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

15 Aug

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 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?

It made a difference for that one.”




Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Life, Thought provoking


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

  1. Diane

    August 15, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    In 2004 I visited a feed lot in Washington State and I came home with one horse. I went there with the intent to rescue. I knew it could only be one horse, but at least I could give that horse a life it deserved. She was 7 years old at the time (the vet thinks), she is 17 now. She has scarring on her two front legs, but other than that there was nothing wrong with her. How hard was it to leave the 100’s of others that were there? I can’t even tell you….but I have this one….her name is Mocha and she is worth the heartache of not being able to save the rest.

    • Stephanie

      August 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      “her name is Mocha and she is worth the heartache of not being able to save the rest.”
      what moving and beautiful words, Diane
      Stacey, in answer to your request for ideas…There are a lot of kind hearted people who are all doing there part to help suffering animals one or more at a time, that is a fact. How can we do more? I’ve asked myself (I have 11 rescued horses). I applaud your writing about this very emotional and sad part of the equine industry. I responded to a facebook challenge to support a rescue every month, just $10 via Paypal, to The Pegasus Project, a small and easy thing times 1,000 people really can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of horses. Pick an organization, there are so many out there, support them monthly, challenge your readers to follow your suit, most of us will heed your call and it will make a difference.

  2. Debby Hess

    August 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    My horse is a little rescue pony cross. His owner died of cancer, he was to be put down, till someone found out about it and took him home. He came to me next and I am his forever home. I get sick at the thought of what may have happened to him when he has been so good to me. I was recovering from some bad riding experiences – as far as I’m concerned, he rescued me. I’m so grateful that I could make the difference for this one.

  3. Kim Dimmick

    August 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    In the early and mid nineties I rescued many horses from the sale barn and a kill farm close to me. The money I made on the first supported buying the next and so on. High costs have made rescue by individuals virtually impossible unless you are wealthy. Many people fear buying from the auctions and felt comfortable buying from me and having a 30 days return policy. I never felt better than when I could bring that frightened animal home, love it and repair any physical or mental damage that had been done to it. And the best part was receiving letters and pictures from the new owners and seeing how loved they were in their new home. A win win situation for everyone.

  4. melody

    August 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t know. I have thought and thought about this many times. I never play the lottery. I walked down to the local gas station and bought two last week. If by any chance I would ever win I have vowed to open a rescue place for horses, dogs, and cats and let them live their lives out as healthy as can be and most of all loved and SAFE. What brought this thought? The last chance correl you posted about the foals. It tore me up. Also I have seen the horses being rounded up for kill on another fb page. It is horrid. I don’t know how those people can sleep knowing they are tearing babies from moms, horses from their herds. It breaks my heart so I am making a plan and if the money ever comes that is what I am doing. Humans have the government programs to take care of them although those aren’t so great either, but the animals have no government laws to protect them. I have donated to a few animal causes but that is not enough for me.

    • Lori

      August 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Start small, I feel like you’re thinking big? Any little thing helps.

      • Jayne

        August 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        Well said, Lori. Individuals should start small, save one horse. Donate, network, volunteer at a rescue. It all matters hugely. . Industries, on the other hand, (racing, etc) need to address overbreeding or breeding: period.

      • Lindsay

        August 16, 2014 at 4:52 am

        Well said Lori, I think that is pretty much every ones problem when they want to help, regardless of what the problem is.

    • Andrea Owen

      August 15, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      That’s a great idea. I have often bought Loto tickets with the same intent. Some day!!!!

  5. Meg

    August 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I think everyone should rescue a horse once in their lives. Well, horse people anyway. It makes you appreciate things a bit more.
    I took my 7 year old daughter to our local killer sale just to visit the tack sale room, and we came home with a $45 gelding that was 300 pounds underweight and had strangles. 3 years later, hes healthy. Hes ugly as sin, poor fella, but his heart is gold, and though his body will never be full and shiny again (trust me, weve tried!!!) he is an amazing boy. Saving him has taught my daughter so much about compassion that I couldnt have taught her otherwise. And we did save his life. And hes got it good now. He gets ridden maybe once a month for a few minutes by his girl, and he gets regular meals and health care. Hes our pasture ornament, and we adore him. We got really really lucky though. Ive heard lots of stories that didnt end nearly as well.

  6. Lori

    August 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I have a 45 year old horse that originally came from animal control. He was purchased at auction and left at my trainers barn when the family who owned him moved to Texas. I purchased him from my trainer for $400.00 when He was 15. He was a handful, but we clicked, won me lots of blues and a buckle. He needed kind hands and He got them from me. My trainer wouldn’t even ride him. We’re still Kimosabe’s 30 yrs. later and He’ll always have a home here. So, the moral of my story is, do what you can, if you can care for one properly do it, otherwise chip in to help a rescue. There’s no love like the love of a good horse.

    • Lesia Lowe

      August 15, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      45 yrs old????? AMAZING!!!

    • Mel

      September 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      I had a gelding that was in his forties too! He was the best horse every, I got him when I was eight years old and I think the horse was around 10 or 12 at that time. I had him until I was almost 37. My dad got him from a family that was dirt poor, they even had a dirt floor in their house. That horse won a lot of blues for all the kids that rode him after I grew out of him! I used him for mostly trail and 4-H but he was actually trained very well as I found out later after seeing all those trophies and ribbons he won, literally hundreds. My dad always knew I was safe when I was with that horse and didn’t worry about me. The horse was very trustworthy. I brought him back home to my parents with another older mare when he was done working and had him for a few more years. His teeth were worn down to the gum so I ended up feeding him several times a day senior mash and soaked alfalfa pellets and pretty much a special diet. But I’ll tell ya I will never forget the joy he gave me throughout my childhood and this horse really touched a lot of people. Many people have told me some of the memorable stories about him. He brought a lost boy home that couldn’t find his way back home after trail riding on state land. And this horse even has his picture painted on a young man’s gravestone because that boy never stopped talking about his ride on the horse and how much he liked it. The horse’s name was Prince but somewhere along the line he got renamed Ginger! He’s passed now and I still miss him!

