Why Phil the Horse Loves MSPCA Nevins Farm

Did you know that the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was actually founded following a notorious incident of animal abuse in which two horses were raced to their deaths in 1868?  George T. Angell founded the MSPCA to protect horses and other work animals from harsh treatment.

Today, MSPCA Nevins Farm in Methuen, MA remains the only open-door farm animal and horse rescue center in New England.  Last month, they celebrated their 100th anniversary and Phil the Horse would like to celebrate this incredible horse rescue organization by telling you a little bit of their story.

The Farm has roots in the very origins of the American humane movement

In June of 1917, Mrs. Harriet Nevins furthered George T. Angell’s mission by donating her farm of rolling pastures in Methuen, MA to the MSPCA so that it could be used as a rest home for horses and other unwanted or abandoned animals. The donation was accompanied by a $5,000 bequest toward building construction and the purchase of necessary farm implements and machinery.

MSPCA Nevins Farm Historic Photo

First known as “The Rest Home”, the property was used for retired police horses and other horses who worked on the then cobblestone streets of Boston. Arrangements made with horse owners allowed horses that were still working animals to spend time grazing and relaxing in the fields of Nevins Farm. A common agreement was one in which horses would rotate between spending a month on the farm and a month in Boston working.

A shelter for small animals was added to the Methuen facility in 1924 and as motor vehicles replaced horse-drawn carriages and fewer horses worked on the streets, the role of the farm began to change.

MSPCA Nevins Farm Joe Haswell 1970
This beautiful image is from when Nevins Farm was a retirement home for working horses. This photo, part of a Boston Globe article from September, 1970, shows Joe Haswell, then the superintendent of Nevins Farm, leading one of the resident horses into a pasture for the day. At that time, most of the horses on the farm were former Boston or Metropolitan District Commission police horses – and even a few former US Mail horses.

The Nevins Farm Mission

While involvement with smaller animals has increased, Nevins Farm’s concern for large animals has remained a central part of its mission. In 1994, the farm launched the Equine Ambulance Program to offer emergency rescue and transport of disabled horses in New England and ambulance services events involving horses worldwide.

George and Connie Noble of Concord, Massachusetts donated the funds for Nevins Farm’s 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) adoption center building that opened in 2004. The new facility is officially known as the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm.

MSPCA Nevins Farm Equine Adoption Center

Nevins Farm cares for over 7,000 animals each year, from hamsters to horses, and receives no funding from any state or federal agency.  The animals and programs of Nevins Farm are supported with private donations from caring individuals, and the special events held throughout the year.  On September 16th, the farm will be commemorating its centennial by hosting the Blue Jean Ball.  Tickets can be purchased here.

MSPCA Nevins Farm illustration

Thank you so much MSPCA Nevins Farm for all you do and all the animals you save and for being part of the Phil Family!

A percentage of every purchase made at Phil the Horse goes towards funding equine rescue and charities. Please consider directing your purchase from Phil the Horse to Nevins Farm when you check out.

Love What You Do. Give it Horsepower!


Why on Earth is Phil the Horse Wearing a Tutu?

When you’re introduced to Phil the Horse and the unique designs, the question of why on earth is he wearing a tutu may spring to mind.

Phil the Horse is a philanthropic company founded by horse enthusiasts that sell branded apparel and merchandise and donate 15% of the net profit to equine rescues and charities globally.

horse philanthropy rhode island

The main idea behind Phil is that he’s a horse for everyone. He’s not so much a character as he is a personality. He embodies positivity and the spirit of living life with joy, pride and celebration. He’s light, whimsical, and fun. Phil’s wide range of interests and activities allow him to extend beyond the horse enthusiast. He’s done it all: Surfing, yoga, the Hustle. He’s saved kittens from trees, delivered babies, leaped tall buildings and is known as Philippe in some parts of the world.

