WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

After Therapeutic Horses Slashed, Nonprofit Looks For Answers

 
One of the Spirit Open horses that was slashed by an unknown attacker. Spirit Open uses horses as therapy for people with disabilities.
 
Elliot Francis
  One of the Spirit Open horses that was slashed by an unknown attacker. Spirit Open uses horses as therapy for people with disabilities.  

Veterinarians in Virginia are treating 3 horses who were slashed by an unknown attacker last week. The animals are recovering well, but the manager of the stable where the horses are kept is speaking out.

The Sprit Open Equestrian program is a nonprofit that provides therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults who suffer from a wide range of disabilities. It was in this bucolic setting, just off Centerville Road in Herndon, where someone for some unknown reason entered and attacked three of the horses here -- slashing them with a knife or box cutter. 

Program founder Davorka Suvak learned of the attacks early one morning last week. 

"Our volunteer care giver gives me a call and I couldn't believe what he was saying," she says. "So he had to send me a photo to prove what was going on here. Then everything was a nightmare after that." 

Three horses -- Sprit, a white pony mare; Lucinda, a golden 13-year-old Haflinger pony; and Tessa, a chestnut brown large thoroughbred -- were found slashed. Some of the wounds were as long as six inches. 

The ponies are sweet and trusting, but Suvak says, based on the location of the wounds, she thinks Tessa, the big thoroughbred, fought back.

"When she felt that fear, she acted like an alpha mare in the wild," Suvak says. "She must have turned her back and started kicking at whoever it was."

Suvak, who emigrated to the U.S. from Croatia 7 years ago, says she has no idea who would do this, and investigators have found no suspects. 

For now, the veterinarian who treated the trio says the horses are doing well thanks to an unidentified good Samaritan who paid for the initial medical care. Suvak hopes others will step forward to help the horses -- the way they have helped so many disabled people over the past few years.

NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
WAMU 88.5

Europe's Ongoing Migrant And Refugee Crisis And The Future Of Open Borders

The Austria-Hungary border has become the latest pressure point in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. An update on the huge influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa and the future of open borders within the E.U.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: How to Build Smarter Transportation And More Livable Cities

A new report says the traffic in the U.S. is the worst it has been in years. Yet, some urban transportation experts say there's reason to be optimistic. They point to revitalized city centers, emerging technology and the investment in alternative methods of transportation. A conversation about how we get around today, and might get around tomorrow.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.