      • Lesia Lowe

        September 2, 2014 at 11:29 pm

        that’s a lot of great memories right there Mel….. :o)

  7. Diane Wharnsby Brown

    August 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Last June, with the kind help of a local rescue group, we brought home two rescues from this kind of market too. Red was a 2 year old purebred chestnut Quarterhorse, as gentle as can be but very timid, and Jasmine was a 2 year old gangly young hackney cross with lots of spitfire and a large personal bubble. It took me over six months of daily, quiet presence before we could groom properly with brushes and hoof picks. Our farrier was kind and patient enough to keep coming every couple of weeks as most of the trims were ‘teaching moments’. But now, a year later, these two ladies are different creatures and their true personalities have shone through. You can’t rescue them all, but the ones that do find a home do learn to trust… it just takes time. The fun part of all this is that although I’ve ridden all my life, these two mares were the first horses I’ve ever owned and the first ground training I’ve ever done, so we’ve all been learning together. Wouldn’t change it for a minute! And someday I’ll go back and bring home a few more!

  8. Elizabeth Cowling-Jones

    August 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I couldnt do it…really i couldnt…but if i had the courage one day to would be because i had room to take a couple home…I couldnt go and not come home empty handed…Would probably buy the young ones…they have a life ahead of them…so sad. there must b a more humane way for the unwanted…they have to travel in seriously overcrowded trucks to certain death in pain and scared,, would be just better to shoot them at home..less misery..If i have a sick horse that cannot possibly get better then I get the vet to euthanise..what is wrong with society today… !!!
    Respect for those that do go and save some… TO RESCUE ONE HORSE DOESNT CHANGE THE WORLD….BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE HORSE…. (the starfish factor)…

  9. Jessica

    August 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I once went to a local auction when I was young. We were looking for a prospect. It wasn’t too bad from what I remember, but I wanted to take them all home. One we did bid on was a big grey gelding. When we took a look, he looked possibly drugged, (eye test) and his feet were in very rough shape, with old winter shoes that his feet had grown into and were poking him in his frog. Somewhat lame, but nothing serious. The one that stuck out to me was a tall, somewhat gangly grey dun mare that was terrified. She attacked people who came in, and several people were taunting her. I went in quietly to her pen, and just stood still. She came at me a couple times, but just bluffs. She finally started to relax. I got a foot away from her, and then another young girl barged in and she went after her. My mom only saw the bared teeth and aggression, not what I saw. Unfortunately being young, I was not aloud to bid on her. She did however go to a good home. I will never forget that day. I thank every person who rescues even just one from an auction. Every life matters and makes a difference. I think you sponsoring and making a fund me account and following up would get more people interested and involved. Not everyone has the room to rescue, but everyone has a dollar to help. 🙂

  10. Kim Van Drisse

    August 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I can’t go. I can’t even go to registered sales.. it breaks my heart to see the unwanted, to see the fear and the despair in their eyes.
    I did adopt 3 mini-donkeys this year, for companions to my single horse. I can afford the animals that I have, and keep them the way they should be kept. Quality feed, pastures, fresh water, well fitting tack… Sure I could afford 3 or 4 horses but it would be basic care, not the kind of care I would want to be able to give. So I stay away…

  11. missy

    August 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I been to theses sales rehab retrain and resell or find homes. Im one of the trainers in A Home For Every Horse’s Equine Comeback Challenge…. 10 trainers 10 unbroke rescue horses 90 days of training till the challenge at Pa National show in Harrisburg. I drew a little Arabian 6yr old named Heston. Heston was saved from a kill buyer for a mere 140 dollars. I have had him 5weeks and if I told you i broke him 4 weeks ago you wouldn’t believe me. The horse is smart and willing. It makes me physically ill where he was heading. I would love to know why they gave this wonderful horse up. The link to my challenge fb page is at the bottom. So many nice horses end up at down the wrong road. I have pulled some very nice horses from these auctions. Its hard to go because you want to save them all. As we call it the sit on your hand auctions,

  12. Linda

    August 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Stacy, I have a horse that came from the Sugar Creek kill pen, rescued by a couple who do this on a regular basis. When I was looking for another horse to be a companion for my Concho after he lost his buddy, I talked to Victoria at Last Chance. She recommended someone else who had what I seemed to be looking for. This little Appy pony was on Craigslist, bought by a dealer, taken to 2 auctions, didn’t sell and went to the kill pen. Everyday, I am thankful for the person that saved his life. Yes, he is a work in progress, but he is sound of body and mind, has a sense of humor, likes kisses on his nose. He gallops up from the pasture at the sound of me coming outside or driving up. He has some baggage, but with thoughtful conversations, we work thru it. People who see him wonder why he ended up in the kill pen. I do too, but he has a forever home now.

    • Rachel Bendler

      August 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Linda, So glad to hear ‘Doobie’ is so loved. 😉

  13. ferg05

    August 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Stacy, so hard, so hard! Breaks my heart, but we can’t save them all. I just pray! I volunteer at our local horse rescue, ” Horse n’ Around Rescue Ranch”. What started out 5 years or so ago as a small horse rescue, has now 46+ rescues. Not easy to home them all. All of them with a heart breaking story of abuse and/or starvation. All animals lovers out there; there is a call for help and if you can give a little of your time and effort, whether it be physical or monetary…..DO IT! You will feel great and be helping if not one, many! We can’t save them all, but we can help and make a difference for the few!

