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Meet Bruce,
aka The Big Friendly Gelding!

Once again, we have partnered with Central Virginia Horse Rescue to bring a new resident into the sanctuary! He joins other CVHR alum Jonas and Zoe! Bruce is one big guy, standing over 17 hands tall. He is approximately 18 years old and what is commonly called an Appalachian Warmblood, or a grade horse. He likely has some combination of standardbred and draft horse lineage. 

Bruce came from CVHR as an emaciated Animal Control Officer pick up. Once he was healthy enough for travel, he came to live with us at the sanctuary. Bruce struggles with a condition known as EOTRH, which short for Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis which  is a painful, progressive equine dental condition. He has already had several surgical extractions of lower incisors and is monitored every 6 months by his dental care team.

Bruce has also battled with a case of a hoof abcess which invaded his pedal bone. The potentially life threatening infection took over one year to battle with round the clock care, specialized bandaging and booting, massive amounts of hoof bandage materials, multiple specialty visits from the veterinarian and farrier and 2 rounds of super heavy duty antibiotic treatment. Bruce is stil rebuilding hoof and soundness and will continue to have his hooves carefully monitored. Your support helps horses like Bruce get all of the care they need in order to live a happy, healthy, comfortable life here at the sanctuary!



christmas conspiracy aka Abby (aka boo)

Hey! My Name is Abby and I am a beautiful grey snowflake appaloosa pony mare. I was bred, raised and started as a riding pony in Pennsylvania. When I experienced a common issue for ponies, called acute laminitis, my family could not afford proper treatment and ongoing care so they consigned me to the New Holland Auction with a tag affixed to my halter stating my name, breed and date of birth. It was a confusing situation to be in and soon I found myself with a kid on my back and my photo plastered on the internet!

As this was unfolding, one of the wonderful volunteers, Taylor, had been hoping to find a pony to help bring to the farm to help round out the pony programs. Our director, Tara, was watching the auctions each week to see if something fit. When she saw my photos, she knew I belonged at The Big Purple Barn! Lucky for me, because I was in the kill buyer’s lot and would have shipped to another auction or on to slaughter in Canada.

With an entire team of helpful conspirators, I was picked up and transported to my quarantine home at Statesman Farm where I got evaluated by the vet and farrier. I indeed had laminitic damage that the farrier began working on and I was given my shots and started on the road to recovery. I was super quiet, even around the farm stallions, gentle with kids and generally a great pony! I was a big secret and just before Christmas in 2012, I was brought to the farm and revealed to Taylor who was super excited to meet me.

I am definitely a sassy pants, just like my fellow appaloosa cohort, Cyd. I can’t be told, I must be asked and I am sure on most days I am the smartest one here. My kryptonite is cookies and so I can be bribed! I am a solid citizen in the lesson program, learning and contributing more every day. I am a fancy show pony with tons of potential and because of my fearless nature, love of food and need to be adored, I have worked well in the programs for special needs visitors and outreach!

My laminitis is now chronic (I have EMS) and I will require a special diet and monitoring for the remainder of my life along with watching my weight and proper foot care. I get all it all right here and look forward to all my future adventures!


Thank you Harvey Family for being #teamabby

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beudasious kiss me quick aka Bodi

Hiiiiiiii!!!!! I am Bodi, the baby of the herd! I was born to mama Maggie just before being consigned to auction. It was really dirty in the auction and my mom was tied up and worried if I wandered too far. It was very easy to get lost, but some nice people were watching over us. My mom and I made it to safety and then to our permanent home at The Big Purple Barn in June of 2015 thanks to the Nadler family. My life has been a whirlwind of fun, excitement and learning. They let me do SOOOO much here. I was gelded in the spring of 2017 and it is now time for me to join the big horses so they can help me learn more about herd behavior and how to be a well behaved miniature horse.

I am super smart and really learning all kinds of new things, including how to pull a cart! I am eager to get to the point where I can teach driving and maybe, like my mom, I can learn to carry small riders one day and help introduce kids to the amazing things we do here! 


They say I will be in the outreach program one day and hopefully I will be able to work with our special needs clients as well. I have already been a unicorn at our annual festival and gone to some horse shows for experience! I am very outgoing and curious and my life is all ahead of me thanks to the wonderful people who helped me get here so I wouldn’t ever know suffering, abuse or neglect. Since miniature horses can live into their 40s, The Big Purple Barn has really taken on a lifetime commitment with me and they could use some help along the way.

