New Freedom Farm Helps Veterans

Kill pen horses liberate veterans with love
By on August 11, 2016

Lady Liberty, center, was born in March after her mother Mabeline (JC: Murphy's Code) was rescued from the New Holland Auction. Here she nuzzles up to a Marine Corps vet. Photo courtesy Lois Fritz

A kill-pen broodmare and her wry-nosed filly, once destined to die in a foreign slaughterhouse, are now a powerful force for good as they help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury and mental illnesses.

Mabeline (JC: Murphy’s Code), who was heavily pregnant with her new filly Lady Liberty last February when she was plucked from the concrete holding facility at the New Holland Auction, now serves to comfort and steady those visiting veterans who arrive at the New Freedom Farm in Buchanan, Va.

The pair of Thoroughbreds, saved in a massive effort to rescue a pregnant broodmare band from the New Holland Auction, now spends any given day nuzzling veterans, giving new strength to people still fighting their own internal wars.

Murphy’s Code
Sire: Pleasant Tap
Dam: Royals Galore, by Muscovite
Foal date: Jan. 28, 2001
“The reason I wanted to pair horses with veterans, or anybody suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse is because in order to heal, a person first needs to feel present. And in order to be around horses, (and stay safe) you have to be very present at all times,” says Lois Dawn Fritz, a Navy veteran and forensic nurse examiner. Fritz and her husband Mitchell, whom she nicknamed Mr. Budget, recently named their new farm New Freedom in honor of the rescued Thoroughbreds, and opened their doors to those seeking to transport themselves from their cares and worries to a place of peace.

“Two months ago, I had a Marine veteran who literally sat out in a field with them,” Fritz says. “He said after that it felt comfortable and peaceful, and he could tell by looking at them that they’d had a rough life.”

Lady Liberty, a foal who has struggled since she was born to a kill pen mare in March, enjoys a snuggle at New Freedom Farm.

She adds, “I think Mabeline, who wasn’t a successful racehorse, but who was in a high-pressure environment as a broodmare, can relate to a veteran who has had a high-pressure life.”

Mabeline was rescued along with a band of pregnant broodmares in a large-scale effort led by Vermont charity Gerda’s Animal Aid. At the time, the Fritz’s had little interest in taking on the expense and responsibility of a broodmare and foal. But when it appeared the mare had nowhere else to go, they stepped up to face the surprising challenges that soon followed.

Weeks after Mabeline arrived, Fritz’s husband prepared for what turned out to be a hard birth by attending a seminar at a nearby breeding farm. The breeder offered her husband a free seat in the expensive class after learning how the couple had helped the mare in need. And the knowledge gained saved the day when Mabeline started to give birth on March 31, Lois Fritz says.

Lois and Mitchell Fritz of New Freedom Farm pose with Mabeline, a kill pen mare who has become integral in their newly launched program to serve veterans and those with other illness.

“When Mabeline started to deliver Liberty, only one foot came out, and not much else was happening. I ran to the house to get my husband, and he came back with an instructional booklet he received in the course,” she says. “He stood outside the stall while I was inside, and read it to me.” As professional help was en route, Lois Fritz pulled down Liberty’s other leg, and helped her rush feet first into her new life.

But the initial challenges were only beginning.

After it became clear that the filly’s face was a little different, and sported a slightly crooked, or “wry nose,” Lady Liberty’s health took a turn. “She almost seemed to have a case of failure to thrive,” she says, noting that after the filly was transported to veterinarians at Virginia Tech she was treated for pneumonia and impaction.

Since her arrival, Lady Liberty has had her ups and downs with her health. But she grows stronger. And, she has become an integral part of the Fritz family’s burgeoning nonprofit charity, which opens its doors to Veterans Administration patients, and anyone wishing to come meet the horses. “On Friday I had a group of veterans out to the farm from our local VA hospital, and I noticed in particular that they were looking at Liberty and her deformity,” she says. And then they saw past it, to the survivor who offers her muzzle and soft comfort to those hardened and hurt by life.

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Rebuilding After Your Loss | Settlement of Your Insurance Claim

Rebuilding After Your Loss
Settlement of Your Insurance Claim
Written by Tamara Embry of Smith-Embry Insurance Associates, Inc.

image1Once your loss has been reported to your insurance carrier and an adjuster has assessed the damage, an evaluation of your loss will be sent to the carrier for settlement of your claim. Depending upon the number of losses in your geographical area, it may take some time before the adjuster arrives on your premises and before your claims process begins. Do not hesitate to contact your assigned claims adjuster or insurance agent for help in settling your claim or getting an update on the settlement of your claim.