  14. Dawn B.

    August 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Thanx so much for bringing up this difficult topic. We have so many unwanted horses in this country. We breed too many without quality or ethics. We don’t have these hard discussions and we need to. It could prevent a huge amount of needless suffering if our organizations and veterinary schools would take a stand to promote ethics in breeding, promote gelding clinics nationwide and bring about a greater conscientiousness on these issues. Slaughter is not coming back here… what are the alternatives?
    (Thanx Stacy… you are a gal with a backbone for sure.)

  15. Jennifer Campbell

    August 15, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I support a couple of well researched rescues such as Rosemary Farm and Friends Of Sand Stone Farm’s Rescue Effort 501c3 Equine Rescue. Sand Stone farm is located in my home state and I have visited the barn, seen the horses and it is the one I interact with the most. Their focus is rescuing pregnant mares from these kill pens. The founder is an excellent horse person with a lot of experience. They will pay for training on the green horses to help them find homes. They have held gelding clinics. Please visit these Facebook pages and see for yourself. Thank you Stacy for sharing this experience with the people who may not be aware of the plight of far too many of our horses.

    • Mel

      September 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Jennifer, Yes, Carolyn Joy at Sand Stone Farm Rescue Effort is wonderful! She does a great job! I have young horse named J.R. that came from her. He has a forever home with me!

  16. brett

    August 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    thanks for checking out the sales, and your questions. I am not a big fan of rescue unless people are funding it themselves and not begging for donations.. its sad to see all of those horses get on the truck and head north, I agree, but there will always be unwanted horses. I love my horses and chances are not real good that I will ever put one on that truck, but its nice to have that option they are livestock. seems kind of dumb to me that the fed. government hoards 50.000 wild horses. that are also unwanted.. load them up and ship them off to these country’s that have a gazillion starving children. heck we have a lot of that right here. and I like you don’t go watch the local sale very often either.. I could easily become a hoarder myself…

    • judye822

      August 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Unwanted horses don’t feed starving people! Horse eat is a delicacy in the EU and Asian countries….. Go to www, and become educated on the statistics and facts of horse slaughter.

    • judye822

      August 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Brett if you d like to learn the facts and statistics about horse slaughter, you should visit A gazillion starving children would NOT be fed by America’s horses….. Horse eat is for affluent people in the EU and Asia. Additionally, it’s the large breed organizations which feed the slaughter pipeline…..

  17. Susan Berger

    August 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I go to two auctions a year with the focus of bringing home 1-4 older geldings. I look for the older ones specifically because 1. They are not usually looked at by other rescues. 2. They still have much to offer.
    I need them to work into our horsemanship program. We work mainly with 1 time and first time riders who have no idea what they are doing or how dangerous it is to climb onto an animal they don’t know how to handle and go for a trail ride in the woods with no fences. We also do lessons, summer camps, and work with at risk youth programs. We connect people who think they have no value with horses that are thought to have lost their value. They teach each other respect, trust, and how to accept love.
    Some of our older geldings have fewer years than others. We have had to make very heart breaking decisions. But I am reminded by our vet that we have given them care, love, and value. And they have returned it to us 10 fold.
    I would value your prayers as we make our journey again this month. I begin praying the beginning of the summer that God will lead me to the ones he has chosen for our program. It is a very daunting and humbling responsibility as we have very limited funds and we need them to be usable in our very special program.
    If you are interested, I will post later on what God leads us to this year.

  18. Gina Shiplett

    August 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Stacie you should go visit Copper Horse Crusade when you can. She is close to Cambridge and goes to Sugar Creek every Friday. She tries to pull at least 4 horses if possible. She also carries a snaffle with her. Julie has been doing this for about 15 years now. She has so many sad stories. But, the one’s that she does pull usually have happy endings. I just bought my last horse from her. I’ve been to these auctions before and they are heartbreaking. I hope I never have to go to another. Instead, I support them by adopting or donating when I can. 3 of my 4 horses are rescues. The one that isn’t a rescue belongs to my fiance. 13 years ago I got a nurse mare foal from Last Chance and still have him. My Palomino came from the kill pen (Sugar Creek) but Copper Horse Crusade saved him and I adopted him. My daughters QH was abandoned out in a field and his halter grew into his skin leaving permanent indentations. There are ways to help!!!! Adopt, donate, and educate about being a “back yard breeder”.

  19. Cece osborn

    August 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    i went to the sale barn at elaset once a month for 15+ yrs, mostly a friend and i bought and sold tack, occasionally we brought home a horse, a few registered babies, a baby mule, an arabian mare once. I have seen lots of cripples, old injuries, poor breeding, damaged horses. Was it the fault of the breeder, the owner, the trainer, no training, the wrong training, the wrong job, bad mental state from the start, spoiled, poorly conformed, injured?? Yes all those things and more. I dont know if its the type of sale barn i went to (one than one on a consistent basis) but i did not see too many pen injuries, nor much more than scrapes, that could have happened on the way there. But these were horse sale night only, so they were handling them with dignity for the most part. Maybe it was the barn owners, horse people themselves, maybe they were more caring. Can anyone save them all? No. Are all worth saving?..Hell No, and i am sorry to say that. You have to be objective, maybe some are great horses just down on their luck, maybe they never had a chance to be great. One of the auctioneers who was an astute horseman, used to say that…hey hes/shes just down on their luck, a little good feed and he will be back…give him a chance. Objectiveness has to be carried out. I have bought babies cut off their moms, more than a month old they come out just fine–as long as they are not treated like dogs…then they become spoiled brats–and they NEVER get over that. it scares me when i see the foals going thru the sale barn who are ‘adopted’ by people, rescues who pick them up and adopt them to people who have the facilites, but maybe not the horse smarts. why?? because most of the time they are not treated like horses, but pups. You know the dog that jumps on you,knocks you down, basically has no manners?? That is how alot of those babies turn out, but they are 1000 pound dogs who kick and bite and strike at you, when any kind of training is put on them. Where to they end up after they have this bad behavior?? The sale barn. Did the sale barn horses we bought work out ok? Sometimes. Did the horses that i bought from a breeder work out better, yes. Did i breed a few mares and raise babies to show, yes. Did they lead productive lives and not end up at the sale barn? I hope so. I miss owning a horse everyday, i live vicariously thru you Stacy and others who train. The slaughter horses being shipped to Mexico is the worst, no animal of anykind deserves that. I have nothing against humane slaughter. Spaying and gelding…that is something i beleive in. Just like dogs…more neutering and less breeding.

