A visit to a horse killer auction…Go Fund Me idea?

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 thisHorses rescued from sale 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.

The starfish story.

The starfish story.

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 aย basicย 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?

It made a difference for that one.โ€

 

 

153 Comments

  1. Julie Copper on December 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Copper Horse Crusade has been pulling slaughter bound horses since 1998 and rehoming them after vetting and evaluation. In 2014 CHC has saved close to 100 horses that would have otherwise gone for slaughter. The unwanted horse situation is multi faceted and does not have a simple answer. We save the ones that resources allow. Please visit Copper Horse Crusade on Facebook!

  2. Jennifer on December 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Wow… Stacy, I never really have gave this thought. Never knew this happened ๐Ÿ™
    So sad…. I am happy to read that you and couple go there to see if you can rescue and horses before they get killed……
    I’m not a horse person… I want to be, I follow you …that’s how I’m still learning ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. LE on December 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Please put your money and energy into educating horse owners about responsible breeding. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I often hear “this mare is no good (she’s dangerous, has bad genetics, bad conformation, nasty mind) but at least we can breed her and sell the baby”. Maybe then we can take care of the horses we have instead of the glut of stock that can’t afford to be fed, trained or responsibly taken care of. That being said, there will always be horses headed to the slaughter houses and I support the slaughter houses in the United States. I would much rather there be a slaughter house that is even somewhat monitored for stolen horses and humane treatment than horses going across the border where there is no monitoring (which I have witnessed personally). I’d rather there be this kind of outlet for deranged horses, dangerous horses, horses that aren’t going to have $200 dollars plus burying fee spent on them to be euthanized or horses that can’t be fed and will be starving otherwise.

    • judye822 on December 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Don’t you realize the largest supplier of slaughter horses is the AQHA? Seventy percent of horses slaughtered are QH’s; 93.3 are in good health with no behavioral issues and 96% are under the age of 10. Large-scale breeders think nothing of turning out hundreds of foals every year in search of the two or three who MAY be the next Impressive or similar champion……
      If you’d like to learn just how regulated horse slaughter was when performed in the US and the impact on America’s communities, please visit http://www.kaufmanzoning.net. There’s a wealth of FACTUAL information in that site for you!

  4. Crystal Brady on September 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Hi!

    There is are many horse slaughter feed lot rescues, a ton on the east coast including Camelot horse weekly, End of the line placement and auction horses (in Oregon). I work with Colorado Feedlot Horses and we are trying to save as many as we can! Today we are raising funds to pull a thoroughbred who will ship today among others. I have a go fund me account or we accept donations as well. Please PM me on Facebook if you would like to help. Every little bit helps and these guys deserve a second chance. Check out the facebook page…

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1554802628075981/

    https://www.facebook.com/crystal.brady.7549

    Thank you!

  5. K c on August 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Stacy,
    I personally rescue and rehome auction horses, I have a system similar to the girl with the bridle. I like to go into the pen and feel out the horses to see if there a chance it is a broke riding horse, I pick up legs and watch them move. Honestly there is no profit to be made off of any rescue horse because after transporting, having there feet done, and feeding and getting to know the horse so you know the best possible situation the horse would be suited for and then finally finding a family for the horse, but how I feel when I do find that horse a family makes it all worth it. And I know the horse thanks me also. The best thing anyone can do, is of people are rescueing horses, donate feed, and promote the fact that these horses are evaluated and need new homes now. So people won’t be scared to buy a horse that came from a sale. Most people have the idea in their heads that if a horse is at a sale it’s for a reason there always something wrong. Well personally the number one reason I’ve found any horse at a sale is ignorance. People don’t know how to sell a horse, they don’t know how to care for a horse and etc. I could go on all day. I frequent sales a lot out here in CA, I see this every month. And it is really hard not to take all the horses home and put them out on a big pasture.

  6. Nicole on August 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I just read this amazing report that concludes horse slaughter does indeed relieve neglect and abuse. Nobody wants to see horses slaughtered, but if it is helping with neglect and abuse, how can it altogether be a bad thing? Much of our evil perception of horse slaughter steams from the mere fact that horses are domesticated unlike your traditional “livestock” which is “ok” to slaughter.

    It starts with the unwanted horse.

    Please read the following report:

    http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/TheRelationshipofAbusetoSlaughter.pdf

    • ferg05 on August 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      First I want to say that I am NOT an advocate for Horse Slaughter, quite the contrary. Mostly because as you stated, Horses are a domesticated of sorts “livestock”. I for one use feed through fly control on my horses, not to mention medicate and vaccinate as appropriate. I personally don’t eat anything that is not organic and/or enhanced, medicated, or given hormones. Horse slaughter is cruel and inhumane. Have you researched Horse slaughter in its entirety? Some horses are sent down the conveyer belt still a live and very much aware of what is happening to them. I honestly would like to believe that the majority of humans would disapprove of this kind of treatment of livestock. Livestock in general going to slaughter are treated horribly, electric prodded, punched, often times their bones are broken on the trucks, or in the pens. There is a lot of suffering before the actual slaughter even begins. I personally have seen cows, being slaughtered while still taking their last breaths. I don’t think this is OK. There is humane treatment and ways to get to the end product, “meat” for human consumption. Your Report above was written in 2006, we are in 2014. So much has changed, yet not changed, that could be changed with better treatment of animals (for lack of a better word) for slaughter, and simply for the fact of control over and abused industry just goes to show we need better education! IMO

      • Nicole on August 29, 2014 at 10:00 am

        I agree with you 100% which is why I am a vegetarian. Slaughtering methods for all animals (not just horses) are sickening. Horse meat is used mostly for the production of pet food, so if you have pets, there are vegan options for them as well. If you read the study it goes into great detail of why horses are ending up in slaughter, but worse is that it suggests more horses would be neglected and abused if there wasn’t this option for the people who are sending them there. I like data to help solve problems. I haven’t seen much data on this, which is why I shared.

      • Nicole on August 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

        I also want to point out that the worst abuse of horses is at the hand of serious horse people. I have been around horses my entire life. My grandfather raised and raced Standardbreds, and I started showing Paints and Quarter Horses when I was 4 years old. From what I have witnessed first hand – particularly in Horse Racing – a horse being sent to slaughter is NOT the worst thing that can happen to them. Trainers who have been charged with animal cruelty have been permitted to show and regain memberships in the AQHA, APHA, and the NWHA. I have seen trainers at shows who have bloodied the mouths and faces of horses, and have left bloody holes in their sides from Spur Stop training. One trainer in particular, who I need not mention here, but you can easily google the story, left GAPING wounds on the sides of a 2 yo colt at a futurity. She tried removing hair and gluing it over his wounds. She was charged with animal cruelty. The horse now lives in Australia, and is standing at stud. If you watch the advertising video of him, you can see the scars on his belly. It’s very obvious because he is a red roan. I love that horse slaughter is gaining awareness, and that people are out there rescuing horses. I would like to see more awareness brought to other issues as well. An abused neglected horse shouldn’t just be an image of the horse left starving in someone’s backyard.

  7. nationalequine on August 24, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Stacy,

    We would love to see you support proactive programs that help keep horses from ending up at low end auctions and/or heading to slaughter. Programs such as low cost castration, mare sterilization/birth control, euthanasia (for cause, not convenience), feed banks, emergency medical funds, etc.

    Ultimately, these type of programs will help more horses.

    Another way help horses, and support your local rescue organizations, is by taking in untrained horses and helping prepare them for adoption by giving them basic handling lessons. Or working with green horses and finishing them so they may adopted as a riding partner. Rescues ALWAYS need help with training. It increases the horses adoptability, and every time one horse is adopted, it makes space for another needy horse.

    We are happy to see you exploring ways to bring attention and assistance to at-risk horses.

    Shirley
    http://www.facebook.com/national.equine

  8. Shirley on August 24, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Stacy,

    I’d love to see you support proactive programs that keep horses from ending up at low end auctions and/or heading to slaughter. Programs such as low cost castration, mare sterilization, euthanasia (for cause, not convenience), feed banks, etc.

    Getting in front of some of the issues will ultimately help more horses.

    Another proactive way to help, would be to take on untrained/green horses from local rescues and give them basic handling/training, to prepare them for adoption.

    Thanks for caring, and for looking at various options for helping the horses!

    Shirley

  9. Sarah on August 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Stacy,
    I’ve seen this same model taken to a much bigger scale!

    Horse slaughter is “my cause” for lack of a better word – it’s an issue I desperately want to see ended in my lifetime. In 2009 I rescued my registered American Saddlebred mare from a similar situation in Pennsylvania through a rescue called Another Chance 4 Horses (**which is currently no longer operating as I am about to discuss**). It’s a very similar set up to what you have described, except in PA the family that runs the rescue deals with a horse broker AFTER he has purchased the horses from the auction (whose intention is to sell to a killbuyer the next week for a profit). The rescue posts pictures and videos of short evaluations – bareback with a bridle or in hand – and attempt to find homes for the horses before the week is up and the remaining horses are sold to slaughter. The rescue is controversial, however, because the “bail price” is set by the broker (NOT the rescue) and some horses are sold for $800, sometimes higher depending on how much meat the horse is worth to a killbuyer – for instance, a healthy draft horse might be sold for $1200 whereas an underweight horse might bring only $600, and a yearling as low as $75 in some cases. In ALL cases, the broker set the price, so they were a bit inflated from the auction prices you might be familiar with. The family started out very small scale as you have described, but over ten years, eventually the rescue was evaluating and rescuing hundreds of horses a month, which caused a great deal of controversy as they gained more publicity and handled more money, no longer operating out of pocket. For more than a year I worked as an online volunteer answering questions for AC4H over Facebook and was treated quite rudely by many people that were quick to lash out without taking the time to understand the AC4H system. I was hurt, but I also hurt for the family – they have dedicated their lives to saving each horse they can each week, much like the starfish story. In all of my dealings with the family, I was only encouraged in my belief that they were honestly doing the best work they could, and if anything, I concluded that they were severely understaffed and under-supperted!

    I’m sure some of you that already know the name AC4H will feel very strongly that this program is all a sham, but I urge you to look at the big picture with me. When I look at my beautiful horse, a mare that was ready for the show ring and instead ended up in a broker’s lot, I can agree that it ABSOLUTELY matters that I was able to save one life from slaughter. Unfortunately, however, the more I study the economics of slaughter, the more I realize that purchasing these horses from auction only perpetuates the demand for horses at the same auctions. The more we “vote” with our cash to buy horses from the auctions, the more horses will be sent there. This is why I see this as a short term, ineffective solution.

    In the long run, slaughter as an institution won’t be stopped by well-meaning people rescuing handfuls (or even truckloads!!) from individual auctions. It will be stopped when people stop breeding horses at such an unsustainable rate – when euthanasia becomes an affordable and available method for providing an unwanted horse with a dignified end – and also when Europe, Japan and various peoples quit buying American horse meat, which is pumped with drugs and dangerous to consume anyway. If there is no supply of “unwanted” horses as well as no demand for horse meat, slaughter will end. Until then, I definitely support the efforts of those with the strength and the resources to do what you have described, and I myself use my horse and our story as an educational tool. We as horse owners MUST use contracts to protect our horses from going to slaughter if they are sold or leased, and we need to be asking our various communities if we really NEED so many foals each season. We need to support government acts that protect horses from slaughter and prevent its return to the US. We need to be vocal about it. In the meantime, we need to remember that there are a lot of fellow HUMANS working on all sides of this issue, and they are far more important than the horses over which we often fight. Regardless of how ineffective our efforts may be at times, each life deserves to be saved, and each one is worth pursuing.

    • ferg05 on August 23, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Ac4H is a 501(c)3 in PA and very much still operating there, as I donate to their cause regularly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Lesia Lowe on August 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I am not sure how to ask this…..And I don’t won’t to offend and sound like a horrible person… but when I hear the word slaughter .. terrible visions come into my head. .. without being too graphic (cuz I have a weak stomach) can you tell me how are the horses lives ended????

  11. Lisa Decker Griffith on August 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Stacy,
    Thanks for discussing in a level headed way.
    The only long term solution:Gelding gelding gelding! And Education.
    So many horses are born from “Oops! I didn’t think that my colt would breed with his mother” or the mistaken idea that money could be made from breeding all their grade mares. Of course there are the large breeding farms that pump out dozens upon dozens of babies a year, looking for that one great prospect, while the less correct ones are shipped to the auctions.

    If we could somehow manage the extreme number of horses born each year, we could greatly cut back on the number of unwanted, extra souls that end up at auction, or left untrained in the field.
    You have an incredible opportunity to lend your voice to support early gelding and encourage limited, responsible breeding.

    • Stacy on August 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I agree. I also have been looking into the shot that they were giving mares for awhile…the one that is kinda like the Depo shot that women can take. I would like to see a way to make mares sterile or at least not fertile for long periods of time. I’m still researching the side-effects, etc but it is the same idea as gelding/gelding clinics…but easier and with mares.

      • judye822Judye822 on December 14, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        Stacy, the BEST thing you can do for horses is to ask all your friends in the AQHA to turn ANTI-slaughter. Making videos about training a rescued horse doesn’t do anything for the problem, itself! Are you PRO or ANTI horse slaughter?

  12. Christina Parrish on August 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    This is of course the most controversial topic regarding horses out there. I think that when you look at the types of horses that are found in the kill pens, the biggest numbers are probably the unbroke or “evergreen” horses who aren’t experienced and safe for the average rider. I bought one myself 2 years ago as a 3 year old from the kill pen. Unbroke, but a good mind and sensitive. This year I have come to face that it is very possible that I cannot keep him. I have taken a 50% cut in income, but luckily it was after I paid for his colt start to happen this summer. Knowing I may not be able to keep him, I believe it is my duty to ensure his chance of standing out above the others. This will, hopefully, keep him from falling into the same hole he was in when I got him if I must sell him. He’s just one horse, but he deserves every advantage I can give him.

    • CindyJo on August 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Great attitude! You will be in my prayers that you will either find an outstanding home or get to keep him.

  13. Nicole on August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    NEW IDEA – There needs to be a “horse crisis hotline” people can call when then need emergency assistance with their horses or perhaps just to unload them with “no questions asked” arrangements. This would mean people could safely “unload” horses that they have neglected, abused, etc. without facing any legal consequences. People who perhaps have run into financial difficulty could find resources to help them. Just last week I was driving in a very remote rural area in Florida and called the sherif about an emaciated horse. It was in a very lush green pasture with plenty to eat, so the horse was obviously needing veterinary care. The sherif called me back and told me that the woman was “aware of the problem”, and the horse was 26 years old, and she wouldn’t surrender the horse because it was her late husband’s, and there was an emotional attachment. He said she was going to have the horse “put down”. After the Sherif told me this, I initially felt I had a better understanding for the woman’s situation, and I did feel compassion for her as well. She was an elderly woman, and probably was a bit helpless in that situation. Too often this is how how neglect spirals. I thought the next day that I should just go back and see if she would let take him in for her, but he wasn’t there. When we see neglected horses we are quick to use our same old response system, which often fails horses because of the legal loopholes and consequences. I am not saying that people shouldn’t have consequences, but there should be someone to call for real help.

    What I suggest is building a network starting with getting as many horse owners as possible to make a pledge to foster just one horse. It would somewhat be like joining the Army Reserve to Rescue a horse. You would commit to doing it, but you wouldn’t know when you would be called to duty. You would give your information, and how you could assist this “army”, which would be stored in data base and used when someone dialed the “hotline”.

  14. Cathy Padgett on August 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    It is a torment to the core for me to go but, it is also a calling. I am a rescue, I am a listener to those without voices. I follow my heart but, I don’t leave my head behind. “Be still and know that I am God” This is where I “Be still”. God shows me which one. I have never brought home one horse I have have regretted saving or had trouble placing. And yes … to that “ONE” … it does matter.
    Start small, stay small until one day you can do more. Follow my motto “Saving the horse one life at a time” and you will never be overwhelmed to the point of loosing heart in rescue. Good luck and God speed.

  15. anzarose33 on August 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I have a gelding, that was a bit nasty on the ground, he somehow, got a pinhole puncture on the surface of the eye, and within less than two weeks, the eye was dying, and had to be removed. Our vet did a beautiful job, making the skin over the eye socket look almost as though an eye was still there. He has since, become a kinder horse, and does resonably well on mild trails. Would have made a great schooling horse, if that’s what we did. Give some of those one-eyed horses a chance.
    Cheri @ the Rose

  16. Monica Huettl on August 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I have a beautiful OTTB that a trainer picked out of a batch headed for auction. My niece bought him and I ended up with this horse. His pedigree is filled with the most amazing champions and he tries his guts out for you. It’s hard to believe that so many OTTBs end up at auction. These horses have so much heart. I urge any of you to buy an OTTB. If you don’t want to ride english, throw a western saddle on and head out to the trails.

  17. Lisa on August 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Discourage back yard breeding, tax the hell out of those producing the foals that end up at the last chance corral and fight for laws to ensure animals sent to slaughter are treated humanely. As horrible as slaughter seems, it’s better than starving an animal to death.

  18. Kimberly Lyons on August 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

    We are a small horse rescue and rehab located in Manitoba, Canada who do the same – attending horse auctions where the meat buyers scoop up horses from broodmares with foals at side to high-dollar earning race horses to fancy show horses gotten to old.
    The choice as to who you take and who you don’t is gut-wrenching.
    Believe me when I say every little thing helps – from the smallest monetary donation to awareness raised.
    It is a hard road, to take on these poor horses cast away like garbage, and sometimes harder to rehome them as many people are stuck on the stigma that “rescue horses” are worthless.
    Last year we had 12 rescues over the winter, plus our own and boarder’s horses. With constant temps ranging in the -30 celcius and above average snowfall, we went thru an extra 80,000 lbs of hay.
    That all comes out of our pocket, and believe me, my job doesn’t pay that much…lol!
    We pay all their vet care and farrier work also – thank goodness we have wonderful followers who have stepped up to help by donating what they can.
    But, my point is this. The Starfish story is the perfect example. No, you cannot save them all. But the difference you can make for one or two is everything to them.
    โ™ฅโ™กโ™ฅ

    P.S. Every horse we personally own and ride, and all of our boarders horses are rescues!
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. karenanita1 on August 17, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Stacy, please consider checking out and supporting Julie Copper of Copper Horse Crusade…

    copperhorsecrusade.com

    She has been going to Sugarcreek for years and evaluating, buying, rehabbing/retraining, and finding good homes for slaughter bound horses. She is doing it right! I am so impressed with her. I’ve been a supporter for several years now. You two remind me of one another!