Please join Allison W. and Paul N. and be a part of #teambodi

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Quiet Riot aka Jonas

Hello, my name is Jonas. I came through an auction in North Carolina in 2018 and found myself at the Central Virginia Horse Rescue. When I came through the auction, my mane was shaved and I had the nails from my road shoes still in my hooves. I was an Amish cart pony. I was also a bit wild when I found some female friends at CVHR! The BPB people saw me and scooped me up to join their pony team. I live with my pony buddies in the pony field and love my life now.

I had a secret though. I had been in a cart wreck where the cart I was pulling flipped over. It injured my shoulder and hip and scared me a lot. I was a working pony and so I am still learning that life is easy here and people are kind. The volunteers here have spent a lot of time rehabilitating both my injuries and my spirit. I am willing and kind and I genuinely like kids, but I worry easily and that is something I am working on. I have really enjoyed stepping into my role as a unicorn and helping out with activities and events. I am slowly learning to settle down under saddle so I can help Pudge introduce small children to riding. Again, it is something I am working on and they never push me or make more do things that scare me or make me uncomfortable. I need a gentle hand and a kind heart to help me along the way!


Please join #teamjonas today!


Statesman Summer Song aka Summer

Hello, my name is Summer! I was bred by the late Morgan Hall of Fame Breeder, Lynne V. Shpak and was born at Statesman Farm in the Summer of 2009. When Lynne passed away in 2014, I went to East West Morgans in Georgia to have my foal, a beautiful chestnut colt who was born in 2015. After my foal was weaned, I was turned out at the farm before being purchased and moving to Virginia in 2016. During my entire life, I had never really done anything aside from travel around and have one foal. While in Virginia, I found myself back together with some of my original friends from my home at Statesman, but we were not cared for well.

In 2018, my group was in pretty serious need and a call was placed the the Equine Rescue League to see if they could help. Knowing that Lynne had been a huge mentor and advocate for The Big Purple Barn, they called to see if they could help! And help they did! 

I was picked up in June of 2018 and headed straight the The Big Purple Barn. I was a body condition score of 1.5 on a scale of 1-8. I needed several hundred pounds of weight, farrier care and veterinary supervision! But they provided it ALL! Horses that are starved can develop re-feeding syndrome so putting weight on me was a slow steady process that took months! 

After my initial rehabilitation, I was finally able to move into the mare field and become best friends with Jewel! She has really helped me be brave and grow here. I was introduced to saddle work slowly and I have been able to help with the lesson program! I am super sweet and friendly and love meeting new people so outreach events are a favorite activity of mine! I continue to grow into my work here at the sanctuary and I love representing the Morgan horse breed. My fellow barn mate, Statesman Jadorr, aka Suzie, made her way here a year after me and so we keep the Statesman legacy alive!


Join Taylor G. on #teamsummer


arkenstone aka JEWEL

Hi! My name is Jewel and I am the wonderful one eared Marelet! I am keeping my past a secret, so my story begins at the New Holland Auction in 2012 where I was purchased by a kill buyer and destined to be shipped to Canada for slaughter. As a young horse of only a year, unhandled and missing an ear, my plight tugged at the heartstrings of internet warriors that paid my bail and saved me from shipping! I was moved to a quarantine facility, but the internet lost interest in me. Except that I was unaware that The Big Purple Barn was tracking my safety.

They tried contacting everyone they could to take me in, but after months of no progress, it became evident to them that I belonged there. Just before my move from Pennsylvania to my temporary home in Maryland (which would allow me to acclimate and gain much needed weight) I got my curious head stuck in a fence and looked like I went several rounds with a prize fighter. Along with abrasions, I damaged a cranial nerve which left my face partially paralyzed. My quarantine foster was worried that I wouldn’t be welcomed at the farm, but didn’t realize how awesome The Big Purple Barn is! I got a top class ride in an equine ambulance to watch me on the long trip and stepped off of the trailer and into my new life on April 20, 2013. Once I arrived, I got cleaned up and showered with food, love and care! My teeth were so bad, the dentist insisted I was much older. Turns out, he was wrong. 6 months later I started shedding all of my baby teeth! Just a few weeks of care turned me into a totally different animal and after five months, I was ready to move to the farm and become part of the herd!

My initial integration was difficult. I had little social skills and my missing ear made effective communication difficult. I was also very bratty and full of spunk which irritated my older herd mates. As the years progress, I have learned to communicate better and have made more friends.   I LOVE people and I am first to the fence to greet visitors. I will happily involve myself in your selfies and enjoy being an overall busybody.

