Oh, the things Lily must have seen. After headlines broke back in March of a mare discarded at the New Holland auction stables after apparently being shot more than 120 times with a paintball gun, the public rallied to her cause. Lily was underweight, with teeth so bad the dentist had to work for two days to even make them serviceable. She was also suffering from painful uveitis inflammation that required the removal of one of her eyes.


Philip Price of Rhode Island was charged and convicted of five citations for transporting and abandoning Lily at New Holland, and will pay more than $13,000 in fines and restitution for the mare’s treatment costs. Price was previously convicted of animal abuse in July 2015 for keeping eight horses in what a Rhode Island ASPCA officer called, “conditions of filth.”

Lily’s owner is reported to be Doreen Weston of Smoke Hollow Farm, a saddle seat lesson facility in Pittstown, New Jersey who had Lily for more than 15 years, according to Sue Martin, director of the Lancaster County SPCA. Martin says Weston called on horse dealer Philip Price to “dispose of” Lily when she was no longer of use to her lesson program.

Weston, however, tells a different tale, claiming that although she did ask Price to take a horse off her hands, that horse was a 34-year-old Polish Arabian, not what the New Bolton Center vets referred to as an Arabian/Appaloosa, though she conceded that her mare suffered from eye and dental issues and was being treated by a veterinarian. Further, Weston claims that Lily did board Price’s trailer with paint on her, though it was a result of her being used for finger painting during a children’s birthday party, not paintball practice.

“We’ve done that for years, put paint on the horse. She loved it. The kids love it,” Weston told PennLive.com.

According to Smoke Hollow Farm’s website, Weston does offer a children’s birthday party package complete with pony rides. Her site also contains what appears to be several photos of Lily, herself, participating in lesson barn activities with the kids.

Regardless of whether she was the victim of some kind of horrific paintball shooting, as has been widely reported in the press, or of a more subtle kind of a abuse—neglect and eventual abandonment by the owners to whom she devoted her life —Lily’s story, thankfully, will conclude with the happiest of endings. This weekend it was announced that comedian Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey, a former veterinary technician, have adopted Lily, who will live out the rest of her days at the Stewarts’ picturesque rescue farm in Middletown, New Jersey.

Safe to say, there are few who could deserve it more.