Phil the Horse, Advocate for Financial Support of Equestrian Rescues

However, Phil’s aim is very serious. His aim is to be a funding catalyst for designated equestrian rescues. A percentage of net profits are donated from all goods and wares sold which bear one of his likenesses. Rescues and equine charities hands are already very full with attending auctions, accepting owner surrendered horses or neglect cases and caring for and administering medical attention to the horses they’ve taken in. Fundraising is absolutely necessary as most rescues rely solely on donations. Phil the Horse’s aim is to take some of the fundraising burden off the shoulders of rescues and let them get back to what they do best; saving horses. At the same time, Phil’s image can be carried out to the world to promote awareness of horse rescue and the unfortunate alternatives facing unwanted horses.

horse rescue fundraising organizationAs a company, we’re not trying to single out and advocate against any path that leads a horse to entering a rescue. It’s true there’s a dark underbelly to the horse world, whether it’s unethical breeding practices or the discarding of a horse that’s no longer winning races; but there are also very sincere circumstances that can lead to a horse eventually landing in a rescue, such as the death of a loving owner or just hard economic conditions that can’t be mitigated. Unfortunately, the most common occurrence when a horse is unwanted is they’ll end up at an auction and face the potential of being purchased for slaughter. Any horse, of any age can face this fate. What Phil the Horse advocates for is financially supporting the good work that a rescue or an equine charity takes on to save horses from this fate in offering them second chance at finding their forever home.  

Why Does Only 15% Go to Horse Rescues?

We’ve been asked why only 15%? The short answer is this is where we start. The company has to cover the costs of the designs and product manufacturing as well as the marketing before we can get to the base where we can donate funds. After donating to the rescues, the remaining profit goes towards developing new offerings. As horse owners ourselves, we fully appreciate the full gamut of expenses that comes with horse ownership from board to farrier costs, the vet bills, the tack and sometimes the transport of them. The end goal is to increase the donation amount to as much as possible and still cover production expenses. The only way to reach this aim is sell more of Phil the Horse.

What It Means to Be Phil-anthropic

We love horses. We love the nostalgia of all they’ve done for us over the centuries. We love the freedom you find in a strong canter. We love the powerful yet graceful beauty of their form. The name Phil, short for Philip, is derived from the Greek word “Philippos,” which means “fond of horses”. It’s in his namesake to be Phil-anthropic; he wants to give back as much as he can.

So why is Phil wearing a tutu? He loves to dance!

Changing the Dialogue on Horse Adoption

As a culture, Americans are fairly comfortable with the idea of rescuing a dog or a cat from a shelter. In fact, the choice to get a rescue as a family pet is maybe even more common than going directly to a pet store or breeder. Across the country there are countless canine and feline rescue organizations that will ship animals nationwide to approved adopters. And massive “Super Adoption Days” are frequently organized to place 100’s of animals in one day.

Ultimately, it’s your personal preference as to how you bring an animal into your life and the fact is, as long as the animal is cared for and loved, all manners of acquisition are wonderful. Regardless of where they came from, kindness to any animal is kindness to yourself and that simply makes the world a better place all around.

However, Phil the Horse would merely like to point out that the conversation between adopting a canine/feline from a rescue versus an equine companion from one is very different. With regards to horses, going to a rescue is not always part of the equation. But this is truly a shame because as we’ve mentioned before, there are beautiful, friendly, loving horses in rescues just looking for a home.

Horse Rescue AdoptionAdopting a horse through an equine rescue facility, however, can seem bewildering at first. There are so many different entities that claim the title “horse rescue” that you might be confused at first. To help clear up some of the confusion, here’s a quick look at the various types of facilities you might encounter:

Non-profit Equine Rescue Facility:

These organizations have endured the tedious task of applying to the IRS for tax exempt status as a 501(c) 3 organization. The approval process is arduous, but the title adds a definite amount of credibility to the facility’s dedication to save as many unwanted horses as possible. These facilities are, however, clearly run as a business. As such, the unwanted horses they take in must demonstrate the potential for a successful adoption. All of the rescues and equine charities that Phil the Horse work with are 501(c) 3 organizations.

