Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Okay so If I didn't lose you in one of the last posts...I'm sure this one will...

Friday night was the fall horse auction. It’s the same auction place where we bought Pistol a few years ago. Before I went I had caught wind of 4 pregnant thoroughbred mares that were set to be sold loose. They were posted on Facebook as being in the “kill pen”. Which is a bit of an understatement, not everything sold loose goes to Canada or Mexico to be processed into food for human consumption.  Some people buy loose horses and turn them into riding horses, and often times the horses are traded.

I went to the auction with intentions of helping the hubby find a new horse. He wants a roping/ranch horse and auctions can be great places to find horses for a bargain.  I mean we bought Pistol for next to nothing, and he’s been worth every penny! I ran into a couple friends who were there with intentions of helping buy the pregnant mares as well as a little fjord horse that was set to sell loose.  There had been money raised at a thoroughbred rescue in MN as well as the owner of the ranch that Piney and George were from donated money to save two of the mares. I think it is so fantastic that Thoroughbred lovers will step up and save them when they are in bad situations.

But where are the people stepping up to save the registered quarter horses? Or the registered paint horses that sell for $10 a piece? I am a thoroughbred lover. It is blatantly obvious that I am. But why are their supporters there, saving them and people who love other breeds not stepping in and saving their favorite breed? It’s because there are so many. You can’t’ save them all. Skinny horses were sold for next to nothing, because no one can afford to feed them. No one is buying them outside of auctions. What do we do with all of these horses? Sell them to be processed or let them starve to death in a pasture?

Auctions are heartbreaking.  Watching sad skinny horses, one after another go through the auction ring and the ‘kill buyer’ swooping them all up. Why are these horses there? This sounds awful, but why were they even born? People are breeding crappy horses to other crappy horses. Or letting their stud run with a band of mares. Why? Why is that crappy stud still a stud? Geld him. The offspring produced is more often than not, unbroke and will remain that way until they end up at the auction. There were hundreds of horses that went through. Here is where I am going to get told I am going to burn in hell… Auctions, and horses going to be processed into food is a necessary evil. I hate it. I hate thinking of these beautiful creatures being eaten. But what is worse? Letting them die slowly and painfully due to lack of food? We need processing plants in the states. Where there are regulations, and health checks, and humane methods of euthanizing the animal. Temple Grandin has created humane methods for setting up processing plants for horses and obviously cattle. Horses and cattle cannot be processed the same. They are different animals. But what happens is that these unwanted horses are now being stuffed into trailers and shipped long stressful distances to be processed when we could make it a bit less stressful by doing it here. We have such an emotional attachment to the horse so it’s hard for us to imagine them being turned into steaks. But it is a necessary evil. The market went into the crapper, when they shut down the processing plants in the US.

The 4 pregnant mares, actually turned out to be 5 pregnant mares. They were run through one at a time, and the meat buyer bought the first one, but the owners no saled them and said they would need $500 a piece for them. My friends talked to the owners before they went through and agreed to buy them for $100 a piece. The kill buyer had bought the first one for $250 so the owners lost money because they wanted their horses to go to good homes. They couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. No one would buy them when they tried selling them other ways. So they brought them to auction. Same story that is told all over the country. No one is buying horses. Well, we are… but you know what I mean. How many of you can afford to have 15 horses? How many of you can afford to have more than one horse? I know a lot of people board so sometimes having more than one would put too much financial strain on you. When I was boarding I was spending over $500 a month for one horse, not including the gas in my pickup to get out there. (this was when gas was SUPER high!) And these mares are all pregnant. So that is 10 horses that will need to be cared for!

And then there was an accident that happened when one of the mares was going into the sale pen. She wanted to stick with her buddy, but the gate got slammed on her face. This is an accident that could happen anywhere. And it’s an accident I’ve seen more than once. She ripped a 6 inch gash down the front of her face, exposing bone. She also fractured her skull in the process. (I’ve never seen that before though). It was an accident. The picture was posted on the local news channels facebook pages and now everyone that has seen it is out for blood of the person who did it to her. “slam the person’s head in a gate!” is one comment I’ve seen. People have been calling the auction house and demanding that they pay the vet bill of this horse. It was an accident. The owners of the horse got insurance money from the auction. How many of you have seen a horse get into a sketchy situation where they gotten into a bloody mess? I would hate that the people who are demanding the auction workers head on a stake to come out to my house and see George limping around when he had an abscess. They would probably want to burn me on the stake for animal cruelty! Obviously we took care of it and hauled him to the vet. But I have just noticed that emotions run so high when it comes to pets and horses. Most of the time it’s people who have no experience with horses who are the most passionate about helping them. And you know what, helping them is great! I’m so glad people donate to rescues! But Please realize that sometimes accidents happen. Horses can get into some pretty sketch situations. Pistol has scars all over his face and body where it looks like he tangled with some wire fencing on more than one occasion. My old palamino had a big scar across his butt where it had been stiched up. They get into accidents, just like people do. We can’t bubble wrap them, as much as we want to. Was it hard to look at the mare’s ripped up face? Yes, it was. It was heart breaking. But it was an accident. The mare got scared, and used her survival instincts and she got hurt. I hope anyone still reading this doesn’t think I am a heartless bitch. But I understand that accidents happen. And as much as we’d like to prevent them, they are going to happen.  I feel so sorry that the mare had to go through that. I feel so sorry that any horse has to go through the auction ring. But what are we going to do with all of them? Please realize I do have a heart. It’s a big bleeding heart that feels sad when I kill spiders. And I hate spiders. I hate killing anything. I once accidentally ran over a prairie dog, and I cried for 3 days.

