Prison Inmates Operate Horse Rescue Farm

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland is one of eight states with a horse rescue farm operated by prison inmates.  The farm gives a second chance to retired race horses.

As Gigi Barnett reports, an anonymous gift could open doors for inmates, too.

This is what rehabilitation looks like for the four horses at the Second Chances Farm in Carroll County and the five prison inmates who run it.

“I never dealt with horses, never been around them.  I’m from the city,” said Daryl Watts, inmate.

The rescue farm offers what its name promises.  After a few months, Watts is almost finished with the program that trains inmates how to work with horses after they’re released.

Thanks to a new run-in shelter funded by an anonymous donor and built by the inmates, more horses and inmates are headed to the rescue farm.

“The guys spend much of their lives trying to develop a tough demeanor and now all of a sudden they’re herding a horse and it’s a real great equalizer,” said program director Conni Swenson.

Without the farm, the horses would have an uncertain future. 

“It takes compassion,” Swenson said.  “Once they earn that horse’s confidence, they can do things with that horse that no one else can do because of that special bond.”

Over the next five years, the Second Chances Farm plans to add at least 26 more horses. That could essentially double the number of inmates who can take and complete the program.

So far, seven inmates have completed the program which trains them to work at a horse farm.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • Eryca Harris

    Look at my baby putting in work. See the good in all. Keep up the wonderful work you do.. Love you Mr. Watts

  • Laurel

    wow that is awesome….glad they can give a second chance to these animals and humans. keep up the good work, would love to know if they will have a facebook page fan page to provide support to this effort. kudos to all.

  • Norm

    Great news! Met Ms. Swenson as I managed a convenience store a few years back. A great lady with a great heart to serve others. Praying richest blessings upon the program and all involved.

  • Prison Inmates Operate Horse Rescue Farm « CBS Baltimore | Maryland Horse

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  • Linda

    I absolutely tip my hat to The State of Maryland.
    For 1. giving human beings a chance to show they do matter. and
    2. giving the horses a second chance to live
    3. and to give each a chance to know man can be kind to man
    and man can be kind to horse and they do have a common
    Great just great and i hope this catches on all over the United States.

  • Karla

    Our mission is to rescue and rehabilitate animals, particularly horses, that have been injured, abused, neglected, abandoned or orphaned. We carry out this mission by providing good nutrition, medical care and emotional support in a safe and nurturing environment.

    It takes a lot of time, work and financial resources to operate any type of rescue. Animals that find their way to your door often need a lot in the way of physical care, emotional support and medical treatment. They also need shelter and room to exercise. Shelters and exercise areas need to be erected and maintained.

    Together we can make big difference.

    For more details on Help Equin Rescue



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