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Little Brook Farm and Horse Rescue

Short Description of Little Brook Farm and Horse Rescue

Little Brook Farm

Old Chatham, NY


When you meet Lynn Cross for the first time, you see a slight woman with a drive and a focus and a mission that becomes immediately apparent.

That mission: She rescues horses.

In fact, she runs Little Brook Farm—a 36 year endeavor—which is one of the oldest horse rescue farms in the country. Little Brook calls the quaint hillside hamlet of Old Chatham home, a perfect place to find yourself if you’re an abused horse or a horse on its way to slaughter.


The hills are rolling, the meadows are golden, and the ivy is pleasantly overgrown; Old Chatham, tucked away in Columbia County, is in many ways Heaven on Earth, especially if you are that horse on its way to slaughter, or were tucked away starving in the dark corner of a field somewhere. Perhaps your racing days are over and you can’t make someone money anymore or perhaps someone got tired of you. If you’re that horse, you have a new home here at Little Brook, and you’re in good company: With over 160 acres home to over 70 abused and neglected horses, Little Brook is leading the fight to Save the Horse.

If Someone Abuses an Animal

What Are They Doing to Kids? A Spouse?

We’re reading more and more about horse neglect these days. The internet has made the world a smaller place, and has uncovered some dark secrets we didn’t know existed. Animal abuse cases have found their way into the spotlight. If some members of our society are nailing puppies to railroad tracks, perhaps we have a bigger societal problem on our hands than we thought. Locally, Steve Caporizzo has led this fight. This man has gone where few reporters have gone before and has done more for homeless pets than anyone I know. If there is a humanity badge, Steve, Lynn and a few others deserve it.

Devlan-1500 pound Hanoverian

Devlin is a 1500 pound Hanoverian that was deemed too “dangerous”.

Like so many animals, ‘dangerous’ is a word for misunderstood

and often abused.

Horses are stronger than us, larger than us, and know more about us than we know about them. They are elegant and bold, fast and beautiful. We don’t think of them as abuse victims.

Yet they are. The abuse has always been there; their story is now being told. While dog abuse is more upfront and intentional – - dog fights, for example – - horse abuse is one of neglect or cruelty. Like dog abuse, it can come in many forms (I dread when I see a dog tied to a tree—how would you like to spend your life tied to a tree?).

When an abused horse is spotted, it may be seized by State Troopers, and brought here, to Little Brook Farm. Emaciated horses were recently brought in from Stephentown and Essex. Once large, strong animals, they were reduced to ribs poking out of their sides and took on the silhouette of a walking skeleton. While these cases are still being prosecuted, “not feeding” is one area of neglect that can kill a horse. They are large animals and can require up to a bale of hay a day (with some grain). There’s water needs, a large enough field to pasture, and let’s not forget vet bills (ticks and lyme disease remain a very large problem). Just like a dog, if you can’t afford it, don’t bring it home. Good intentions alone often do more harm than good.

Then we have the hoarder issue: The person who “collects” horses, similar to the person who collects dogs and cats. They can’t say “no”, yet they cannot take care of what they have.

 Amado - 'Beloved' - Mustang (1)

Amado-”Beloved”–an adopted Mustang off to the Big E

Let’s not forget the wild mustangs out West, rounded up and brought—where? You may not want to know the answer. There are movements to save Mustangs, and now they have their own national competition: The Extreme Mustang Makeover! (http://extrememustangmakeover.com/)


Philotimo was originally purchased by his owners for $150,000. He raced at Belmont last year, made some money, but was later injured. “Timo” found himself on Craigslist and ended up, fortunately, as a rescue rather than en route to slaughter.


Timo today

Timo Today (above)


Murphy was also rescued.

His crime? He was a harness track racer.

From Stable to Table

We hear a lot of talk about Chinese food ending up in our grocery stores (some news surfacing about this is disturbing. Google, for example, ‘Don’t eat Tilapia from China’ and see what pops up). We seldom hear about our horses being sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico and making their way to China, Japan, France, Belgium or Italy for human consumption.

Yes, you heard it right.

American horses as we speak are sent to Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouses, killed, and shipped overseas for human consumption. We already know dogs are electrocuted in cages in Asia and eaten, and other dogs are used as shark bait off the coast top Africa. The images are too graphic, but yes, man’s best friend is hooked with the same mouth that licks you in the morning and towed behind fishing boats. Repulsed yet?

Horses are finding themselves following a similar fate. Call it from stable to table, but horses that never won enough money or became too big a bother to raise are carried off to slaughter. Right now, the only horse slaughter houses are in Canada and Mexico, but the heat is on to open one here. The fight has started, as both sides of the debate have dug in. On this front, didyouweekend would like to thank Congressman Chris Gibson, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Assemblymen Jim Tedisco and Steve McLaughlin, as well as NYS Senator Kathy Marcione and Assembly member Deborah Glick for leading the war against slaughtering horses.

Little Brook Fritz Animal Advocacy Day

New York has a spokesman! His name is Fritz–a delightfully small horse with

one huge following. His permanent residence with his father is Little Brook Farm.

While we in New York can only voice concerns over what happens in another part of the country, Congressman Gibson and Senator Gillibrand stand steadfast against allowing New York horses to be exported to the same fate. As Lynn Cross tells us, “These politicians get it.” Sad, because any animal lover “gets it”, and if some politicians out of state don’t, maybe they’re just not as compassionate as we would like. If Ghandi is correct–”The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”–then there’s an awful lot of work out there that needs to be done.

It Takes a Village

Lynn Cross does not do it alone, and no one can. Twelve neighboring land owners have graciously donated precious resources to help her cause, namely land. Horses need land, and lots of it. As Lynn tells us, “Sometimes horses get along with each other, sometimes they don’t. They are remarkably just like people.” To that end, nearby farms allow her to place rescues in their fields and let them use their barns. Old Chatham is a neighborhood that has banded together, donating the precious commodity we call land to help these victims of humanities dark side.

There’s so much to be done, and when I asked Lynn what she wanted people to realize first and foremost, her answer was simple: “I want people to understand what is going on to become a voice on behalf of the horses.”

Little Brook Farm does have a Facebook Page and would like to be “liked” so she can talk to fellow animal enthusiasts and keep us all abreast of happenings and developments as they occur.

Little Brook3

You can bring your children here to see the horses, or make it a school class trip. Kids today, especially inner city kids, suffer from an actual condition called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. Many have never seen a horse. But here, they come, visit, groom a horse, have a riding lesson, and even clean a dirty stable.

You can also sponsor a horse. The fee you pay will help feed it and pay for the vet bills and barn maintenance. It’s like owning a horse without actually owning a horse.

We are just beginning to hear the stories of horse abuse and neglect. While people don’t put them in pens and make them fight to the death like they do with dogs, the deaths horses suffer are usually one of starvation and neglect or slaughter.

This is another example of mankind using the wonderful animals we’ve been provided, and then abusing them after they have come to trust us. The abuse is widespread and insidious.

As Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village.” Right now, that village is in Old Chatham, and it’s screaming to be heard.

  –Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend.com


Contact Information

Address: 548 County RT 13 Old Chatham, NY 12136

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