Story Via and Photos: Rob Halpin/

“Sam” and “Stella” Making Progress on Their Road to Recovery

METHUEN, Mass., July 17, 2012 – When Sam and Stella first arrived at MSPCA Nevins-Farm in March they were in terrible shape.  The thoroughbreds, who had lived together for much of their lives at a farm in Central Mass., were severely underweight and suffering from numerous skin, hoof and dental maladies.  The horses were so thin that their bones were visible beneath their skin, and a painful gash on Stella’s leg had grown infected as a result of the filthy condition of their paddock.

By the time the Nevins Farm equine rescue team arrived, the horses were living in squalor, with no food or water to be found.  Their owner had begun a prison sentence months prior, leaving the 19-year-old equines to fend for themselves.  Sam and Stella were so weak that they were transported via the Equine ambulance—the cornerstone of Nevins Farm’s equine emergency response and rescue operation.  Once at the farm a thorough examination of their health was undertaken—which confirmed the horses were suffering from a host of health issues.

Sam and Stella’s Rise and Fall: From Racing to Rescue

The MSPCA rated Sam and Stella a “1” (the lowest possible score) on the Henneke Scale, a body condition scoring system used to evaluate the amount of fat on a horse’s body.  The horses were laden with internal and external parasites; their hooves were overgrown; and, because they’d gone for years without dental care, their teeth were diseased.

Their state of health at that time belied their once glorious past.  While records showed Sam had raced just one time, Stella spent much of the 1990s as a professional race horse, performing on tracks from Florida to New Hampshire.  However, years of neglect meant that Sam and Stella needed extensive care if they were to have any chance at returning to even a semblance of their past lives.

With Tender Loving Care, Sam and Stella Begin to Heal
The Nevins Farm team, in coordination with equine veterinary specialists who routinely volunteer their time and efforts to help rehabilitate the farm’s homeless animals, began aggressively treating their skin, hoof and dental problems.  Now, several months later, and with the bulk of their health problems behind them, their personalities have begun to shine.  Said Melissa Ghareeb of the MSPCA-Nevins Farm: “I’m amazed that, despite the horrible conditions in which these horses lived, both have wonderful personalities and are eager to approach people for scratches and pats—which they receive in abundance by our staff and volunteers.”

The Nevins Farm team also put the horses on a carefully planned re-feeding program to ensure the each returned to a healthy weight.  After months of adhering to a rigorous schedule, both horses are nearly there.

With their rehabilitation behind them, the Nevins Farm team is shifting its focus to finding the best possible homes for these deserving horses. According to Ghareeb, Sam’s history of injuries means he will need to go to a non-riding home.  Stella, however, has many years of riding ahead of her. 

A Call for Donations
Both Sam and Stella have required thousands of dollars in veterinary care.  As a result the MSPCA-Nevins Farm has set up a donation page to enable members of the community to help offset the cost of their care—as well as other animals like them.
For more information about Sam and Stella—or to inquire about adopting them—readers can visit the MSPCA-Nevins Farm Website at

About the MSPCA-Angell
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit



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