groups with their friends (from a socially safe distance of course) in their communities.

Chris Cassenti

Horses Helping Horses Fall Beach Ride

Robert Harb, New England Morgan Horse Association president, presents the Hall of Fame Award to Susan Colleton.

services for horses in need of a place to begin anew. The event date is October 24, registration is open, and all guests raising

Hackney, Morgan, Roadster, and Saddlebred trainers, owners, and exhibitors gathered in Lexington, Kentucky, for the associations’ annual meetings, lectures, and award ceremonies. The American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) honored Amanda Hill. Her involvement with the Morgan breed began when she started showing at an early age. Amanda is a third generation Morgan enthusiast, and her family owns and operates a small breeding farm, Lands End Farm in Amesbury. Amanda is a founding member of the AMHA Young Adult Alliance. During her tenure, the group championed involvement from young adults, amateurs, and professionals to strengthen the Morgan breed. She led a series of horse show events, including a Bull Riding Calcutta and Family Feud Game, which raised money for the group and encouraged competitive fun at horse shows.

Our MISSION is to provide a safe, comfortable, and well-equipped facility for horses and riders to develop the skills and confidence required for the sport of Eventing. UPCOMING EVENTS

Area I Schooling Horse Trials Championships

and e plekn at: ap the websit k s c t e n h e C as ev often dded! a e r a


Basic Board, Winter Board & Training Board

On our cross country course by appointment.



USA ICP-Certified Instructor & Head Trainer Adrienne Iorio

Clinics, Meetings, Camps, Shows, Competitions, Hunts, and more.

Flatlands Photo

October 10

To learn about upcoming fall events, visit to see what’s planned for October and xxxxxxxxxxx lists Prize forms November!xxxxxxxxxxxxx entr y m.


Training with Adrienne Iorio Three-Day Eventing Competitor and Trainer Show Jumps For Sale Horses and Ponies For Sale/Lease 32

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

capturing the 2018 World Junior Classic Pleasure Driving Championship with Sarde’s Crescendo. There’s so much that

Nady Peters and Dinero Honored The U.S. Equestrian’s Annual Meeting honored, Nady Peters’ gelding,

Sarah Taylor-Wielun

Amanda was also instrumental in the formation of the Young Adult Alliance Judging School Scholarship, which has awarded more than $10,000 in scholarships, helping young adults obtain their judging cards. In addition to her work with the AMHA Young Adult Alliance, Amanda is an active member of the New England Morgan Horse Association, serving on the board. She is also a member of the New England Regional Morgan Horse Show Committee. She has been co-chair of the New England Winter Weekend for many years and is also responsible for the parties and events at the New England Regional Horse Show. Amanda and her family are committed to improving the Morgan breed with their breeding operation, which produces one or two foals per year. She has seen great success in the show ring as well,

The Horses Helping Horses Fall Beach Ride will be a virtual ride this year with participants riding at a location that is local to them. For more information, visit

Amanda has done to promote, strengthen, and give back to the Morgan breed. She’s a worthy recipient of the AMHA Young Adult Award.

7Suzy Lucine

Danville, GCH a.k.a. Dinero, with several awards. The West Newbury resident accepted the award for Reserve Grand Champion Morgan, Grand Champion Morgan in Versatility, and was

Reserve Champion in Morgan Western Dressage, Level 2. “Attending the U.S. Equestrian Awards Ceremony was a phenomenal experience,” Nady says. “It was such a pleasure to be there and meet so many other horse enthusiasts.” Nady purchased Dinero as a four-year-old and put him in training with Chuck Patti of Chuck Patti Training Center in Merrimac. It wasn’t long before they discovered that Dinero was perfect for western dressage. “Dinero has always been willing to learn and he loves to work,” Nady says. “He’s just shy of sixteen hands, and has an incredible stride. A video of one of his tests has been used at clinics held by the Western Dressage Association of America.” This past year, Nady showed her gelding in western dressage Level 2, and

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020



Chuck showed him in Level 3. Nady looks forward to competing with Dinero this year in Level 3 and advancing to Level 4.