  20. JoAnne Reeder on August 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

    My property has fourteen horse stalls. I never wanted to be someone who boards horses but had plans to help people with disabilities when I retire. Well God had a different plan. This year a rescue near me lost their place. They had to place 42 horses in two days. Since I only had two horses and my friends horse here I offered them the rest of the stalls. This was February of 2014. My life will be forever changed after meeting these horses and volunteers that have such big hearts for these guys. There are eleven here at the moment and I don’t ask for any money for anything. I now volunteer all my mornings to feed and turn out and work some of them that just need that individual attention that will help them get re homed to a wonderful adopter. Since I have horses you know the drill… I don’t have a lot of extra money to go around. Lol. Someday I would like to start learning in depth your ideas and ways to train so I can really help theses guys get great homes so they don’t end up being abused or sent to an auction ever again! I watch all of you have done for Jac and I am working on those technices as well. Thank you for just posting those videos they are working to help these unwanted horses more than you know Stacy! God bless!

  21. Mel on August 17, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Hi Stacy, I have been following your blog since the beginning of Jack and since I am working with a young horse myself. And it was very interesting to read about your heartfelt blog this week on your visit to the not so kind horse auction that really shows the really dark side of the horse industry in the world that we live in today. My horse is a rescue saved from auction and a very nicely bred horse at that. I recently got back into horses (after a long hiatus) by rescuing this little fella after reading about this dark side of the horse world. I have followed a lot of ideas on this troublesome issue and the fate of perfectly fine horses that either are just born into this world into the wrong hands or land into the wrong hands of our human race. Yes, you can buy land and rescue horses, sponsor horses and rescues, set up a facebook page to help horses, and tons more. But, one thing that I read at one point in time that I thought might make a difference was how about working with the national associations like AQHA or the racehorse industry and getting those folks on board somehow to curtail the unwanted horses by way of education people and also maybe tack on a fee to breeders and people who register horses to these associations. An extra $25 added to the registration fee could go to helping horses that are in dire need of help or it could go to spaying and castration or whatever would be proper use of the funds. Every person that registers would pay that extra $25 fee. Another thing that I have read that would help would be for the associations to educate and encourage breeders with workshops to breed very very responsively and to track their offspring through life. I know horses live a long time but, those responsible for bringing those lives into this world outta be morally responsible for tracking them throughout life. If the horse changed hands or at any time in that horses life it needs help the breeder would be notified. I love how you love horses and you would probably be more in a position to encourage these people to do some of these things although I wouldn’t mind working with you and helping on these issues with you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just some thoughts! Have a wonderful day!

  22. Christie Batruel on August 17, 2014 at 3:58 am

    I think humane slaughter should have been reintroduced a long time ago. It would clean up the market and allow many to focus their attention on healthy and sound animals.
    Have any of you ever thought about this:
    Buying a horse from a kill buyer or from a kill pen for an astronomical price (usually double or more than they paied) just puts more funds into their pockets to buy more….
    Just imagine if the market picked up due to the demand of horse meat for human consumption. Wouldn’t the people be given a fair chance at a fair price instead of exporting both meat, jobs and money to other countries?
    Food for thought….

    • judye822Judye822 on August 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Christie, humane slaughter is an oxymoron. Additionally, to learn the facts about slaughter when it was performed in America as well as all about the results, I.e., increased crimes, lowered property values, higher costs to American taxpayers, environmental devastation, visit http://www.kaufmanzoning.net. Then if you feel strongly in favor of horse slaughter, go live near a slaughter house……live what you believe in!

  23. Stephanie on August 17, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Here at SMG Performance Horses we take 5-10 OTTB s a year and we have helped many KP horses, it is sad and it breaks my heart to choose who I help live. My current came from Sunnyside Wa. 2 weeks and made my first skin on skin contact with him today. Long rd for him, other is a yearling filly who is sweet as can be. Its about careful selection. I chose the wild one because no one else would give him s chance, and I felt I was his last hope. Saving from auction and KP takes skill, not just for anyone, but worth every penny invested to save a desperate horse.

  24. Wendy on August 17, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I would go very week to get a few that needed to be euthanized if I could. The one problem I see is, what to do with the body? There is a place that will come and pick up a deceased horse but they charge about $250. I’ve even thought of some type of incinerator but have yet to research it and I’m sure there are lots of regulations for one. I have 10 horses of my own and only two were purchased. The rest were saved or given to me because the people knew if they came to my home they would live their lives out here. It’s in my will.
    I occasionally work with a vet and go to big barns owned by wealthy people who breed. Racehorses and cutting horses mostly. Some of these mares are in pitiful shape. Hooves aren’t trimmed, no shots, and some barns don’t even have the mares vaginal areas cleaned out before breeding again within weeks of having a foal. It’s disgusting to see these people who just want to make a buck off that one horse and discard the others for a right off. Did you know in Florida that some racehorses were having air injected into their veins so the owners could collect insurance?

    We live in a society that revolves around money unfortunately. Thank God for the people that can save that one horse or can donate even $5. EVERY DOLLAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE FOR RESCUES. If you can’t donate, try to volunteer.

    I think most of us here have that dream of winning the lottery in order to buy land. I would love to do what Madeleine Pickens does for the Mustangs on her land.

    Stacy, maybe have discounted clinics that people can bring a verified auction horse to??

  25. Christene Griffin on August 16, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    It makes me sick to think of all the unwanted horses going to slaughter. Sadly how many are pets that the owners can’t afford euthanasia and a few hundred dollars it takes to dig a hole. That’s if you have land for that.
    We need our own slaughter houses so that we can govern humane kills. The slaughter that I saw from Mexico was so disturbing I didn’t sleep for three days. My husband is a veterinarian who has a logical head, he says we need the slaughter houses for horses too. We’ll always gave unwanted animals. I’ve given to rescues and my daughter has given her Christmas money to the rescues too. Not to early to teach children the value of rescues.
    I have 8 horses and I can’t even imagine one of them going to slaughter. How cruel. How much do these people get per horse at the slaughter.? They make money on these poor animals. I don’t know what the answer is, except we open up our own slaughter houses with strict guidelines.