  20. Mandy

    August 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Yes to gelding clinics! The sire of every single horse at this auction should be gelded. People need to be educated or nothing will ever change. Rescuing these horses is certainly nice and admirable but the problem needs to be stopped at the source or it will NEVER END. Stop breeding mediocre horses and stop supporting Thoroughbred racing!

  21. Fiona Anderson

    August 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    this is all so heartbreaking but even nature is cruel in its own way. I often wish I was wealthy so I could save some of these but its not so. I’m like Kim- I take the best care of my horses that I can and if someday I need to help one out, I will do my best but not at the expense of the animals that I have.

  22. Carroll Sweet

    August 15, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    First I think that everyone should read The Eighty Dollar Horse, second, animal protection laws should be enforced, too many irresponsible people own horses, third, we have a local vet who will humanely euthanize horses that are beyond saving (many people donate to that cause), fourth, we need lots more education regarding when and if to breed horses. When I have extra hay or money I give it to rescue organizations. When I sell or give away a horse I have a no slaughter agreement, even if I have to pay for the euthanization.

  23. Jody Brittain

    August 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    i quit going to my local auction because I was always drawn to the back pens. Then I would walk away with such a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. I have my horse and three donkeys. They get the utmost care and attention, (even though sometimes I don’t think they care much about that). If I ever won the lottery I would rescue what I could, rehabilitate them, and find them homes. In this economy that has been created by our current administration., people just can’t afford them anymore. It is a very sad situation that I have no answers for, as well as many others.

  24. Michelle Rikard

    August 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    A dear friend of mine has Omega Horse Rescue in Pennsylvania. She and her team go to New Holland Auction every Monday. They evaluate horses and pull the ones that they feel can use a second chance. Check out her website I am sure she would be more than happy to talk to you about what goes into this type of rescue.

  25. morgan

    August 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    The eyes of the horse in the article looking out with such sadness, could be my Tennessee walker. It breaks your heart to know the pain and suffering these animals go through, because of the uncaring humans whose lives they have crossed. People who say “they are only Livestock”! Just displays the ingnorance and lack of responsiblity that people have towards their animals and how easily they can just drop them off and walk away, to their comfortable lives, without a backward glance. Shame!!! These animals form emotional bonds just like we do, they think and feel just like us and yet we discard them when they are an “inconvenience” Shame on us !!!!!
    And yes I bought my two mare, and have 5 horses who would otherwise have no home. I’m not trying to stand on a pedestal, but you CAN help, you CAN do something. To those horses even some hay and pasture would be heaven. To the people who could help PLEASE do it, the need is so great.
    Maybe if all the famous trainer took one rescue horse each year and ran it through their programme then moved it on to a good home that would be a start. Maybe a “Traiers Challenge”!

  26. susan

    August 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I have sent a donation to a local rescue. The lady was at the auction and had spent the budget she had, she needed x dollars for one more aged horse and posted a request on our local horse FB page. She has a well run rescue that works with the horses and rehomes them if possible.

  27. Steffi

    August 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    This is going to be an unpopular answer. I firmly believe that the only way to help the majority of unwanted horses are well-regulated slaughterhouses all throughout the country. Then at least the horses that do not find a home won’t have to endure the endless transport south or north, only to be slaughtered under who-knows-what conditions. I’m from Germany, and Germans love their horses too – but we do slaughter. Local companies will even pick horses up right where they are at if people can’t or don’t want to take them in, even put them down at home…no fear, no stress, no auction, and probably quicker than a vet with a needle. And people get paid for those horses, so at least they’re not left to starve or suffer because someone can’t or won’t call the vet. Sick horses, old horses, unwanted horses…they will always be there. And to help the ones that are left over after people are done picking through them, improving the conditions and regulations of slaughter would be the most reasonable and responsible thing to do.

    • Joy

      August 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      I agree with you Steffi. Thank you for so saying what you said. The populations would then go down making the rest more valuable and thus owners could afford their care because their horses would have more value. The regulations should be well thought out to effect the best humane solutions to all these animals.

      • Steffi

        August 16, 2014 at 9:11 am


        it just seems to me that all this rescuing one horse here and there or donating some money to a rescue – while doing so is honorable and important, don’t get me wrong; I own several animals that I rescued or that would have ended up at an auction – is like pouring water into a leaky vessel … it’s not solving the underlying problem. It makes the person feel like he/she has done something, which is great, but ultimately it leaves the problem for someone else to solve. People are going hungry, and the economy is still not noticeably recovering, and it may well get worse before it gets better, which means more horses at the sale and less people with the resources to save them. Is that fair to the horses or to the people (our children?) having to deal with that?
        We are lucky to live in a rural area, and we do have a plan for when – not if, because it’s going to happen eventually – our horses have to cross the rainbow bridge. My horses are not overly thrilled to see the vet and they would rather not deal with needles either, I don’t know about your horses. Mine are going to be shot, quickly and in their own pasture with a bucket of grain in front of them. And then they are either going to be food for our dogs or donated to a wolf rescue. The other two options are as follows: rent a backhoe and dig all day into the rocky ground, or leave them out as coyote bait…no thank you. Horses don’t care what happens to them after they pass but they deserve to not suffer or be scared before and while they die. My favorite mare was adopted from a wolf rescue. I found her there 4 years ago, she ended up there prematurely and they knew better than to shoot a basically healthy yet ill-mannered horse. I love my horses, but they are also 800lbs of meat each, that might as well be put to use after a humane death – my dogs, and wolves/large cats in rescues would probably agree if you asked them.