7Suzy Lucine

JOIN US! The Western New England chapter of the Professional Horsemen’s Association of America holds Hunter, Jumper and Dressage Shows. HUNTER/JUMPER EQUITATION SHOWS October 4

Harmony Hill Farm

October 25

Muddy Brook Farm

DRESSAGE SHOWS English and Western Tests

October 25

Higher Ground

Please check in with each show prior to the date to be sure the show is running as planned as COVID-19 may cause interruptions in the schedule.

We are incredibly disappointed to cancel the 2020 WNEPHA Equitation Finals as well as the Year-End Awards Banquet. Our priority is to keep members safe during these unprecedented times.

Year-End Awards will still be distributed! Check for updates.

Changes at Camp Marshall Sheryl Moore has joined the Camp Marshall team as the new executive director. As executive director, Sheryl will oversee all operations of Camp Marshall including strategic direction, marketing, and financial management. “Sheryl brings many years of business operations experience, working with community partners, and running large-scale events to Camp Marshall,” says Andrea Desilets, president of the board of directors at Camp Marshall. “Her lifelong knowledge and love for the equestrian community will also strengthen the Camp Marshall mission.” Sheryl rode out of Brightside Farm in Boylston from the early 1980s through 2018. Growing up as an active member of the local 4-H club, she competed locally and at the 4-H Regionals from an early age into adulthood. Sheryl attended Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, where she competed as a member of the equestrian team. Sheryl and her family reside in Spencer, where they enjoy spending time on their small farm with their horses, goats, and chickens. “We will also be welcoming Care Maki as camp operations director and Jordan Desilets as equestrian director,” says Andrea. “Both have been a part of the Camp Marshall family for many years as campers and staff. They will join us full time after their college graduations in May. Care will be overseeing our summer camp programs, staff, and events. Jordan will head up all summer and year-round equestrian programs, staff, and events.” Learn more about Camp Marshall at

Bay State Equine Rescue Rising to the Challenge

Year-end awards in many divisions. Full schedule can be found at An organization for horsemen, by horsemen.


Earlier this year, as 2020 unfolded, none of us could imagine how different and difficult our lives would become in such a short time. Two horse rescue groups are facing the challenge by working in partnership. Bay State Equine Rescue, located in Oakham, is partnering with Rosemary Farm

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Sanctuary, located in the Catskill Mountains in New York. Both are 501c(3) organizations and share the same goal — to rescue horses in need and protect them for life. Rosemary Farm Sanctuary works to restore horses’ health, physically and emotionally. The horses live in various herds tailored to personalities and member acceptance. Some of the horses may be made available for adoption, while others remain free spirits and stay at the sanctuary for life. Adoption is not the primary focus of Rosemary Farm Sanctuary. As its name indicates, it’s primarily a sanctuary. Staff and volunteers provide safe, healthy living in a beautiful rural setting. Horses are protected for life, either by remaining at their rural mountain home, or by being adopted under contract. At Bay State Equine Rescue the collaboration comes to fruition. Two gentle mares from the Sanctuary, Brandy and Lark, arrived at the Rescue in early August. The skilled volunteers at the Rescue will help them gain confidence in human handling, learn to enjoy human contact, look forward to grooming, exercise, and basic handling skills. Ultimately, the goal is to find these horses a forever home. Brandy is an eight-year-old, 14-hand Quarter Horse-cross. In her short time at the rescue, she has become very friendly, loves to work with people. Brandy’s loving forever home might include a very happy youngster! Lark is a 14-year-old, 15-hand, Quarter Horse-cross. She has a laid-back personality and doesn’t appear to have had any training. Progress has been rapid with Lark. She loves grooming and is open to new things. With additional training she will become a cherished member in a new home. Horses are beloved family members. In these challenging times, protecting their future is more important than ever. The partnership of Bay State Equine Rescue and Rosemary Farm Sanctuary is an excellent example of rescues working for the future.

