ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A horse sanctuary in Maryland plans to use a $100,000 state grant to pay for new indoor training and education facilities.  

Earlier this month, the Board of Public Works approved the grant to Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, Maryland. 

The rehabilitation facility takes in abused and neglected horses from animal protection groups statewide and trains them to prepare for adoption. 

They also assist in evidence collection. Equine Programs Director DeEtte Hillman said that most of the cases brought to Days End are involved in criminal court cases involving animal abuse. 

Currently, trainers are working outdoors with the horses year-round. 

“Our poor trainers are training in the snow and in the … heat,” Development Director Caroline Robertson Herman said. “Weather permitting, they’ll continue to do their work, but if they can’t do it, it bottlenecks the entire process of getting these horses into homes.”

With the money, Hillman said an indoor area could revolutionize education efforts at the facility as well. 

“Our education programs can also be rescheduled and pushed due to weather,” Hillman said. “There is no other facility in the state of Maryland where professionals in the animal welfare industry can get hands-on with horses (for) learning. That is a very high need and demand and so not having a space that is out of the elements can impact those opportunities.”

According to Herman, the facility’s current classroom can only hold 40 to 60 people, although the farm hosts 100 to 200 boy and girl Scouts at once a couple of times each year to teach them about horse rehabilitation. Due to the lack of space, they welcome these scouts outside.

“We sit there with our fingers crossed and hope there’s not a downpour,” she said. 

The horse farm plans to take over a nearby vacant fire station to accommodate these events. 

Herman said Days End hopes to close a deal with Lisbon Fire Department at the end of October to accommodate new administrative offices, as there is currently staff working remotely due to lack of space. The firehouse, in Woodbine, is empty and ready for Days End to move in, said Herman. 

She said the bottom of the firehouse, where truck bays are, will be the new welcome center.

Hillman said about 70 horses come into Days End each year, and 50 get adopted.

According to Herman, the horses go through rehab for four to five months, with the additional training and adoption taking an additional five months. She said although the cost of rehab is $1,900 to $2,500 per month for a horse, Days End does not charge money to community members or staff who need or want education on how to care for suffering horses. 

The state gave an additional $400,000 to the farm in September.

The development director said that horse clinicians have wanted to partner with the facility, but many require indoor facilities in order to perform proper assessments of the horses.

Herman said with the grant for the new building, Days End plans to implement interactive education simulations to show what an emaciated horse looks like and a timeline of horses throughout history.

 “We’re looking to see a big boom in education once that is built,” she said. 

This article was originally published on on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

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