Open Gates
Equine Rescue
About Us

What We Do

Open Gates Equine Rescue acquires abused and neglected horses by surrender or by purchase. There is a critical shortage of equine rescue organizations in Maine; currently Maine has a few rescues, but all are at full capacity.

Once in Open Gate’s care, we make every effort to bring the equine back to good health. We ensure proper nutrition, medical care, and farrier services such as hoof trims and corrective shoeing. If we are successful in returning the rescued horse to health, we look for an individual or a family to adopt the horse. All adoptions take place subject to a comprehensive adoption contract that includes provisions requiring the proper care and treatment of the horse.

We estimate that approximately 80% of our time and budget are devoted to equine rescue and rehabilitation activities.

In addition to our rescue and rehabilitation activities, Open Gates also conducts ongoing educational activities.

Board of Directors

Linda Walker
Deb Hutchins
Deb Duguay
Rose Stansfield
Darcy Soucy


Our Founders

Deb Hutchins


I was born in Maine and raised in Cape Porpoise, Maine and Merrimac, NH. I graduated from Butera School of Art in Boston, then graduated from Southern Maine Technical College as an LPN and worked as a nurse for several years at Maine Medical Center and Southern Maine Medical Center. I am presently working for the Postal Service out of Kennebunkport, Maine and have been a rural route mail carrier for 32 years.

I have owned dogs and cats all my life and am a great lover of all animals. Together with Linda, we rescued our first horse in 1998 and then co-founded Open Gates Equine Rescue in 2005. I have lived in New Gloucester since 2000.

Linda Walker

I was born and raised in Westbrook, Maine. From 1966 to 1984 I worked as a Practical Nurse in hospitals, nursing homes and private homes. From 1984 to present day, I have worked as a Paralegal in several Greater Portland Law Firms and for the past 15 years I have worked at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, PA. I have one brother who is a lumberyard designer for the entire U.S.

I have an interest in music, animals of all kinds (including dolphins and whales) and working with and around children and the elderly. I am co-founder of Open Gates Equine Rescue. and live with the other co-founder, Deb Hutchins in New Gloucester.

Our History

Prior to the establishment of Open Gates, Deborah Hutchins and Linda Walker were conducting many rescue and rehabilitation services in their own individual capacities. In 2005, they decided to incorporate Open Gates in order to expand the program by tapping into additional funding sources. Since that time, they have been able to help 15 horses in need. Open Gates Equine Rescue, Inc. is 501c3 Non-Profit.

Mission & Goals

The mission of Open Gates Equine Rescue, Inc. ("Open Gates") is to protect, rescue and rehabilitate equines (horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny). Our primary focus area is the State of Maine.

Our Goals Are To

  • Provide shelter, quality care and treatment, rehabilitation, foster care and adoption for abused, neglected and unwanted horses;
  • Forge cooperative partnerships both locally and nationally to ensure the protection of horses;
  • Establish and provide programs and volunteer opportunities that help to develop compassion and responsibility for horses;
  • Provide an environment that teaches patience, kindness and creates a sense of moral and social wellbeing;
  • Involve the community in events and activities that heighten the awareness of the abuse and neglect of equines and the link between animal abuse and future atrocities committed against people;
  • Continue to maintain ethical business practices and be good stewards of donated funds;
  • Increase contributions to ensure continued growth; and,
  • Create and nurture a mutually beneficial relationship between abused and neglected horses and caring human beings.