7Ann McCrea

New England Animal Rescues Join Forces to Create Equine Safety Net Amidst Ongoing COVID-19 Uncertainty Four New England–area animal protection organizations have joined forces to create the New England Equine Safety

Selling Your

Each organization will independently manage their individual equine assistance programs, but will collaborate as a unified network to connect horse owners in need with the resources they need,

Through the collaborative efforts of the New England Equine Relief Network, the coalition will proactively and directly impact hundreds of horses across the region in a positive way, working to ensure no horses go hungry during the coming months.

ter months due to the economic pressures of COVID-19 and resulting job losses. Experience has shown that horses and other farm animals are among the first to be affected by economic crises

If You Need Help

Susan Sheridan

Network with the aim of providing food relief and basic veterinary and farrier care for horse owners in need. The network is comprised of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The members of the network have agreed to work together to jointly distribute essential resources to horse owners directly impacted by the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, in hopes that by proactively offering food and medical aid, horses that might otherwise be surrendered to animal shelters — or, worse, go without food and essential care — will remain safe, with the families who love them.

Brandy with Alexis Johnson at Bay State Equine Rescue in Oakham.

ensuring that no horse slips through the cracks. Coalition members have already seen an uptick in the number of requests for assistance, and they anticipate the need for support will grow in the win-


Let more than 30 years of Experience Work for You!

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Althea Bramhall, Hometown Realtors 617-678-9300 .

due to their size and cost of care. Coalition members are working to prevent the surrender of horses to shelters and support horse owners through this unprecedented time.

The network’s distribution of critical food and veterinary assistance is ongoing. To apply for assistance, horse owners should contact the animal protection organization nearest to them: • Maine • Massachusetts • New Hampshire • Rhode Island (401) 438-8150

Briggs Tack Shop &Trailer Sales Authorized Dealer

for more than 50 years!

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Family owned and operated for more than 80 years. Authorized Kingston Trailer dealer for more than 50 years. 623 Hanover St., Hanover Centre, MA (781) 826-3191 . Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


events Massachusetts




4 SCHOOLING HORSE TRIALS, DOG AND PONY SHOW, Valinor Farm, Plymouth. 4 DRESSAGE SCHOOLING SHOW, Independence Stable, Belchertown. 4 ONBH FALL HUNTER PACE, Red Rail Farm, Lincoln. 6 MYOPIA HUNT, Maudsley State Park, Newburyport. 10 NBHA MA01, CJ’s Ranch, West Barnstable. 10 MHC SHOW, Evenstride Ltd., Byfield. 10 BSTRA PATRIOTISM BENEFIT RIDE, Douglas.

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020



Send us your events

25 SOUTH COAST HALLOWEEN HUNTER SHOW, Grazing Fields, Buzzards Bay.

for the 2021 Annual Events Issue by March 1! Email

25 BSTRA BIG PUMPKIN RIDE, Upton State Forest, Upton. 25 NEW ENGLAND HUNTER TRIALS, Steeplechase Course, Hamilton.

17 USEF, MHC, NEHC, SEHA, and MHJ SHOW, Next Venture Farm, Medway.

27 MYOPIA HUNT, Topsfield.

17 MYOPIA HUNT JOINT MEET, Barney’s Joy Road, South Dartmouth.

30 MYOPIA JUNIOR HALLOWEEN HUNT, Appletree Farm, Hamilton.

17 BSTRA NATIONAL TRAILS DAY RIDE, Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle.

31 USEF, NHS, NEHC, MHC, SEHA, MJH SHOW, Herring Brook, Pembroke.


31 MYOPIA HUNT, Hi Rok Farm, Essex.

17 – 18 CRDA YEAR-END BILL WARREN CLINIC, Elmwood Acres Equestrian Center, Mansfield.




18 BSTRA SVRD RIDE, Brimfield.

Request a free Junior Award

for your event at

1 SCHOOLING DRESSAGE SHOW, Beland Stables, Lakeville.

18 HCRC FALL FOLIAGE RIDE, Northfield Mountain. 18 TWO PHASE AND DRESSAGE SHOW, Cutter Farm, Dracut. 20 NEW ENGLAND HUNTS CHAMPIONSHIP HUNTER TRIALS, Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton. 20 HUNTER PACE, Westport.

Stalls and Training Spots Available! Boarding . Training . Onsite Leases

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20 MYOPIA HUNT, Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury. 24 PLAINVILLE HUNT AND RIDING CLUB SHOW, Plainville. (508) 561-1298 24 MYOPIA HUNT, New Meadow Farm, West Newbury. 24 MSPCA VIRTUAL HORSES HELPING HORSES FALL BEACH RIDE. 25 SCHOOLING DRESSAGE SHOW, Sherborn. 25 SCHOOLING DAY, Palmer River Equestrian Center, Rehoboth. 25 WNEPHA HUNTER SHOW, Muddy Brook Farm, Amherst.

