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☛ Reined Cow Horse industry to have 3 major futurities 7-14-17

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, MAJOR EVENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

REINED COW HORSE ENTHUSIASTS TO HAVE THREE MAJOR FUTURITIES IN 2015

 

EVENTS TO BE HELD 1,640 MILES APART

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
July 13, 2017

There’s a new kid on the block that is holding a reined cow horse futurity and sale within the industry’s list of reined cow horse futurities.

 

At first there was one: the National Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity in Reno Nev. Then a branch of members broke off and started the National Stock Horse Association, which holds an annual Futurity in Paso Robles, Calif. And now a new group, headed by Smoky Pritchett, has formed the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity, which will take place in Reno, Nev., since the NRCHA Futurity that had been held in Reno, has moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

 

THE NEW EVENT – RENO SBF:

This year, the NRCHA announced that they were moving their Reno event over 1,600 miles from Reno to Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, where they would receive state and city money for the event. That left Reno without a Reined Cow Horse Futurity.

 

That didn’t sit well with several California owners and riders of snaffle bit horses. In an open letter on the Internet, Smoky Pritchett wrote, “You are all aware of the move of the Snaffle Bit Futurity from Reno to Texas. California lost the Hackamore Classic along with the Bridle Spectacular several years ago. Now we are losing our largest show and sale (The NRCHA Futurity and Sale).”

 

With the help of Lucas Oil and Save The Harvest, who have been sponsoring a lot of horse events lately, there will now be a new Snaffle Bit Futurity, Horse Show and Sale called the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity & Sale, scheduled to be held Sept. 8-17 in Reno, Nev., taking the place of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. The new group advertised that there will be a whole day dedicated to the Amateur riders on Sunday, Sept. 17.

 

They need your support so as not to lose more California cow Horse events, especially in Northern California. We have entry forms available if you cannot download one from their web page: https://www.renosnafflebitfuturity.com.

 

So this year, there will be three snaffle bit futurities, starting with the National Stock Horse Association’s event, scheduled for Aug. 22-27 in Paso Robles, Calif. Next will be the new snaffle bit futurity event in Reno Sept. 8-17, with $200,000 in added money, and the final event will be the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, with added money of over $606,000..

 

Editor’s Note: A call was made to Shawn Martin of the NSHA regarding the added money for their Futurity; however, my call was not returned. Martin can be reached at 623-217-3879

 

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☛ House Committee votes to reopen horse slaughter plants 7-14-17

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ABUSE, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

American horses are held in export pens in Texas and New Mexico before transported to slaughter in Mexico. Photo by Kathy Milani/The HSUS

The same lawmakers who voted July 12 to reopen U.S. horse slaughter plants are blocking a different bill backed by The HSUS that would forbid the transport of horses for slaughter for human consumption to other countries.

Can the bill be amended or defunded before it reaches the President’s desk?

The following is a press release from Wayne Parcelles,the President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

July 12, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly to give the green light for the reopening of horse slaughter plants in the United States. There were 27 members of Congress who voted against the bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Charlie Dent, R-Pa., to bar horse slaughter operations in the United States, and 25 who supported it. All but one Democrat on the committee voted to oppose this dreadful idea, while 26 of 30 Republicans favored it.

The vote on the amendment was as unimaginable as the rhetoric from the horse slaughter crowd was hypocritical.

Unimaginable because American horses deserve a better fate than to be gathered up by a disreputable “kill buyer” who outbids a rescuer at an auction, loaded onto an overcrowded truck, and then stunned, hoisted up by a leg, and pulled apart piece by piece – which is exactly what the 27 lawmakers who voted against the Roybal-Allard/Dent amendment are trying to sanction. We don’t do this to dogs or cats when we don’t have homes for them, and it should be unthinkable to do this to the domesticated animal that helped settle the nation. I pity the people who don’t see the majesty of these American icons and who are numb to their suffering.

Hypocritical because the lawmakers who spoke out against the amendment to ban horse slaughter – again, these are the Representatives who want to allow horse slaughter – actually feigned an interest in protecting horses. A couple of them lamented the long-distance transport of American horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for human consumption, and said that we might as well slaughter horses here in the United States so they don’t have to be transported.