    • Elizabeth J Nadow

      August 15, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      I would love to hear which you get, and how they work out. Does your program have a fb page?

    • Elizabeth J Nadow

      August 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      Actually that comment was for someone else. Stereo, I agree with you. When the last of the slaughter houses in the US closed I noticed a big rise in neglected and abandoned horses. Between first time owners that get more than they bargained for and backyard breeders there is a need, but too many think it’s cruel. I think it’s more cruel for an unwanted horse to suffer neglect and cruelty for long periods. There is a need for humane slaughter.
      I also think we all (horseman/women) should educate any first time owner as best we can, especially if they fail to geld colts that would be wonderful geldings!

      • Steffi

        August 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

        Yes. And nobody says we have to buy from backyard breeders. A well-run rescue is a good place to look for a new horse, especially if you just need it for pleasure riding or as yard art. We don’t like seeing horses slaughtered, so let’s close the slaughter houses. We also don’t like seeing orphaned kids, pets having to go to the shelter or our cars breaking down. And we don’t like getting sick…So let’s close all the orphanages, shelters, mechanic shops and hospitals too, and see how well that works out for us! Only because we don’t want to deal with a problem, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      • ERW

        August 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

        The other side of that is that if slaughter is made easier then breeders find it easy to dump the unwanted and therefore breed more to find the perfect one. Slaughter houses closing and the economy going down hill happened at close to the same time so it isn’t know if it was the economy tanking or the closing of the plants. There is also the problem of horse theft increasing if there is easy access to slaughter. I understand horses being humanely killed and fed to zoos but I don’t agree with them being shipped to foreign countries to dine on them. There are so many things wrong with that. But as long as there is a market for horse meat it will continue. I don’t understand how an unknown and un inspected meat source can be a delicacy? Over 150,000 horses are slaughtered each year. That is over 400 horses a day, seven days a week. At some point will it go down? Where do they all come from? Is it the backyard breeders or racing industry or ??? And who wants the horse slaughter plant in their town? So many questions without answers. But I owe my horses a peaceful end when the time comes.

      • Steffi

        August 17, 2014 at 7:23 pm

        I am not at all a fan of shipping horses anywhere for slaughter, regardless of who or what is going to eat them. Personally, if any of my horses have to go, I would want to be there to make sure the horse is neither scared nor suffering- I find, too, that I owe my horse a peaceful departure. Slaughter facilities in Germany allow owners to be there
        Those horses are not ‘uncontrolled meat’, at least not in Europe. Each horse has a passport where every medication is noted – if the horse was given something that renders it unfit for human consumption, it then has pet-status and cannot be slaughtered. There much fewer medications are sold over-the-counter to ensure that nothing potentially dangerous is given without a veterinarian making a note in the horse’s passport. Horse theft for slaughter happens, but not often, especially since the passport has become standard…you have to prove that you’re the owner and present the equine passport. That countries may import horses from countries like the US for human consumption – that’s ignorant. Not only from a horse lover’s standpoint, but who knows what medications those horses were just given? On the flip-side … can’t be a whole lot worse than a lot of the things on the shelve at the grocery store …
        Where they come from? Well, there are people who breed for that, but that’s probably the exception rather than the rule. And a horse bred and raised for meat is probably happier than a stallion that’s stuck alone somewhere, or a mare whose urine is used for pharmaceutical purposes. In Europe people aren’t allowed to bear arms, so shooting is not an option. That leaves – unless the horse dies on its own – the vet or the slaughter house. And slaughter is an accepted alternative to euthanasia in Europe. I don’t know about other continents, but in most European countries, some – not all – people eat horse meat, especially in France and Belgium. A lot of those horses were someone’s friend. And that someone typically had the opportunity to be there when the horse was put down. One can, for the sake of each horse, only hope that a lot of people stayed with their horses – because otherwise there is no real guarantee that the horse isn’t shipped alive somewhere else or resold. Either way, I would want to be there with my horse to ensure a humane death, regardless of what were to happen after that.

      • Steffi

        August 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

        Besides, reputable, ethical breeders should care about their foals’ fate…and someone who has thousands of dollars invested in that foal already will not aim to sell it by the pound. And the other breeders will breed regardless of whether the slaughter houses are open or not.

  28. Angie Thomas

    August 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I have bought two horses who were slaughter bound . One from the sale yards and one from the knackery after she’d been purchased at the sales . Being at the sale yards was an incredibly emotional and overwhelming experience . I myself cannot go back to the sales as I know I can’t save them all and it breaks my heart . Both my horses were relatively unhandled , one completely wild in fact . This mistreatment , neglect and over breeding of horses is something I feel passionate about . I know though I can’t save them all . What I can do is change the world for the two I’ve saved and promote and support others doing this work .

  29. barbkeith

    August 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    We have a group outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada called Need You Now Equine who advertises horses owned by a dealer on a FB page in hopes of finding them a home. The dealer sets the price. I bought a terrified little yearling palomino QH 2 years ago. She had never been handled and it took about 6 weeks for her to start to come to me. She had to be handled like cattle. She kicked me the first time I touched her but now she does anything I ask of her and she just wants to be with people. She has gone from being a terrified, possibly dangerous horse to a beautiful, pocket pony who is eager to please. She has been backed and was wonderful. She was at a friend’s barn in January and he couldn’t get her to go from the arena back to her stall – it could take 20 min just to get her back in. I showed up after a few days and when I asked, she didn’t hesitate. After that, she was perfect for him too. Up until that point, she also didn’t seem to be too sure of men but now she doesn’t care who you are, she wants you to pet her. People curse those who send horses to the salebarn but if someone hadn’t done that to her, she wouldn’t be my baby. I will never know why she got sent but everyone has their reasons. I’m just grateful she was bought by this dealer and she ended up 6 hours east of that salebarn on my farm.