Kate Cameron 4 Plain Road, Hatfield, Mass. (978) 739-4707 Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


Independence Stable

1 EASTERN REGIONAL PLEASURE TRAIL RIDE, North Brookfield Sportsmen’s Club. Limit of 30 entries! Five or 10 miles, unjudged. (508) 8677855 or

6 MYOPIA HUNT BALL, Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton. 7 USEF, MHC, NEHC, SEHA, and MHJ SHOW, Next Venture Farm, Medway.

1 BSTRA TURKEY TROT, Carver. 1 MYOPIA HUNT FALL HUNTER PACE, Groton House Farm, Hamilton.

2020 Dressage Schooling Shows

3 MYOPIA HUNT, Kittery Crossing Farm, Rowley.

Subscribe Today!

Traditional & Western Dressage Tests

September 13 October 4


Check our Facebook page for updates!

404 S. Washington St. Belchertown, Mass.

(413) 284-0371

7 ALL NEW ENGLAND JOINT MEET, Hamilton. 10 MYOPIA HUNT, NEER North, West Newbury. 12 – 15 EQUINE AFFAIRE VIRTUAL EVENT, 14 USEF, NHS, NEHC, MHC, SEHA, MJH SHOW, Herring Brook, Pembroke. 14 MYOPIA HUNT, Topsfield. 17 MYOPIA HUNT, Pipestave, West Newbury. 21 USEF, NHS, NEHC, MHC, SEHA, MJH SHOW, Herring Brook, Pembroke. 21 MYOPIA HUNT, Black Oak Farm, South Hamilton. 22 NEECA CASH JACKPOT GYMKHANA, Athol.

Natural Balance Equine Dentistry

24 MYOPIA HUNT, Marshview Farm, Ipswich. 26 MYOPIA THANKSGIVING HUNT, Appleton Farm, Ipswich. 28 NORFOLK HUNT, Westport.

Optimize the health and performance of your horse with minimally invasive techniques. Wendy re-aligns the biomechanical function to fit the individual horse. Horses . Ponies . Minis . Donkeys

Wendy Bryant, EQDT (413)237-8887 .

Are you and your horse having problems? Would you like your horse started under saddle and/or in harness? Peter specializes in starting young horses correctly. 100% customer satisfaction using natural horsemanship techniques. More than 20 years experience starting horses as well as fixing existing problems. References available. The cost of the one-month training is $1,200, including board.

Certified practitioner in Natural Balance Dentistry® 38

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

It’s a Pleasure Training with Peter Whitmore (978) 652-2231 .

. . . Windrush Farm continued from page 21

no matter what happens.” That patience is present in every horse involved in the Windrush program, and riders and handlers love them for it. Janet notes that achieving such a successful program would not be possible without the generosity of donors. “It’s not free to ride, and it’s not free to take care of horses,” Janet says. “The fees for riding in our programs cover about one quarter of the total cost to run Windrush, and the rest is achieved through fundraising. We are grateful to be in a community that supports and gives toward our programs. Donations truly make a difference.” It’s through these donations that Windrush can continue to develop their programs and keep riding accessible to those in need. “I’m proud to say we now have two scholarships available to riders,” Janet says. “The Kathy Blanton Memorial Scholarship, and the Mark Perry Memorial Scholarship were established so deserving candidates can experience the joys and benefits of therapeutic riding.” Beyond donations, Windrush Farm is continuously seeking skilled volunteers. “Our biggest challenge is finding enough volunteers as we grow,” Janet says. “We’re always in particular need of people with horse experience, who can serve as horse handlers. We also welcome volunteers without equine backgrounds to participate as side walkers.”

