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Seeking a new home for West Newbury horse rescue

Mary Martin heads up New England Equine Rescues in West Newbury. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

For more than a decade, Mary Martin has been rescuing horses that have been surrendered by their owners, are neglected, abused, or headed for slaughter.

Her ultimate goal is to find new, loving homes for the horses.

Now, the founder and president of New England Equine Rescue-North has an added mission: finding a new home.

Martin (below) said the 58-acre former sheep farm on River Road in West Newbury — a portion of which the rescue organization has rented since 2010 — will soon be up for sale.

The property, which includes a house and a barn, needs a lot of repairs, Martin said. “It’s to the point it is going to be dangerous for the horses. And I will not invest in something that is for sale.”


Martin, of Groveland, wants to stay in the area, and not just because she works at the farm six days a week (this is the first year she has taken Sundays off) and is on call 24/7. A network of volunteers, veterinarians, and people who offer services has built up around the location.

“It is very rewarding, but this year has been tough,” Martin said. “The demand is crazy. I am turning away at least two horses a week.”

There are currently 12 equines — she also rescues donkeys, mules, and ponies — at the farm.

“I am very careful not to overextend,” she said. “But it’s frustrating because I want to help them all.”

Martin also helps horse owners in a tight spot with a fund to help them buy hay and feed.

The rescue organization depends on donations and holds several events a year. Its annual major fund-raiser is an auction, which this year takes place Friday at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield.

“For a little place, we do a lot on a tight budget,” Martin said. “ I guess I have a good knack for making it work.”

The fifth annual silent auction is 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the estate, in Bradley Palmer State Park. Tickets are $50. Visit


Wendy Killeen can be reached at