  30. Cat

    August 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    There is some land near me that I use to ride on many many years ago. It has an old old barn that would need some serious TLC…but there is A LOT of land. I would give anything to be able to purchase this land and use it as a rescue and haven for some of these horses till they could go to forever homes. I simply do not have the money…and am clueless on how to get it. I don’t understand these people and why they would think or want to be apart of such a cruel and heartless business.I just will never understand. why why why????

  31. Sally Sweeney

    August 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    My bay mare is from the very first premarin groups o foals , Labor day weekend 1999, in Winnepeg, Manitoba . I need to get some pictures of my fur babies posted ! Border Patrol brought us three 7 years ago. Park services 3 they were retiring . GREAT pleasure horses . we hve 12 horses, and Frosty a white mule who just turned 6 . All but two horses are rescues . We are not a 501(c)3, but we did take the overflow of a sactioned 501 .I don’t know how well I would do at an auction Stacy. Probably buy as many as I could and be depressed for the ones not going to a home .

  32. rachel

    August 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I personally work at a horse rescue and it is definitely worth it. I have seen how well they treat them and they take everything from lame to starved and emaciated horses. They also do owner education and helped that way. The rescue is called Rangers Legacy Equine Rescue.

  33. Brittnee

    August 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Stacy, please check out the Colorado horse rescue network on Facebook. We are not a non profit, we are a large group of horse women who purchase and rehab horses from the kill auction. We do not ask for donations. Its all out of pocket costs.

  34. Carol Lambe

    August 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I am on the board of a rescue – I went to my first sale a couple weeks ago – got there late and the KB had bought 3 horses – one was a very pretty paint mare – she had no injuries and something about her just made me pursue buying her off the KB – he made a quick $100. Her story is sad – she belonged to the people who own the auction house – passed around by them to different owners – none of whom were very nice – her back is sore and her teeth and feet long and unkept – and yet this mare is sweet as pie – I’ve vetted her and she will be going to my gf’s place who is certified as a Equine Assisted Therapist where she will live out her days…she is only 12. People are the problem – they over breed, they are cruel, they don’t see horses as anything more than a thing to be tossed aside when they develop problems that they create. It’s hard not to hate these people…the answer – stop breeding!!!!

  35. joyceharrer

    August 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Think about aligning a fund with local rescue around the auctions to help with saving horses and placing in homes. There a many great rescues who have and continue to have success with rescuing horses from auctions. Gelding clinics are a great ideas as well.

  36. sue

    August 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I am one that could never go to an auction. I donate as much as I can. What I don’t understand why not bid on those horses that on one will bid on? Why not bid and put the horse down with dignity. Why let these horses go to slaughter and go thru that pain needlessly. I know there must be a vet that would do it to help these animals die without going thru a slaughter house.

    • Stacy

      August 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Sue- I have had that exact same idea. Usually when I go there are 1-3 horses that just need to be euthanized on the spot.

      • joyceharrer

        August 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        yes I agree I went to an auction a purchased a yearly for $10 with a horrible infected leg drove her to the vet and had her euthanized. Maybe funding a euthanizing program could be an option. . A senator from LA had that idea I wonder what happened to that ???

      • Anna Thompson

        August 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm

        I agree but with some more reservations than I used to have. Stacy , some time check out this horse rescue in Cairo, Egypt: Prince Fluffy Kareem! They are on fb. It’s an amazing rescue and they manage to rehab horses that would be deemed hopeless here!

      • judye822

        August 15, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        BRAVO, Stacy, for this blog – particularly since 70% of slaughtered horses are QH’s…. You’re becoming a new hero to me!! 93.3% are in good health with no behavioral issues and 96% are under the age of 10. Statistics from EWA.
        Horse slaughter is nothing but a predatory, greed-driven, crime-infested industry,

      • Holly

        August 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        Along with gelding and spaying programs I really agree with the comment regarding a euthanization program. A person who lives near me asked me about his kids long time horse about a month ago. He wanted to know how much I thought he would get by sending their “too old to ride” horse to the auction. I suggested that he might want to have the vet out and then pay the $25 to have him taken away. I wasn’t suggesting cremation or anything I feel would be crazy costs, but felt that if the horse had served the family well for years, he deserved a loving end if he was truly no longer healthy. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me that the vet would cost money and by selling him he might get 100 or more dollars. Really? Your kids long time horse (or any horse) doesn’t deserve to be left to enjoy his later years and then laid to rest when needed?

        I wish it was feasible to have a horse tax when you first buy one like a recycling fee. Then when you don’t want them, they can be “recycled”. To a new home if they are in good health and able to partner, and if not, the funds to have them properly and lovingly disposed of.

        As a Canadian, I do wish you still allowed slaughter though. I feel so deeply that in the current system, hauling those darlings – no matter their condition – is not justifiable. …and at the very least, there should be a vet on sight when people bring the horses in to simply say “nope… We are putting this one down now”.

  37. Tanja

    August 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I have gone to an auction before, though not this type. I wound up rehoming one and another is still with me. One was a filly, and the other a broke to ride but foundered pony. The filly had been traumatized by all the traveling, and the pony was barely able to walk. He’s healing now and walking much better. I’m curious as to the basic test this couple performed.

