“I heard about Bev Strauss’ work years before meeting her. I learned early on that she went to the New Holland sales weekly. She saved Thoroughbreds in the kill pen and would quietly network them back to original homes or to new homes. Many of those horses had ‘fallen through the cracks’ after their racing days were over. Bev provided them with soft landings and futures by sending them to her rescue, MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR), outside of Chesapeake City, Md.
When I met her she was exactly as I had expected. She is an excellent horsewoman whose motives are pure. She saves these horses from the horrific pipeline of slaughter and helps them find new careers. I have worked with her for many years now and I cannot think of a more humble, kind person who has an inner strength that is as strong as anyone you could ever meet. I have often thought, ‘How does she do this day in and day out?’ Trust me when I say we are extremely lucky to have Bev Strauss watching out for the Thoroughbreds. I am so lucky to call her my friend.”
Fran Burns – Thoroughbred Advocate, MAHR Volunteer
“What an honor it is to work with such a knowledgeable horsewoman in so many areas of the Thoroughbred industry. Bev is the most humble, and professional person I know. Thoroughbreds are fortunate to have such a devoted person advocating for them, especially their aftercare!”
Beth Walker – Life Horse, Inc.
“Over the past 15 years that I have known Bev, watching the growth and reach of MAHR under her watch has been nothing short of miraculous… just last week, she was headed down a farm lane at her growing facility to lay out new fencing for expanded turnout for the rehabilitating OTTBs under her care. Recognizing a continued, ongoing and desperate need, she continues to answer the call providing a down-to-earth, pragmatic and hands-on approach to the care of the hundreds of horses that have passed through MAHR’s gates. After time on the farm initially resting and then starting their retraining, these OTTBs have moved onto new athletic careers with carefully matched and vetted owners who love and adore the rescued Thoroughbreds that have been placed into their lives with the help of Bev’s skill and compassion.
Dr. Charles C.M. Arensberg, VMD – EquineVetCare.com
“Bev Strauss goes above and beyond to save Thoroughbreds from dangerous endings. She has been helping horses for many years. Bev throws her whole life into protecting the OTTB. She runs one of the top Horse Rescues in the country. Bev is a SheHero to the Thoroughbred!!”
Georganne Hale – Vice President of Racing Development, Maryland Jockey Club
“Bev Strauss Has been a positive advocate for horse racing and the thoroughbred for many years. Always a fountain of knowledge she has mentored many people coming up into the after care world. An avid horsewoman, Bev has always put the horse first.”
Stacie Clark – Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance
“As I was sitting in the stands with my grandson at the local horse expo, Connor’s eyes opened wide as he gazed upon the magnificent Thoroughbred gliding across the show ring. Somehow, I knew he would be moving on from his trusted pony, Austin. The tall bay OTTB was from Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. It was not long before we were driving to the awesome Rescue, where the beautiful creatures get a second chance, escaping a sad end.I am so thankful that we found Mid Atlantic, especially meeting such a devoted horsewoman, Beverly Strauss, that guided us to the perfect mare for my grandson. Bev has given my grandson many opportunities to become a better equestrian and a better person. Bev cares about the horse and the people who she trusts to re-home her healthy Thoroughbreds. Beverly Strauss is truly a remarkable, caring person. For this reason, she has saved many horses from slaughter and just as many people have been influenced by her guidance and compassion. In short, she has saved many lives, animal and human. Beverly Strauss is truly a SheHero.”
Jim Sudina – MAHR OTTB Adopter
“I’ve known Bev for going on seven years this year. I first met Bev when I was 12 looking for my first horse. Over the years she has paired me with three Thoroughbreds, including my heart horse, Joey. I’ve never met someone as kind and caring as Bev. She always goes to the greatest lengths for the horses at Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. In 2016, my mother and I drove down for the spring open house at MAHR. While being there Bev had asked me to ride one of the horses to show some potential adoptees. In the process Bev saw a connection between me and said horse and knew it was a pair that had to happen. A few weeks later my family adopted Hoboken Joe and this February it will be four years with my best friend. Bev is one of the most hardworking ladies I have ever met. She cares deeply for the breed and does as much as she can to save them and find good, loving homes for them. She and the team at Mid Atlantic will do whatever needed for their horses. Even the ones who have been adopted out. They still keep tabs on each and every one to make sure they’re doing well. I am forever grateful for everything Bev has done for me and my Mid Atlantic boys. She goes above and beyond for the breed and is an ambassador for retired racehorses. If anyone deserves to be recognized as a SheHero, it is definitely Bev.
Kelly Marchi – MAHR Adopter
“Bev is is the perfect person to give this recognition to. She works all day every day to make sure that retired racehorses have good, safe homes. She also happens to be just as generous with people as she is with horses. Dedication, experience, and kindness are all words that I would use to describe her. In addition to all that she does for aftercare, she has been a great resource for me offering advice and an ear not to mention the countless number of horses she has taken from Beyond the Wire. The racing industry is lucky to have her as an ally.”