  26. Kathy on August 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I went to the horse auction at New Holland last Monday, and let me tell you… It was my first time at any type of livestock auction, and I was simply overwhelmed. I didn’t know what I could personally do to make a difference, but I’m a volunteer photographer for my local equine rescue, so I did this: http://www.krsimages.com/Website/Rescue-Me/A-Day-at-New-Holland/. I guess I just wanted folks to see what I saw and be inspired to do SOMETHING…

  27. Nicole on August 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    A great “go fund me” project would be to conduct an investigational study to see what breeds are most being slaughtered, and what was their prior use? How do many of them end up there? Is it related to an genetic any certain illnesses? I would love to see the collected data, and feel it would help narrow down the issue and help pinpoint the worst offenders of the horse industry. This would answer questions about which horse organization needs to be doing more self-governing on issues such as over-breeding, and inhumane training which leads many of these horses down this terrible road. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    If these horse registries cannot self govern in the face of these horrible truths, then perhaps the FDA will need to step in. For example, there is the issue of soaring in the gaited horses. The FDA made it illegal to buy or sell a horse that was sored or showed signs of being sored in the past. The FDA stepped in attempt to stop this atrocity as a result of public outcry where the NWHA failed to protect their own horses. There was a TW saved from the New Holland auction last year. Dutch was sored and still wearing the shoes and chains when he showed up there. The Celebration CEO, Mike Inman called this a publicity stunt put on by the National Humane Society. This is how much people heading these organizations care about the integrity of their breed.

    • Stacy on August 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      I have been doing an unofficial watch for the same reason. I can tell you, just from my once or twice a year experience, that years ago I saw more registered horses and more non-slaughter buyers. I bet only 25% had problems at this last sale. Most were sound (quick evaluation). Only one had papers. A big bunch of them were from summer camps. Apparently at this time of year the summer camps ‘dump’ the horses at the sales…I found that disturbing:(

      • Nicole on August 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        That is truly one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard!!! That is Dateline Investigation worthy! Those camps need to be exposed. Parents deserve to know that theses camps are disposing of these horses this way. One of the benefits of sending a child to horse camp is to learn a compassion for animals, and to think that those same horses are sent to slaughter just goes against the very fabric of humanity.

  28. Lynda on August 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I have rescued several from the sale barn. Most have found great new homes after their rehabilitation period. Some have stayed and are still and will always be with me. Just as an example: Charlie our donkey didn’t sell even for a $. They threw in some equipment and the lot then sold for 1$. However the took the equipment and left Charlie behind. His feet were so overgrown that he couldn’t walk. He looked like he was wearing Dutch shoe’s. I felt bad and decided I take him home. He was never handled and wild. We had to lift him physically into my trailer! I halter broking him over the next week to get him prepared for my farrier to trim him and hopefully he would be able to walk then. God bless my farrier. He never knows what crazy horse I have picked up somewhere. Charlie did good and made a full recovery in 10 month time. He sure knows what an Epson salt soak is, lol. And that is just one of many that came to us. Every time I go to the auction I would love to safe one life, but financially I can’t.

  29. Marla Bull Bear on August 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I feel the same way.but we are faced with this same hard decision. We are a non profit that dies equine life skills with native youth. And funding is down so we have to “sell” some the horses that are not usable -simply because we don’t have enough time and volunteers to help. Thy are good horses. The 2nd Tuesday of next month is the horse sale and I k now where they’ll end up. It breaks my heart….

  30. Brandy on August 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Just a heads up… Here in Pa., tons of brokers are calling themselves “rescues” and are buying up feedlot horses from the local N.Holland’s auction, solely just to turn around & sell them privately to make good quick buck. The bad part about this is , what most of them are doing, is that they turn around & sell these dirt cheap auction horses for on average 5 figures, claiming them as “finished” ,”husband horse”, “bombproofed”, etc., when in reality thats usually far from the truth. They commonly just bute up & use a 30-day tranq on these horses while presenting them to potential buyers. (Makes the horse look very calm while under sedation, masks the medical & behavior issues when ridden, etc.) I’d had this happen to me personally, but after some research, Id come to find literally hundreds of others that’d experienced the same scenario from some of these local “rescues”. Unfortunately, most of these horses end up back in the feedlot due to people being mislead as to what initially thought they were buying. Its a very ugly popular “rescue” trend that all horse people need to be aware of… Not all that are out there claiming to rescue are doing it out of the kindness of their heart, thats for sure. I know some are very sincere and do rehab & properly match horses to forever homes, but sadly that only comes a dime a dozen around here. ๐Ÿ™ Make sure to do your homework when it comes to rescue organizations, especially regards to funding.

    • judye822823 on August 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Brandy, PLEASE tell us the names of the rescues you believe are just brokers and not helping the horses evade slaughter. Without knowing which rescues they are just stops people from helping the horses who can be pulled before a truck gets loaded…..
      In the end, the horses pay the price…..WITH THEIR LIVES!!!!!

    • Nicole on August 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Brandy – I appreciate this comment regarding the rescues, and I agree with you 100%. The rescues are a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but not all of them are legitimate. There is no real oversight or regulations on these rescues, and I have come across many that are nothing more shady horse dealerships.

  31. Allison cannon on August 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

    You can talk to all of your friends and people who have horses trucks and trailers and ask the will they help rescue theses innocent horses it really breaks my heart knowing where there going and what’s going to face them and come their. Way

  32. Chris on August 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I have several horses in my herd of 13 that are rescues that were on their way to a dinner plate, a couple were old lesson horses retired and no longer of “value” several will never be more than pasture ornaments but I have the pleasure of their company every day

  33. Mia Thede on August 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

    You can save only your corner if the world and are doing an amazing job at it. You have my respect. I have a one eyed Appaloosa d/t gkaucoma.He is dead broke- has totally compensated – I can easily walk up to his blind side no problem- I can ride him bare back . He still wants to jump 4 feet. He is one if my most amazing horses I have rescued. I only have 5 but all rescued- but to be honest they resued me more than I did them. I have 3 that were so emaciated that they could barely walk in the trallor- now are fat sassy and wonderful horses – problem is I can’t give them to someone after I train them because my heart is so attatched to them yet I want to rescue more. I am by myself so I do all the work myself plus a full-,time job as a RN.
    If the one eyed horse draws you go for it mine is the best of my bunch. Trust your gut and remember you can save only your corner
    Mia

  34. stacy johnson on August 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Can a mare be fixed. No one here does it. I only have gelding s and one mare.