  38. Christina

    August 15, 2014 at 8:26 pm


    I too go to the auctions when I can. I bought the best horse in the world at auction 10 years ago and she is now an intricate member of my family. She is patient, she is kind, and she loves. As alpha in the herd she leads with grace and teaches softly. I have seen her put a few in their place, but never maliciously. It saddens my heart that not all horses can be purchased and given good homes. I literally purchased mine out of the hands of the kill buyer. She went for $50.00 and was only four months old. I couldn’t let that happen, so here we sit. I have acted, knowing I could make something out of this animal I was blessed to meet, but many others do not try. We can’t hide from the fact that people breed with abandon and without thought, sometimes leaving those horses to the auction fate. We must look at all aspects of the horses fate, not simply our own convenience and ask ourselves which path we should tread. My mare may make a good mom, but what about that other horse that may not make it out of the kill pen? I’m not saying that all horses can be saved, but I am saying that at least a portion can. My nephew now leads my mare around the farm and he is only two. Yes we supervise, but she takes care of him as well. I can’t imagine having NOT acted and letting that kind heart go to waste.

  39. Leah Sinclair

    August 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Stacy, what were the criteria that the people with you were looking for please?

    • Stacy

      August 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I will ask them if we can do a future post together so I can get all the details right but basically; sound, sane, sweet. A horse that could be worked with for an evaluation and training period and then could be sold. Profit is put back into another trip to buy more horses. They were picking up feet, putting on bridle, bending, getting on bareback (if horse would allow) as part of the evaluation. Watching the horses in the pens; are they attacking other horses, etc. This is just the quick general…it would make a great video or blog.

      • Leah Sinclair

        August 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        That would be a great post idea 🙂

  40. Jackie

    August 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Stacy the barn I go to has brought in 4 or 5 horses from a lady that recuses horses. She takes on too many horses that have too many special needs. The she needs a little rescuing of her own … and my barn owner brings a few at a time to our barn, gets their weight up, the trainer works with the horses and gets them to the point they can be lesson horse. From there a few have sold to forever homes.

    Go Fund Me sounds interesting but even with more funding … can money alone fix all these needs. How can we all help?

    • Jackie

      August 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      I love the starfish story.

  41. Dawn

    August 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    My young sorrel gelding came from an auction as an unhandled colt. The best $125 I ever spent. He was from a grade mare by someone’s uncle’s unregistered QH stud. So basically a mutt, left intact and untouched. He is gelded and about 7 yrs old. He is smart, eager to please and not a mean bone in his body. We have come a long way together and we are going to try eventing in a year or two. I attended an eventing clinic with him a month ago and the clinician, a top eventing rider/trainer, really liked him. I was so pleased Because there were a few high dollar horses there and he was one that she commented favourably on. I am so proud of him

  42. Tracy Lee Lesnet

    August 15, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I am from Iowa we have a small town auction the first Monday of every month in Kalona Iowa. And yes they have kill buyers there, I myself have purchased a couple colts with papers and I feel I have at least helped one or two.And yes it is very hard to watch but around here it’s almost the norm… which is sad but there are people that buy them to take home and to give a better life.
    I guess what bothers me is when people just give up on horses and just send them through the kill pen,usually from a problem that they taught them!!!

  43. Kymbey Whitaker

    August 15, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    When I was 10 I went to an auction with a friend and her dad. This starved POA went thru the line . He was so sweet.
    I looked in his eyes and had to have him.
    I went home and told my mom and dad I had to save him. They told me if I raised the money myself I could get him. So that Christmas I had recieved my first show saddle. I decided to sell my show saddle for $100 and I went and bought the horse. He was so starved he fell down in the trailer.
    I got him home, put weight on , halter broke him, started him ( bareback of course) and he made the most wonderful horse.

  44. Michelle Cochran

    August 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you so much for this. Running a rescue is the toughest job I’ve ever known. Knowing we can’t save them all is a reality one MUST come to terms with… If not the line between rescue and hoarder becomes blurred. We have one of the largest rescues in Southern California. Many of our horses are from auction. Many come to us dead broke. It never gets easier looking into the eyes of the ones you couldn’t save. 😦

  45. Taisa

    August 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I rescued my mustang off of craigslist before she went to auction, so she never got that far. There have been multiple times that I would have taken a rideable auction horse but I didn’t know how to evaluate them. If there are experienced people who will volunteer to assist people in choosing one or veterinarians who will volunteer to evaluate them, those things would bring more buyers.
    Also a 2 day pre sale preview area where the horses can be viewed, vet checked, petted, ridden, etc, would also help. It would have to be run by volunteers.
    Also assisting horse rescues in your area and making them function better. Maybe people would donate to a rescue instead of taking them to auction.

  46. mswomanoffire

    August 15, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    The rescue I’ve donated to is Action Horse Rescue (AHR).

    • mswomanoffire

      August 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Sorry, Auction Horse Rescue (AHR). They are an amazing group of people who rescue the horses that need to be rescued, meaning those horses that would be passed over. I love the stories of rehab and the before/after pictures.

      • Anna Thompson

        August 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm

        They are amazing. They are great at networking too. Through them we were able to rescue a horse that had been bred and trained at our college many years ago!

  47. Kimberly & jason saeler of whispering willow acres equine rescue

    August 15, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I currently run a 501c non profit rescue. Our horses are with us for the remainder of there lives as our horses are all out of the slaughter pipeline and considered not rehomable extremely dangerous unmanageable. These horses are the mental health horses of the world who are horses who so severely abused neglected starved ect ect. We bring them home and start completely over with them from the ground up, we teach respect and trust again in humans. This is a very long drawn out task with countless hours invested with sometimes weeks months and in worse case scenarios even yrs. some of these souls are truly scared for the rest of there lives but i am happy to say outside of our 2 newest rescues who have only been on the farm for 7 weeks. All 16 of our other 4 legged kids are safe ridable and very loving and attention seeking. We never intended to grow this big and have a 20 stall facility but the need for our type of rescue is so needed and its hard to not provide the one last chance. As many of the issues we encounter are man made issues. Id like to add we run this completely ourselves with no outside physically of financial help. My husband and i both work full time outside the farm and our off work time is all dedicated to the horses. It has become a true labor of love 🙂

  48. Anna Thompson

    August 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Support a good horse rescue in every way you can. Donate money. Like and share their posts on fb. Rehabilitate and then rehome a rescue horse! Someone with your name could really help just by supporting a rescue. Like you did with the orphan foals!

