Rescue Me: HorseNet Horse Rescue (Md)

Edited by: Felicia Ford

Meet Elle Williams, the Executive Director of HorseNet Horse Rescue. Elle’s goal for her horse rescue organization is to provide a safety net for horses and give them a home they can always return to.
Elle started her rescue for the precise reason of seeing too many good horses thrown away for what she considers thoughtless reasons.

Many of the horses saved by HorseNet have issues, and the chief reason many of these horses are “dumped” and require “saving.” People get a horse, and find out the horse does not understand what is wanted of them. This is because horse has been handled incorrectly in the past, perhaps even beaten, so become confused and scared by the simplest request.

The people who acquired the horse do not have or want to take the time necessary to get to the bottom of the situation. They want an answer right away, and become frustrated when it does not happen. Horses are sensitive animals and pick up on these feelings which complicates things even further.

The answers are most often pretty simple, but may take a bit of trial and error applied with patience and kindness to arrive. It helps if you apply a bit of brainpower too.

“The horses do not have tags behind their ears stating, do not wash in boiling water, and do not scrub my back with bleach, and so on. No one seems to have common sense anymore.” Elle says.
Initially when HorseNet takes in a horse, they report the horse to Animal Control to make them aware of where the horse came from and the condition the horse arrived in. Then they allow the horses to get acclimated.

Once the horse has settled, they begin to work with the horse and address the problems discovered along the way.

Gentle Rehabilitation

Many of the issues Elle sees are ones of trust, and she believes there is no reason to further traumatize a horse. So they use gentle therapy methods such as flower essences, healing stones, and Reiki to help rescued horses.

Some examples are placing healing stones tied in a pouch or a medicine bag on the horse’s halter, or in the horse’s stall if the horse cannot be touched, and putting flower essences in the horse’s drinking water.

Elle tells us she has not an abscess cut out in any of her horses for more than 15 years. Instead, she uses homeopathics and in about 3-5 days an abscess ruptures at the coronary band, “no soaking, no wrapping.”

The caregivers at HorseNet, Inc. have also had success with acupuncture, massage with essential oils, chiropractic adjustments, stress point therapies, and Reiki animal communication techniques. They are just beginning use something new: sound therapy, that they are just learning about.

Success Stories


“HRH stands for His Royal Highness,” Elle explains, “and that is because he is royalty and he knows it.”

Reilly came to HorseNet, Inc. several years ago 400 pounds underweight. A 17 hands Thoroughbred, Reilly had competed in the Olympics, and in his younger years had sold for $80,000.

The reason Reilly needed to be rescued is his previous owner said “he only brings in reds now, not blues” meaning second place was not good enough.

Well, Reilly has been successfully showing for HorseNet at the expo for the past several years. Although almost 30 now, he loves it so much they have a harder and harder time getting him out of the ring!


Mercy was living at a place with several other horses. A 17 hand Thoroughbred gelding Mercy was left in a field with no shelter, no water, or food. He was so sucked up they could not see his private parts.

Mercy the day he arrived. HorseNet Horse Rescue
Mercy the day he arrived. HorseNet Horse Rescue

With loving care, look at Mercy now.

Mercy now. Horsenet Horse Rescue
Mercy now. Horsenet Horse Rescue

Adoption Process

Hundreds of horses have been rehabilitated at HorseNet. When a horse is strong and confident enough for adoption, the procedure is a pretty simple one.

HorseNet asks the interested person to visit with the horse at least three times before they decide to go through the full adoption process. “The horse does much of the picking, too,” Elle says.
Once that decision is made, they fill out an adoption application and there is a site visit to the horse’s new home to make sure it is appropriate for the horse. Adds Elle, “We do not expect everyone to have a fancy place, just a safe one.”

Support HorseNet

HorsesNet was incorporated in 1997, and received its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in 2000. HorseNet is an all volunteer organization of about 30 with no paid staff, including Elle.

They currently house 100 horses, including a blind herd at two facilities in Maryland, and operate solely on donations.

HorseNet is always looking for more volunteers. They are also asking for hay and cash donations to see them through the winter months ahead.

Visit Elle and the horses at HorseNet Horse Rescue at

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