Helping the helpless horses

Helping the helpless horses

Two New Jersey practitioners earn 2011 Good Works for Horses Award
Apr 01, 2012

Mary Beth Hamorski, VMD, and Christina Wilson, DVM, from Califon Animal Hospital, Califon, N.J., received the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 2011 Good Works for Horses Award for their heartfelt work helping Mylestone Equine Rescue care for abandoned, neglected and abused horses.

Nine veterinarians were selected for the Good Works for Horses Award in 2011. As noted by the AAEP, "Throughout 2011, the Good Works for Horses Campaign has highlighted selfless acts of service demonstrated by AAEP members. Equine organizations, rescue facilities and horse owners nominated their veterinarians throughout the year for monthly recognition."

Hamorski and Wilson were honored at the 15th AAEP meeting in San Antonio. With the award, the AAEP will donate $1,000 to Mylestone Equine Rescue in both veterinarians' names, and Pfizer Animal Health will donate $1,000 worth of equine healthcare products.

"For the past 17 years," says the AAEP, "Dr. Hamorski has acted as the veterinary backbone of the rescue, treating horses recovering from complicated medical conditions, including starvation, lameness, founder and the lingering effects of brutality. Dr. Wilson joined Dr. Hamorski's efforts when she was hired at the practice a few years ago and now serves as the primary veterinarian for the rescue."

Susan Kelly Thompson, the president of Mylestone, heard about the Good Works for Horses Award through the AAEP and nominated Hamorski and Wilson for their years of dedicated service to the horses of Mylestone. They provide much of the veterinary services free of charge and all of the veterinary supplies at a discounted rate. In addition, both veterinarians help with fundraising events, host public education events in which they discuss unwanted horses and promote the rescue within their own practice.

"We never thought we would win. There are so many other people doing other good things, too," Hamorski says.

Mylestone Equine Rescue

Mylestone is an equine sanctuary currently housing about 34 needy horses and ponies in Warren County, N.J.

"The rescue takes in horses that no one else wants—horses that would not have a good quality of life elsewhere," Wilson says. "I think that is one of the best things about the rescue. Thompson doesn't necessarily take the horses that would otherwise get homes, but takes those that wouldn't have a chance. Through her connections, she'll re-home many horses without them coming to the farm."

Hamorski, who has been with the rescue since its inception, says, "It was 1995 when Thompson asked me if I wanted to start a horse rescue, so, of course, I said yes. We decided that there would be reduced veterinary fees. Thompson would pay for a visit charge, but she would never have to pay for an exam fee, and we would try to get much of the medications at a reduced cost or contact the drug companies for any short-dated medications that we might be able to use.

"When Mylestone first began, Thompson did not have her own facility. Horses were kept at different farms, so she would make the rounds to the various locations to see how everybody was doing," Hamorski adds.

Over the years, the organization was able to put some money together with the help of donors and through some grant writing, allowing Thompson to buy a small farm in Pohatcong, N.J. Starting with only a few horses, today the rescue facility has grown tremendously.

"Thompson even sold some of her wedding gifts to get the horse rescue up and running and solicited clients via the Christmas newsletter, receiving donations—a wish-list of halters, blankets, treats and other supplies," says Hamorski.