Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Appy Fest

In an innovative approach to large-scale rescue, Last Chance Animal Rescue and Maryland Fund For Horses are teaming up to present Appy Fest, featuring horses seized from the massive 100-horse neglect case Wicomico County, Maryland farm earlier this year.

FEI dressage rider and trainer Nicki Carson, participating trainer for Appy Fest. All photos courtesy of Appy Fest.

Last March, the horse world was rocked by one of the largest abuse/neglect cases in recent history when over 100 feral horses in poor condition were discovered roaming on a 150-acre farm in Wicomico County, Maryland, among the bones and remains of at least 25 deceased horses. With many intact males among the herd, all mares were assumed bred; volunteers from a number of organizations launched a massive rescue operation with all 100+ horses finding safe refuge (a small number had to be humanely euthanized due to their condition or complications).

Among the cooperating organizations taking in horses from the Wicomico case was Last Chance Animal Rescue (LCAR), spearheaded by president Cynthia Sharpley. “These very large cases exceed the capacity and resources of virtually any single rescue or organization. Doing the right thing for the horses requires collaboration across multiple organizations,” describes MFFH president Victoria Carson. It would have been impossible for a single rescue to take in all hundred horses; the Wicomico case represents massive networking and cooperation among several organizations.

And while the initial rescue may have been six months ago, the cooperation didn’t stop there — LCAR has teamed up again with the Maryland Fund For Horses to create Appy Fest, a two-day event taking place on October 6 and 7 in Mechanicsville, Maryland. Specifically for the Wicomico horses — many of which are Appaloosas — Appy Fest is a trainers’ challenge/horse show/adoption event designed to showcase these horses to help them find safe forever homes.

Maryland Fund For Horses and LCAR have been working with Nutrena Feeds since the spring to help sponsor and place the 33 horses that were initially taken in by LCAR. 21 of the 33 horses were placed with trainers, and most of them are coming to Appy Fest to compete in the challenge and will be available for adoption: the horses, who were feral at the time of rescue, are learning basic ground work and handling, as well as initial under saddle training. Nutrena’s re-feeding program included the donation of three months’ worth of feed for the rescued horses.

Since the initial rescue, 19 stallions have been gelded, the rescued herd has received medical care including vaccinations as well as dental and hoof care, and five foals were born (with at least one more on the way).

MFFH and LCAR are continuing to raise funds with a goal of $10,000, to fund trainer stipends and the horse show. With attendance expected in the hundreds, both organizations are hopeful that many of the rescued horses will find their forever homes at the family-friendly event.

A few videos from the individual trainers:

Day 10 for Valor, second time he has been ridden, first solo ride. What a good good boy.

Posted by Our Path to AppyFest on Friday, August 24, 2018

The boys' trainer's profile for the Trainer Challenge, Appyfest 2018

Posted by Sarah Embry on Saturday, September 22, 2018

“We think that by helping connect rescue organizations with trainers as quickly as the horses’ recovery allows, and providing an adoption showcase, we are pioneering an innovative approach to managing the aftermath of large neglect cases,” described Casron. “Organizing and funding a Trainers’ Challenge encourages qualified trainers to participate in the horses’ rehabilitation while receiving compensation for their services and oversight to ensure consistency in care and training. In exchange for training services, we provide positive promotion for the trainers and the horses. Providing an adoption event that includes community outreach and engagement helps the participating rescues grow their volunteer base and increase engagement with those who already support them.”

As stated by MFFH president Victoria Carson, this event could be a ground-breaking shift in the way that large-scale cases are handled on the adoption end. We encourage any readers interested in Appy Fest to visit the event webpage on the Maryland Fund For Horses site. The event takes place on October 6 and 7 in Mechanicsville, Maryland. To learn more about individual horses available for adopted, visit the Appy Fest Facebook page.

More information can be found at the Last Chance Animal Rescue Wicomico horses page.

If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *