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Missing Horses in NY State - Leland Neff's?

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  • Missing Horses in NY State - Leland Neff's?

    Just now saw the announcement under the Missing Horses forum. I have followed the links for the map for the 3 "missing horses" - shaggy, thin sighted by SUNY Cobleskill students. This location is not far from Neff's farm! He lost 17 or so Thoroughbreds after Irene last year. The leaves have just come off the trees up here, so I can understand why, perhaps, they were just spotted last week.

    Since it's been a few days since this was posted, wonder if anyone has heard anything further. There are some references to a few other searches having been done. The person who reported this to Net Posse was also involved in the search last year, and I believe also had a falling out with Neff.

    But wouldn't that be some kind of miracle if they were his, and could be located and returned.
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson
  • Original Poster

    Just spoke w/ Leland Neff. They have done some searches and will continue to do so. Not sure they are his from their description, but the area is right. Staying in touch and will advise if anything further!
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


    • #3
      It was my understanding that most, if not all, of his horses were right in the pasture where they drowned because somebody didn't bother to move them off a peninsula. I hope the horses are found but frankly I hope they belong to someone a bit more responsible.
      Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

      Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


      • #4
        Hurricane Irene hit Schoharie Valley on Sunday, August 28, 2011. The unprecedented flooding that followed swept away my herd of twenty-two prized Thoroughbred horses. It is the greatest physical, mental and emotional loss I have experienced in my life to date.

        That loss, however, was magnified unimaginably by the cruel acts of certain individuals who aspired to profit from it in the hurricane's aftermath. These individuals include Mark Tessier and Kim and Joe French of Sharon Springs, NY, who came to my farm under the pretense of searching for my horses, removed the survivors who were safely in my field, and then tried to scam me for the cost of their boarding and transportation.

        Then came Michele De Vinney Schmoll, who set up a Facebook page in my name again under the pretense of searching for my horses, which was in reality a ploy to gain publicity for herself and the organization that Michele has ties to, Netposse. Michele lives in Virginia, and could not effectively organize the search for my horses in New York State. She refused to let me participate in this page, however, and became insulted when I expressed my dissatisfaction with her services.

        Michele joined together with her friend Debbie Goad Hanson, who runs the website "Rate My Horse Pro" under the fictitious name Lucia Caroll. The article that appeared on the Rate My Horse Pros site shortly thereafter contains much of the same slanderous, libelous commentary that Michele was sending to people via private messages online.

        This article soon began to appear under my name when I was searched on Google. Adding further insult to injury, the photographer that I had hired in previous years to take pictures of my herd, Amy E. Reilly, selected from the hundreds of images she had of my healthy herd several shots that made it seem as though my horses were abused and/ or neglected. Since she had a previous grudge against me for personal reasons, she gave them to Rate My Horse Pro to use with their article.

        I have a series of pages, I will prove that each line of the Rate My Horse Pro article that ruined my reputation is pure libe.. I have named other indiciduals who gave false statements that were printed in the article, including Anne MacCuish and Bobby Mann. I have abundant proof that the article contains nothing but falsehoods from start to finish. damaging my career and reputation that I have painstakingly built over my lifetime.


        • #5
          To further resolve doubts of those interviewed go to YouTube: Dan Chase Attacks Me. Leland Neff. This is a neighbor married to Viola McFarland who attacks me on my property. There are over 20 videos of me on my farm with my herd also on YouTube. I have over a hundred videos from just the 5 weeks before the flood yet to be released. There are over 600 albums of my horse, farm, and art work on Facebook that are public. These photos and videos document my absolute passion for my horses and the life, and environment that I provided for them, 140 acre farm where I spent every day with my herd. On the day before the flood I spent a beautiful summer day from sunrise until sunset with the horses. I have no TV, no radio, and I do not speak to the local people. I did not know about the impending storm. My horses were in a 90 acre field across the Schoharie Creek from my house. It is a 6 1/2 mile drive around to the field. When heavy rains come the are not accessible. This is what happened that night. There were many people who lost homes, personal possessions as well as livestock. Non have been scorned for their loss of animals. The government offices did not remove valuable documents, many priceless historical documents. No one has been criticized for that. Only me, an outsider to the closed community.
          scroll down and see my passion for painting horses
          scroll and see my passion for photographing horses to which I have photographed, and ridden, appearing in publications internationally.
          scroll through and see my eye for a horse, my breeding, and my training. These were my family, many of whom I delivered myself, many that I rescued with the hopes of providing forever homes.
          Look through old copies of Chronicle of the Horse and see the many covers that I've appeared on. No, I did not leave my horses in a field. I did not know of impending danger to which has never happened in recorded history.
          These people you found information from had never met me, nor been to my farm. Their statements contradict their own statements. Throughout the year they've never bothered to meet me.
          Leland H. Neff


          • #6
            Good grief.