That logic would make a little sense until you realize that these same lawmakers are blocking a different bill backed by The HSUS that would forbid the transport of horses for slaughter for human consumption to other countries. Only one of the lawmakers who voted to reopen horse slaughter plants in the United States is a cosponsor of that broader anti-slaughter bill, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113, which is led by four animal welfare champions — Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.

How can you lament the long-distance transport of horses for slaughter to Canada or Mexico and then fight the bill that addresses that very thing? You can do so only if you say one thing and do another.

The defeat of the amendment to bar U.S.-based horse slaughter plants from operating is an ugly start for the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J. The newly anointed chairman represents a suburban district in New Jersey, and his constituents favor our position in droves. He defied their wishes on this vote, just as he defied their wishes earlier in the year in voting to overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service rule to stop the aerial tracking, landing, and shooting of grizzly bears, and to stop the shooting of wolves and other predators during their denning seasons on national wildlife refuges.

What kind of person wants to kill grizzly bears on wildlife refuges and slaughter American horses on U.S. soil?

Reps. Robert Aderholdt, R-Ala., Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Mark Amodei, R-Nev. also favored horse slaughter in the debate today. To their credit, Reps. Roybal-Allard, Dent, Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Barbara Lee, D-Calif, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., spoke in favor of the ban on U.S. horse slaughter.

“As a lifelong Republican, I’m deeply saddened and quite ashamed to see my fellow conservatives go to such great lengths to promote the slaughter of American equines,” said Marty Irby, who heads the HSUS equine campaign. “I hope the members who profess to be fiscal conservatives will reflect upon this vote that would have saved millions of taxpayer dollars annually – and begin to practice what they preach.”

As Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., noted in a public statement, this battle is not over. If House leaders bring the agriculture spending bill to the floor, our congressional allies may be able to offer the amendment there and win when all House lawmakers have a chance to vote on the issue. And if even that doesn’t happen, we expect to win a horse slaughter defund amendment in the Senate, which would give us a chance to prevail when the final bill is negotiated and sent to President Trump.

This is how lawmakers voted on the amendment to protect horses:

YES (25)

Peter Aguilar, D-Calif.-31, Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.-2, Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.-17, Katherine Clark, D-Mass.-5, Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.-3, Charlie Dent, R- Pa.-15, David Joyce, R-Ohio-14, Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio-9, Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.-6, Barbara Lee, D-Calif.-13, Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.-17, Betty McCollum, D-Minn.-4, Grace Meng, D-N.Y.-6, Chellie Pingree, D-Maine-1, Mark Pocan, D-Wis.-2, David Price, D-N.C.-4, Mike Quigley, D-Ill.-5, Tom Rooney, R-Fla.-17, Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif.-40, Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.-2, Tim Ryan, D-Ohio-13, José Serrano, D-N.Y.-15, Peter Visclosky, D-Ind.-1, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.-23, and Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.-3

NO (27)

Robert Aderhold, R-Ala.-4, Mark Amodie, R-Nev.-2, Ken Calvert, R-Calif.-42, John Carter, R-Texas-31, Tom Cole, R-Okla.-4, Henry Cuellar, D-Texas-28, John Abney Culberson, R-Texas-7, Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.-25, Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.-3, Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nev.-1, Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.-11, Kay Granger, R-Texas-12, Tom Graves, R-Ga.-14, Andy Harris, R-Md.-1, Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.-3, Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va.-3, John Moolenaar, R-Mich.-4, Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.-4, Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.-4, Martha Roby, R-Ala.-2, Harold Rogers, R-Ky.-5, Michael Simpson, R-Idaho-2, Chris Stewart, R-Utah-2, Scott Taylor, R-Va.-2, David Valadao, R-Calif.-21, Steve Womack, R-Ark.-3, and David Young, R-Iowa-3

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☛ Brunzell court documents revealed 5-8-17

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, HORSE LAWSUITS, HORSE NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

SHERRI BRUNZELL COURT DOCUMENTS REVEALED

May 8, 2017
By Glory Ann Kurtz

On April 27, 2017, I published the following article about Sherri Brunzell going to jail for 60 days for animal cruelty; however, today  I have received  the court documents regarding the penalties that Brunzell received and am attaching then at the end of this article.