The news caught wind of the pregnant mares and two stations contacted me. I honestly didn’t want to be involved in this on the news. Mostly because I would be put on trial by the area because of my opinions about the matter. They really made the auction look like the bad guys. And they tried to make sensational news by pulling on heart strings. 5 thoroughbred mares were saved which is so awesome, but why weren’t people saving well bred quarter horses? Why were these horses so skinny in the first place? Why did the news say that the horses were going to the glue factory? Do people still use horses to make glue? So many questions, and so many things were said in the two news stories that made me so mad. If I had been in the news story they would have cut out everything I said because what I have to say makes me sound like a heartless bitch who understands how the world works.
so that is that. I am sorry for losing the remainder of my follwers with this post. I am just frustrated with how the events turned out. I’m upset that the animal lovers out there are ready to burn down the auction center. People who have enver once been to an auction. People who don’t ask questions, just demand payback for things they don’t even understand.  It is so easy to balme the auction house and point fingers. It’s not the auction’s falt the horses are skinny. Hay is expensive and no one can afford it.
Okay I am hopping off my soap box now. I just needed to vent. Sorry.


  1. You hit the root of the problem--people are breeding worthless horses and then dumping them. You want to save a horse? Give it a job. No one wants a rank unhandled 6 year old grade QH stallion. There is always a market for a solid riding horse.

    It's a shitty situation all around.

  2. This is exactly why I am pro horse slaughter. Do the methods need to be more humane? Undoubtedly. But even with less human methods, at least it's not taking these horses months to starve to death locked in an abandoned barn or turned loose in someones pasture.

    I really hate people.

  3. I've always felt that if you really love horses, you understand that slaughter is a necessary evil. It's a hell of a lot less torturous for a horse to end up at a processing plant then for him to die a slow death of starvation in someone muddy lot.

    I agree 100% that the problem is overbreeding and nothin is going to change until people learn to held their crappy horses. We should be breedin less, period! That isn't going to change anytime soon and in the meantime laws need to be changed to make slaughter more humane for horses.

    At the end of the day, it still breaks my heart. I think of Missy who lives like a queen and then all those horses who's owners can't even afford to feed them hay...Truly hurts me...

  4. I have to comment on this one - I don't always have time to comment, so sorry about that.

    I don't think you are heartless at all - but very practical. It is impossible to save every animal that needs saving. It is a sad reality, but true. Good on the TB people for getting out there and doing what they can. It pains me to hear that there are nice QH and paints out there going for next to nothing. Overbreeding is a huge problem and yet people still don't seem to learn!

    Too bad one mare was injured - sounds pretty bad... But, mix in a lot of scared flight animals, gates and people that are in a hurry/stressed and something is bound to happen. *sigh* Hopefully the mare is ok in the end.

    I have two horses at home (one is a boarder). I can just store enough hay for the two of them. I would love a couple more, but just not sure I could afford the hay - another harsh reality - hay and grain is really expensive right now.

    Sorry for the long comment...

  5. I agree with you 100% on this one. The first step is for people to stop breeding crappy horses! Then make sure horses have a job they can do. Even a crappy horse can be broke to ride and given a job. Maybe it won't be a fancy show horse but it can still have a job. And finally as much as the idea of eating horse meat sickens me, the processing plants need to reopen in the US. For the most part the end comes quickly and painlessly at a processing plant (once they get there). The problem is the way the horses are transported to the processing plants. By the time they get there they are terrified and sick and injured.

    Like you said, we don't have to like it but it's a necessary evil. And regulated transport and humane way to euthanize the animal at the end is much better for the horse than slowly starving to death.

  6. Last time I checked - quarter horse breeding numbers were @ 100,000 per year. With lots of incentives provided by the AQHA, who reap the benefits from registrations... I think tbs come in at 30,000 or so.