Equine Rescue Facility Without Tax Exempt Status:

Not every reputable rescue facility files for tax exempt status. There can be multiple reasons behind that decision. For example, a small private stable might have the space and finances to rescue only a few horses a year. That’s hardly worth the hassle of wrangling with the IRS. Yet it’s still a noble cause, and sometimes the single rescued horse that’s recovering in someone’s backyard barn gets the most hands-on, individualized care.

GFAS Accredited Equine Rescue Facility:

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is an international organization that provides resources and recognition for rescue facilities. The accreditation/verification process includes standards for housing, nutrition, veterinary care, staffing, safety policies and training, education and more. Verified sanctuaries are shown to provide humane, ethical and responsible care while accredited rescues have been assessed to meet or exceed the GFAS Standards of Excellence. More information, including the full standards for equine sanctuaries, is available at sanctuaryfederation.org.

Breed-Specific Rescue Facility:

Horse Adoption FactsSeveral prominent breeders have made valid attempts to help ensure that the foals they register don’t eventually join the estimated 130,000 American horses that are annually shipped across the border to slaughter. For instance, the Jockey Club encourages owners and breeders to support ex-racehorses in their retirement through several programs, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program. Contact your preferred breed’s registry to find out what kind of rescue and safety net programs are available. If you have a specific breed in mind, there’s a good chance there’s a rescue dedicated to what you’re looking for as there are rescues that specialize in Appaloosas, Morgans, Arabians, Saddlebreds, Standardbreds, Percherons, Clydesdales, Minis and more.

Through our blog posts, we hope that maybe we can be part of the process to help change the dialogue on purchasing a horse. There’s a wonderful organization called The Right Horse Initiative (https://therighthorse.org/) which is a collective of equine industry and welfare professionals and advocates working together to improve the lives of horses in transition. Their goal is to massively increase horse adoption in the United States. If you’re not familiar with the group, we highly recommend you spend some time on their website. There’s a host of information on the industry partners as well as adoption partners. In another blog, we’ll introduce one of Right Horse Initiative’s partners that Phil the Horse is also working with, Horse Plus Humane Society.

Here are some additional resources on equine rescue facilities:

Sources: The Horse Channel, “4 Types of Equine Rescues”, Cindy Hall, November 26, 2014

Dorset Equine Rescue Seeks a Forever Home for Two Amazing Horses-Ferdinand and Dixie

Meet Ferdi

adopt horse ferdi

Phil the Horse would like to introduce you to Ferdinand and Dixie, two beautiful horses who are available for adoption right now at Dorset Equine Rescue in East Dorset, Vermont.
We’re in the middle of the 2017 Derby season, so it’s fitting to introduce you to Ferdi, who is a 5-year-old OTTB (Off Track Thoroughbred). Ferdi is one handsome guy. In August 2016, Dorset Equine Rescue found him in a kill pen with 18 other horses; all were tagged for slaughter. If this shocks you — if the picture in your mind of those 18 horses waiting for slaughter horrifies you — then it’s very important for you to know that 18 horses in a kill pen isn’t unusual. Too often that is just regular day at the kill pen.

Dorset only had space and funds to pull two horses from the pen so they took Ferdinand and another, named Jaks. It broke their hearts to leave the others behind, but Dorset, like most equine rescues, is dependent on donations from horse-lovers all over and often they don’t have enough donations to save the entire kill pen. This is why Phil the Horse has teamed up with Dorset and other equine rescues to give up to 15% of our proceeds to saving more horses.

ferdi southern VT horse adoption Ferdi was malnourished, depressed and very underweight. His hooves were in tough shape and required a few farrier appointments to get them healthy again..

Due to his health, he wasn’t ridden until April 2017. But now, through the dedicated efforts of the Dorset staff and volunteers, Ferdi has made a full recovery in both spirit and strength and is ready to be adopted. And we are asking you to help us find Ferdi his forever home.