Although Sherri only got 60 days in jail, along with a 5-year probation term, she paid royally for letting those horses starve with a few even dying. With 14 charges against her, she was acquitted on six of them and found guilty on eight.  She could have originally gotten 550 days in jail; however, 490 days were suspended pending the successful completion of probation – restitution for 91 days and 60 months probation.

Sherri was fined $500 for each of the eight counts of guilty, she was ordered to not possess, own, manage, lease, or care for any horses, llamas, livestock or any other herd animal; pay costs and fines imposed; ordered to attend 16 individual counseling sessions and two post-treatment assessments as per animal evaluation; forfeit horses to El Paso County and provide registration on each horse. Total costs to Brunzell for this case totaled $40,191.50.

During her jail time, she must serve 60 days straight, a work release is not authorized and the court will review in 120 days for potential proposed plan/possibility of unsupervised probation.

“THE SHERRI BRUNZELL CASE:

Showing the difference a couple of years can make, Sherri Brunzell, who owned the 10 horses, including an emaciated Quarter Horse cutting stallion, Dual Peppy, along with llamas that were found living in a crypt-like Black Forest, Colo., barn in 2014. The barn contained the decomposing remains of the living horses’ former stablemates..

In May 2015, an El Paso County jury convicted Brunzell of eight “misdemeanor” counts of animal cruelty; however, she filed appeal after appeal until they ran out. However, Brunzell had paid a financial price, as she was ordered to pay $5,400 per month for the horses’ care and the AQHA automatically suspended her and denied her any and all privileges, including privileges associated with registration related to transactions and participation in any AQHA events. The horses were sent to a Colorado rescue and Sherri never received ownership of the horses again.”

All that time, Judge Stephen James Sletta said he would have liked to give her more time, but during her 2015 jury trial, that was all he could give her, according to the law at that time.

If this case would have been held in 2016, Sherri could have more than likely been sentenced to prison for years rather than days. On Jan. 1, 2016, horse abuse became a felony.

Click for Brunzell court records>>

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☛ Is Tax Court biased in favor of IRS? 2-6-17

Posted by on Feb 6, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HEALTH AND WEALTH, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RODEO & BULLRIDING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

IS THE TAX COURT BIASED IN FAVOR OF THE IRS?

 

By John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law
Feb. 6, 2017

The U.S. Tax Court is a critically important institution.  It is the the most common forum in which taxpayers litigate federal tax disputes.  The court frequently decides IRS assertions that the taxpayer understated the correct tax liability, resulting in a tax “deficiency.”

Many commentators argue that Tax Court judges are biased in favor of the IRS.  Judges hear cases alone, without a jury.  Many Tax Court judges have worked in the IRS Chief Counsel’s office or in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Tax Court does not assign judges randomly to cases.  The procedures are extremely burdensome.  The burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a loose standard of evidence, and highly subjective.  It means the the IRS could win if 51% of its evidence is more convincing to the judge than the taxpayer’s.

The Tax Court makes budget requests to Congress’s tax-writing committees.  In justifying its budget requests, the Tax Court invariably explains to congressional committees how well it is enforcing the tax laws.

A Tax Court judge, Diane L. Kroupa, was indicted on tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction charges, raising questions about whether any of her rulings could be vulnerable to challenge as a result.  (Judge Kroupa abruptly resigned prior to the indictment without explanation.  Her husband, now divorced, was also indicted.)  As a Tax Court judge, Kroupa heard and decided a wide range of cases, including some that came down against taxpayers in the horse and cattle industries.  In October, 2016, she pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS and other crimes.  When sentenced at a later date, she is likely to serve a significant prison term.

Another judge, L. Paige Marvel, has also been harsh with respect to the horse industry.  In a recent case, Carmody v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2016-225, Judge Marvel came down hard on a taxpayer’s efforts to run his horse racing venture profitably.

The taxpayer, Jerald Carmody, has owned race horses for more than 20 years, mainly as co-owner with others, and worked full-time as a sales representative for a helicopter company.