  35. Tina on August 16, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I really like the Go Fund Me idea, but maybe you could help out rescues or people that rescue. I know here in North Idaho, there are usually quite a few horse auctions in the area and we have a local rescue that is struggling to save as many horses as possible with small funds. the woman who owns and operates, actually pays for most of the feed with her ownpocket money. she is extremely dedicated. At most of the auctions, the majority of the equines sell between $35 and $50. It is sickening.
    http://survivorsrescue.com/

  36. Anna Foulk on August 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Stacy, I have taken in several horses from the slaughter pen over the years. They have ALL turned out to be hidden gems. I have either rehabbed, retrained, & rehomed them or if they were older with health issues… allowed them to live out their life here on our small farm in Ohio. I do it all with my own money as it is my passion. I only take on what I can afford to offer
    excellent care & time for. I currently have 2 horses. One was headed to Mexico for slaughter (she actually came with papers… AQHA Zippos Mr.GoodBar bred) not a thing wrong with her, she just ended up in an auction house from a “horse trade” from what we can gather. The other one my Veterinarian found at a barn with an untreated injury and was able to get her and brought her to me. Again, a sweet, sweet mare that just came upon hard times. They will both live their days out here with me. I would LOVE to see you take in a horse from a slaughter pen…. rehab, retrain, & rehome it for a fee, then take that $ and take on another, and another, and another….. ๐Ÿ™‚ With your talent in training and your following I am sure they would ALL find wonderful, forever homes. So excited to see you reaching out to this place in our horse industry. Prayers that you can be a blessing to save the next one.
    I also would be interested in contributing to a euthanasia fund. If a team could go to these auctions and purchase the injured/sick horses that are to far gone and assist them in passing in a humane manner to avoid being placed on those trucks would be a huge blessing. Thanks for all you do Stacy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Sue Randall Shukis on August 16, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Ok, here goes. THERE IS NOTHING HUMANE ABOUT SLAUGHTER! Slaughter is brutal and terrifying and horrible. The ‘unwanted’ horses make up about 1% of the total horse population, with the majority being young, sound, healty horses that didn’t quite score a perfect score with the AQHA, APHA etc. There is plenty of room for them to be absorbed into the horse-owning population but people are outbid by unscrupulous kill buyers at auction. The few horses that are injured, badly conformed etc should be euthanized (means good death) by a vet, not sold at auction to squeeze the last possible dollar out of them. Face it-human beings are greedy, selfish beings for the most part-always looking to make a buck, even if it means suffering and death for other creatures. Please go to http://www.kaufmanzoning.net and educate yourselves about slaughter.

  38. Marie on August 16, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I guess my pet peeve is that many rescues go for an injured, aged, sometimes mangled, horse and then spend tons of donated money on vet, medicine, special feeds, etc. All this when young, healthy horses with years of good left in them are loaded on a truck. My opinion, If you have a choice, choose quality of life for the rescue – and bang for the buck for the donator.

    • judye822Judye822 on August 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

      My reply is to Marie. For years I felt as you do, questioning if funds could be better spent on saving the young and healthy…. But I’ve come to realize some of the many reasons for saving the “needy”…. That needy saved horse can serve as encouragement to people needing inspiration to overcome physical and medical challenges for one! That horse also exemplifies the reasons why we shouldn’t throw away people when they’re old or no longer can do everything they used to do for us. Through saving those, we teach COMPASSION …..

      • Susan on August 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        I’m in agreement with you Judy. Check out “Auction Horses Rescue” for their post today. It’s awesome, compassionate and well worth the read! Today is Sunday, August 17th. They posted a write up on one of the 6 horses they pulled. The owner left the mare, who is blind and scared, and purchased a “better younger horse” for the money she said she didn’t have to spend on vet bills. The point being, here this animal gave her owner her very best through out her life but has been kicked to the curb in her later years.

  39. Cheryl on August 16, 2014 at 5:19 am

    To answer your question… what should “you” do? You have a wonderful heart, amazing talent and God on your side. You are highly equipped to make a change for many using your many gifts and your good and well earned name. You’ve drawn many of us here to read this. I, like many here, have a rescue with a story that mimics many stated above… and he has his forever home. I too, like others above, would like to see a change in attitudes about breeding. I tend to believe in that old adage- if you can’t feed it don’t breed it. But it goes further than that. If you can’t feed it properly, love it well and have it properly trained so it can have a healthy and loving partnership with a human who will do the due diligence it deserves- don’t BREED! You have a skill level many don’t and I would offer as an opinion, you are in a very good position to really make a difference. I would suggest you continue to use your eloquent voice and continue to bring awareness. Continue to share your skills with each of us as you already do and we can be better equipped to help any rescues in our own lives (and YES we do use every tip you share with us- those videos of Jac are amazing for filling in the holes in these horses’ understanding and communication with people.) And I would REALLY love to see you use your good name and skills in combination and head up clinics for rescues where not only awareness could be raised, but funds to sponsor rescue organizations. Even better- how about another video series… a rescue horse, where you take the cameras into a kill pen and show a criteria to choose a horse, show it’s training from start to finish, show what is really involved in rescuing a horse… even better- take one that needs to be brought back to health first before training can even start. Your Jac series has been an incredible tool for many. While you have spoken of “starfish” i couldn’t help tie it to another saying… “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life”. Please create another video series giving us the tools to truly rescue these horses with knowledge and skill. Parts of proceeds could fund rescue organizations or awareness. My two cents worth. Thank you for all you already do for many horses world wide without even knowing how much change you already make. Kind regards and best of luck with whatever way you choose to continue to help these horses!

    • kakseter on August 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Well said Cheryle… awareness and knowledge is power to know how to make a change. Most have a story, me too… well I have two, LOL Start Small Think Big!
      A big God can use a small army even if it’s one willing person.

    • Tracy Caron on August 17, 2014 at 8:06 am

      This is the best response I have read here!

