In the spring of 2023, Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR), in Woodbine, Maryland, responded to a request from the Animal Control office in Jefferson County, West Virginia, concerning a group of 13 neglected horses.

On March 2, the horses arrived at the DEFHR facility to start their journeys back to full health.

The story of one of the horses in the group, Jackpot, shows how two rescue organizations working towards a common goal—the good of the horse—can come together to bring about positive outcomes. DEFHR has partnered with Equine Welfare Society (EWS), an organization based in Keswick, Virginia, for many years.

EWS’s mission is to educate the public about the cost, care, management, and responsible reproduction of horses and provide rehabilitation and training resources to unwanted and neglected horses so they can transition into useful and wanted companions.

When Jackpot arrived at DEFHR, the young chestnut stallion was deemed, upon veterinary inspection, to be around four years old. Although he was not an extreme neglect case, he needed some basic rehabilitation, including having his teeth floated, his hooves trimmed, and his vaccinations updated. Because his ownership had been transferred to DEFHR, he was also able to be gelded so he could live a more sociable life.

“That was an early win for him,” explained DeEtte Hillman, DEFHR’s Equine Programs Director. “Seeing as the owner forfeited custody, Jackpot didn’t have to live as a stallion anymore and was able to move through the process with us, and he rehabbed pretty quickly.”

DEFHR always has a group of horses in the pipeline passing through its evaluation and training stages, and sometimes the list of horses ready to begin is long.

“We had about 40 healthy horses waiting to move into the evaluation phase at that time,” continued Hillman. “Jackpot was one of the 40 on that long list waiting to be evaluated by our trainers. We have had a long-standing partnership with Equine Welfare Society, and their training programs have been a big help to us in the past.”

It just so happened that while Jackpot was waiting for evaluation, EWS reached out to DEFHR looking for a small rider to help with a pony, Sebastian, they had started training. DEFHR’s Assistant Trainer Leigha Schrader is petite, so DEFHR assisted with Sebastian’s ridden education, and he was adopted a few months later.

In return, EWS took Jackpot into their program. He traveled to their facility in Virginia in December 2023, unbacked, to be trained and prepared for adoption.  

So far, Jackpot has fit in very well at EWS, even helping other horses to learn to socialize. EWS Director Erica Stevens described Jackpot as having “a fun, slightly cheeky personality.”

“He seems to enjoy learning new things. He has displayed a lot of interest and enthusiasm for our in-hand obstacles, and particularly enjoys playing with the flags—he will touch everything with his nose,” she added.

Hillman underlined value that DEFHR’s partnership with EWS can provide to horses in need. “EWS has him under their training program, and they are willing to educate and train him and get him ready for adoption. We have a long-standing relationship with this organization. It’s a trusted relationship with full cooperation and confidence. They’re professionals,” stated Hillman.

Jackpot has taken big steps forward in his education while at EWS, including being started under saddle. 

“Jack is very green under saddle with his aids and steering, but he is very kind,” continued Stevens. “His best fit for a home would be mainly as a field babysitter with an owner who also wants to spend time doing enriching groundwork or light flatwork because he has a less than ideal front leg conformation that limits his future riding prospects.”

Jackpot’s right front leg toes out all the way down from the carpus. The farrier at EWS has helped Jackpot make the best of his conformation by keeping the hoof flare in check and balancing his heels. However, all horses entering the EWS program have a veterinary baseline exam, and the concern with Jackpot is that extensive work under saddle or jumping may cause him to overload the other front leg, which already displays some lower limb pain upon flexion.

“Limited exercise and lots of turnout is the recommendation for keeping him comfortable long term,” added Stevens. “He’s been learning all the new things and is making progress under saddle, but he’s happier doing groundwork, long-lining, or obstacle training.”  

While at EWS, Jackpot has been a perfect field mate and companion to one of the facility’s yearlings and a retired sport horse, both of whom are learning the ropes of herd interaction.

“Jackpot is a real character,” concluded Stevens. “He enjoys spending time with people, and having his picture taken is a favorite activity, as he’s not camera shy. He is handsome and he knows it.”

If you think you may be able to offer Jack his forever, home, please contact

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