The Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by farm owner Phyllis Marie Elliott. For many years Hidden Pond Farm was a staple in the New England horse show community, training and attending breed shows up and down the coast. After several decades of training and showing, Phyllis found her attention shifting away from prize-winning show horses towards those much less fortunate. Several bouts of research about the horse slaughter industry later and she made the decision that her farm would no longer be a show barn, but rather a sanctuary for horses in need. In 2014 Phyllis launched the Rescue as a simple online fundraising page, raising money for their first rescue trip to a local livestock auction. This simple online fundraiser saw such immense success that the idea to form an official organization was born.
As a Rescue organization we follow a simple mission:
- RESCUE :: The first goal of of the Rescue is to attend kill auctions and save horses, ponies, minis, and mules from slaughter by doing one of two things: buying and bringing them home for rehabilitation or buying and humanely euthanizing those that are too injured or ill to survive. This last act may be difficult to understand but as an animal rescue we are dedicating to alleviating suffering which unfortunately may come in the form of preventing an animal from living out their remaining hours in fear and pain.
- REHAB :: Rescuing horses bound for slaughter is only the first step (not to mention the the least expensive!) Following each rescue we conduct an evaluation of who the horse is and what they will be best suited for in their new life. After identifying these qualities our focus turns to getting them healthy enough to lead that life. This lengthy process can include quarantine, farrier visits, vet visits, training, and lots of emotional TLC.
- REHOME :: After rehabilitation our mission shifts towards the most rewarding part of the job, finding each rescue a loving forever home with a well-matched partner.
- EDUCATE :: Last but certainly not least, as a rescue organization we aim to educate as many people as possible about the alternatives to horse slaughter. We understand that horse owners often end up in positions where owning a horse is no longer feasible for them. When confronted with this situation we want people to know that the quick and easy solution (auction and/or horse sale) is NOT the answer. Our Rescue, along with many others, is here to help. We are a resource, a network community, and - if all else fails - we will provide a new, temporary home and second chance for your horse. If you know of anyone who is considering sending their horse to an easy, cheap auction or horse sale please contact us immediately.
We cannot do this alone, and therefore it is the overarching goal of Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue to spread awareness. We do this with the help of our amazing donors and by networking with other animals rescue groups so that we might all work together for a common goal...to save these amazing animals that have carried us through history.
A Letter From Our Founder
Dear concerned readers and horse lovers everywhere,
I have come from a lifetime of horses, handed down through the generations of my family. Each time with love, from my grandfather to my father, my father to his children. My earliest memories of horses began when I was 3 years old, living in East Boston. That's right, I am a born and raised (for a time) city girl. Before I owned them, I loved horses. I used to pretend that I was riding as I watched western movies on TV and sat on the arm rest of our old couch. When I was 7 years old my father took my brother, Frank, and I to a Welsh Pony auction at Suffolk Downs. We drove my father crazy screaming and asking to buy every single pony that came into the sale ring. I don't know if it was because he just wanted us to stop screaming, or if he had planned to buy a pony all along, but buy he did. We left that auction with a $75 yearling pony, 3/4 blind in one eye. His name was Edge Hill Agate, from the famed Edgewood Farm in North Andover, MA.
It was at that point that my love for horses became my life's work. A life filled with love, education, friends, family, travel and a few bumps and bruises along the way. My husband, Bill Elliott, also comes from many generations of horse people, and we have since shared our journey with two daughters and now grandchildren. At our farm in Brentwood, NH, we have hosted summer riding camps, 4-H and became barn parents to many additional children. We have shared our passion as far and wide as we can reach alone. Our love and commitment to our horses is, and has always been, for their entire lives – not simply until they cannot perform anymore. Very rarely have we ever sold one and when we have, more often than not, they ended up right back at home.
During the more recent years of my life I have become very aware of the horses out there who are not as lucky as ours. The economy took a dive and the surplus of horses and homes needed for them just became too high. Some of us have even had the horror of seeing and hearing about many glamorous ex-race horses who, after spending most of their short lives in the media, ended up at slaughter houses. Hard to imagine, I know. So we started by rescuing a few of our own: a talented race horse fresh off the track that needed knee surgery, an unbroken (not even to halter) pony, a few more that have turned into marvelous riding horses for my daughter, Jessica's, riding program.
Bill, Jessica and I love horses to the point of making them our life’s work. This journey that is my life has taken a slight turn from the show ring and is now aimed at the livestock auction ring, where our goal is to help as many horses as possible by removing them from the direct danger of equine slaughter to new homes and new lives. We will do this one day at a time and one horse at a time. It started as a love, evolved into a passion, and has built itself into an obsession. I have come from a lifetime of horses and it is time to give back to the creatures that have given us all so much joy. I would ask that you help us, to help them.