      Thanks for your thoughtful and well phrased suggestions. I also think that a video series about a rescue horse is a great idea! It will inspire people.

  40. Leanne on August 16, 2014 at 2:50 am

    My gelding is a rescue horse (auction to feedlot where I bought him). He’s 5 or 6 and is a knockout….looks like peptoboonsmal breeding I swear! He is the sweetest, kindest, calmest horse you’d ever meet. Born broke and eternally happy. He is truly phenomenal, was dirt cheap and saved him from a bad end. If you do your research, there are a lot of good horses going to killers, especially in the states. I am in canada and bought from the states because prices up here are way higher. As far as funding goes I have sent a few bucks to paypal emails for specific horses needing rescue. It’s worth trying.

  41. Tanya Mayhew on August 16, 2014 at 2:26 am

    We have a local shelter called Gerdas Aid. They rescue evaluate and rehome rescued horses from these auctions. I support them friendsf of mine have been evaluators and most have fairy tale endings… the auctions sicken me and even worse the over populating people create selling seaman and breeding. Junking horses that make the par… I believe a true champion cannot be bred they are trained through love and respect and bonding… a humane euthanization is far better than a slaughter house torture chamber….

  42. firnhyde on August 16, 2014 at 1:51 am

    It’s my goal one day to buy auction horses, polish ’em up and sell them on with enough training to have a good chance at being looked after, using the money to rescue more. God willing.

    • Karen on August 16, 2014 at 3:20 am

      That’s what we do at Dare To Dream Horse Rescue in Canada. We take on young healthy horses that otherwise would not be here today and allow them to blossom. We train them and re home them when the time is right. It’s a wonderful community for both horses and humans!
      We bought our mare this way.

      • firnhyde on August 16, 2014 at 8:04 am

        When I was little I also wanted to name my horse farm Dare to Dream… sounds so awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Brenda B. on August 16, 2014 at 1:13 am

    First of all, all horses are worth saving. Sad truth, not all can be saved. This whole topic breaks my heart. Not one of the horses that end up at auction deserve to go to a killbuyer. Not one! They ALL deserve loving caring homes. I rescued two. One before he went to auction and one mare I bought at an auction. Both are wonderful horses and I can’t imagine my life without them. It angers me that horses are bought as a child’s pet and when the “child” outgrows the horse, off to auction or craigslist or some other uncertain fate it goes. But you see this done with other animals as well. Dogs, cats, etc.

    So where do you start trying to reduce the horse populations? Horse rescues are wonderful and I think they should be supported in every way. I wish I had the money it takes to start one. I would love to do it. But the real issue is not how many horse rescues are out there, the real issue is that horse rescues can only do so much for just so many horses. The problem is over-breeding. Somehow horse people need to start thinking “What is going to happen to this horse once it grows up? Will it always have a good home? What will happen to it when its usefulness is over? Will they still love the horse or will they just want to get rid of it like old worn out furniture?” I don’t think breeders think that far ahead or just don’t care. They see the money or the prestige or whatever it is they get from breeding horses. I just saw a horse rescue alert for 31 pregnant mares. 31? Wow. Hence the problem. My mother years ago bred a few litters of Boston Terriers. In the sale contract, she wrote, “If at anytime buyer cannot keep said dog purchased from me, the breeder, the purchased Boston Terrier must be returned to me or a suitable home must be agreed upon between buyer and breeder.” My mother wasn’t trying to be difficult, She wanted to know that all of her puppies went to good homes and stayed in good homes. She was trying to be “responsible” which many horse breeders or the backyard horse breeder are not.

    Clinics would certainly help. But vets have to be a little more flexible with payments. In my opinion, vets are a number one promoter of over-breeding in animals. How dare I say that? Because vets prices are very high and most people cannot afford them. AND…..they don’t accept payments. My vet has a sign in his office “I don’t give credit, so please don’t ask.” Once in a while, you’ll see a clinic where they offer reduced prices on shots, spay/neuter pets, etc. But not very often or in every area. Horse clinics to offer vet care at reduced prices would be great and certainly helpful. People give up their horses because they have injuries of some sort and simply cannot afford to take care of the health problem. Again, vets could be more flexible with costs and payment options. I’m not trying to bash vets, but I am stating a fact and using my own experience with vets as an example. How about a humane euthanasia option? How about a person being responsible and finding a good home for their horse instead of sending it off to auction?

    It is a complex issue and there is no one easy answer. Education has not been any help. Thousands and thousands of dogs and cats are euthanized because they are no longer wanted and there aren’t enough homes to take them all. I have always said a “Save The Horses” committee needs to be formed. Horse people from all walks of life and industries need to be involved: trainers, breeders, racing industry, vets, biologists and so on, need to get together and put all their great minds together and come up with a viable solution. All I know is, slaughter is not the answer for controlling the horse population. Maybe if an effective means to control the horse population is found, maybe it can be translated to other overpopulation problems in animals.

    I nominate you Stacy as the Chairman of “Save The Horses” committee. You care enough to go to an auction and see the issue firsthand. The horses need more people to stand up for them and be their voice. Horses deserve better. They have been the backbone of America. They have been used in many capacities throughout our history. We should be celebrating our nations horses, not slaughtering them.

  44. Tinia Creamer on August 16, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Stacy, thank you so much for taking note, wanting to make a difference. . .

    Of course, there is NO need for slaughter. Is there a need to humane euthanasia for the
    unsound, the very senior. . .at times, yes.

    With action, with horsemen and women saying they demand a difference, we do not have to sit by and claim: “Slaughter, Slaughter, no choice but to slaughter.” That is a coward’s way out of a man made problem.

    If you have a moment, please visit our rescue website and facebook page. . .support from a known name like your’s could make all the difference in the impact we make in such a high needs area as WV, Ky and Ohio.