When your loss has been evaluated, you should receive a letter with a copy of the documentation used in the evaluation of your claim. If the damaged structure is insured for replacement cost, you initially will receive a check for the gross loss, less your deductible and less depreciation. The letter should advise the amount of time you have to repair or rebuild the damaged structure for reimbursement of the held-back depreciation. Should the repair or rebuilding take longer than the amount of time provided, contact your assigned claims adjuster as soon as possible to ask for any extension available.

Once the repairs or replacement of the damaged structure has been completed, you must submit repair receipts, invoices, or any other form of documentation to the insurance company to make claim for the held-back depreciation.

If the damaged structure is a total loss, insured for replacement cost and you do not plan to rebuild back to size and/or scope of the original structure, your claim is settled for the gross loss, less your deductible and deprecation, and the insurance carrier will not reimburse the held-back depreciation.

If the damaged structure is insured for actual cash value, the insurance company will settle your claim for actual cash value less depreciation, and you cannot make claim to the depreciation once repairs or replacement have been completed. Actual cash value is defined as the smallest of 1) the cost to repair or replace the property with materials of like kind and quality to the extent practical or 2) the actual cash value of the property at the time of the loss with the exception of mobile homes insured for actual cash value which also include 3) the difference in the actual cash value just before the loss and the actual cash value just after the loss.

Whether you have structures requiring repair or replacement, or whether they are insured for replacement cost or actual cash value, your claims adjuster should provide you with any information requested and help in settling your claim. Although your insurance agent is not directly involved in the claims settlement process, you should feel free to contact him or her for any assistance you feel is needed.

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Rebuilding After Your Loss | Making Sure You Have the Correct Coverage

Rebuilding After Your Loss

Making Sure You Have the Correct Coverage
Written by Tamara Embry of Smith-Embry Insurance Associates, Inc.

image2Having proper insurance coverage is essential and some people find out after it’s too late, they were not properly insured. If you own a farm, it is important to be sure you have a Farmowner’s policy and not a Homeowner’s policy. A Homeowner’s policy will provide coverage for your dwelling, but may not provide coverage for your farm structures or equipment. You should have your agent explain your insurance in detail.

With a Homeowner’s policy, your agent may advise your farm structures, i.e., barn, storage building, run-ins, are insured as “appurtenant structures” to the dwelling. However, if you use those structures for livestock or farm equipment, they are no longer considered appurtenant to your dwelling. Appurtenant structures are usually detached garages or sheds but may not fall under the definition of appurtenant structures if they house any equipment related to your “farm”. The limit for “appurtenant structures”, which is usually 10% of the insured limit on your dwelling, may not be enough to fully replace your farm structures.

A Farmowner’s policy will provide coverage for your dwelling, farm structures, fencing and farm equipment as long as they are scheduled on the policy. This type of policy provides the best coverage for someone owning a farm. It can also include commercial liability for any of your commercial operations such as horse boarding, training, lessons or livestock sales. A Homeowner’s policy will only provide your premises and personal liability.

Next, be sure your policy provides replacement cost of your dwelling and farm structures rather than actual cash value. Most insurance carriers have an 80% co-insurance clause, meaning the structure(s) must be insured within 80% of the replacement cost at the time of the loss for the policy to provide full replacement cost. Your agent should run new replacement cost estimates every two years at the minimum, to be sure you are insured properly. Some carriers will increase the insured limit of your structures at renewal each year as an inflation guard.

Farm equipment, if scheduled on your policy, will only be covered for actual cash image1value so be sure to have your agent look at the depreciation at renewal each year. For farm items valued at $2,500 or less, you can “bundle” as unscheduled farm personal property, such as tack and grooming equipment or small tools & supplies for a total insured limit.

Your agent should be happy to explain your coverage in detail to you and answer any questions you have. If you don’t feel satisfied with any of the information provided by your agent, you can always contact another agency to review your policy and advise whether you are covered properly. You should always feel confident you are insured properly!

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Rebuilding After Your Loss | Taking the Necessary Steps

Written by Tamara Embry of Smith-Embry Insurance Associates, Inc.

Any type of property loss can be devastating. The last thing you need to worry about is reporting the claim to your insurance carrier and the next steps to take. Can you even find your insurance carrier’s phone number? Your insurance documents may have been lost in the event causing your loss. If you cannot find a phone number to contact your insurance carrier directly, call your insurance agent to report the claim on your behalf.

