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A Very Big Thing for Neglected Animals

Mary’s Farm Sanctuary recently posted a photo on Facebook of their newest adoption, a senior horse that will someday again, be beautiful.

That’s what Mary’s does, it takes in animals that have been neglected and provides them a new lease on life.

The elderly person who owned this horse didn’t intend to malnourish it, they just ran out of the means to be able to provide the care it needed. So now the horse is, quite literally, nothing but skin and bones.

The wonderful thing here though, is we know there will be a happy ending for her. Thanks to Mary’s, she’s on her way to a much healthier future.

Mary’s Farm Sanctuary, near Lone Tree, Iowa, is a little known, magical place with a dozen miniature horses in the corral and more than three dozen other animals roaming around the property.

Photo of two miniature horses grazing in a pasture.
Those mini-horses are just so darned cute! **

As the name implies, Mary’s is a sanctuary for mistreated and unwanted animals. By last count that included nine dogs, 20 cats, two goats and 19 horses (mostly miniatures), donkeys and mules.

What is it about miniature horses that always brings a smile to your face? No matter how bad your mood, as soon as your eyes rest on one of those little critters, you can’t help but grin. No need for pharmaceuticals when you’re around them.

It’s comical seeing Dutch, a massive Belgian draft horse, in the same corral with the miniatures. They could walk under him and he probably wouldn’t even notice they were there.

Photo of man holding little daughter up to pet a large Belgian horse.
Dutch is one big dude. That tail and little bit of horse to the right in the photo is a full grown miniature horse. **

Mary’s is a 501c3, meaning it is officially IRS recognized, can take donations and has a volunteer board of directors. I was there for a recent art fundraiser that was just as much about spreading the word about the sanctuary and its purpose, as it was about the art on display.

Mary charged nothing to the artists on hand and many of the aforementioned directors were giving their time, making everything run smoothly. (If I get my act together this winter and make the time to get back to creating my own art, I may just participate myself if she does it again next year.)

Mary’s isn’t just a place for rescuing neglected animals. She also uses the animals to provide therapy at local care centers, working with seniors and adults with disabilities, as well as with schools, introducing children to the animals.

As if that’s not enough, in 2018, pre-COVID, the farm partnered with local school children to plant vegetables that were later donated to the local senior meals program. It’s also partnered with the Shelter House in Iowa City to collect more than 2,400 pairs of new socks for those in need.

Photo of donkey, with other donkeys and miniature horses in background.
This friendly donkey is among the many animals at Mary's Farm Sanctuary. **

It cost the farm more than $45,000 last year for food, healthcare and services for the animals so if you’d like to buy a t-shirt, make a donation or simply want to check the place out for yourself, you can find it on Facebook. (I have no affiliation with the farm and know no one there personally, just passing on the word.)

Most of us talk about doing something to change things. Mary’s, in its own small way, is doing that and, for animals like the horse they just adopted, that’s a very big thing.

**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address,, or a link back to this page.


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