Meet Dixie

adopt horse dixieMiss Dixie is a pretty little mare. In August 2015, Dorset outbid a kill buyer at an auction for her. The kill buyer is typically the last bidder at any auction; the one who purchases all the horses which were not sold. The horses are then loaded onto what’s known as the “kill truck” and from there enter the slaughter pipeline which ends at a slaughter house located over the US border. Dorset was able to save Dixie, a 12 year old Arabian who stands at 14.1 hands. Due to her build, she needs a petite intermediate adult or child rider. She loads, stands for baths, cross ties without issue and is just an all-around great girl. Dorset can’t believe she hasn’t found her forever home yet, but we know you can help us find her one.

How You Can Help

If you have any interest or questions regarding either Ferdinand or Dixie, please contact Jen Straub at Dorset Equine Rescue at inquires@dorsetequinerescue.org or (802)366-1300.
We appreciate that we are not all able to welcome a horse into our homes, but we can all do something to support their well-being. As a culture, Americans are fairly comfortable with the idea of rescuing a dog or a cat from a shelter or a rescue organization. In fact, the choice to get a rescue as a family pet has become more and more common, maybe even more so than going directly to a pet store or breeder.

But going to a horse rescue is not always part of the equation when it comes to acquiring a horse. This is truly a shame, though, because there are pure diamonds out there looking for a home — just like with dog and cat rescues.

So in another blog post we’re going to get into all the different types of rescue organizations out there so we can dispel any myths and misconceptions about adopting a horse from a horse rescue.

Save Horses. Shop Phil.

You can also help Ferdi and Dixie right now when you buy one of our adorable short-sleeve tees.

save a horse tees   phil the horse short-sleeve tees

When you make a purchase of a short sleeve tee at www.philthehorse.com and choose Dorset as the rescue through the month of June, you’ll receive an additional free Phil gift as a thank you for supporting Ferdi and Dixie and all the other horses, donkeys and minis that are looking for their forever homes.

Love What You Do. Give it Horsepower.


Why Phil the Horse Loves Dorset Equine Rescue

Between 100,000 to 140,000 horses enter the slaughter pipeline annually.

They are taken from the US and shipped over the border to slaughter houses. The meat is then sold abroad for human consumption.

At Phil the Horse, we wish we could save them all, but know we have to accept being able to save all we can. The only true way to make a difference is to support the incredibly meaningful work of rescues such as Dorset Equine RescuePhil simply loves Dorset Equine Rescue.

Dorset Equine Rescue, located in East Dorset, Vermont, has been in operation since 2012.

The founder, Jen Soderberg Straub, is filled with passion and commitment to all things equine. She got her first horse at the age of nine and as it happens to so many, she was permanently bitten by the “horse bug”.  

In 2012, she heard a story of 38 abused and starving miniature horses just outside of Boston.  She immediately adopted two of them and brought them back to her farm in Vermont. She didn’t know it at the time, but her life changed forever.

When the horses arrived, they were a very sad sight. Their coats were rotting with patches of hair falling out. They were dramatically underweight; all their ribs were plainly visible and their nutrition was so bad that their teeth had turned black.

Jen put Daisy and Duke on strict diets to help them regain their health and to put on the weight they desperately needed. After many months of care and work, they slowly regained their health and learned to trust people again. They developed proper horse manners so they would be safe around people. After a year, Daisy and Duke grew thick coats, had put on the proper weight and started to look and act like normal happy horses again. Their teeth became white again.

Dorset Equine Rescue Horse Duke
Before/After: This was Duke in the spring of 2012 when he first came to Dorset. The photo on the right was taken exactly one year later (spring of 2013). You can see how skinny he was by the bones showing on his face even through his winter coat.
Dorset Equine Rescue Before and After
Before/After: This was Daisy in the early spring of 2012 when she first came to Dorset. The bottom picture was taken about 6 months later (August 2012). She has come such a long way! She was terrified of people and now she’s the sweetest horse!

As the horses healed, Jen realized how much Daisy and Duke were part of her family. Rescuing the horses had fed her soul and she knew it was something she wanted to do again and again. Daisy and Duke weren’t just horses: they represented an essential manifestation of who Jen is. After taking this journey of rescue with Daisy and Duke, it was only natural to her that she would dedicate her life to it.

