In May 2023, HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) conducted a rescue of four starving horses from the rural property of a neglectful owner.

All four mares were in similar condition: severely emaciated with overgrown hooves and external parasites. Thistle, the youngest of the four, was in the worst condition. She was extremely thin, weighing only 727 pounds. She was covered in lice and desperately needed dental care. She had never had her hooves trimmed and was terrified of our farrier. We knew it would take some time for her to come around and settle into Ranch life, so our staff began her rehabilitation and hoped for the best.

Once Thistle started gaining weight, her personality began to show quicker than we thought. And WOW was this 7-year-old Thoroughbred full of hidden spunk and energy. She loved eating, running, and playing with her friends during turnout. Her head was constantly hanging out of her stall window, looking for attention from volunteers and visitors. As she gained more weight and her coat began to shine, she began to display a proud mustache that we didn’t even realize she had! Before we knew it, Thistle had turned into a beautiful, playful, healthy horse. With her dappled coat and cute features, we knew she would be adopted quickly. And what better forever home than with the Longmeadow staff member who was there from the beginning?!

In October, Thistle went home with our Lead Ranch Assistant, Kaitlyn! Kaitlyn, who was there throughout Thistle’s entire rehabilitation, knew that Thistle was coming home with her from the moment she helped unload her from the ACT trailer in May. She saw the potential in the grey mare (Kaitlyn’s dream horse since she was a little girl) and didn’t have to think twice.

Kaitlyn loaded Thistle (now Frankie) up in her trailer and took her home to her new herd! We are so happy for these two, and we can’t wait to see Kaitlyn’s plans for her new grey mare!


Before we knew it, Thistle had turned into a beautiful, playful, healthy horse.