If you can, please give me scratches on my neck because I love them! I recently entered the lesson program and I am so excited to work with new people and teach them how to love horses and ride!

I am looking for my own #teamjewel


maggie maywho (steel magnolia's dolly pardon me) aka maggie

Hi! My name is Maggie. I am a pinto Miniature Horse.  In 2015 I found myself and my newborn foal at a large auction. It was very stressful for us both and the conditions were filthy. Each year, I carried a baby for my owners and didn’t understand why I was put into the dirty, chaotic environment of the auction. Luckily, The Big Purple Barn was watching and with some help, they got me and my son to safety! We stayed for two weeks at Charming Acres in Pennsylvania, so my foal could gain the strength he needed for the long trip to Maryland.

We arrived at the Big Purple Barn in June of 2015 and I have since weaned my last foal. I didn’t really know what to do with myself after Bodi was weaned and I wasn’t bred back again. It has been an adventure so far and I am leaning lots of new things! I was REALLY good at being a mom, but they told me the time has come to be an independent woman. I LOVE meeting new people and representing the barn and my breed at horse shows, outreach events and here on the farm. I am quiet and confident and love to help people discover horses! I am also the designated caregiver for new arrivals to the farm. I help our new, anxious residents settle in and show them the ropes. I am kind of sage around here, knowing what help is needed for humans and animals alike!


In 2018, I sustained a traumatic injury to my right eye and despite treatment, it died and had to be removed, but I have adjusted well to having just one eye. Now Jewel is the one eared horse and I am the one eyed mini! My hearing compensates for my lack of vision on the right side.


Please join  Dawn F. on #teammaggie


the doofenschmirtz (miles to go) aka Miles

Well hello! My name is Miles and I am the jester around here. I am just an all-around awesome appendix quarter horse gelding if you ask me. They think I was born in Canada as part of the nurse mare industry. When I was born, I was taken away from my mother so she could be sent to nurse a high dollar foal. I don’t remember much about my time as a foal, but they think I was taken in by one of the groups that helps nurse mare foals find homes. I made it from Canada to a farm in Virginia that was trying to help foals like me, but in reality, they had too many of us. While I survived, I wasn’t thriving. The Equine Rescue League stepped up to try to help and take several of us to safety. I was pretty emaciated and small and had a large lump on my nose from where the halter grew into my face. I still have a lump on my profile, but everyone tells me I am handsome! The ERL helped get me strong and on the road to recovery and then found out they were being forced off of their 60 acre farm so a landfill could take over. They purchased a smaller farm in Virginia and knew they needed to find a place for me as I started to grow like a weed! They asked The Big Purple Barn, but at the time, they were full and couldn’t take me. When a spot opened up, the ERL took up a collection and delivered me with everything I needed to start my new life!

I joined the herd in 2006 and have loved it here! I am super smart and silly and a favorite of visitors and volunteers. I participate in lessons, work with our special needs students and even compete in English AND now western! I learned trick training and can do LOTS of fun things for a treat. I love meeting new people and I am often at the fence to greet visitors. Along with Gus, I am definitely the prankster around here and watch out for my kisses because I LOVE to give them!

I am considered an adult horse and so far, I am healthy as a horse! Hahahaha. I currently have no issues to contend with and show no long term effects from my tough start. I am looking forward to a long, happy life at The Big Purple Barn!

I am looking for my own #teammiles


Interstellar aka Sophia

Hi! My name is Sophia and I joined the herd in 2018. I am a sensitive Morgan/Arabian cross mare, also known as a Morab. I was part of a humane investigation seizure in Virginia when I came to the Equine Rescue League with a colt. We were starved and needed lots of care. I was able to get healthy and get started in my training with the wonderful volunteers and a sponsor at the ERL before coming here to my forever home at The Big Purple Barn. I am learning all kinds of things I never knew before and contributing to the riding lesson and visitation programs! I enjoy attention and SO MANY SCRATCHES! I have way more to learn and contribute and my life here is really just beginning.

I do have a club foot that I was born with that requires some special farrier care and it caused my other front hoof to turn outward to help me move comfortably. That does NOT stop me from being AWESOME! I am told I am super comfortable to ride and I am even teaching kids to trot because my gaits are so smooth. I also have lots of allergies. When I came here, it was after the loss of a very special Arabian horse named Nova (Champagne Supernova). She was also itchy and had issues with allergies so they are well versed in taking care of me. My name, Interstellar, is a tribute to her.

I have lots of love to give and they tell me all of the time how awesome I am and how they can't wait to see all that I can do! You can join my team and sponsor me!


