Beth Lynne Hoskins’ herd of Morgan horses is being sold and scattered across the country to new owners offering more humane conditions, two court-appointed receivers told The Buffalo News.
Roughly half of the horses already have been sold to several buyers in the six weeks since receivers took over to supervise the animals’ care and sell or adopt out the horses.
Theresa L. Prezioso and Lucinda M. Finley said they have sold 32 of Hoskins’ 64 horses.
“We are committed to finding excellent, approved homes for every single horse,” Prezioso said.
Given their greatly diminished value and the high cost of care for all 64 animals, it appears highly unlikely that Hoskins would be left with one horse when the receivership plan is completed. The horses range in age between 6 and 32 years.
The horses’ values have dropped because of their physical condition, age and lack of training. Combined, they are believed to be worth less than $20,000, the receivers said. In addition, Hoskins appears to have failed to register many of the animals with the American Morgan Horse Association. Hoskins did not provide the receivers with completely accurate information about the horses concerning their pedigree, background or registration status, Finley said.
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia’s original orders in January appointing the receivers gave them control over 29 of the 64 horses, but he also granted the receivers permission to sell the remaining 35 animals if costs associated with the care and fees exceeded what was first raised.
That expanded sale has begun, the receivers said Friday.
“Even if we are successful in selling every single one of the horses, it will not generate nearly enough money to cover the costs and expenses that we have incurred,” said Finley, a University at Buffalo law professor with 45 years of equestrian experience.
Both receivers said they are trying to find excellent “forever” homes for the horses. They perform extensive research to make sure no horse ends up in the hands of a kill farm or auction that could lead to that.
The receivers said they are working day and night to keep up with hundreds of emails and phone calls from prospective buyers all over the country. They logged 150 hours apiece on the task and are personally funding the foster care of two aged horses, one of whom could not walk but now is frolicking and trotting in its foster farm pasture.
In their latest move, the receivers launched a campaign through a Facebook page titled “Hoskins Receivers Morgan Horse Sale and Adoptions” to offer the horses for sale to the public.
In all, about 32 Morgan horses remain available.
On their first visit to the Hoskins farm in mid-January, both receivers were troubled by what they saw, Prezioso said.
“We thought the conditions of the horses’ feet were atrocious,” Prezioso said.
“The horses haven’t done anything in a long time except stand in a dirty stall,” Finley said.
Both Prezioso and Finley are experienced equestrians. Prezioso worked for an Olympic equestrian’s farm in New Jersey after college.
“The problem isn’t just the lack of farrier care,” Prezioso said. “One of our main concerns was making sure the horses had enough to eat and had unfrozen water, and the veterinary care of the horses.”
The conditions that Prezioso and Finley found on Hoskins’ farm in January were similar to what the SPCA discovered during its raid at the farm in 2010.
Both receivers said they found many horses standing in their own manure and urine, that their feet were not cleaned out and the horses weren’t being let out of their stalls. The one caretaker and his son are doing the best they can, but they have their hands full just getting all the horses fed and watered, the receivers said.
Holes were found in the wood of the stalls, leading the women to believe the horses are hungry and bored, and chewing the wood.
“There is no sign of any of the horses being in the pastures. No hoof prints. The pastures appear to be unused,” Finley said.
Two horses were in such rough shape that the independent appraiser recommended they be euthanized, but the horses have not been. One could not walk, due to lack of farrier care. Now, both those horses are in foster care and are much healthier, Prezioso said.
“They frolic into the fields,” she said. “They are groomed and well cared for.”
The Hoskins horse drama has played out on the local and national stage, and in both horse and animal abuse circles, in the nearly six years since the SPCA Serving Erie County raided Hoskins’ Emery Road farm.
“I hope you know what a Godsend you are to these animals,” wrote Barb Cunningham of the Western Chapter of the New York State Horse Council in her post Thursday on the receivers’ Facebook page.