Phil loves Dorset Equine Rescue because…

It is dedicated not only to rescuing equines and restoring their health and wellness, but also providing a natural environment in which they heal both physically and mentally until they can be adopted into their forever homes. Since inception, Dorset Equine Rescue has saved over 51 horses from difficult circumstances and brought them to the farm to enjoy living life in pasture with room to roam.  

Dorset Equine Rescue is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, providing appropriate feed, fresh water, veterinary care, health maintenance and lots of positive attention. Some of the horses are re-homed to their new “forever homes” while others, who are not adoptable, will have sanctuary on the farm forever.  

There is a story on the Dorset Equine Rescue’s website which sums up their philosophy:

“An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm. In the distance, he saw someone moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman gently picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water. ‘Young lady, why are you throwing the starfish back into the ocean?’

‘The tide is going out and if I do not throw them back they will die,’ she said.

‘But young lady, do you not realize that there are thousands of starfish and miles of beaches? You cannot possibly make a difference.’

The young woman listened politely, bent down, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.

‘It made a difference for that one.’”

Thank you so much Dorset Equine Rescue for all you do and all you save and for being part of the Phil Family!

Many equines (horses, ponies, mules, donkeys) are victims of cruelty and neglect. They are treated inhumanely: starved, neglected, abandoned, and abused. Often, once an animal becomes old, injured, or ill, the owners no longer have a need for them and wish to discard their “problem.” Equines can become a burden to their owners due to a multitude of reasons (economic conditions, job loss, relocation, loss of interest, or personal issues such as sickness or death) resulting in a desperate need to find a home for their animals. Sadly, in this disposable world, horses are being euthanized or sent to slaughter for convenience.

Phil the Horse and Dorset Equine Rescue believe it is our responsibility to save these beautiful creatures — as many as we possibly can. Although we may never save all of them, each horse we do save lives a happier, healthier life.  

Love What You Do. Give it Horsepower!

PS: Jen also happens to be a very talented jewelry designer so stay tuned for some amazing bespoke jewelry designs coming out at Phil the Horse.

Save Horses. Shop Phil.

See Phil the Horse in The Plaid Horse – save 10% with Promo Code: PLAID

The Plaid Horse is America’s Premiere Horse Show Magazine. The Plaid Horse was founded in 2003 to serve the equestrian community. In 2015/2016, examples of horse show distribution included: The Devon Horse Show, USEF Pony Finals, all HITS shows, Lake Placid Horse Shows, Blenheim Equisports, Washington International Horse Show, and The National Horse Show, and the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

See Phil the Horse’s ad in The Plaid Horse and save 10% now on all Phil the Horse products when you use the code: PLAID.

Shop Phil. Save Horses!  Love what you do.  Give it Horsepower!


Phil the Horse Announces Partnership with Brooke USA

Brooke_USA logo

Phil the Horse is proud to announce a partnership with equine welfare charity Brooke USA. Brooke USA supports programs to improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, and mules in developing countries, primarily through Brooke – the world’s largest international equine welfare charity. They operate across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America, providing free veterinary intervention for animals, and training for their owners and service providers, to ensure long-term welfare improvements. Working equines in the developing world are laboring in harsh conditions in places where many people earn less than one dollar a day. Through educational programs, free veterinary hospitals, and hundreds of mobile veterinary units in crowded cities and remote villages, last year alone Brooke reached a record two million equines, benefitting 12 million of the world’s poorest people.

Brooke’s practical, sustainable, scientifically proven programs bring immediate relief from suffering, while ensuring that future generations of animals, and the livelihoods of their owners, will also improve. Programs include prevention and treatment of wounds and diseases, stable management, non-violent handling techniques, the benefits of vaccinations, proper harnessing techniques, and nutrition. Brooke works tirelessly to end harmful practices such as beatings and traditional “healing” methods like mutilation and firing.