“‘Each of us can look back upon someone who made a great difference in our lives, someone whose wisdom or simple acts of caring made an impression upon us. In all likelihood it was someone who sought no recognition for their deed other than the joy of knowing that, by their hand, another’s life had been made better.’” This quote was said by Stephen M. Wolf, but more importantly this quote describes the hero that Beverly Strauss is and always will be. Beverly is a true definition of a hero in the eyes of those who surround her and most importantly every Thoroughbred that comes into her life. Beverly always goes above and beyond all measures of life to ensure that each horse is treated as an individual and receives a fair shot at life no matter what destination they may have had in their past. Her true super power shines through when she studies and learns each and every horse’s true needs, personality, and desires that they want in a rider and then pairs all of that with the perfect rider as they come to our rescue searching for their next unicorn. Beverly is the most selfless person in the way she would give anything to see another person’s dream come true with a horse of their dreams. She is always there for everyone while they continue their journey with their unicorn, no matter what the question is or how late it might be at night. Beverly is the true voice and face of the Thoroughbred world, and because of her more and more are seen for what they really are; smart, caring, and athletic life-long partners.”
Morgan Sevchuck – MAHR Volunteer and Adopter
“I can’t think of a person who embodies the values of a SheHero more than Bev Strauss. She is not motivated by money or fame. Her sole motivation is to save as many OTTBs from entering the slaughter pipeline as possible. In the eighteen years since founding Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue with Ginny Suarez, over a thousand Thoroughbreds have been placed in loving homes. It’s always nice when a young, lightly raced horse is donated to the rescue. Everyone oohs and ahhs over those types, and it’s clear they will find a home quickly. But Bev derives a deeper satisfaction from turning around the extremely thin ones or the very sore ones. She is there for the ones other people pass by. Her goal is for MAHR to be the safety net so many OTTBs need. Bev does an excellent job matching horses with adopters, and on those days that an adoption is finalized and one of the ex-racers is heading off to its new home, you can see a sense of gratification on Bev’s face. She is thrilled for that horse and it’s new owner, but it also means the rescue has room to help yet another retiring racehorse.”
Patty Clemens – MAHR Volunteer
“They just don’t seem to make people like Bev anymore. I remember once talking with Bev about a horse; he was fresh off the track. Eager to restart him, new owner brought him home but within a few weeks the horse came up a bit sore. The owner, with the best of intentions, pursued a thorough vet exam that resulted in a long list of potential ailments the vet thought might affect this horse. Fearing he’d never be useful for anything more athletic than mowing grass, the owner asked Bev for her opinion. Without even skipping a beat, Bev’s said, “Ok, but why not give him a try?” And that pretty much sums up Bev. Whether it is a horse others have discarded, a trainer with an unsavory reputation or an inexperienced but enthusiastic Thoroughbred lover who wants to be part of the Aftercare Industry – Bev doesn’t put too much weight on the negative or the past, she’s simply eager to help. Her optimism is inspiring and her purpose unwavering; she’s a true hero in the Aftercare Industry. We should thank her every day for giving us all a chance.”
Sue Smith – Executive Director, CANTER PA
“A random phone call in early 2013 about a horse from a local race track who was given to a girl to retrain, only to wind up in the auction pipeline, resulted in my being invited to serve on the board of the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series (TASS), a points series of hunter/ jumper horse shows created to offer competition opportunities for owners and riders of Off- Track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs). It was through TASS I got to know Bev Strauss, one of the founders of MidAtlantic Horse Rescue.
Bev and her partner Ginny Suarez founded MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Thoroughbred race horses from slaughter in 2002, long before social media made the need for protecting ex-racers from slaughter and finding them happy homes and new jobs became widely known to the rest of us in the horse world. By the late 90s, imported Warmbloods had replaced the Thoroughbred as the horse of choice in most competition disciplines, so for race horses, the end of their career was really the end of the line. Bev, a lifelong horseman, and a Pennsylvania trainer at the time, watched the problem growing bigger ever year, knew she had to find a solution, and MAHR was born. And in nearly 20 years, over 2000 horses have been saved by its efforts.
Bev has a true passion for what she does. She sincerely loves and believes in the horses, and they seem to know it. Bev often sees horses at their most desperate state: skinny, sick, and packed in dirty, crowded auction pens and feed lots with dull, blank looks in their eyes, all hope lost. She makes whatever deals are necessary and brings these horses home and offers them a second chance, not concerned about their pedigree, their soundness, or their resale value.
I am proud to have helped foster and rehabilitate a couple of MAHR horses in recent years. One was a rather challenging soul whose short racing career left him with an injury which would prevent him from ever being much more than a trail companion, but this did not seem to worry Bev. In just a few months, with her support and unwavering faith that “Pal” would find eventually find “his person”, he did in a great lady named Ellen who embraces his quirks, is grateful to know his story, and who expects from him only what she knows he is able to give. But the support from Bev and MAHR doesn’t end when the adoption fee is paid. Bev stays in touch with her adopters and “MAHR grads,” as she calls them, offering support and advice when asked, and standing behind every horse to the extent that they are welcome back in any condition, should they not work out for their human. Because for Bev, it all begins and ends with the horse. She isn’t in it for the praise, and certainly not for the money. She just keeps her head down and focused on the mission, of tirelessly saving worthy Thoroughbreds, one at a time.”
Jennifer Sponseller Webster – MAHR Foster and Rehabilitation