This week we were contacted by Natalie W., who works with another rescue who deals primarily with auction horses. She told us about a 17 year-old Thoroughbred, previously ridden by children, who had 24 hours before being shipped down to slaughter.
Unfortunately, there were no takers for this boy. When we were called, the choice was put to us: either he got on a trailer going to us, or he got on a trailer going to Mexico.
This is one of those choices that I hate to make: on one side, I don’t really have a stall available, and my loyalty must always be to the horses we already have. I have to make sure that my horses are safe and always have the best care. On the other side, isn’t this what we do? Hanaeleh was created specifically to help horses who are in danger of going to slaughter merely because of an uncaring and selfish society that deems it acceptable to throw away animals.
Luckily, thanks to many wonderful and giving people, we had an awesome response to our last fundraiser, and were able to raise additional funds to take in horses like this one. So we did a little shuffling and were able to free up our quarantine stall for this boy.
He came this morning; he was rescued from the trader on Friday, his “bail” set at meat price, $350. Auction Horses Rescue raised that money and was able to purchase him from the trader. Three other horses that they could not save, unfortunately, got on the “other” trailer, bound for a horrific end. By now, all three are either gone, or enroute to their deaths. It is a horrible reality that many people do not accept.
The one horse that they could save, however, we have named “Bear,” in honor of another seal bay Thoroughbred, Sugarbear, who we had taken in several years ago. Natalie W. drove up to get him from the trader, and brought him down to us. We are very thankful for all of her help, and for letting us know about this beautiful boy. He is about 100 pounds underweight, and needs some veterinarian and farrier care. The vet will be out on Friday to vaccinate him and do a general assessment, and the farrier will come next weekend to do his feet (which are done poorly, suggesting a less-than-professional job). We anticipate that we will have to have his teeth done in the next few weeks as well.
Bear is an off-the-track-thoroughbred, or OTTB. His registered name is “My Secret Brush,” and he did have a rather lengthy racing career, with 39 starts, although he only had two wins and eight shows. He earned $29,012 in his career, and is the great-grandson of War Admiral, and a grand-nephew of Secretariat (click here to see his pedigree). Since then, he apparently was trained to be a riding horse, and was ridden by children. He had been taken to auction in 2015, and almost was sent to slaughter at that time, but narrowly escaped, only to be brought back to auction to face the slaughter truck again.
Bear will never face that uncertain fate again. We will rehabilitate Bear and make sure he is sound for riding, but he will never be allowed to go to another auction; Hanaeleh retains first right-of-refusal on all of our horses, and we will always take our horses back if necessary.
We are very thankful to Megan, who worked with the trader to rescue Bear, and to the people who helped raise the funds to save him. We are also, again, very thankful to Natalie W. for donating her time and gas to trailer Bear to safety. I was reminded today that we are sometimes faced with overwhelming odds, and as individuals it is difficult for us to make a difference. That is why, therefore, it is necessary for us to work together, as we are stronger when we band together, and we can affect greater change.
Bear will have a happy ending, but he is one of the many examples of why it is imperative that we pass the SAFE Act to prevent horses like him from facing an uncertain future. We cannot continue to breed indiscriminately, pretending that there are no repercussions for our actions, when there are horses like Bear who suffer from our selfishness. We must work together to stop this madness.
This afternoon I introduced myself to Bear and told him where he was, and let him know that now he was safe.
I was able to make that promise because of people who helped to support us, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me that option.
It was wonderful to be able to make that promise.