It IS extremely important you contact your insurance carrier’s claims department or your insurance agent as quickly as possible. The sooner you report your claim, the sooner the insurance carrier can have an adjuster on your property to assess your loss and begin the claims process. The adjuster is there to help you so be sure to provide them with as much information as possible.

se pic 2The next step, after contacting your insurance carrier or agent, is take necessary steps to prevent further damage to your property. If you have lost a portion of a structure’s roof, you should cover the open area with tarp or some other material to prevent damage to the interior of the structure. You may want to move any property from within the structure to another location to prevent damage from the elements.

You should contact at least two contractors or builders to get estimates for the cost to repair or rebuild the structures that have been damaged or destroyed. If the devastation is widespread in your area, be patient in getting quotes as it could take some time to get a contractor on your property.

Your insurance policy should provide coverage for your temporary stay in a hotel or for an apartment rental if your house is inhabitable. Be sure to keep receipts for the stay in a hotel or apartment, and your meals if staying in a hotel. The “loss of use” on your dwelling coverage should reimburse you for these expenses. se pic

Some policies may provide “loss of use”, “business expense” or “extra expense” on your farm structures. If your policy provides this coverage, you have a commercial operation and must rent stalls at another location for the boarding of horses, owned & non-owned, your insurance carrier should reimburse you for those rental expenses.

Finally, if you need assistance in the handling of your claim, your insurance agent should be able to provide you help. Although your agent is not directly involved in the handling and settlement of your claim, they should still be able to provide assistance in the claims process.

See our Ad in the Texas Horseman magazine



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Congratulations to the Abernathy Family!

BH Opening Statement (x Nordic Britanna by Thee Desperado), was featured on the cover of Modern Arabian Horse magazine, published by Arabian Horse Association!

With Opening Statement stands Jacklyn Abernathy who was awarded AHA Youth of the Year. Jacklyn is the daughter of Jeanne Brooks Abernathy of Brookhill Farm. We are always so excited to see how the legacy of Mishaal lives on through his babies.

Congratulations on your award, Jacklyn Abernathy!


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In early May 2015, I received an email from Cindy Sturgill, a student attending the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program. She had been on an equine field trip the previous weekend with a graduate student of the Equine Program who had worked at Smith-Embry Insurance Associates while attending U of L. Cindy shared with me that she got into the Equine Program due to her love of horses and her desire to be involved in media in the horse industry. During our conversation we came around to talking about the Arabian Horse and I found out her father had been in the Arabian Horse business more than 35 years ago and she remembered attending many horse shows as a young girl. I told her about the upcoming Egyptian Event and gave her the dates. I invited her to join me if her schedule permitted and suggested coming on Thursday for the barn parties where she could get up close to some of the most beautiful horses in the world. I didn’t hear from Cindy until that day when she texted me that she was on her way to Lexington.

SturgilC PicI had not met Cindy in person, but when we found each other that afternoon, she was visibly shaken by the experience of seeing the beautiful Egyptian Arabians entering the ring for the class and watching them show brought tears to her eyes and many wonderful memories. During the day and the barn parties, I was able to introduce her to Anna Bishop, as well as many of my friends and clients. Cindy was able to nuzzle up to some wonderful horses and take numerous photographs.

When she got ready to leave, her only disappointment was that she already had plans for Saturday and couldn’t make it back to Lexington for the Finals. Well, she worked through those plans and came back for the Finals on Saturday evening.

Her heartfelt thank you for my impromptu invitation and her “Reflection” on the experience is being shared with you in her article which will appear in the near future in the University of Louisville newsletter “Hoofprints”. We just never know how people will enter our lives nor how sharing an experience with Egyptian Arabian Horses can make an impact or stir up a love they have never let go. I hope you enjoy her article.

Read Reflections by Cindy Sturgill

Cindy is a Junior in the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville. As Editor-in-Chief of their newsletter, “Hoofprints,” she is hoping to enlighten students and their readers on the beauty, majesty, and versatility of the Arabian breed, as well as many of the other breeds with which the Equine Industry is privileged to love and admire.

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What is Vesticular Stomatitis?

What is Vesticular Stomatitis?

Vesicular Stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, swine and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can also become infected with vesicular stomatitis when handling affected animals.

Vesicular stomatitis is most likely to occur during warm months in the Southwest, particularly along riverways and in valleys. The Southwestern United States experienced a vesicular stomatitis outbreak from May 1998 through January 1999. It is essential that veterinarians and livestock owners be on the alert for animals displaying clinical signs characteristic of the disease.

In affected livestock, vesicular stomatitis causes blisterlike lesions to form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals generally refuse to eat or drink and show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss usually follows, and in dairy cows, a severe drop in milk production commonly occurs. Affected dairy cattle can appear to be normal and will continue to eat about half of their feed intake.


Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in North and South America. It is known to be an endemic disease in the warmer regions of the Western Hemisphere, but outbreaks of the disease occasionally occur in temperate geographic areas.

How vesicular stomatitis spreads is not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are probably responsible. One type of vesicular stomatitis virus is known to be spread by phlebotomine sandflies. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions.

Humans can contract vesicular stomatitis when handling affected animals if proper biosecurity methods are not followed. Prevalence of this disease in humans may be underreported because it may often go undetected or be misdiagnosed. In people, vesicular stomatitis causes an acute influenza-like illness with symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache, and malaise.

Why is it so important to promptly recognize animals with vesicular stomatitis?

We live in an area where this disease has often been seen in past years, and in fact Fort Collins was the epicenter of the last U.S. outbreak in 1998. Thus, we have an increased risk of seeing cases in Colorado this year as cases have recently been confirmed in horse premises in Texas and New Mexico. Vesicular stomatitis is recognized internationally as a reportable disease, which means that there are serious economic and regulatory repercussions associated with the diagnosis, and several countries have already taken action to block movement of U.S. horses as a result of the TX and NM cases. If a VS case were diagnosed at the VTH and it appeared that transmission might have occurred within the VTH then we could be quarantined for several months. In 1998, the average duration of quarantine of affected premises was 120 days, and it was generally longer at large operations! Be on the look out for recent horse events.

While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly significant disease because its outward signs are similar to (although generally less severe than) those of foot-and-mouth disease, a foreign animal disease of cloven-hoofed animals that was eradicated from the United States in 1929. The clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis are also similar to those of swine vesicular disease, another foreign animal disease. The only way to tell these diseases apart is through laboratory tests. Horse owners can also receive other treatments.

What are clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis?

In affected livestock, the incubation period for vesicular stomatitis ranges from 2 to 8 days. Often, excessive salivation is the first sign. Body temperature may rise immediately before or at the same time lesions first appear. Initially, close examination of the mouth reveals blanched and raised vesicles. If there are no complications such as secondary infections, then affected animals recover in about 2 weeks. Vesicular stomatitis does not generally cause animals to die.

Clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis and other vesicular diseases include:

Excessive salivation

Blanched raised or broken vesicles of various sizes in the mouth:

Horses: upper surface of the tongue, surface of the lips and around nostrils, corners of the mouth and the gums.

Cattle: tongue, lips, gums, hard palate, and sometimes muzzle and around the nostrils

Pigs: snout.

Lesions involving feet of horses and cattle are not exceptional.

Teat lesions occur in dairy herds.

Foot lesions and lameness are frequent in pigs.

Recovery in around 2 weeks.

Complication: loss of production and mastitis in dairy herds due to secondary infections, lameness in horses. Erosions and exudate in the nares. Cow drooling because of mouth lesions.

Erosions – ruptured vesicles – of the gingiva. Erosions on a teat. Erosions and dried exudate on the coronary band and heal.

Hyperemia and beginning erosions on the coronary bands.

Erosions – ruptured vesicles – on the tongue. Vesicles on the tongue.

The above pictures were obtained from:

What can we do to protect our animals?

There is no specific treatment or cure for vesicular stomatitis. Owners can protect their animals from this disease by avoiding congregation of animals in the vicinity where vesicular stomatitis has occurred. Mild antiseptic mouthwashes may bring comfort and more rapid recovery to an affected animal. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection until it dies out of its own accord.

In order to protect our hospital and our patients, we will include appropriate questions related to vesicular stomatitis when taking all patient histories, and we will purposefully look for characteristic lesions when performing admission examinations for all susceptible patients. We will also ask the owners of susceptible animals to have their animal examined by a referring veterinarian for the presence of characteristic lesions within 48 hours before arriving at the hospital.

When a definite diagnosis of vesicular stomatitis is made on a farm, the following procedures are recommended:

Immediately contact your local veterinarian or State or Federal animal health authorities.

Separate animals with lesions from healthy animals, preferably by stabling. Animals on pastures apparently are affected more frequently with this disease.

As a precautionary measure, do not move animals from premises affected by vesicular stomatitis—unless they are going directly to slaughter—for at least 30 days after the last lesion found has healed.

Implement on-farm insect control programs that include the elimination or reduction of insect breeding areas and the use of insecticide sprays or insecticide treated eartags on animals.

Use protective measures when handling affected animals to avoid human exposure to this disease.

Additional information:

To see more pictures of what these lesions might look like, please visit the following site:

Additional information can be obtained from the following web pages:

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