Skip to content

Show Horses Poisoned at Rockridge Farm



As reported by Debbi Baker of the San Diego Union-Tribune

RANCHO SANTA FE — Twenty-three show horses, including two pregnant mares, were deliberately poisoned Thursday by someone who mixed the highly toxic oleander plant with otherwise healthy food and gave it to the animals, a ranch owner said Friday.

One of the horses was already down and sick when workers discovered the poisoning about 6 a.m Thursday at the 10-acre Rockridge Farm on Via de las Flores, said owner Debbie Tomin.

“Someone broke in and tried to kill all our horses,” Tomin said. “They fed them one of the most toxic things a horse can get.”

That horse and two others were rushed to the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, where they received intravenous treatments. They are expected to recover, Tomin said.

The other horses were given a mixture of mineral oil and charcoal in order to absorb and push the toxins out of their systems. They must be watched for 72 hours and then tested to see if the deadly toxin caused any heart damage, Tomin said.

When workers opened the stall doors in the morning, they found that the animals had been given batches of sliced up apples and carrots mixed in with oleander leaves, Tomin said.

Horses will not normally eat oleander due to its bitter taste.

“Who would want to do something like this? This was totally planned and is totally sick,” Tomin said.

Tomin has owned the privately run business with her husband, Bill, for 30 years. The facility boards and trains about 30 American Saddlebred show horses worth about $2 million.

She said she and her husband get along well with their neighbors and have no idea why anyone would want to harm the animals. Tomin said she does not suspect any of her employees.

Tomin said they think that someone climbed over their large security gate sometime between 2 and 3 a.m. and fed the horses so quietly that no one, including workers who live near the barn, was awakened. When the stall doors were opened the toxic mixture spilled out, she said.

Every horse in the barn was given the substance, and Tomin said she does not know how much each one ate.

“If we didn't act quickly, the horses would have died one by one,” she said.

All of the horse owners were notified, as well as the county Animal Services Department. The Sheriff's Department came out and took a report, Tomin said.

Animal Services Department spokesman Lt. Daniel DeSousa said that without any witnesses there is nothing the department can do. “Our hands are tied,” DeSousa said.

Tomin said she will purchase a security system for the farm. “This will never happen to us again,” she said.

More Stories

  • A Memorable First Trip To Oklahoma

    Taylor Ladd arrived in Oklahoma to compete for the first time this year, but she had the success of a seasoned veteran. The walk-trot rider left the fairgrounds with two World Championships, one Reserve World Championship, and three Grand National titles under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Read More
  • Highlights from Morgan Grand National

    Enjoy the victory passes and interviews from Oklahoma City on ReporTV! Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN FINAL

    It's official! The REPORT Leaderboard for the 2017 Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show is final. Wow!  All the hard work all year really paid off! Congratulations to all the winners - blue ribbon and otherwise!

     

    Read More
  • Interview at Sterling Training Center

    In the interview that follows, trainer Katie Mair and owners Mary and Natalie Golota share their thoughts following Katie's win with As Predicted GCH at the Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Cater Stables

    In the interview that follows, trainer Kristen Cater and proud owner Lila Tater share their thoughts following Kristen's victory in Hunter Pleasure with Epona's Mo'O Lio GCH at Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Fire Stables Equestrian

    In the interview that follows, Elaine Galatz, Hannah McBain, Phil Fountain and Julianne Rafferty of Fire Stables Equestrian share their thoughts following a successful Morgan Grand National. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Friday

    With only Saturday's finale performances to go, here's how the blue ribbon counts go in the REPORT Leaderboard through end of day Friday, October 13. Read More
  • A Family Bond

    The Youth of the Year contest tests the skills of young equestrian each year at the Morgan Grand National. Selina Cloutier had the honor of winning this prestigious competition in 1998, and this year, her daughter Clea is competing for the same title. Read More
  • Another Record Breaking Performance

    Morgan Grand National fans were treated to a history making performance on Thursday afternoon as Arcadia, Oklahoma resident Chloe Farischon became the first junior exhibitor to win the World Champion Four-Year-Old English Pleasure title. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Thursday

    It's coming down to the wire and the competition is so close. Check out the REPORT Leaderboard standings as of Thursday, October 12. Read More