In February 2012, I was contacted by a friend of 20+ years (Dan Lake) that was dying of kidney failure that needed to disperse his 16 Thoroughbreds within a very short timeframe per a court order issued by the township. I had lost my own horse barn in a fire the previous fall, was presently jumping through all the required red hoops with my own local township zoning boards & ordinances in order to get my new horse barn built & get my own 16 horses returned to my farm, yet I put a great deal of time & energy into phone calls & emails in order to help my friend & his horses. Because of his health, Dan Lake requested that all conversations regarding the horses go through me. I quickly worked at finding new homes for the horses, however, I quickly realized that I couldn’t get all of the horses placed into new homes within the 30 day deadline established by the court order by his township. I contacted Day Dreams Farm and CANTER which were the first two (2) horse rescue organizations listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book. (What a mistake). Day Dreams Farms also contacted Jodi Louth of the Michigan Horse Coalition, and it became a MAJOR cluster f**k. Day Dreams Farm sent a representative by the name of Jacquelynn Grassi and her boyfriend, Pat up to meet with me and my friend, Dan Lake. Ms. Grassi returned to Lisa Ponke, the owner of Day Dreams Farm and reported that horses were suffering from face paralysis, bones sticking out of their hooves, and cushing disease. Without even a vet looking at the horses to confirm this young person’s opinion, these statements were taken as gospel. I mistakenly believed that the rescue group would work WITH me to help get the horses off the farm temporarily into farms (like CANTER does) while continuing to find permanent homes that would ultimately pay for these horses which would help the owner pay his existing medical bills. That was not to happen. Instead, I was steamrolled over. Dan specifically requested that I conduct all of the paperwork on all of the horses with the Jockey Club since I was on record as the registered agent. I had agreed to take the owner’s stallion, honoring his breeding contracts for the 2012 & 2013 breeding years on his behalf, continue to advertise the stallion & stand the stallion on Dan’s behalf. In addition, I agreed to take Dan’s 6 unbroke & unregistered yearlings, register them with the Jockey Club in Dan’s name, break them to saddle, starting gate & have them race track broke on Dan’s behalf. I found homes for several other horses including 2 older mares with a friend of mine that had recently moved to Kentucky & was opening a facility with inner city kids. I agreed to pay for the health certificates & coggins testing for the 2 mares, & she agreed to pick them up & transport them. The coalition & Day Dreams Farm convinced Dan that these horses were better off with them, especially since my friend in Kentucky might actually be sending them for slaughter. Jacquelynn Grassi also made numerous remarks on Facebook concerning the condition of the facility & the horses, including the lack of grain &/or hay, the inability to get into the farm via the driveway with their 4 wheel drive truck (even though Dan drove a little car in there 2x a day every day). Statements were also made concerning the fact that 4 mares were pregnant & if they weren’t removed immediately they were convinced they would deliver their foals on the trailer leaving the farm. (Seems to me the none of the mares delivered for several weeks) When disagreements arose, I contacted Dan & pointed out that the 3 horses that were sired by my own 2 stallions that were already picked up by Day Dreams Farm were actually owned by me as I had purchased them for him years previously through a Kent County Court Order. Dan called me back the next day & said the Day Dreams Farm’s Lisa Ponke drove back up to his farm in the middle of the week to take him to lunch & convinced him to sign those 3 particular horses over to her. I sent emails to both Jacquelynn Grassi and Lisa Ponke advising them that those three (3) horses that were previously picked up legally belonged to me. Not only did I receive nasty emails from Jodi Louth of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition, and Lisa Ponke of Day Dreams Farm, but the worst emails were from Jacquelyn Grassi. She proceeded to call me “a deranged crackwhore, batshit crazy, a whackjob psychopath on prozac that can go fuck herself & even threatened with a 12 gauge & stated “I’ll fucking kill you”. For a professional organization, this was anything but professional. At that point, I threw up my hands & walked away. I sacrificed a great deal of time & energy & run a successful business and been a successful horsewoman for over 30 years. Then when some one defended me, SHE was called my alter ego. And THEY called ME crazy?! Those three horses – Christian Life, Hexagram & Impractical – were kept by those representatives of Day Dreams Farm or they were sold for money. They also admitted that this was the biggest rescue that they ever did. They used it to ask for more & more donations. Lisa Ponke also sent Impractical out for training even though she admitted that Impractical was to be kept as her own personal horse. She also solicited donations for her surgery. They were called the Newaygo 23. Yet not all of those 23 horse were allowed for adoption. None of the those 23 horses were transferred with paperwork to the new owners.
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