Making a difference at Northstar Horse Rescue

By Daniel Dunkle | Apr 02, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland helps rehabilitate and find new homes for rescued horses at Northstar Horse Rescue on West Meadow Road.

Rockland — For the past two years, Northstar Horse Rescue in Rockland has rescued horses with uncertain futures — some with owners who can no longer take care of them, some retired from racing.

Rockland City Councilor and state Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson runs the nonprofit at her home on West Meadow Road, spending four hours a day, seven days per week working with the animals. This is on top of her duties as an elected official and her job as a teacher at Oceanside High School.

Dickerson said she hopes Northstar can expand into a larger facility soon to help more horses. She can only take in four or five at a time at her small farm.

The nonprofit works to rehabilitate, retrain and find new homes for horses. It has helped dozens of horses find their new homes.

As an example of what the nonprofit does, Dickerson said she received a frantic phone call concerning a thoroughbred horse that had to be rescued because the owner could not afford to feed him. She said she involves the owners in the process so they can take responsibility, at least in part, for the solution. This helps both the owners and the horses, because the owners often feel very badly about the situation.

In one recent situation the horse was a 17-year-old retired racehorse. Northstar was able to find it a new home in Aroostook where it will be trained to be ridden again.

The nonprofit receives help from five or six volunteers now.

One is 11-year-old Bella Gallace of Rockland, who found the nonprofit online and wanted to volunteer to help the horses.

Dickerson said Northstar is a state-licensed animal shelter that receives financial support in part through donations made online. She said that seeing the support from the community come in online can be emotional.

"I feel so humbled," she said. "I always cry. People care about horses and animals. It just astounds me. It makes me feel like I want to keep going."

At Pet Quarters April 5

Those interested in learning more can attend an upcoming event:

Northstar Horse Rescue will be at Pet Quarters in the Harbor Plaza Shopping Center in Rockland Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Shoppers and passersby will have an opportunity to learn about the issues facing the horses of Maine and the nation, about the work Northstar does to retire, retrain, and rehome thoroughbred race horses, and check out pictures of Northstar equines past and present.

Handmade shopping bags made from recycled grain sacks will be available for sale, and any donations toward grain and hay for the horses will be gratefully appreciated.

For more information, please call Elizabeth Dickerson at 317-7565 or visit

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at or 594-4401 ext. 122.

The horses at Northstar Horse Rescue are friendly and curious. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Bella Gallace, 11, of Rockland volunteers afterschool at Northstar Horse Rescue. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The horses at Northstar Horse Rescue in Rockland are named Kit, Dotty, Squidgy and Graduate. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Angela Capps | Apr 02, 2014 18:26

This is a very good thing! April 5th!

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