He owned lower priced horses which were actively raced in Washington State.  Professional trainers were employed.  He spent time every day on his horse racing activity, researched horses that would be in competition, and searched for other horses to purchase.

He purchased and improved a five-acre property with a 4,000 square-foot barn, horse stalls, a 5,000-square-foot arena, indoor horse shelters, and nine pastures.  He personally cleaned stalls and pastures.

Some of the horses won several races each, and one was the alltime race winner at Emerald Downs with 21 wins.  Mr. Carmody was named owner of the year at Emerald Downs.  The races entered ranged in purses from $8,000 to $50,000.

During a 10-year period, the taxpayer’s losses were from $16,064 to $81,345, with no profit year.  But there was income in each year, ranging from $17,917 to $128,068.

When horses were retired from racing, they were sold or given away.  Of 36 horses sold, there was a net gain on only eight of those sales.

Mr. Carmody had a horse racing bank account, but paid for expenses out of his personal account as well as the racing account.

Mr. Carmody kept a folder for each horse with various receipts and documents related to that horse.

Judge Marvel said that Mr. Carmody did not use any of his records to reduce losses or to achieve profitability.  The court noted that Mr. Carmody had no written business plan, no budgets and no economic forecasts.  “In fact, the record is devoid of any credible evidence that petitioner engaged in any meaningful financial management with respect to his horse racing activity.”

The court said, “While a taxpayer need not maintain a sophisticated cost accounting system, the taxpayer should keep records that enable the taxpayer to cut expenses, generate or increase profits, or evaluate the overall performance of the operation.”

The court also faulted Mr. Carmody for commingling his personal and horse racing finances.  “This commingling of personal and horse racing activity funds is not indicative of a businesslike practice.”

The court also noted that Mr. Carmody realized no profits in a 20-year period, and that “he contends that he suffered losses because he reinvested his gross receipts back into the horse racing activity and that he used his gross receipts to improve his barns, arena, and other horse racing activity property.  Petitioner’s contentions are woefully insufficient to justify or even explain an unbroken string of over 20 years of substantial losses.”

The court concluded that the petitioner did not engage in his horse racing activity with the predominant, primary, or principal objective of making a profit.

The only silver lining in this case is that the judge rejected the IRS’ accuracy-related penalties because the taxpayer had reasonably relied on his accountant’s advice in taking the deductions.

One of the important lessons in this case is that taxpayers need to somehow review records so as to reduce expenses or enhance the possibility of generating income.  It is important to keep track of expenses on a per-animal basis.  And it is important to prepare financial statements, profit and loss projections, budgets, breakeven analyses, or marketing surveys, as the IRS considers these to be significant financial tools to aid in evaluating the overall performance of an operation.

[John Alan Cohan is an attorney representing people in federal and state tax disputes, IRS appeals, and Tax Court litigation, and is a long-standing author of a legal advice column published in numerous sporting magazines.  In addition, he advises organizations on compliance with newly enacted laws and regulations.  John is also author of the book, Turn Your Hobby Into A Business — The Right Way.  He can be reached at:  (310) 278-0203, or email at johnalancohan@aol.com.  His website is JohnAlanCohan.com.]

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☛ NSHA holds stallion auction 2-9-17

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

NATIONAL STOCK HORSE ASSOCIATION HOLDS STALLION AUCTION

Press release from NSHA
Jan. 9, 2017

Bidding will begin on Jan. 15, 2017 for the National Stock Horse Association Stallion Auction. With 25 stallions already subscribed to the auction, bidding will begin on Jan 15, 2017. To bid, go to http://nshastallionauction.com/. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the 2017 NSHA show purse.

 

The bid price covers the breeding fee only. Bidders will be responsible for all additional fees, including chute fees and shipped semen, which needs to be paid to the stallion owner or breeding facility. Prior to bidding, prospective bidders are advised to check with the breeder for information on all fees.

 

If you are a stallion owner and would like to donate a breeding, please request a Stallion Service Contract by calling the NSHA at 559-789-7007 or fax 866-868-0967.

 

Stallions subscribed so far include Blue One Time, owned by the Victor Cattle Company; Brother Jackson, owned by Dan Perez; Busy Winning Chex, owned by Hilldale Farm; CD Diamond, owned by the San Juan Ranch; Desires Little Rex, owned by Victor Cattle Company; Fletch That Cat, owned by Don and Teresa Martin; Gunner On Ice, owned by Hilldale Farm; Hen Magnet, owned by 7J Consulting; Hickory Holly Time, owned by DT Horses LLC; Judge Boon, owned by Red Tail Ranch; Lil Cataloo, owned by Gene and Michelle Morris; Matt Dillon Dun It, owned by Victor Cattle Company; Nic It In The Rey, owned by Wayne Hanson; Lena Oak, owned by LaDona Emmons/Nicole Scott; One Fine Vintage, owned by Robertson Ranches; One Time Pepto, owned by Matthew Cutting Horses; One Time Royalty, owned by SDM Quarter Horses; Pepto Cee Lena, owned by Hy Performance Horses; Sinful Cat, owned by Russell and Tanna Dilday; Smart Boons, owned by Eric and Wendy Dunn; Spin It N Whiz It, owned by Sovereign Performance Horses, TheCrowdLovesMe, owned by Yellow Creek Ranch; Time For A Diamond, owned by Triple D Ranches; Tom Cat Chex, owned by Amazing Grace Ranch and Travelin Jonz, owned by Chris Dawson.

 

For further information, go to www.nationalstockhorse.com, or call 559-789-7007.

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☛ The dark world of horse slaughter 1-7-17

Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, HORSE ABUSE, HORSE NEWS, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

THE DARK WORLD OF HORSE SLAUGHTER

By Robin Fowler
Jan. 7, 2017

A shipment of 40 Appaloosas of all ages kept Grenwood Stables and Equine rescue in Kansas busy in November; however, all found new homes in a week’s time. Many were registered horses.

It was the truckload of foundation-bred Appaloosa horses that sent Kansas horse slaughter rescuers into a panic during one week in November. Some 40 Appaloosas, many of them registered, had been trucked to a Peabody, Kansas, kill pen near Greenwood Stables and Equine Rescue.

There, and at other kill lots across the country, horses may have only a few days – in some cases only a few hours — to appeal to potential rescuers and be saved. Those who can’t find homes will be packed into another truck and sent to Mexico to their deaths, their carcasses butchered for dinner tables overseas.

Amazingly, all of these Appaloosas were adopted. That week, for the first time, the slaughter trucks from Peabody were canceled.

How did this band of Appaloosas get into this predicament? It was through no fault of their own. Their breeder had moved to a retirement home and his horses were sent to a kill buyer. Amy Bayes, founder of the Greenwood nonprofit, says that kind of thing happens more often than one would think.

Horse slaughter is illegal in the United States but horses can be transported from the United States. to slaughter in other countries, usually Canada or Mexico. Horses must be able to bear weight on four limbs and walk unassisted. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they cannot be blind in both eyes, under six months of age or pregnant and likely to foal during the trip. But rules can be open to interpretation. For example, some mares are so emaciated by former owners that kill buyers can say, truthfully, that they didn’t know the horse was pregnant.

In late December 2014, the European Union banned the importation of horse meat and meat products from Mexico, in part because of inhumane treatment of slaughter-bound horses during the trip from kill pens in the United States to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Yet the demand for horsemeat continues, and prices per pound remain high.

This Wyoming weanling filly’s wobbly legs may have been the reason she ended up in a Kansas kill pen, but a veterinarian determined that a good diet and regular trims could do wonders for this well-traveled baby. she found a home in Texas with three young children.

Pure and simple, the mission of Greenwood Stables and Equine Rescue, and others like it, is to intercept horses bound for slaughter. Bayes endeavors to save 10 to 20 of the 60 to 120 horses in the Peabody kill pens every week with the help of a few volunteers and the 13,500 friends of her Facebook page.

The price of an average-sized slaughter-bound horse at Greenwood is $650, approximately what the kill buyer would receive for the horse at the slaughter facilities in Mexico. Average price paid at slaughter is 65 cents per pound, according to Bayes. Young, healthy horses can bring more, older injured or sick horses less.