            Are these your horses or not? That was the question posed.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling


            • #7
              Originally posted by lelandneff
              I have no TV, no radio, and I do not speak to the local people. I did not know about the impending storm.
              But you obviously have internet access. As one who has *no* dog in this, and don't even know any of the people you've accused of god-knows-what, it's YOUR responsibility to keep your animals safe, which you didn't bother to do, instead you've doled out excuse after excuse. And I, for one, don't take a thing you've said seriously. And I doubt I'm the only one. So, rather than blame this, that or the other one for *your* mistakes (or fairy tales, lies, mistruths, which is certainly the way it appears to us rational folks), how about answer the question stated? Are they your horses or not?
              Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


              • #8
                I love conspiracies.
                APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                • Original Poster

                  I will interject here. Live not far away, and watched last year's debacle unfold - not knowing either party, and keeping an open mind. I am a native of neighboring Otsego County, and have had professional insurance and real estate experience over the years, and know the adjoining area fairly well.

                  I went to the area shortly after Irene, saw the devastation, and the situation. The pasture where these horses were was a large area on the other side of the creek - away from his buildings, and surrounded on the far side by a high steep embankment. So they were bounded by the creek on one side, and the embankment on the other.

                  There has never been any kind of event like what Irene did to the Schoharie Valley last year to my knowledge - no hurricane or storm system had ever unleashed the kind of floods that this did. I am 58 years old. No hurricanes EVER turned inland and affected Upstate New York in my memory. Year after year they would go along the East Coast, wreak havoc along the coastline, but NOT way up here.

                  Most properties damaged were never considered in a flood plain. Last year it wasn't the winds that did the damage (as this year). It was the water. Loads of it. Communities are still attempting to rebuild. It was unprecedented.

                  I was there, on the ground, in person, not meeting up with anyone, but just went forward, as despite all the suggested planning to look for horses, I never heard back from anyone in a reasonable period of time. I went on the websites and volunteered. Received no acknowledgments, no feedback. Had to beg to ask what was going on and was given a lot of excuses from those "organizing" before it would be allowed. Even several days later when other efforts were already in place and work being done. So I went down in my car with my dog. The creek runs along the state road for miles. Even without bringing along horses in trailers, one could at least try to look along the creek from the road. (Oh, and by the way, BEFORE I went out to look, I had printed up Netposse posters and put them up in stores in a couple of surrounding communities. NO ONE that I spoke with had even heard about them, except for those in the local feed stores. The National Guard was located at a nearby fire hall in a community downstream, and they hadn't heard about them. I gave posters to the fire chief who said he would pass the word.)

                  I came in from a back road from Cobleskill, where no "road closed signs" had been placed, even though the roads were closed as I found out later - just about where his farm is, and once turning on to the state road there, it had been cut in half, with one lane left at ground level, not having been swept along in the creek, and massive construction vehicles attempting to piece it back together. Road crew kindly waved me along the route - no one objected to my efforts. This was a few days after the storm.

                  Once you saw the amount of earth cut away by this newly enormous creek, you didn't expect that the horses could have survived...I didn't think so. ...Unless they somehow had crossed it ahead of time and headed across the road - which would seem unlikely - or somehow got to the embankment on the road side when picked up by the water - which is the direction this "sighting" is in - also the direction I came from last year when I drove there. However last year, the leaves were still on the trees when Irene hit - in August. If they made it into that area right afterwards, it would be tough to see them. Now, last week, the leaves have all fallen. So it may make sense that some horses were spotted. Whether or not they are his.

                  Would some stranger describing horses, which description you hear 3rd hand, and seen at a distance necessarily match yours? You'd hope so, but how would you know? And especially when the new information came from someone who had had a falling out with you, and couldn't be bothered to mention it first hand?

                  I have not met Mr Neff personally - just talked to him the other day because it seemed apparent that he hadn't been contacted after this sighting, even though the individual who reported this to Netposse knows of his situation first hand. And frankly, I had heard a lot of attacks against him, with a lot of conjecture, which immediately proved to me to be baseless once I saw the physical layout last year. People getting their knickers twisted because they weren't received graciously by their standards. It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round, and not everyone takes such stress the same way.

                  I have advised Mr Neff that I am available for searches on foot, as I was last year, or on horseback if one is provided. Mine is boarded farther away, an OTTB not yet trustworthy in strange areas.

                  He has others helping him in the near future, but the area of this last sighting reportedly involves over 2500 acres. So it may take some time, if ever, to be able to locate them again. Over the past year, he had looked for them from time to time, using his remaining horses, and still feels that may be the best approach, if those sighted are his. The loose horses would be more likely to approach.

                  I just believe it would be wonderful for him to have his horses returned. Not everyone can be calm and politically correct when it comes to such an emotional issue. And it does not mean the horses were not cared for. But if there are horses out there in the wild, and they all know of his that are missing - why wasn't he included in the first place?

