May 23, 2010
No. 9 is a tall, rangy horse familiar with people but a good 300 pounds underweight. His ribs protrude beneath his skin. He has no fat on his body and little muscle, and he is in the last stages of starvation. In a stall across from him stands No. 26, an emaciated bay gelding with probable stomach parasites. He watches over No. 17, a skittish 6-month-old filly in the next stall that flinches at an extended hand. Outside, in a pasture, there's No. 3, another skinny horse, with an abscessed tooth, and several other horses that have had so little contact with people that they're virtually wild.
February 7, 2014
Early in "War Horse," the much-celebrated play now at the Hippodrome, a British farm boy named Albert tries to befriend Joey, a foal that his father bought with money intended for a mortgage payment. The anxious animal keeps his distance, but Albert is determined to breach the divide. After several attempts, the boy holds some feed behind his back, and the wary Joey slowly approaches. The whole scene produces a rare kind of theatrical magic, enough to make you quickly forget that the foal is a puppet operated by three humans, two inside and one out. If that moment, with all its charm and innocence, doesn't get to you, doesn't tug at whatever heartstrings you have, you may be in for a very uncomfortable ride.
July 4, 2010
Dressed in her riding togs, Abby Mahoney-Cloutier, 10, took one brief look around the familiar barn, with the horses peering out of their stalls, and burst into sobs. Overwhelmed by fear, the autistic child flailed at the walls. Joan Marie Twining, Abby's riding instructor for the past year, put her arm around the wiry young girl and spoke in soft, assuring tones. With Abby now subdued, Twining walked her to a tethered horse named Izzy and handed the child a brush. Talking to Izzy in the same gentle tones she had just heard, Abby groomed the horse she considers her own. "I know you are liking that," she whispered in Izzy's ear. Watching from the side, Abby's mother says she has often seen her daughter's mood transformed at Twining's Rose of Sharon Equestrian School from inconsolable to confident.
May 14, 2010
More than 35 horses, cows, bulls and goats rescued in near-starving condition Thursday from a Garrett County farm have been taken to farms in western Howard County. The horses, which were taken to Days End Rescue Farm in Woodbine, are straining the ability of that facility to care for them. Days End took 26 horses, according to Sue Mitchell, development director for the mostly volunteer, 58-acre farm off Frederick Road, and a farm across the street took the cows, bulls and goats temporarily, she said.
March 15, 2013
There appears to be yet another reality check for those who thought that casino gambling would save horse racing in Maryland: twice as many horses were euthanized at Maryland race tracks last year (21) as in the previous year. Apparently track conditions and animal care regimens have not changed; speculation is that with slot gambling responsible for larger purses, more horses are being raced in less than perfect condition. Casino gambling was supposed to be the panacea for Maryland's woes. Yet we have new and higher taxes, and now the animals are paying, too. Marjorie Schulenburg Laurel
December 1, 2010
I attended the Preakness many times when I was younger, but I won't mourn the death of Maryland horse racing one bit now that I realized how inhumane horse racing is ( "Preakness at risk," Nov. 30). People often accuse Orioles players of steroid use, and sometimes rightfully so, but racetracks are virtual crack houses compared to baseball fields. Horses are given drugs, both legal and illegal, to mask pain and injuries and make them run faster. Many horses are forced to race on hard surfaces and suffer from chronic foot problems as a result.