The kill buyer comes out ahead on horses that Bayes sells because he doesn’t have to pay transport to Mexico. Some kill buyers elsewhere charge more: $850-$950 on Facebook pages operated by rescue groups around the country. Prices set by kill buyers usually are not negotiable.

“I have the worst job in the world,” Bayes recently wrote in a Facebook post. “I have to go to the kill pens and decide who lives and who dies.”

It is a mission that is heartrending on a daily basis but Bayes must choose the horses most likely to capture the attention of potential adopters willing to pay their “bail” and take them home. Less likely to find homes are unhandled youngsters and horses that are old, sick, injured or underweight. Stallions are less likely to find new homes than mares, and all horses have a better chance to be saved if broke to ride or registered with a breed association, according to Bayes. Most horses that wind up in kill pens come directly from auctions where bids are low.

Bayes claims that recipient mares are among those at risk. Young mares often initially escape slaughter because they are in demand as recipient mares destined to carry the foals of high-dollar show mares and stallions. It’s a job that prolongs their lives for a few years, but as they age and become reproductively challenged, many eventually are shipped to slaughter as early as age 12.

Greenwood helps its supporters buy horses from a local kill buyer and allows them to make donations toward the bail of slaughter-bound horses that they can’t adopt personally. If the donation campaign is successful, the horse is given to the rescue if space is available and is offered for adoption. But Greenwood does not give free horses to would-be adopters.

“We have found that if a person doesn’t have ‘skin in the game,’ they are more likely not to care for the horse,” Bayes says. “No one wants to see the horses return to a kill pen.”

“None deserves its fate,” Bayes says of horses that do not attract a new owner and are loaded into the Mexico-bound trucks for slaughter.

Some horses simply slip through the cracks. In mid-December, an 18-year-old Thoroughbred stallion that had been donated by its elderly owner to Texas A&M University – Commerce (TAMUC) was discovered at the small Red River Horse Sale north of Bonham, Texas. Luckily for Tricky Prospect, Texas rescuers had learned the stallion would be in the sale and outbid kill buyers to pay the meager purchase price of $385. As if the winning bid wasn’t a clue, TAMUC, that is known for its equestrian program, said through a spokesman that it had been unaware kill buyers might be among bidders.

Horses donated to church camps also can find themselves in dire straits. Many camps acquire horses every spring and then send them to kill pens in the fall so they don’t have to feed horses over the winter. The practice happens so often that entire rescue groups are devoted solely to saving camp horses – some of which are donated by owners who have no idea what is about to happen to their longtime equine companions.

Bayes, a fulltime professional librarian, and her daughter Saje operate Greenwood with the help of a few volunteers and equine professionals, including vets, farriers and haulers who provide services at a discount. She also has support from her community residents who donate hay and used equipment. Bayes has reservations about working alongside kill buyers but realizes she can save more horses if she does. Her disdain, though, mainly is targeted toward horse owners who sell to kill buyers.

But Bayes can’t afford to ruminate long on week-to-week successes and failures, because there’s always another truckload on the way. Little more than a week after she found new owners for the 40 Appaloosas, a truckload of trained kid-proof horses arrived from a church camp. There’s no word as to what the church tells its children when asked about the whereabouts of last summer’s missing favorites.

Robin Fowler is a freelance writer in Weatherford, TX, whose personal herd ranges from a BLM Mustang to an AQHA World Champion. She recently acquired two weanling fillies that did time in kill pens before they were saved.

 

The Need for Equine Rescue

Kill pens have no monopoly on rescue issues when it comes to horses but needs wax and wane over the years. An example is the plight of the Premarin mares.

At its peak more than a decade ago, some 400 farms in the United States and Canada utilized more than 50,000 horses in the manufacture of the Pfizer drug Premarin that is derived from the urine of pregnant mares and used in human hormone therapy. The mares were kept constantly pregnant and made to stand for six months at a time in small stalls where they could move only a few inches in any direction. They and their foals often were sent to slaughter once their usefulness to Pfizer ended.

