As you know, I usually share about life with dogs and puppies on our blog, but sometimes I might share a bit more about farm life or a non-dog related story. So if you’re not into that, feel free to skip today’s post. And it’s kind of long…
If you have been following along even for a little while, you might have noticed we have added a new horse to the farm. Today, I’d like to share his special story. Some of it might be upsetting to animal lovers, but sharing his information might be informative to someone new to these situations.
For background, I need to mention a bit about the world of horse auctions and unfortunately, slaughter. The US shut down the slaughter plants a few years back, but Mexico and Canada still practice it. Thousands of horses from the US are shipped to our northern and southern neighbors every year for slaughter. Here is a link if you’d like to be more informed. It is not a humane way to go. https://www.aspca.org/improving-laws-animals/public-policy/horse-slaughter
Horse auctions happen in many towns every month. Horses of all shapes, sizes, ages and conditions are auctioned off to the highest bidder. In every auction house you will find people that buy unwanted horses specifically to ship to slaughter and make money. These are referred to as kill buyers in the equine world. A lot of time they are buying the horse nobody wants; the old horse, skinny horse, lame horses, etc. anything that will bring a meat price.
Which brings me to my story. I follow a lot of horse rescues and horse people on Facebook. One rescue lady I follow, will buy horses for families at auction before the KB gets them. She also shares horses that are heading to slaughter in hopes of finding them homes before they ship. One breed that she loves to help are the Standardbred horses.
The Standardbred horses are bred for harness racing. Once they are finished with their racing career they are taken to auction where a lot of them are bought by the Amish and become buggy horses. Unfortunately, once they are no longer usable to the Amish (too old, become injured or lame, etc), a lot of Amish then take them to auction. Because the Standardbred is a big horse, they can bring good money for the KB since they are sold by the pound for slaughter.
Great Scot (the registered name of our new horse) was at a kill buyer’s awaiting shipment to Mexico with a group of about twenty other Standardbred horses. The KB allows the rescue to advertise and share the horses in hopes they will find homes instead of heading to the horrible fate awaiting them south of the border.
Great Scot and one other horse were in the worst shape and what the rescuer considered “compassion pulls”; meaning she was hoping someone would bail them out so they could be humanely euthanized. A kind, end-of-life gesture which is better than being crammed into a truckload of other scared horses, traveling for days on a bad leg. She thought maybe his leg was broken. He was so lame.
This is a snippet of the video I saw on him. You can see how much pain and discomfort he was in.
I didn’t need another horse. But I thought, I could at least help him have an easy passing and end his suffering. So I contacted the rescue lady and told her my thoughts. I sent money to bail him and she made arrangements to take him to her barn where the vet would likely take an X-ray and then help him go painlessly if need be.
He’s blind in the right eye
A couple days later when she was able to transport him to her place, she noticed that he was walking better. When he got settled at her barn she had the farrier (the person who trims horse hooves) come out to trim his extra long feet. Horses feet need to be trimmed on a regular basis, like every 6-8 weeks. (Some of these horses come to the auction with old shoes nailed on that they have been wearing for six months!). The farrier found that Great Scot had a bad abcess in his hoof. Since the hoof is a hard structure, the pressure of an abcess inside the foot can build up and be extremely uncomfortable. It eventually can “blow out”(or open up) on the bottom of the foot or up along the hairline. Then the horse finally gets relief as the abcess starts to drain. And that’s what happened. Once his abcess opened up, he got relief and was walking better.
Tucking into some hay. You can see how thin he was.
So now he was on the mend, getting some good groceries and relaxing at her barn. And he was not longer a euthanasia case.
Enjoying some grass at the rescue barn
But I still did not need another horse!
The rescue lady considered me his “sponsor” since I had bailed him and helped to get him treatment, board and feed.
But I still did not need another horse. So I asked her to please share him on her rescue group page and find him a good home.
There was interest and lots of nice comments on him, but no serious interest. Days turned into weeks. We’d get “bites” on him, but nothing worked out. And I had told the rescue lady when we pulled him “if” nobody stepped up, I wouldn’t leave her rescue with another horse. So in case he didn’t find a good home, I started making a backup plan with a reputable cross-country horse transport company.
On his way here. It took four days of travel to get from PA to WA.
And well, you can guess the rest. No reputable home stepped in to adopt him, so he came here. He came home. <3
Picking him at the barn in Spokane where the transporter dropped him off.
Meeting his new brothers. Washing that Amish dirt off 😉 Now he can roll in the Washington dirt.
Just letting him decompress and settle in. He’s had his first session with a horse masseuse. He’ll need more sessions as his body is a mess.
Looking sharp in his new red halter. I had an old halter that fit but I thought he deserved his own brand new one❤️
And I’ve decided his barn name will be Boone. It was a name that stuck out to me for a couple of reasons as I looked through names. When I looked up the meaning, that clinched it!
Welcome home, Boone!￼