Missing Plainfield Horse Found Dead

Plainfield — Homeowners preparing to open their swimming pool for the season discovered the remains of a horse that caused a stir when it went missing from its Plainfield home during the winter.

In early January, Margaret Cassedy’s 16-year-old quarter horse DJ was spooked by a plow and broke through his electric fence at her Route 12A home, prompting a large search effort.

Town Administrator Steve Halleran said homeowners on Whitney Road, about a mile from Cassedy’s home, found the horse’s remains when they removed the hard cover of their in-ground pool.

T he cover, which is designed to support the weight of an adult, apparently snapped back into place after the horse fell through and drowned, concealing the animal’s fate until earlier this week.

Police were called and the remains were removed from the pool and buried on the property.

Cassedy had owned DJ for 10 years. In an email, she said that Monday’s discovery brought out deep emotions.

“When I got the call from the Plainfield police ... I was filled with sadness and I cried, really cried, for the first time since he disappeared,” she said. “As time has gone on in the nearly 4 months since he disappeared, I have intellectually accepted that there was a strong likelihood that I would not see him again. ... However, with (Monday’s) phone call, I found that I had been holding out more hope than I realized.”

In a phone interview, homeowner Diane Sangermano expressed sympathy for Cassedy.

“It is dreadful,” she said.

A town zoning ordinance requires homeowners to build a 5-foot fence around pools, unless they apply for and are granted a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

According to Plainfield permitting documents, the application for the pool, which was built in 2005, indicates there would be a “fence to follow, by owner.”

Sangermano acknowledged there was no fence around the pool.

Halleran said the homeowners were reluctant to build a fence because it is an “infinity edge” pool, designed to make it look as though the edge of the water matches with the edge of the horizon, and the hard-cover was designed to hold the weight of people.

“We said, ‘You need to fence it,’ ” Halleran said. “That was just a verbal discussion that occurred back and forth during the process of building the pool.”

Halleran acknowledged that after the homeowners agreed to put up a fence, the town never went to check whether the fence was built.

“I think our Board of Selectmen may now be (discussing) the infinity pool fence once again,” he said.

In November, two horses were rescued from an in-ground pool in Grafton after they escaped a nearby enclosure. The pool on Fowler Road had been covered with a soft green tarp when the horses fell through, submerging them up to their shoulders and entangling their legs.

The horses were in the partially filled pool for several hours before they were saved by a team of about 10 rescue workers.

Cassedy, an English teacher at Lebanon High School, spoke to Sangermano over the phone and said she was “deeply (appreciative) of the Sangermanos’ compassion and support.”

She also thanked the “infinite number of people” who searched for DJ and offered emotional support in the months that he was missing.

“It is comforting to know that he is now buried on the Sangermano’s property, which interestingly, is located on what used to be pastureland for the farm where my mother grew up, here in Plainfield,” Cassedy said. “I like to believe that DJ has joined the ponies and horses my mother owned and loved in her childhood there in the 1920s and 30s. There is poetry and continuity of life in that.”

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.