NEER North's Spring Festival

New England Equine Rescue North in West Newbury hosted its Spring Festival on June 11.

WEST NEWBURY — Hundreds of families turned out for the Spring Festival at New England Equine Rescue North – more commonly known as NEER North.

The horse and donkey rescue center at 52 Ash St. partnered with the town Public Safety Department to host an open house complete with barn and farm tours, games, crafts, touch-a-truck opportunities, live music, a bake sale and concessions.

“People seemed to have a great time helping to celebrate the rescue (center), learn more about our mission and donate to the cause,” said Molly Smith, who manages social media and marketing for the nonprofit organization.

The community event June 11 included a grand opening and ribbon cutting for a new arena at the facility. The outdoor space directly links to the center’s mission, said Deborah Blagg of NEER.

“Having a level surface with good footing means our veterinarians can more easily evaluate new arrivals and monitor progress on any health or lameness issues,” Blagg said. “It means our trainers can work more safely and effectively to get our rescues ready for placement in adoptive families. and it means potential adopters can more easily tell if a particular horse is the right fit for them.”

NEER North, founded by Mary Martin, has been on a mission since April 2008 to rescue, rehabilitate and provide new homes to equines in need – most often horses and donkeys from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The team at NEER works with horse owners in crisis and provides a safe haven for these intelligent, good-natured and resilient animals – at times rescuing them from abuse, neglect and even slaughter. It’s a sanctuary that offers relief, medical and emotional care, and compassion until they can be permanently resettled.

Among the animals up for adoption are Harriet, a brown and fluffy year-old jenny, or female donkey, described as “exceptionally sweet”; and a miniature pony named Spanky.

There are also a 20-year-old mammoth pinto donkey gelding named Slick and his partner, Donnie, a 10-year old leopard-roan donkey – both who love grooming and are large enough to ride.

Bently, a thoroughbred gelding, would make a good trailhorse; Titan, a standardbred bay gelding, worked most of his life in an Amish community; and Trufflesberg – or “Bergie” for short – is a beautiful and sweet off-track thoroughbred.

To see more potential adoptees or obtain an adoption application, visit Potential adopters with preapproved applications on file receive priority for new horses.

Higher grain and hay prices, and dealing with unreliable farm equipment have been some of NEER’S latest challenges.

NEER gratefully accepts used items such as barn supplies – supplements, fly spray, etc.; equestrian breeches and clothing, including riding boots (tall and paddock); English and Western saddles, tack and equipment, and blankets, sheets, fly sheets and gently used tack equipment.

Also topping the NEER wish list are: fence posts and fencing; sand for the round pen/arena; 2 yards of stone dust; payments for electrical utilities at $225 per month; round pen panel gates costing about $125 each; round pen walk-through gates; a 15-gallon water heater; $100 per month to pay the portable toilet bill; spring vaccines at $120 per month; and annual teeth work at $120 per horse.

Larger needs include a run-in shed, $2,500; and foundation repairs, $20,000; along with a bathroom for the barn; and a sand arena to keep horses fit and to evaluate them for lameness.

Also welcome are gas cards, Lowe’s or Home Depot cards, office supply cards; VistaPrint gift certificates; and feed store cards from Essex County Co-Op or Tractor Supply.

People wishing to donate can provide a veterinarian gift card from Dr. Derek Cavatorta of Black Brook Veterinary Services LLC or SRH Veterinary Services in Amesbury; or a gift card for prescription medicine from Valley Vet.

A $120 donation would cover feed and hay for one horse for a month; $720 for six months or $1,440 per year. All donations are tax deductible.

Another way to help NEER is to stop by Essex County Co-Op on June 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to “fill a trailer” with much-needed items. Essex Co-Op is offering 10% off all items purchased and donated that day.

Essex County Co-Op is at 146 S. Main Street, Topsfield: and 978-887-2300.

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