Additionally, since more than two thirds of poor livestock keepers are women (approximately 400 million), Brooke also reaches out in communities where women and children are the primary equine caregivers to provide support to improve the lives of the animals on which they depend.


Phil the Horse is a philanthropic organization which donates up to 15 percent of its net profits to horse rescues and equine welfare organizations. Phil the Horse was created as the result of a personal mission to provide funding to save horses from abuse and slaughter. The founders, Douglas and Amy Foscale, are both directly involved with horse rescue through volunteering, and by siting on the board of directors of a rescue. Both own horses that came from rescue situations. They are deeply moved by the role the horse holds in society as an able worker and commanding athlete, as well as a companion animal.

The strategic decision was made to partner with, and to donate proceeds to, local and national equine rescue organizations. Phil the Horse is proud to include Brook USA on its list of equine welfare organizations to which funding is directed. This collaboration will allow Phil the Horse to donate funds at a larger level.

Phil the Horse offers unique, equestrian-designed t-shirts which are screen-printed in the USA, and a variety of hats and giftware. Phil the Horse is a personality that celebrates life, and lives by two mottos: Love What You Do, and Give It Horsepower. Every purchase helps save horses.

To learn more about Phil the Horse, please visit www.philthehorse.com.Please read more about the extensive global effort Brooke USA is making for these hard-working equines, providing them the help and support they need and deserve:  www.brookeusa.org.


Meet Phil


I like walks on the beach at dusk, coaching track, homemade carrot cake and frozen margaritas with extra salt and – oh, sorry. Wrong website. Was polishing my internet dating profile…but as long as you’re here, let me introduce myself.

The most evident thing about me is I’m a horse.

Some great minds have made mention that I could be considered one the great catalysts that shaped human society and civilization as we now know it, putting me right up there with fire, the wheel, metal, agriculture, religion and written language. You may have noticed… ehem, I’m the only animal in that group;).

When man learned to harness my speed & strength, he could go faster and further than he could with only his two legs. Combining me with the wheel & pulley, he could move & lift things 20 times heavier than he could with only his two arms. You may have heard of measurement called horse power?

As time evolved, mechanical innovations were developed replacing me in many of my traditional jobs and as a result, my role has changed over centuries. In some ways, its created a bit of pickle for horses because we still need to be looked after.

Most folks think I just stand around eating grass all day; they couldn’t be more mistaken. I’ve watched people for a very long time and have been inspired by the variety in which they celebrate life so I’ve adopted a try-anything-once attitude. If it brings joy, celebration or a deep sense of pride, I’m up for it.

I’ve done it all. Surfing, yoga – the Hustle. I’ve saved kittens from trees, delivered babies, leaped tall buildings in a single bound and I’m known in some parts of the world as Philippe.

I’d like to think of myself as everyone’s horse and my deepest hope is to inspire you like I’ve been. For all the goods and wares purchased with my likeness on it, a portion of the net proceeds is donated to designated equine rescues to help horse in need of care and in search of their forever home.

If I can inspire you to help our four hoofed friends, then I’ve done my biggest job yet.

Shop Phil. Save Horses. www.philthehorse.com

Celebrate life. Give it horsepower.

what you do.

Who is Phil the Horse?

Who’s Phil the Horse? Well Phil’s not a real horse, but he’s every horse. At it’s basic core, Phil is an apparel line for equestrians and everyone else who enjoys and appreciates all that horses are. It’s a place where you can make a difference; a catalyst to help horses in need as every purchase provides a percentage of profits donated to participating equine rescues and animal welfare organizations. On a broader level our hope is that more people come to know horses in a way they didn’t before. The closer you get to them and the more you learn about them through facts and first hand experience, the more you realize what an incredible part they have played in our history and continue to play in our lives – and more urgently, the need for rescue and re-homing.

Founded by Amy and Doug Foscale, Phil the Horse is a venture intended to make  contributions to horse rescue and advocacy. Our own experience with horses has already changed our lives for the better  – we want to reciprocate in kind, bettering their lives.

That’s where Phil comes in. You can read more about us and Phil here:



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