Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

...I'm going to make a post about horse rescue! :) Errr, make that about rescue horses, and there's a big difference in my book. Some years back I decided to get out of the rescue world, and stick with doing rescue one horse at a time, as I found they needed help, because of the people I consistently encountered in the rescue world. My opinion has not changed in recent years and months. In fact, I think people in horse rescue have overall gotten worse in the last ten years, especially over the internet. While there are good, intelligent people with huge hearts immersed in rescue (Jill Curtis of Shiloh Horse Rescue in Nevada comes to mind, as does Jo Deibel of Angels Acres Horse Haven Rescue of Pennsylvania), the vast majority of those involved either know nothing about horses and therefore have no idea how to care for them; they are scam artists wanting someone to pay their bills for them; or they are simply nasty, evil hearted people that live to cause trouble.

My adventures in the realm of rescue began way back when I was but a child, and I learned what became of old, unwanted horses. We had a neighbor who sold their POA gelding to a local woman who wanted a smaller horse because she was so petite. "Cricket" was my best friend's pony, and had carried her to many blue ribbons during their time together. After he changed hands, he became the woman's trail horse. But when he finally got to the point of being too old, he would stumble and fall when she tried to canter him along the trails ~ it turns out that years before he had been nerved in both front feet ~ that he was deemed a danger to be ridden, instead of doing the loving, humane thing and putting him to sleep peacefully, Cricket was shipped off to slaughter in Arizona. He had been sold because my friend outgrew him. They never imagined that he would have anything other than a humane, quiet death and that people would sooner get a last few dollars out of a horse by sending them to the horror of slaughter as opposed to spending a little bit to make sure he felt loved in his last moments. That experience forever changed my outlook.

During the years shortly following my getting married, I had befriended a number of folks involved in the horse rescue world, and was working to give back to the horses who had given me so much by volunteering and assisting wherever and whenever I could with local rescues. But my life again changed forever one Sunday afternoon in March of 1994 while attending the Kavanagh Arabian Auction in Pomona, California. It was there I saw a breathtakingly beautiful mare, and something in my heart just screamed out for her. "Angel" was purchased by one of our local killer buyers for the sum of $400. I distinctly remember walking back through the barns after the sale and stopping by the mare's stall, watching her frantically pace, whinny and kick at the closed Dutch doors, while awaiting the dealer's trailer to take her away.

Early the next morning, I received a call from a dear friend and rescuer that they desperately needed to find a home for one pretty bay mare in order to save her from the terror of being rented to the charros for use in their horrible horse tripping events before being shipped to slaughter and winding up on some foreigner's dinner plate. It turned out the mare in question was the one who had stolen my heart the day before during the sale. I knew I would do just about anything to have her, and I set out to bring her home.

In the 15 years since her rescue, my incredible friend, my Angel, has become a Champion in the show ring and proven to be a phenomenal trail mount. She's won in Country English Pleasure, English Show Hack, Arabian Mounted Native Costume and carried a 7 year old child to her first Arabian Youth Nationals qualification in Saddleseat Equitation as a last minute substitute for another horse.

Had it not been for my last minute intervention, Angel would have been on a truck bound for a Texas slaughterhouse after having been maimed and tortured in a Mexican rodeo first. I will never forget the hundreds of thousands of horses who died because of the legality of horse slaughter before Angel's rescue, the hundreds of thousands of horses who have died in the slaughter trade since her rescue and those who will die in the future before we finally ban the slaughter of our beloved horses for human consumption.

Godspeed, all of you. I am so incredibly sorry so many did not have the fate of my beloved Angel, finding homes that will love and care for you until the end of your days.



  1. *sniff*

    Beautiful story, Angel sounds like a once in a life time horse. Can you say fate?

    It is so sad that so many don't share the same happy ending. God Bless them all.

  2. I ride a rescue Saddlebred. Because he is a paint his previous owners tried to get him to race barrels. Did not work. He is a bit pushy and as grouchy as I am when I PMS. He ended up losing an eye and being starved. When I got him he had an atrophied eye and a body of 2. He is not a pleasant horse, but I like him.

  3. Thanks MB........I second your thoughts totally. :(

    I'd love to see a pic of your Saddlebred, Kaede. He sounds like the kind of horse I would fall for, a hard luck kind of guy that needed a lot of TLC. But then again, I fall for them all.

    A client and I were just talking this morning about the auctions. It just rips my heart to shreds anymore to attend the low end sales. I'll go for the tack sales which precede the horses being run through, but the knowledge that I cannot save them all just kills a part of me.

    If I only won the lottery...sigh.

  4. STFS is there a way I can just send "you" a photo of Handsome? He is a Saddlebred paint missing an eye, there are not too many of those around. I just don't want to attract loonies to myself or my kids. I don't want to end up on anyone's blog as a feature. I do enough bonehead stuff without someone making hay of my mistakes. I believe this is called "A chilling effect" in the free speech biz.

  5. Oh I asked about polishing/sanding horses hoofs. At least in the Saddlebred world, it is something that is done to put the winning gloss on. Sort of like face makeup and gloves (I hate gloves. I can't feel the horses mouth) You don't have to wear it every day, but to pull off the finished look in the big shows you wear gloves, wear make up and _lightly_ sand their hoofs. It was described to me as giving them a manicure. Buff out the ridges so the polish doesn't emphasize the imperfections. I wondered how long it would be before horses started getting UV nail sets.

  6. Sure, you can email me at, believe me I fully understand.

    You've got it exactly right about the hoof prep, it's akin to the difference between showing up to a fashion show as a model and not having your fingernails cleaned, buffed or polished. :) I got yelled at for that back in the day...LOL

    We always get compliments on how well prepared our horses are, and how shiny and beautiful our horses' feet are. A lot of the Quarter Horse, Paint and other trainers always ask about clip jobs and hoof preparation, which I think is pretty cool. Teaching the world how to show groom a horse, one trainer at a time...hahaha!! :)

  7. STFS I've copied and pasted you email info if you want to remove it from a public forum.

  8. It's okay, that's my old AOL addy from years gone by, but I keep it on my profile so people can contact me privately. I forward everything to my "regular" email address.


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