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Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement, Inc.

GUARDIAN PROFILE - Last Updated: 06/07/2018



Chief Staff Officer:  Dee Doolittle Executive Director

Employees:   Full-Time:  2  Part-Time:    Volunteers:  36

Does your organization utilize a management company for management and administration? No

Describe your training process for employees and volunteers and the types of human resource documents used in your organization including job descriptions, evaluations, etc. All volunteer work is broken down into several task competency levels. Volunteers are trained at each level through a training manual, mandatory hands-on training sessions and a practical exam. In the Volunteer Center, volunteers have access to the training manual as well as daily volunteer log, and other HR documents such as grievance procedure policy, safety policies and barn rules.

Governing Body:

Board meetings per year:  4

Number of Board Members:  8  Number of Voting Board Members:  7

Board Compensation:

Is Board Chair compensated?  No  Is Treasurer compensated?  No

Are there any other Voting Board Members that are compensated?  No

Board Relationships:

Are any members of the Board or Staff related to each other through family or business relationships? Yes

If yes, provide the name, title, responsibility and family/business relationship of each Board and/or Staff member. Harriet Burrell, Sister to Executive Director

Board Affiliations:

Are any Board members or Staff associated with and/or compensated by another organization with a relationship or business affiliation to your organization? No

Conflict of Interest:

Does your organization have a written conflict of interest policy and regularly and consistently monitor and enforce compliance with the policy, including requiring officers, directors or trustees, and key employees to disclose annually interests that could give rise to conflicts?  Yes


1. What percent of your total programs and services are horse-related? 100

2. Describe your specific horse-related programs services or activities:
     Un-wanted horses are already over-stressing rescue organizations. Permanent sanctuaries such as Mitchell Farm are necessary to take the older or infirm horse out of the mix - a benefit to the horse as well as the horse world. We not only provide a permanent home for a number of these animals, we also set an example as a model sanctuary and educate the public about animal welfare and the proper care for older horses.

Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement is presently has full care and ownership of 28 horses and maintains a waiting list. Either advanced age or infirmity has caused an end to the useful, athletic lives of these animals; however they are healthy enough to enjoy a comfortable retirement for many years to come. Ownership of the horses is turned over to the organization. In return, former owners are promised that Mitchell Farm will be responsible for full care of the horse for the balance of its comfortable life. In managing these horses, the organization fully subscribes to the standards of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
The horses retired to Mitchell Farm graze in grassy pastures and have safe stalls to return to in inclement weather. They are fed a diet fitted to their individual needs and are given veterinary and farrier services regularly. Mitchell Farm becomes their permanent home where they are allowed to remember or in some cases learn to just be a horse.

3. Enter the total number of facilities/locations where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for: 1

4. Describe your non-horse-related programs, services or activities you provide, including those involving other animals. N/A

5. Does your organization operate programs involved with animals other than horses?  No


1. Describe your equine management philosophies, practices, policies and operations with respect to the use of the horses in your program, including the rehabilitation and retraining (if applicable), ongoing training, schooling and exercising plan for each horse and your policy as to the number and condition of the horses accepted by your organization. 
     Horses are only required to be pasture sound and free from communicable illness at the time of admission. Once retired, they are never again ridden or asked to work. They self-exercise by grazing in large grassy pastures in small groups. Our numbers are limited by the amount of pasture available for grazing, available stalls and other resources, such as volunteers and funding.

2. Describe how your horses are acquired (adoption, seizure, surrender, donation, purchase, auction sale, retirement). 
     Owners of horses retired to Mitchell Farm, relinquish ownership of their horse. The horse is then owned and cared for by Mitchell Farm for the duration of its comfortable life.

3. Describe under what circumstances horses leave your organization. Please describe in detail your horse adoption/fostering practices and procedures including any recruitment initiatives you have to attract potential adopters. Please include your policies and practices with respect to horses that are no longer useful or manageable and horses that need to be retired. 
     Horses retired to Mitchell Farm are owned by the organization and are never under any circumstances adopted or fostered out. The farm becomes their last permanent home. When medically necessary they are humanely euthanized on the premises.

4. For new horses, describe your initial assessment process for each horse (i.e. physical examination, test ride, health record, Coggins test, quarantine, veterinary consult, etc.). 
     Upon arrival to the farm, owners must provide a health certificate, current negative Coggins and a rabies certificate. The horse is placed in a quarantine paddock and stall for two weeks. If health issues are a concern, a consultation with the farm veterinarian is utilized. After quarantine and a behavior assessment, the new horse is slowly introduced into an appropriate horse grouping.

5. Describe your overall horse health care plan and how you assess and monitor the health of your horses on an ongoing basis. Include a description of your vaccination and worming schedule. Include a description of your health/veterinary care plan for at-risk animals, geriatric horses and horses with serious issues. 
     Each horse is visually monitored twice daily by Mitchell Farm staff. Volunteers are trained to call to the attention of staff, any changes in a horse's behavior, soundness, stall habits or overall appearance. The special needs of each individual horse are taught in "Identify Horses II", a required class for volunteers who handles horses.

Every horse is vaccinated annually with EWT, West Nile and Rabies. Fecal samples are tested quarterly and horses de-wormed as needed. As an added precaution each horse is dewormed in March with ivermectin and praziquantel for tapeworms and again in the October with ivermectin.

Since all of our horses are geriatric and have special needs, utmost care is taken to cater to the horses as individuals. The stalls of those who require that their feed be soaked bear brightly colored warning signs. Horses with more severe issues are turned out closer to the barn and in view of the staff office for closer monitoring.

6. What is the euthanasia policy? Please include specifically under what circumstances your organization will euthanize a horse and whether your organization will euthanize a healthy but difficult horse for space: 
     The Mitchell Farm policy is to consider euthanasia as an option only when, in conjunction with a licensed Veterinarian, it has been deemed that the horse no longer has Quality of Life or pain can no longer be managed at an acceptable level. Under no circumstances will a horse be euthanized simply for the convenience of humans or the operation. We follow the guidelines for euthanasia put forth by the AAEP.

7. What is the breeding policy? Please include specifically if horses become pregnant while in your care, and if there is a no-breeding clause in the documentation your organization uses to adopt, donate, sell, etc. a horse: 
     Stallions must be gelded at least one month before arrival. None of the horses retired to Mitchell Farm are bred.

8. Does your organization provide horses to any facility to use in research or medical training? 

9. If your answer to Question 8 is 'Yes', please explain where and for what purpose horses are provided to use in research or medical training?  NA

10. Does your organization sell, donate or give a horse to an auction? 

11. If your answer to Question 10 is 'Yes', describe under the circumstances where you have sold, donated, or given a horse to an auction, or where you would sell, donate, or give a horse to an auction. NA

12. Does your organization place horses in foster care? 

13. If your answer to Question 12 is 'Yes', describe how foster homes are selected, screened, and monitored and address all the questions below for each foster home in the space provided: NA

14. What is the average equine adoption fee/donation received by your organization: Not applicable; None received

15. Adoption Fee Policies
  Not applicable.

16. What is your position regarding varying adoption fees vs. one set fee:
  Other considerations are provided below.

17. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed: N/A


This section must be completed for each facility/location where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for. For example, if the applicant is involved with horse rescue and utilizes foster care facilities, the applicant must complete this section for each foster care facility. If the applicant provides equine assisted activities/services to the public at more than one location, the applicant must complete this section for each location that horse-related services are provided. If your organization uses the facility of another organization, please enlist the aid of that organization in answering the questions.

Total facilities at which our organization operates horse-related programs: 1


Location 1 of 1
Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement

300 East Haddam Rd Salem CT 06420

1. Facility General Questions

1. Name of Contact: Dee Doolittle

2. Contact's Phone: 860-303-8705

3. Contact's Email: dee@mitchellfarm.org

4. Does your organization own, lease or use a part of this facility? Lease

5. If not owned, provide the name, address, phone, email and contact person of the organization(s) and/or individual(s) who owns the facility: Salem Valley Corporation
Linda Schroeder, Property Manager
490 East Haddam Rd
Salem, CT 06420

6. If your organization does not own this facility, does your organization have a written agreement with the owner? Enter Yes or No.   Yes

7. If your organization does not own this facility, please provide the following information below: Start date and end date of current written agreement (term) and what is the organization's plan for the end of the written agreement? 
     Length of Lease, 10 years Start date of current lease, May 1, 2015 End date of current lease, April 30, 2025 plan for the end of the lease? Sign another 10 year lease.

8. If your organization leases or uses a part of this facility, please provide the details as to what services are provided by the owner and if and how the owner is compensated.. 
     We lease the entire 50 acre property from the Salem Valley Corporation which includes the main barn, farm house, small apartment and pastures. Two additional 4 stall shed row barns are owned by MFER, Inc. Our lease agreement is in 10 year increments. Other than ordinary repairs, SVC maintains the buildings and perimeter fences. The lease payment by MFER, Inc. to SVC is $2449 payable on the first of each month. The development rights to this property and the surrounding 800 acres have been sold to the Connecticut Farm Land Trust and is under the supervision of The Nature Conservancy.

9. Does your organization operate programs involving horses AT THIS FACILITY that serve individuals with special needs, including but not limited to equine assisted activities and therapies? No

10. Enter the total number of instructors/trainers (full-time and part-time) involved with your organization's horse-related programs at this facility: 0.

2. Facility Horse-Related Questions

1. Enter the total acreage dedicated specifically to the horses: 50

2. Describe the number and type of pastures and paddocks, fencing, enclosures, stabling including barns and run-in sheds. Each horse has an appropriate sized stall to come into during inclement weather. The main barn, a converted dairy barn, has 15 box stalls. The floors are cement with heavy rubber mats, and pelleted bedding. The remainder of the stalls are in 2 separate shed row barns and other sections of the main barn. Most have the capability to be closed up in cold weather. Others are left open for horses with allergies and respiratory problems. We have 50 acres of pasture. All perimeter fences are post and 3 board rail construction. Some internal fences are Electric Tape. Horses are turned out in appropriate social groups with no more than 6 per enclosure. Most enclosures are 7-10 acres each. Shed rows and outside stalls are available for 10 horses to run-in. Pastures have adequate access to shade and wind break from natural cover. Horses are brought in every night during the Winter months and during the day in the Summer months.

3. Describe how you manage the use of your pastures/paddocks given the size and number of your pastures/paddocks and the number of horses you have at this facility.
     Rotational grazing is practiced and pastures are picked and dragged on a regular basis.

4. How many hours of daily turnout do the horses get? (Estimate or Average) 10

5. Describe the area where your training, riding and equine related activities are conducted, including what type of footing/surface is utilized and what factors were considered to determine the suitability and condition of the area for the activities conducted.
     N/A. None of the horses are ridden.

6. Is the facility in compliance with the Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities prepared by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (whether or not your organization is directly involved with rescue and retirement)? Yes

7. If no, please explain and specifically describe the areas in which the facility is not compliant. Not Applicable

8. If this facility is recognized as compliant with the published standards of another applicable organization, and/or accredited by another applicable organization, including any state licensure or registration process, please provide the details.
     Mitchell Farm is fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Accreditation signifies that Mitchell Farm meets rigorous and peer-reviewed equine care standards and has also demonstrated adherence to standards addressing the sustainability of the organization, ethical principles, finances, staffing, educational outreach, security and safety aspects.

9. Describe the availability/accessibility of emergency horse transportation at this facility.
     Mitchell Farm does not own a truck and trailer. All medical issues are handled on the farm. In the case of natural disaster, we would call on our many friends and Board Members for transportation as called for in our disaster plan.

10. Do the horses have specific tack assignments? No

11. Describe the plan, process and/or procedures to insure appropriate assessment of tack and the use for saddle fittings, tack, blankets, etc.
     No tack other than halters are used. Clean blankets are fitted to each horse at the beginning of the year and labeled for clear identification.

12. Describe the system used by your organization to help staff and volunteers readily identify each horse on the property.
     Volunteer training includes a class on identifying our horses by sight. Only those who can clearly identify each horse, where they are turned out and which stall they are returned to, are allowed to handle horses.

13. Describe your housing plan and the turnout process/plan for horses normally stall bound.
     All horses, weather permitting, are turned out as much as possible. Every horse has it's own stall to return to in inclement or hot buggy weather.

14. Describe your feed, feed management plan and your guidelines for the use of supplements.
     Daily access to grass pasture is made available. Pasture is supplemented with good quality grass hay. Since all of our horses are aged we use a good quality senior feed. Amounts and types of feed are individual to each horse. Great care is taken with horses with poor dentition. Feed is soaked and chopped or pelleted forage is provided. Currently there are 3 horses who require daily medication with Prascend for Cushings. Phelylbutazone is used for pain as necessary.

15. How do you use the Henneke Body Conditioning Score to guide you in your hennekeing/exercising/use practices for each horse?
     Every volunteer is introduced to the Henneke Body Condition Score in order to have many eyes on subtle changes that may occur in the older horse. The barn manager reviews BCS with the Veterinarian on a regular basis and more frequently on horses of concern.

16. Please describe your activities to limit or control the advent and spread of disease within your facility (Biosecurity plan). This should include but is not limited to your manure management and disposal procedures, your carcass disposal plan and your parasite control plan. Please indicate the role of your veterinarian in the development and implementation of your overall plan.
     Volunteer training is again very important as it relates to our bio-security plan. Because of the infrequency of horses entering our facility and our practice of quarantine, our biggest exposure to communicable equine disease is from volunteers coming here from other facilities. They are all instructed and reminded that if they are coming from another barn that they should change clothes, shoes and wash their hands before arriving. In the rare case that a horse shows symptoms of communicable illness, it is immediately quarantined and treated. Stalls are cleaned daily and pastures and paddocks are picked and dragged on a regular basis. All manure is composted and sold as a great soil amendment for gardens. The month of May sees more compost going out the driveway than manure going to the compost pile! This is a program we are very proud of. We are very lucky that Salem is one of the few towns left that still allows horses to be buried on the property. "Memorial Field" is at least 75 feet from any wetlands. We are proud to say that with good pasture management, routine fecal analysis and target de-worming, we have almost completely eradicated intestinal parasites from our herd.

17. Please describe your emergency preparedness plans that address weather related issues, fire safety procedures and/or any additional hazardous scenarios your facility could potentially experience.
     General Emergency Preparedness Annually inspect for potential hazards and correct problems. Always be aware of potentially dangerous weather. Update emergency plans and supplies annually. Update emergency contact information annually. Maintain a one week supply of food. Test generator. Update photos and videos of property. Schedule fire drills, meetings and training for emergency team. Update Horse I.D. tags Make sure Vaccinations are Up to date. Keep copies in emergency book. Maintain relationship and horse handling training with fire dept. Imminent Emergency Preparedness Hurricane Test Generator in case of power outage. Secure Feed & hay. Secure emergency first aid (human & equine) and emergency tools. Secure any objects that could become flying debris. Prepare barn and aisle to accept entire herd. Secure all windows and doors. Put horses in barn. Attach I.D. tags. Thunder Storm Test Generator in case of power outage. Secure Feed & hay. Secure any objects that could become flying debris. Put horses in barn and sheds. No humans should be outside if lightning is near, even if all of the horses have not been brought in. Secure all windows and doors. Extreme Heat Put horses in barn. Turn on stall fans. Notify emergency team of extra hands needed for hosing and monitoring. Monitor horses closely for signs of heat stress. The most commonly observed signs of “Heat Stress” are profuse sweating, rapid breathing, and a rapid heart rate. Sponge or hose horses as necessary. Supply horses with extra water. Speak with Veterinarian before administering electrolyte therapy. Make sure volunteers drink plenty of fluids. Winter Storm Test generator in case of power outage. Put horses in barn. Secure all windows and doors. Secure any objects that could become flying debris. Secure Feed & hay. Make sure tractor is backed into shed and there is plenty of diesel fuel. Tornado Test generator in case of power outage. Prepare barn and aisle to accept horses housed in shed row barns. Put horses in barn. (This is a judgement call. In the Northeast there is little to no warning of tornados. They can occasionally occur within a thunder storm. Turning horses loose in suburban areas would cause a risk to the public.) Attach I.D. tags Secure all windows and doors. Secure any objects that could become flying debris. Secure Feed & hay. Secure emergency first aid (human & equine) and emergency tools. Post Natural Disaster Check & repair fences before turnout. Check power lines. Call power company if necessary. 800-286-2000 Check each horse for cuts abrasions or eye injuries. Check on neighbors. Fire Evacuation Plan Call 911 if alarm system has not already done so. Call Major emergency team phone tree who will also call the vet. Barn Manager Evacuate horses one by one until Fire Dept. arrives. At that time only the FD will be allowed in the building per the fire chief. They will attempt to evacuate any remaining horses if they feel it is safe enough for their personnel. Emergency team leader assign positions. Triage team: Retrieve outside emergency and first aid kit. Set-up treatment area where directed by ETL Sort horses and assign them to horse handlers to be taken to turn-outs or to treatment. Begin first-aid as directed by ETL or Vet when he arrives. Horse Handlers: Report to triage team for assignments. Move horses one by one to turn-out as directed by Triage Return immediately to triage for another assignment When all horses are accounted for monitor fields as directed by triage Gate team: Check in with triage then report immediately to assigned gate. Open and close gates as needed by handlers.

18. Please describe the security in place at the facility or facilities to restrict public access and to keep horses safe. Do you have a security system and/or on-premises caretaker?
     Barn manager and the Executive Director live on premises. There is only one entrance to the farm in the front. It is inaccessible from the remaining 3 sides with a large pond, the 8 mile river and a highway.

19. Provide the contact information for the individual or organization responsible for investigating abuse in the county where the facility is located, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.
     Bill Paul, Salem Animal Control Officer 270 Hartford Rd, Salem, CT 06420 860-917-0567 cell 860-859-1184 fax

20. Other than the animal control authority noted above, provide the contact information for all local, state and/or national authorities with whom your organization engages to address issues impacting horse welfare, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.
     Raymond T. Connors State of Connecticut Department of Agriculture Animal Control Division Supervisor Hartford Office: 860-713-2506 Email: Raymond.Connors@ct.gov

Veterinarian Information

View The Vet Checklist conducted on 01/29/2018

Veterinarian: David A. Anderson, DVM

Clinic Name: Anderson Veterinary Services LLC    Street: P.O. Box 631    City: Hebron  State: CT    Zip: 06248

Phone: 860-639-6927    Email: anderson.dvm@gmail.com

Instructors assigned to this Facility
(see Instructor Section)

3. Facility Horse-Related Inventory Questions

1-a. Enter the total number of horses involved with your organization's programs that are currently housed at this facility: 29.

1-b. Enter the total number of horses housed at this facility: 29

1-c. Enter the maximum capacity of horses at this facility: 33

2017 Horse Inventory

1-d. Did your organization operate programs involving horses HOUSED AT THIS FACILITY during January 1-December 31, 2017? Please select Yes or No. Yes

30 2-a. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on January 1, 2017.

           + 8 2-b. Total number of intakes other than returns including donated, purchased, surrendered or rescued.

           +  2-c. Total number of horses returned.

38 = Total of 2a-2c

           - 0 2-d. Total number of horses adopted during the year.

           - 0 2-e. Total number of horses transferred to another facility during the year.

           - 8 2-f. Total number of horses deceased during the year.

8 = Total of 2d-2f

30 2-g. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on December 31, 2017.

            0 2-h. Total number of horses not retired including horses undergoing rehabilitation and/or retraining.

            30 2-i. Total number of horses permanently retired.

2017 Horse Care Costs

$     Feed (Grain/Hay).

$     Bedding.

$     Veterinarian.

$     Farrier.

$     Dentist.

$     Manure Removal.

$     Medications & Supplements.

$     Horse/Barn Supplies.

$     Horse Care Staff.

$     Horse Training.

$     Other direct horse-related costs not including overhead or other program costs.

$130283     2017 Total Horse Care Costs

$74455     2017 Total Donated Horse Care Costs

11820     Grand total of the total number of days each equine was in the care of this facility during 2017.

Average cost per day per horse: $11
Question 3 ($130,283 ) divided by Question 4 (11820).

Average length of stay for an equine: 311 days
Question 4 (11820) divided by total of Questions 2a-c (38).

4. Self Assessment

I. Facility & Grounds


Program Use of Horses for Special Needs at this Facility Not Applicable.

V. Instructors/Trainers

This section is required only for organizations that provide equine assisted assisted activities and/or therapies (EAAT) to people with special needs. It is optional but suggested for other organizations and an opportunity to share information about your instructors/trainers with the general public.