Please join  The Gingerbread House Zoo on #teamsophia


all shook up aka presley (as in elvis)

Hey there pretty lady, or gent! Allow me to introduce myself as Presley. I am the smallest resident here and if you look closely, I am almost TWO minis in one! Facing left, you will see my brown eyed business side. Facing right, you will see my blue eyed party side and my unique ink blot marking. Some see a horse, others a dragon, and some see the state of Louisiana! What do you see? I spent my early life in a field as a breeding stallion for miniature horses. I was consigned to auction when my services weren’t needed anymore and I was rescued by Charming Acres in Pennsylvania. They took me in, fixed me up and gelded me in hopes of finding me a new home. I showed them how adaptable and trustworthy I was, but due to my small size, nobody seemed interested in me. That is when they contacted The Big Purple Barn to see if they would want to add me to their programs when they came to pick up Bodi and Maggie.

At first I heard they were unsure, but when they saw me, they shuffled me right on to the trailer and took me home! I immediately made it evident how easy going I was and became an almost instantaneous member of the outreach team! I love going to outreach events and I am pretty well on my way to being a therapy mini. I travel easily and love meeting new people. Things like wheelchairs and walkers don't bother me a bit.

I have some of the characteristics of achondroplaysia dwarfism. I was scoped and evaluated by our veterinary team and it was discovered that I have a partially collapsed trachea. The surgical repairs necessary would be astronomical and so I have been completely retired from anything but therapy work, which only requires me to be still and be loved. I get an albuterol inhaler 2 times a day to help keep my airway clear and comfortable. 


I am looking for my own #teampresley



sterling cascades aka Pudge

Hi there, they call me Pudge and I am the mini Aspen. I may not look it now, but when I first arrived, I was rather portly and a short stay at a fellow horsewoman’s barn left me even heavier because she didn’t watch how much I ate! I started out at The Equine Rescue League when my owners had to surrender me. I was a pretty educated pony and knew how to be ridden and driven. I am a grey half miniature horse, half Shetland pony. Alongside Ernie, I spent many years doing outreach for the ERL and doing pony rides, lessons and even a few horse shows! My outgoing personality, cute unicorn looks and good temperament made me a great ambassador for the farm.

In 2007, The Big Purple Barn was looking for a pony to help Taz with all of the small children that requested programs at the farm. Since the ERL was downsizing to a new property, they were looking to place ponies like myself and sent me, along with Ernie, to live here. Once I officially entered the herd, they took time to trim me down with diet and exercise and get me back in shape. I quickly became part of the riding program as well as attending outreach events. While not as good under saddle as Taz, I am great at outreach and was able to help take some of the burden off of his schedule. I am flashy and bright when clean and have done very well at local competitions with our students. I look forward to many more years actively participating in our programs.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a common disease in ponies, chronic laminitis, also called Equine Metabolic Syndrome. This disease makes me particularly sensitive to metabolizing sugars and if I get a sugar or starch overload, it cascades into an emergency in my feet. (Please see additional posted information) My condition is chronic and can be life threatening. I require vigilant oversight of my diet, special feed and I must be kept at a lean weight to ease the burden on my feet and metabolic system. I also have some age related arthritis as I am in my mid 20s now, but nothing too bad. My largest problem is the foot soreness that can come from my condition.

I am an outgoing pony who enjoys smiling and spending time with people and helping them discover horses and ponies!


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Barn kitties!

Hi! We are the newest barn kitties here at the farm. We are brothers! Call us Alpha, Bravo and Charlie. We came from a Bowie feral cat colony and while we were initially supposed to stay just to find homes, Covid hit and they decided we could stay as we all love being here together. Our sister, Delta, DID get adopted by one of the volunteers and lives a great life too. We are ear tipped and neutered to identify us easily and we love visitors! We all have unique personalities but each of us is super friendly. 


Join #teambarnkitty today!

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COOkie monster

Hi there! I am Cookie and I can be a jerk! I was born in February of 2017 on an Amish farm in Southern Maryland and hand raised with my siblings and friend, Stella. We were hand chosen to be part of The Big Purple Barn so we could help people learn about other types of farm animals!

I am the fence defender of the group. These fences are mine and I will protect them. I have my horns, which are part of my skull, and I know how to use them. I help people observe and respect me and my kind! I like to get in to ALL manner of things and I definitely boss the little goats around. I love visitors and getting my favorite treats at my personal designated treat spot. Ask about it!


