In April 2023, Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR), Woodbine, Maryland, responded to a request from Carroll County Animal Control to take in seven neglected horses from a private farm in their community.

The owner of the horses was no longer able to provide adequate care and agreed to forfeit the equines to DEFHR.

One of the horses taken in by DEFHR was a 14.2hh Arabian mare named Callista who was around 14 years old. Though DEFHR frequently treats severely neglected horses that require critical care and a robust rehabilitation program, Callista was in a stable condition and only required basic maintenance to bring her back to full health.

Once in DEFHR’s care, she had her teeth floated, hooves trimmed, received routine vaccinations, and was treated for parasites.

Callista was estimated to be 14 when she arrived at DEHFR. Her long hooves were in need of a trim. ©Days End Farm Horse Rescue

While Callista was shy with humans initially, she quickly warmed up to DEFHR team member Julia Miles who noted that, in a short time, her personality shifted, and she blossomed into a trusting and curious mare. It was clear to DEFHR staff—as she followed them around the field inquisitively—that Callista had been well handled and loved in a previous home and that she would thrive with a human to call her own.

Luckily for Callista, the ideal adopter was waiting in the wings and, as a result, she didn’t require a formal evaluation process before being offered for adoption less than a year after arriving.

“I had been in contact with a woman named Mary Ellen Breon for several years,” explained DEFHR Head Trainer Sara Strauss. “She was looking for a companion horse to fill the void in her heart that her late mare had left. Coincidentally, Mary Ellen had a soft spot for grey Arabian mares, so I had an inkling this could be a good fit.

“Mary Ellen came to visit Callista, and they hit it off immediately,” Strauss continued. “Callista turned out to have all the qualities Mary Ellen was seeking. Callista was cute, sweet-natured, and lovely to work around.”

Pennsylvania-based Mary Ellen Breon had been tentatively looking for a new companion horse for years after losing hers in 2016.

“I’m 71 and had horses all my life but losing mine had left me shy,” explained Breon.

“I spoke to Sara and she said she had a lovely little white Arabian mare who loves to give kisses. I went down and looked at her and fell in love. Three weeks later, on February 5, 2024, she arrived with me and she is one of the nicest horses I have ever had.”

Callista and DEHFR staff member Julia Miles. ©Days End Farm Horse Rescue

Callista felt at home right away—Breon even called Strauss to tell her that the mare had hauled perfectly and settled in instantly. Callista lives out in a paddock with the option to be in a stall whenever she chooses, and she enjoys Breon’s son’s horse as her companion.   

“I have a bad back and I don’t ride anymore,” continued Breon. “I got Callista to nurture and care for and she’s an answer to my prayers. Every day I go out to the field and groom her; I don’t even have to put a halter on—she loves it and we have this special relationship.”

Breon had already had contact with DEFHR, when another horse, Lucy, was rehomed to her farm half a decade earlier. She is grateful for the diligent care given to both Lucy and Callista at DEFHR, and she encourages anyone considering adoption to make the organization their first port of call.

“I can’t say enough good things about Days End,” she enthused. “It’s such a reputable rescue, and when I went there, everything was spotless. Callista was gorgeous—in perfect shape—and those girls work so hard. Sara has that magic touch to fit you with the right horse.

“What I love about Days End is that they’re very meticulous and they ask wonderful questions for the sake of the animal. They know the horses like the back of their hand by the time you get them, and I wouldn’t have a horse if it hadn’t been for Days End.”

To learn more about DEFHR’s available horses, visit: