Merlin, a 33-year-old American Paint horse, was brought to Nevins Farm in December 2021 after a MSPCA law enforcement officer found him in poor health on a Martha's Vineyard property. Merlin was underweight and had poorly maintained teeth, some of which were fractured and had to be extracted.
"When Merlin came to us, he weighed just 850 pounds, which may sound like a lot but it’s very underweight for a horse of his size," said Rachel Diersen, Equine and Farm Animal Supervisor at Nevins Farm. "The issues with his mouth were so bad that he couldn’t even eat solid food, so we had to put him on a special diet."
Nevins Farm staff nursed Merlin back to health, and today the horse weighs close to 1,100 pounds.
"He's really made remarkable strides over the past 11 months," said Diersen.
Merlin's owner, Laura Bernard-Maciel, was charged with felony animal cruelty and ordered to pay for the costs of his care for the duration of the case. The MSPCA was granted full custody of Merlin on Nov. 7 after Bernard-Maciel chose not to pay the ordered amount, allowing the MSPCA to seek a forever home for him.
"Merlin will be the oldest horse we’ve placed in recent memory, and he’s very special," said Diersen. "We’re highly motivated to rehome him now that we have custody, because he’s responded so well to treatment and has such a wonderful personality, and we’re hoping to enlist the help of the public to find this older gentleman an awesome retirement home. We’re looking for adopters who understand how to care for senior horses and the extra management they require. His days of enjoying rides with humans may be over, but he will still be a great companion in the right home."
Anyone interested in adopting Merlin can apply here.