Join #teamcookie today!


stelladora marie

Hi! I am Stella and I am a new member of the barn herd! I was born in February of 2017 on an Amish farm in Southern Maryland and hand raised with my siblings and friend, Cookie. We were hand chosen to be part of The Big Purple Barn so we could help people learn about other types of farm animals!

I am the quiet one, usually in the background, but really I run this place. Cookie will usually defer to me and the small goats always listen to me! I too have my horns and know how to use them. I help people understand to respect them and me and my kind. I started off all white and developed all of my cool creams and browns as I got older. While Cookie loves to sharpen her horns on everything, I enjoy a gentle touch with soft head rubs. 


Join #teamstella today!




Hey there, I am Cesquealia. I am also called Squealy or Squeals, because when I was little I was VERY loud and squealy! I joined the farm in 2016 to keep Pepper company because she was lonely. A pig rescue suggested since she had never been socialized, it was best to get her a baby pig to be her friend. She didn’t really like me at first, but she sure didn’t want anyone else to touch me! After a few weeks, we became inseparable sisters!

I have lived my entire life as a farm pig and I help Pepper get in touch with her pig side. She, in turn, helps me be a bit more civil. I am quite a nosy pig and I don’t always have the greatest of manners. You can tell the difference between us because I am the larger girl and I have white on my face (when I am not filthy) and feet.

Watch your fingers, phones and just about everything around me because I am a curious pig. I make quite a fuss at dinner time and you can still hear why they gave me my name. I also enjoy snoozing in my pigloo, eating and being filthy. I am also SUPER smart and sometimes, if you catch me in the right mood, I will even sit and lay down for a teat! Peanuts are my favorite!


Join #teamcesquealia today!



Hi! I am Pepper and I am an adult potbellied pig! I am fully grown and came to the farm when my family learned how difficult it is to keep a curious and intelligent pig occupied! They also didn’t have time to properly care for me so they thought it best to find me a new home. I have a condition called mule foot where my toes are fused. Both feet on my left side have this condition. I also have a skin condition, similar to psoriasis that requires extra care but I love my pampering!

I had a huge learning curve to living outside and joined the farm in 2016 after living my entire life in a house! Here, I may not get a couch and TV, but I get to wallow and dig and do things pigs like to do.

I am shy at first with humans, but quickly warm up if you are patient. I am very gentle and take treats with care. I enjoy snoozing in my pigloo, sunshine and digging in the mud. I also love gentle face pets and belly rubs! 


Join #teampepperpig today!



Princess Alfseger of the Iron Hills aka Ally


Ally is a Suffolk/Katahdin ewe, or female sheep. She is a meat breed of sheep and was intended to be an Easter lamb. When we took Audrey (now a rainbow angel), we agreed to purchase Ally for her market weight and take her along as sheep are FLOCK animals and do not do well alone. Ally has always been an elusive soul and she is very much a princess! You may gaze upon her royalty, but do not touch her. However, she occasionally walks among the common people for treats! Despite not being a fiber sheep, Ally has a gorgeous wool coat that we block shear once a year! The time we spend handling her for treatments and care is entertaining as she is quite the over dramatic diva!


Join #teamalfseger today!



Bradley came to us with his brother, Cooper, the day after Audrey passed away because Ally needed friends ASAP. The boys were part of a quadruplet birth! Bradley was bred by a FFA group as a meat sheep and he is a Suffolk/Hampshire cross. He was intended for meat consumption, but the FFA group wanted to help us and so they graciously gave us a discounted fee for the two boys and have continued to support our learning to care for them! He is a whether, which is an altered male sheep. 

You can tell him apart from his brother by his smaller stature, roman nose and lack of a poof on top of his head! Bradley is the most sweet, and personable of our sheep flock. He love Teddy Grahams and Amaretto cookies and doesn't mind being pet.


Join #teambradley today!



Cooper came to us with his brother, Bradley, the day after Audrey passed away because Ally needed friends ASAP. The boys were part of a quadruplet birth! Cooperwas bred by a FFA group as a meat sheep and he is a Suffolk/Hampshire cross. He was intended for meat consumption, but the FFA group wanted to help us and so they graciously gave us a discounted fee for the two boys and have continued to support our learning to care for them! He is a whether, which is an altered male sheep. 

You can tell him apart from his brother by his larger stature, wider face and his fuzzy head! Cooper is a little goofier that his brother, but he loves to greet guests, eat treats and doesn't mind being touched either.


Join #teamcooper today!

More Info on our newer residents

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Quill, Rocket & Groot

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