                  Also, I know, from being alone enough, that it is often hard to be on your own, particularly in a new location, and keep your wits about you. Believe me - plenty up here are skeptical of "Down Staters", and skeptical is putting it nicely. I've had my own similar experiences trying to resolve issues between those new to the area, and those who are from here. Originating in one location or the other doesn't make one right and the other wrong. Have seen bad attitudes at both ends.

                  Bottom line is, he didn't get the help he should have at the onset, the whole missing horses issue was tainted by personality conflicts, and it's still going on. Let's just hope those are his horses, may those with good intentions give him a hand if asked for, and hopefully result in some kind of a happy ending.
                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                  • #10
                    Hope these horses are found and returned home.

                    On a semi-related note... I'm grateful that my BO keeps an eye on the weather forecast (she checks on the Internet...). And that she maintains friendships with others in the industry - you never know when you're going to need help or when others will need your help.

                    Of course, I don't know enough about this situation to comment on it.
                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by summerhorse View Post
                      It was my understanding that most, if not all, of his horses were right in the pasture where they drowned because somebody didn't bother to move them off a peninsula. I hope the horses are found but frankly I hope they belong to someone a bit more responsible.
                      I'm from upstate NY. I don't think your statement is quite fair. I remember a storm hitting NY in '85 or '86 while I was in college in Delhi (Delaware County). Many of the college horses were stranded on the far side of their pasture because the river rose so fast nobody could do anything about it. Roads were washed out, etc. I've seen many storms- expected or not- produce more flooding and damage than anybody could have predicted. Sometimes the unexpected happens- you know what they say about hindsight.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the update CVPeg.


                        • #13
                          Thank you CVPeg for your unbiased and non judgemental review. Can't believe the cruelty bestowed on Leland.

                          \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


                          • #14
                            CVPeg -Thank you. That gives me a different perspective on the whole situation.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Quinn View Post
                              Thank you CVPeg for your unbiased and non judgemental review. Can't believe the cruelty bestowed on Leland.

                              I agree, it looks like the poor man doesn't fit into the mold the "rescue" felt he should have fit into and he got tried and hung unfairly. Then again, we see this happen quite often on this board with anyone dumb enough to share their personal information.
                              I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance


                              • #16
                                I live in a rural area in another state and would certainly be considered an outsider by the locals. That said, I don't think it is reasonable to bash your neighbors and call them incompetent idiots and then also complain that they did not help you to your satisfaction. I believe you have to choose - either accept your neighbors for who they are or know you will be on your own.

                                When people from a distance tried to help, you complained that they did not do so to your satisfaction either. And now, with this new sighting of horses, you've complained you were not notified fast enough by the people whom you have spent over a year bashing.

                                As I recall, several locals warned you of the impending storm. The fact that your animals perished in the flood in their own pasture is a tragedy. The fact that you continually blame everyone else and take no responsiblity yourself speaks volumes.

                                Lastly, you've alleged that people who tried to help you have tarnished your reputation - I believe you've done a fine job of that all on your own.


                                • #17
                                  And you are helping how?


                                  • #18
                                    I can't believe that over a year has passed and there is still such a debate raging about how this situation was handled. Since this storm, there has been another which has left much of the east coast area damaged. What happened to the horses was no doubt a tragedy, however there was a lack of cooperation as well as a healthy dose of blame laid by Mr. Neff towards every individual and organization that attempted to assist him. Shame on you, Mr. Neff for once again dredging this up and attempting to blame everyone involved while shirking responsiblity for your lack of preparedness. Did you stop to consider that, while attempting to assist an uncooperative and somewhat irrational person, these people were dealing with the aftermath of the same storm on their own property?
                                    Last edited by Bigskyfarms; Nov. 1, 2012, 09:27 PM.


                                    • #19
                                      It seems to me that Mr. Neff really loves the drama and attention he has recieved from losing his horses. I have seen him and his followers continually bash everybody that has tried to help him and then question why the sightings of these horses were not reported to them. Who knows if these horses are even his? I know he would not be the first person I would tell if I found lost horses for fear of being accused of something.
                                      This is not the first site I have seen him lash out at the people that have tried to help and to gain pity from others. I strongly believe he is sitting behind the computer screen way too much stirring up drama when he could be out looking for his lost horses. Why do you feel it's everybody elses problem to do all the work in searching for your horses when you were the one that left them in the field? I am sorry I do not buy the story that you did not know the storm was coming since it was all over the internet, tv, radio, and newspapers. I am sure you had the radio on while driving? I realize you state you do not have tv but you have no problem useing the internet. It's time to man up and take responsibility for what has happened because you were the only person responsible for their care and well being.


                                      • #20
                                        There's an awful lot of "house guests" posting on this thread.....