We started as a boarding facility in 1981 and very early on we realized that we needed to do more. Financially it was difficult but it just seemed that we were meant to do something more meaningful. This land was special and we wanted to honor it.

The location of our farm was prime territory for some major development and the property was sought after by local and state developers. After a prolonged initiative, we were finally able to preserve our 17 acres so that no one again would be able to threaten this sacred land.   


Once we secured our preserved land we considered how we would preserve the integrity of what we wanted for our farm. Our horses were always our first priority and we felt this land would provide a forever home for happy, healthy horses.

Our boarding horses seemed to come and go, and some of their owners left their horses behind. These horses were part of our family and there was no way we were going to dispose of them like their previous owners did. These beautiful, gentle creatures deserved more, and this was how we ended up with our original rescues. 

There is one person solely responsible for allowing us to rescue and care for our horses, and who shared his beautiful land with us. It is our hope that with the help and support of others, the Bergen County Horse Rescue will continue to rescue and care for horses, mind, body and soul.

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Erin Giannios

Horses were always in my soul

I started riding when I was six years old, as my aunt and uncle had horses in upstate New York. I was lucky enough to spend weekends with them, visiting their cabin and learning about and riding horses. They both taught me so much at a young age about horse care, training and riding. Iā€™m sure at the time they had no idea how impactful their efforts would be in my future.

I came to Mahrapo Farm as a 14-year-old, boarding my first horse named Ace of Spades. I spent every single moment that I possibly could with my horse, hanging out at the farm and riding through the Ramapo mountains. 

This place has always felt like home to me. 

As the years passed I went off to college for equine studies and to continue my journey with horses, fulfilling my passion. I eventually worked in all different aspects in the horse world, working at different facilities. Yet somehow nothing felt quite right to me.  Eventually I made my way back to Mahrapo Farm and everything clicked. I then met Bailey and Patches, who had been abandoned there from their previous owner. Not only did I find myself back at home again but I fell in love with these two horses, who started me on my current journey. They gave me a purpose, a calling. 

Our real work here is just beginning. I feel it is my responsibility to care for these horses that have been left with no place to go, or who have been mistreated or lacking real love. Our mission is caring for horses, mind, body and soul and this is what we do for each and every rescue, giving them a better life. In turn, they have enabled me to fulfill my own dreams and have allowed me to pursue my passion.