Volunteers at Windrush are always smiling and experience a genuine sense of fulfillment in the difference they are able to make in a rider’s day. “We find the volunteers create wonderful teams with each other, the riders, and the horses, and we have many teams that stay together for years,” Janet says. “The riders succeed with that sort of consistency and support.” This united effort is at the heart of all the successful programs at Windrush Farm. A gentleman dismounts his horse with the help of his team; he is overcoming many new physical challenges after a stroke. When asked why he enjoys coming to Windrush Farm, he speaks eloquently even as he struggles to get the words out: “It’s for the horse, of course.” Janet agrees with him wholeheartedly: “We all love horses here, and when we can pass that along, it really warms our hearts.” To lend a hoof, visit Alessandra Mele is a freelance writer and designer in Wilbraham. She enjoys spending time with the horses on her family’s farm, especially riding her Quarter Horse, JoJo. To see more of her work, visit

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Indoor Wash Stall with Hot Water Heated Bathroom, Washing Machine Facility Available for Hourly Rental

Fuller’s Horse Facility It’s Not Just Your Horse, It’s Your Family 64 Southampton Rd., Westhampton. MA (413) 539-1242

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


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Hanover Equine Dental

Lise Krieger Certified Saddle Fitter saddle assessments fitting evaluations flocking . repairs consignments . sales

Terry Paul

Graduate of the American School of Equine Dentistry

Performance floating for all disciplines. Serving all of southern New England. . (781) 630-0741 203 . 685 . 2308

Tack Repairs & Restoration

saddles . chaps belts . halters bridles . reins harnesses dog collars & leashes

Blue Dog Leather 64 South Shore Dr., Orange, Mass. 978.544.2681

Lessons 5 Training Clinics 5 Drill Team Horse Shows Games Nights Summer Camps

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

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ASSOCIATIONS ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• BAY STATE TRAIL RIDERS ASSOCIATION Keeping trails open for equestrian use; organized trail rides; volunteer opportunities for trail clearing and maintenance. HAMPSHIRE COUNTY RIDING CLUB Goshen, MA, (413) 268-3372 hampshirecounty Monthly trail rides, obstacle course, and clinics. BARN CATS ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• PAWS WATCH P.O. Box 7005, Warwick, RI 02887, Barn cats need homes! Healthy, fixed, vaccinated barn cats provide rodent control. Delivered! BARN BUILDERS ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• CARRIAGE SHED Serving the Northeast, (800) 441-6057; Barns, arenas, shed rows, custom buildings. DRESSAGE ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• BRADFORD EQUESTRIAN CENTER Haverhill, MA, (978) 374-0008 Dressage for all disciplines and driving. Keith Angstadt, USEF dressage judge. CATHY DRUMM Pittsfield, MA, (413) 441-5278; Clinics, lessons, training, western and English dressage, hunter/jumper, Kindful Horsemanship. FAIRFIELD FARM Rochester, MA, (508) 763-8038; Boarding, instruction, training, indoor. WHITE SPRUCE FARMS New Braintree, MA, (978) 257-4666 Dressage shows, instruction, all levels/ages. EQUINE DENTISTRY •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• WENDY BRYANT, EQDT Northampton, MA, (413) 237-8887 Natural balance equine dentistry. Improved topline, maximized performance, increased flexion. Serving New England. NORTHEAST EQUINE VETERINARY DENTAL SERVICES LEAH LIMONE, DVM, DAVDC/EQ Topsfield, MA, (978) 500-9293; Board certified in equine veterinary dentistry. Routine preventive care, maintenance, diagnostics, extractions. EQUINE ENTERTAINMENT ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• DALE PERKINS/MESA FARM Rutland, MA, (508) 886-6898; Trick riding and much more. EQUINE MASSAGE ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• HORSEBACK AND BODY Northampton, MA, (413) 320-7690; Massage therapy for horses, humans. FINANCING, LOANS, TAX PREP ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• FARM CREDIT EAST (800) 562-2235; Financing, loans, tax preparation, business consulting, financial planning.

Your Everything Equine “white pages”

