I spent most of today at a horse auction. Not a high dollar, fancy show horse auction but the kind where most of the horses sell to the killers. I usually go to this type of auction at least twice a year. It isn’t fun. There is always a moment when I feel sick. Today it was when a horse went through with a seriously damaged eye. Even if the horse had sold to a home he would have lost the eye. As he was, no one bid on him at all. Not even the killers.
Several other horses sold for $20.00. Two of them were young horses, yearlings, neither sold to homes. They were also sold and loaded on the big semi trucks headed north. Ten or fifteen sold for less than $100.00. I would guess that the largest group sold between $350-$550. One sold with papers. The mini’s held their own and sold for $125 and up.
I have friends that ask me why I go if it is hard to see. I have some friends that have gone with me and others that can’t bring themselves to go. I go because it makes the problems more real to me. When I look at each horse I wonder about his or her story. One young girl was there with her animals but most were not represented, just dropped off and left to their own fate.
There were those that were injured and lame…but it wasn’t the majority, and most of the injuries that were at the sale didn’t happen at the sale. Today there were many damaged eyes (ranging from cloudy to bloody and needing to be removed) to legs with debilitating scar tissue and a large hernia to name a few.
My only ray of hope was that I was there with a young couple who came with the plan to rescue and rehome a few horses. This wasn’t their first trip and I was impressed with the system they have developed for evaluating the horses under theses less-than-ideal situations. They carry a bridle with a snaffle bit and use it to perform a basic test of these unrepresented horses that are all milling around in the kill pens.
I openly admired the couples determination to evaluate ahead of time and avoid buying on emotion only, especially during the sale. I told them that I kept thinking of the starfish story and how I would have to try hard to focus on the one that was saved…and not all those that were not. Then she showed me that the bridle is adorned with a silver pendant the size of a quarter that has the serenity prayer;
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Every time I go to the sales I am inspired to find a way to make a difference, but how? Do I personally rescue a horse? Do I sponsor this young lady to rescue a horse? Do I start a ‘Go Fund Me’ page and do follow up on the horses that are rescued? Do we promote gelding clinics? Spaying clinics?
What are your ideas? Have you ever supported a horse rescue? What have you seen work or not work in horse rescues?