The Hippo


May 29, 2020








Sassy, a rescued mini at Live and Let Live Farm, isn’t at all camera shy. Emelia Attridge photo.

Volunteer with horses

Donate your time, talents, money, and even wanted items to help horses in the Granite State.
• Live and Let Live Farm
20 Paradise Lane, Chichester, 798-5615,
Tours are held every Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Volunteers take the tour before an orientation.
• New Hampshire SPCA
104 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 772-2921,
To learn more about volunteering, contact the volunteer coordinator at 772-2921, ext. 104, or email

Rescue me
The symbiotic relationship between horse and human


 Most people think of rescued cats, dogs and other small animals when they think of the SCPA, but the New Hampshire SPCA has its roots in horse rescue. It was specifically founded in 1872 to protect the “beasts of burden” and animals that were being driven across the state under poor conditions, NH SPCA Executive Director Lisa Dennison said. 

“It was always large animals, so that’s been the core and the center of our mission for 141 years. We have always been involved in investigations and legislation, protection and rehabilitation of animals,” Dennison said. “It really wasn’t until the ’70s that we had a shelter for small animals.”
The NH SPCA works mostly with cases of cruelty and neglect through town police departments on the order of a veterinarian when animals need to be placed in protective custody. Currently, there are 18 horses held in the care of the NH SPCA, although not all are on-site.
“Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of horses we’ve had to rescue,” Dennison said.
The NH SPCA and Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester are the only two authorized horse rescues in New Hampshire. Teresa Paradis founded Live and Let Live Farm with her husband in 1997, and it is the largest horse rescue in New England with about 70 horses currently in residence and rehabilitation at the farm.
Like many of the volunteers at Live and Let Live Farm, Paradis worked with horses her entire life. As a teen, she brought carrots to horses in a barn nearby. She later saw the treatment of the race horses at Suffolk Downs and knew she wanted to rescue horses.
She knows all the horses by name, and each of their stories. Like the SPCA, Live and Let Live Farm works with the state and towns to rescue horses. While most of the time horses come to the rescue by owner release (usually because a family member has passed away or the owner can no longer financially take care of the animal), there are scenarios of cruelty and maltreatment. 
“Almost every situation is different,” Paradis said. “They [always] need lots of love and socialization.”
Many of the horses and other animals have experienced isolation in a barn, closed up in a pen over long periods of time (and for some of them, their entire lives), dehydration, parasites, anxiety, ulcers, and dental problems.
Since Live and Let Live Farm is a verified sanctuary by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, horses and other animals come to Live and Let Live Farm from all across the country and Canada.
The horses are quarantined, taken care of, given veterinary and dental treatment, and then socialized, groomed and given exercise and diet regimens to heal. Then, the horses are ready for adoption. Paradis said that with the current economy, there are about 30 adoptions per year (with a higher adoption rate during better economic times). Finding loving and caring homes for the animals is the ultimate goal.
“It’s a very limited population that’s interested and able to adopt a horse,” Dennison said. “You have to have the financial wherewithal to adopt a horse for those that are able to own a horse, then you have to have someone that’s interested in owning a [rescued] horse.”
Everything — from maintenance to feeding the animals — at Live and Let Live Farm is done through volunteer efforts. Paradis said there are about 400 volunteers, and many come to the farm multiple times per week. 
“There’s always endless work, and endless building, endless maintenance,” Paradis said. “Some people come because they’ve lost their job, or they’re interested [in horses].”
“It’s definitely a symbiotic emotional relationship,” volunteer Scott Philbrick said. “I think most of the volunteers would say they get more out of it than they put into it. … I think I'm a far different person — I’m a far better person — than I was five years ago when I started working there.”
Philbrick had already volunteered for some time at the farm when he met Cody, an appaloosa who suffered from starvation and muscular atrophy. Almost immediately, Philbrick made a connection with Cody.
“I happened to be there when he came in from a rescue. He was in really bad shape; he was emaciated, he'd been starved. I had never seen a horse, an animal that big, that close to death before. You could see it in his eyes. He was so weak he couldn't walk, he would just stand there,” Philbrick said. “It was one of the coolest things … seeing his personality emerge, seeing his majesty … seeing that come back and seeing the life come back into his eyes.”
Cody has been living at the farm in rehabilitation for about four years now. Philbrick, along with other volunteers, took Cody on walks starting with a couple feet from the pen and back, then for a mile or two, trotting, running, and then up and down hills to build his muscles. Part of his treatment included socializing him by talking, grooming and petting Cody. 
“Now he’s a favorite with kids and riding lessons,” Philbrick said. “He’s one of the more popular horses.”
Live and Let Live and the NH SPCA are able to care for the animals with the help of donations, and not just monetary. Paradis said that one of the things the farm really needs is trucks. If your truck doesn’t pass inspection, it can be used on the farm. Groups also volunteer with Live and Let Live Farm. Last year, volunteers rebuilt a new 60-foot round pen used for training during the United Way Day of Caring.
“People say that it’s just as much a sanctuary for people,” Live and Let Live Farm volunteer Jahsun Costello said while he was cleaning out an outdoor pen. “You really get as much helping the horses, or all the animals, as they get from the help you give them.”
“There are lots of ways that people can help, if they have a spot in their hearts for these animals that are neglected or homeless, [whether] they support them, volunteer, or come out and write a letter for legislative testimony,” Dennison said. 
As seen in the June 26, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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