HAFLINGERS ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• SOMMER HILL FARM Adams, MA, (413) 743-9301; One Haflinger is never enough. HORSES FOR SALE ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• STRAIN FAMILY HORSE FARM Granby, CT, (860) 653-3275; New England’s largest quality sales stable. Forty family, trail, and show horses to choose from. New loads every week. We buy horses, take trade-ins, and consignment horses. Great three-week exchange guarantee. Find us on Facebook. INSTRUCTION/TRAINING ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• BACK BAY FARM Ipswich, MA, (978) 356-0730; Lessons, boarding, training, and sales. INSURANCE ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• AMERICAN NATIONAL Boxborough: (978) 467-1001 Carver: (508) 866-9150 Centerville: (508) 428-0440 Easthampton: (413) 203-5180 Great Barrington: (413) 528-1710 Middleborough: (508) 747-8181 North Adams: (413) 398-5011 Northborough: (508) 393-9327 Southwick: (413) 569-2307 Wilbraham: (413) 887-8817 Williamstown: (413) 458-5584 Worcester: (508) 752-3300 DON RAY INSURANCE Marshfield, MA, (781) 837-6550; Farm, major medical/surgical, clubs, shows, instructors. JUDGES ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ED GOLEMBESKI Gill, MA, (413) 863-2313; 4-H, open shows, clinics, lessons. REAL ESTATE ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ALTHEA BRAMHALL, HOMETOWN REALTORS (617) 678-9300; Real estate is more fun with horse people! EQUINE HOMES REAL ESTATE LLC MA and NH, (800) 859-2745, ext. 704; Sally Mann, Realtor, MA and NH. STABLES, FARMS, BOARDING ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• APPLE KNOLL FARM Millis, MA, (508) 376-2564; Eventing, training, lessons, schooling trials, clinics. CARRIER’S FARM Southampton, MA, (413) 527-0333; Indoor, outdoor arenas, round pens, fields. GLENCROFT FARM Southampton, MA, (413) 527-8026; Boarding, pastures, ring, trails, fields. STRAIN FAMILY EQUESTRIAN CENTER LLC Southwick, MA, (413) 569-5797; Boarding, lessons, training, sales, therapeutic riding. TACK ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• CHESHIRE HORSE Swanzey, NH, (877) 358-3001; English, western, feed, supplies, trailers, fencing.

SMARTPAK RETAIL STORE Natick, MA, (508) 651-0045; Tack, supplements, blankets, apparel, gifts, clearance. TRANSPORTATION ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• J.R. HUDSON HORSE TRANSPORTATION W. Bridgewater, MA, (508) 427-9333; Serving the lower 48 states and Canada. VETERINARIANS •••••••••••••••••••••••••• FAMILY VETERINARY CENTER Haydenville, MA, (413) 268-8387; Traditional, alternative care for dogs, cats, exotics, horses. SOUTH DEERFIELD VETERINARY CLINIC DR. ROBERT P. SCHMITT S. Deerfield, MA, (413) 665-3626; Equine medicine, surgery since 1969.

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020


Is This Your Horse?

Releasing tension in key junctions of the body that most impact performance. Masterson Method Certified Practitioner

Jennifer Verre (508) 224-6585 .

Is this your horse?

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This photo was taken in western Massachusetts. If this is your horse, contact us at for a $50 gift certificate from the Bay State’s very own SmartPak,, and a two-year subscription to Massachusetts Horse.

Lessons . Summer Programs Clinics . Training . Starting Heather Dostal USDF “L” Graduate & Bronze Medalist

54 Plain Rd. Hatfield, MA 413.427.2026 |

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Serving the North Shore since 1951 Helen Noble, VMD Robert Orcutt, DVM Elizabeth Lordan, DVM Nicole Syngajewski, DVM 295 High St, Ipswich, Mass. 978-356-1119 (ph) . 978-356-5758 (f) 42

vests . tailbags . half sheets . halters helmet covers . collars . dog vests

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Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020

Amherst Farmer’s Supply 320 South Pleasant St., Amherst (413) 253-3436

Bridgewater Farm Supply 1000 Plymouth St., Bridgewater (508) 697-0357

Essex County Co-op 146 S. Main St., Topsfield (978) 887-2309

A.W. Brown Pet & Garden Center 144 Shaker Rd., E. Longmeadow (413) 525-2115

Country Corral 35 Main St., Williamsburg (413) 268-0180

Greenfield Farmers Co-op Exchange 269 High St., Greenfield (413) 773-9639

Brattleboro Agway 1277 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT (802) 254-8757

Dodge Grain Company 59 N. Broadway, Salem, NH (603) 893-3739

Hardwick Farmers Co-op Exchange Rte. 32, Gilbertville (413) 477-6913

Sweet Meadow Feed & Grain 111 Coolidge St., Sherborn (508) 650-2926

Massachusetts Horse October/November 2020