    We are currently the only active equine rescue in the whole state of West Virginia.

    https://www.facebook.com/HeartofPhoenixEquinerescue

    http://www.wvhorserescue.org

  45. Elizabeth J Nadow on August 16, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Like Steffi my answer is going to be unpopular. There is a need for HUMANE slaughter. IMO, there are more horses being neglected/abandoned since the slaughters closed in the US. So long as there are unscrupulous and backyard breeders, ‘trainers’ that are bad, and uneducated first time owners there will be a need.
    For now, if we all do what we can by supporting true rescues or rescuing one ourselves that is a start. I have one retired horse who we put newbies on, and a lovely Shetland we got from a rescue as my son’s first horse.
    I think gelding clinics are a great idea too. A neighbor of mine who was a first time owner didn’t want to geld her colt because he was ‘pretty’ and she wanted to breed him at least once. In fact he was a dirty palimino color, with many confirmation faults. Needless to say by the time he was 2 yo, he was uncontrollable, escaping regularly from a pen not able to hold him and a menace to the neighborhood. Despite my best attempts to educate her it was a bad situation.

    • Tanya Mayhew on August 16, 2014 at 2:32 am

      There will never be a humane slaughter house for horses they are intelligent they smell blood feel anxiety and have fear. The only way to put down a horse without terrifying it first is through humane euthanization. However the people that send horses to slaughter auctions cannot probablyย afford the cost then disposal of the body… if you can’tย accept the responsibility for the life of a horse then that person has no right owning the horse..

  46. Sharon on August 16, 2014 at 12:11 am

    I have been in that place where I didn’t even have the funds to pay to have an animal put down humanely and hauled away. Even that costs around $300 or more. I have many animals buried on my property when we had a skid loader that could dig the holes deep enough to bury them so I didn’t have to call a body collector. I think that it is preferable to put an animal down humanely by injection by a vet. If a horse or other animal is no longer useful and not a good candidate for a great home… with the economy we have, it is preferable to put them down rather than to give them over to those who mistreat, abuse, and neglect them. I couldn’t stand the thought of my “babies” having to go through that… I’d rather put them down myself. It’s peaceful, quiet, no stress. Maybe there could be an organization who could offer help to those who would make that choice for their animal who really aren’t in the category of being in demand because of a variety of reasons. Maybe they have a debilitating injury or have never been trained properly so as to make them desirable mounts… there are just too many horses out there and not enough people with the knowledge or resources to be able to care for them all.

    • Tanya Mayhew on August 16, 2014 at 2:36 am

      I agree but then you need a reputable vet that can make the call of debilitating and a reputable trainer that can make the call of unsafe horse… people forget if we can’t do these choices for humans and can’t sell humans then why is it okay with pets who are supposed to be part of your family? Just saying

  47. Brenda Fehr on August 15, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Donating to a reputable rescue is the way to go. As a horse rescue myself here in Canada, I know that every dollar donated helps to rescue and care for horses in need. Even donations of much needed supplies are always welcome. Even though none of us can save them all, we can at least gives the ones we do save the very best care possible and a life filled with love and compassion.

  48. Nicole on August 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Horse slaughter is not something new. It’s the ugly dark underbelly of the horse industry. For ages horse profiteers have liquidated their “useless” horses this way. Unfortunately, that is how many horses end up after a couple years of horse racing or showing. We still rally with our Mint Juleps and ugly hats every year to watch the Kentucky Derby.

    We regrettably had to send a horse to slaughter once. It was in the early 90s. My aunt wanted to get her then 7 year old daughter a 4-H horse. We put the word out, and soon got a call from a well-known local horse trader. It was absolutely taboo by my mother to set foot on the property of a horse trader, but he was able to convince us to come out for a look. He was sired by IMPRESSIVE. It piqued our interest. When he brought the horse out there was a moment of silence. He looked AMAZING. It was February, and he looked cut and fit for show. Still reluctant, we decided I would ride the horse first before we put the 7 year old beginner on his back. He was the perfect push-button western pleasure horse. He made my 7 year old cousin look like a seasoned rider – a true “babysitter” horse. By May we had them polished and ready to dominate the 4-H arena. That’s when it happened. My seven year old cousin had taken him out of the stall by herself and put him in the cross-ties as she often did; my back was turned when I heard the sound of what I thought was a tractor hitting the side of the barn. I jolted to see what happened, and it was the horse flipped on his side; legs flaying to find ground. He looked like a turtle flipped upside down. He was completely terrified, and I thought he spooked at something, but he was unable to stand. He eventually just lay there trembling. By the grace of god my cousin was not crushed by him. We had no idea what was wrong with him. The day after this happened he seemed completely normal again. After extensive blood work it came back HYPP. The horse had 3 more attacks like this before we had to decide what to do with him. My aunt, who was a single mother made a significant investment in buying the horse, and even took out a loan to pay for him. She then incurred piles of veterinarian bills trying to save the horse. It came down to a financial decision. Our trusted vet, and long time family friend helped us plan his grim departure: give him enough sedative and pain killer to make the trip to slaughter. He was sold for meat, and she recovered $900, which didn’t even put a dent in her vet bills. It was not an easy decision. The highest price paid: watching the emotional turmoil of a little girl losing her first horse.

    Nobody was saving horses from slaughter back in those days, but it would have been a disaster if someone saved him, which in his case would have been highly likely. No doubt someone would have seen him and would have wondered who could have discarded such an amazing horse. His attacks were sudden and severe. He was a very large, gentle horse. He was aware of his loss of control, and it was terrifying for him. Not only did the attacks break him down mentally, he caused severe injury to himself. It was just gory and heart wrenching.

    We bought him in February, and the warm weather brought on the attacks. (Insert deceitful horse selling on another topic). At that time there was little known about how to treat the disease, but here is what hasn’t changed: many horses are still being discarded because this condition. The AQHA, APHA, and ApHC (amount others) continue to breed and register these horses. Why? Because they look great in the Halter ring. It’s true. Horses that are HYPP n/h have more clearly defined muscle. There is nobody looking out for the long term welfare of these horses or the quality of the breed(s). There needs to be much higher standards for breeding programs, and perhaps just a whole lot less breeding.

    The bottom line is that whether it is Thoroughbred Racing, AQHA, The Tennessee Walkers (soaring still is happening, and if you don’t know what that is, look it up, and you will discover something more cruel than slaughter), and so on, there is one thing in common. The people heading those organizations are turning their heads to abuses in the interest of their own financial gain.

    Horses have so many valuable “uses” that are often overlooked. The therapy industry alone could employ so many of these discarded horses. Little by little we are seeing people pioneering a new future for horses. In the meantime, let’s just be thankful for those who are willing and able to save one horse at a time.

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