  49. Lissa Haun

    August 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve bought a mini donkey for 30 bucks.. sold him for $15 before i left to a little girl who had come looking for a donkey to take home.. I was on my way to a horse show when I stopped at the auction – I had no stall build to home him.. After I went to the office and got the contact info for the owner (who had dropped him off and left.. he was in horrible shape!) I bought him out of the ring and came back to the girl who had fallen in love with him.. Her mom and I quickly worked out the del and she began looking for transport for the 3hr drive home – they hadn’t bought a trailer..

    I rescued a craigslist freebie.. he was posted the day before the auction (one that has known kill buyers) I knew the way he looked, he would end up on the meat truck.. A few months later, he had gained enough weight to ride him – he was an extremely well broke, take him anywhere gelding.. I eventually found out he had once belonged to a friend who had lost track of him when her parents sold him.. I sold him to a young girl who needed a confidence builder.. she was used to riding deadheads and got on and kicked him hard (a former barrel horse, he could run) yet he just stood there, I think that is the moment they fell in love with him – they owned him til he died a few years later, but at least he died with a full belly and being loved!

  50. Laura Hurst Calentine

    August 15, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Most people who are not involved in horses, and I don’t mean don’t own them but don’t know the truth, have NO idea where there horse could end up. I have bought several auction horses one the years and brought them home for no reason other than the fact Johnny Baker would have been the only other bidder. One time, I was there and saw a big, we’ll cared for Morgan mare with a sale tag. Looked her over and started hunting down the owner. Stated talking to him and asked him the story: he was moving to Colorado, couldn’t take her, wanted a “good family” to buy her. So I told him what would likely happen to his sweet girl and he was appalled. Had no idea anyone ever slaughtered horses. I talked him into no saying her and hooked him up with LCC here in Athens and thank God, he donated her to rescue. So, #1 biggie, talk to these owners and let them know there’s a better than good chance their wonderful old friend is destined to be dog food. Won’t help some but worth it for those it does. Network pre-sale, if you know camps that sell horses thru Sugarcreek or New Holland, try to work a deal where they call you instead of hauling the to sale. Saves the camps money n hauling and a sale bill, you save good horses. Research and locate a couple of reputable horse rescues and give them a couple hundred a year. My one big pet peeve with rescue though are the ones who will let those young, healthy horses go thru a sale and spend their limited resources on the very old, very sick, and very crazy. In the horse (or any rescue) business, it is downright stupid to spend $5000 to “save” an animal who will have limited quality of life and eat up so much $$$ and space that you can’t take in a solid riding horse because you can’t afford to feed it. How is that a rescue? Okay, I’ll jump off my soapbox now.

  51. Nicole

    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.

  52. Brenda Fehr

    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.

  53. Sharon

    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

      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

  54. Elizabeth J Nadow

    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

      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 probably afford the cost then disposal of the body… if you can’t accept the responsibility for the life of a horse then that person has no right owning the horse..

  55. Tinia Creamer

    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.

  56. Brenda B.

    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.

  57. firnhyde

    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

      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

        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 🙂

  58. Tanya Mayhew

    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….

  59. Leanne

    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.

  60. Cheryl

    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

      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

      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.

  61. Marie

    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

      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

        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.

  62. Sue Randall Shukis

    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 and educate yourselves about slaughter.

  63. Anna Foulk

    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….. 🙂 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! 🙂

  64. Tina

    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.

  65. stacy johnson

    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.

  66. Mia Thede

    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

  67. Chris

    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

  68. Allison cannon

    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

  69. Brandy

    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. 😦 Make sure to do your homework when it comes to rescue organizations, especially regards to funding.

    • judye822823

      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

      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.

  70. Marla Bull Bear

    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….

  71. Lynda

    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.

  72. Nicole

    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

      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

        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.

  73. Kathy

    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: I guess I just wanted folks to see what I saw and be inspired to do SOMETHING…

  74. Christene Griffin

    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.

  75. Wendy

    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??

  76. Stephanie

    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.

  77. Christie Batruel

    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

      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 Then if you feel strongly in favor of horse slaughter, go live near a slaughter house……live what you believe in!

  78. Mel

    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! 🙂 Just some thoughts! Have a wonderful day!

  79. JoAnne Reeder

    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!

  80. karenanita1

    August 17, 2014 at 9:03 am

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

    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!

  81. Kimberly Lyons

    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.

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

  82. Lisa

    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.

  83. Monica Huettl

    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.

  84. anzarose33

    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

  85. Cathy Padgett

    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.

  86. Nicole

    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”.

  87. Christina Parrish

    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

      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.

  88. Lisa Decker Griffith

    August 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    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

      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

        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?

  89. Lesia Lowe

    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????

  90. Sarah

    August 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    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

      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. 🙂

  91. Shirley

    August 24, 2014 at 1:59 am


    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!


  92. nationalequine

    August 24, 2014 at 2:13 am


    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.


  93. Nicole

    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:

    • ferg05

      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

        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

        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.

  94. K c

    August 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

    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.

  95. Crystal Brady

    September 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm


    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…

    Thank you!

  96. LE

    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

      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 There’s a wealth of FACTUAL information in that site for you!

  97. Jennifer

    December 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Wow… Stacy, I never really have gave this thought. Never knew this happened 😦
    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 🙂

  98. Julie Copper

    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!


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