Since then the manufacture of Premarin primarily has moved overseas to China and other countries where animal welfare laws are lax. When many of the Premarin ranches in North America lost their contracts, rescue groups geared up to find homes for the mares and their foals. Many of those rescuers found the demise of Premarin farms bittersweet when they were replaced by farms on another continent.

There still are about 3,500 Premarin mares on ranches in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, says Jennifer Kunz, director of operations at Duchess Sanctuary south of Eugene, Ore., founded in 2008. The 1,120-acre sanctuary, operated by The Fund for Animals affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States, is home to about 75 Premarin mares and 40 offspring of mares who arrived in foal, as well as mustangs and other horses rescued from slaughter. The sanctuary’s horses have arrived at their “forever home” and are not available for adoption, Kunz says.

But even though the number of Premarin mares has been greatly reduced in North America, there are always other issues to take their place. Among them:

* Nurse mare foals: Last Chance Corral is a rescue organization in Athens, OH, devoted to nurse mare foals whose dams were bred to provide nourishment to Thoroughbred race prospects. Of the foals actually born to nurse mares, fillies sometimes are raised to become future nurse mares, but abandoned colts may be left to die of malnourishment. Last Chance Corral rescues 150 to 200 foals a year.

* Abuse: Blaze’s Tribute Equine in Jones, Okla., is a nonprofit devoted to neglected, starved and abused horses, with a primary focus on animal cruelty cases. Rescue personnel often are called to help with cases handled by the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare staff. More than 1,300 horses have been rescued by Blaze’s Tribute since 2002 and most have been returned to health and rehomed.

Tips for Potential Buyers

Saje Bayes hugs a kill-penhorse with a ssevere leg injury that could not be repaired by veterinarians. Greenwood Stables and equine Rescue bought the mare and humanely euthanized her so she did not have to make the 30-hour trip to a Mexican slaughterhouse.

Disposing of unwanted horses is an old problem that needs new solutions, says Cie Sadeghy at Oklahoma’s Caring and Sharing rescue group.

“It’s done in an old-fashioned way. Somebody needs to figure out a new way,” she says.

For those considering horse rescue, these are among tips recommended by rescue groups and equine professionals.

  • “Please do not spend your grocery or bill money to save these horses. Just use your Starbucks funds,” advises Sadeghy, whose rescue group was among the first to target kill pen horses. Although not a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, Sadeghy’s Facebook group commands more than 22,500 supporters.
  • Kill pens are riddled with diseases. Purchasers should expect horses that have been housed in kill pens to get sick and budget appropriately for veterinary care, says Amy Bayes with Greenwood Stables and Equine Rescue in Kansas, a charity whose 501(c)3 designation allows it to accept tax-deductible contributions. Rescue organizations often can offer advice as to reasonably priced quarantine facilities or provide quarantine themselves.
  • Rescue groups also may be able to recommend vets, farriers and haulers who offer discounts to buyers of their horses. Because of the high incidence of illness in the kill pens, make sure the hauler disinfects his rig between trips and won’t be hauling dirty.
  • If you adopt directly from a rescue organization rather than a kill buyer, your new horse is more likely already quarantined, vetted and current on shots and may even cost less. Some rescue contracts require adopters to return the horse rather than resell it if they can no longer keep it. That clause is designed to make sure the horse never again ends up in a kill pen regardless of its owner’s circumstances, according to Bayes. However, buying directly from a kill buyer carries with it no-strings ownership and the immediacy of saving a life otherwise destined to end in Mexico.
  • Your rescue horse is unlikely to be accompanied by Coggins results or a health certificate and you will be responsible for arranging for necessary paperwork before you transport the horse.
  • If the ability to make tax-deductable donations is important to you, make sure the rescue organization you are dealing with is an accredited 501(c)3 charity and has a track record.
  • If you want to help but can’t afford to adopt a horse or don’t have a place to keep one, consider making donations toward the purchase price of specific horses that you would rescue if you could. Even small donations that lower the price may make it easier for someone else to adopt the horse and save its life.
  • Be prepared for special needs. Some rescue horses are painfully thin, for example. For persons rescuing underweight horses, Sadeghy recommends senior feeds and warns that worming emaciated horses can lead to colic. Instead, wait for a 50- to 100-pound weight gain, she suggests.

 

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