This is an incredibly emotionally charged blog. It was one of those days Jason and Tawnee just had to grit their teethe and push through it, thinking the whole time “Why am I doing this? This has to be a nightmare.” The truth is, it’s a reality. Rescuing and putting yourself on the front lines can lead to stomach churning days like today. Consider yourself warned dear reader.
This morning the trailer was unloaded, all of the Cal Skate fundraising items were still in there. Soon it was empty, clean and ready for the road.
We had received an email about some pregnant mares who’s owner was wanting to give them away. We contacted them and they were happy to give them to us, so we headed off to pick them up.
Jason and Tawnee
arrived at their neat, clean beautiful place. They were a very nice older couple who want to fully retire, so they are cutting back on their herd.
was talking to the lady, and she said “So, 5 mares and 3 babies?” Tawnee
smiled and nodded her head, she thought she was meaning maybe only 3 of the mares were in foal? It turned out the lady had other ideas. They led the mares down the barn breezeway
to the waiting trailer.
They all loaded up beautiful and were such good girls to work with. After the 5 mares were loaded, the lady asked Tawnee
for 3 more lead ropes. Tawnee
was a little puzzled but got the lead ropes out and began to follow her.
It turns out there really were 3 yearlings that were going along too. All in all they surrendered 5 mares (4 believed to be in foal) and 3 yearlings.
Then it was off to what Tawnee
and Jason knew would be a tough rescue. Little did they know how tough.
First a little history. At the last auction Tawnee
attended, a man by the name of Dave knew that Tawnee
had purchased one of the horses he ran through, so he came up and befriended her. He asked if we would be interested in purchasing some more horses from him, he announced he had about 50 he needed to get rid of. He had brought 3 that were not ran through the auction, they were in a holding pen behind the auction. He started working out a deal with an out of state person who had bought a lot of big, chunky horses during the auction.
realized what was going on and soon was working out a deal with him as well. Eventually a price was agreed upon and a thin mare was pulled from the kill pen. The thin mare was seen on our blog on Sunday, she is Malibu. She is a very sweet horse that was just in the wrong pen. Thankfully, her life was saved by your donations!
There was a fence dividing the soon to be out of state horses with an unknown fate and the rescued horses. Just by looking at them, it was plain to see why they were chosen to be in that pen: they were all fat. Dave had given Tawnee
his phone number and asked her to give him a call to work out a deal on some more horses.
Since then there have been some phone calls going back and forth. Dave called up and said he had some horses that were going to be heading to Fallon, he would like us to get them. He said their price was $250 each. Tawnee
said “That’s too high, we can get them cheaper at auction, $150 is what I’ll pay.” It was really hard to say those words, but we had to let him know up front that he could not take advantage of the rescues
resources as so many in the killer buyer business love doing. They buy a horse for $150 at auction, turn around and sell it to a rescue for $500, preying upon rescue and donors emotions. Why not take that $500 and buy several horses just as worthy at auction that would go to slaughter anyway?
It wasn’t long before he called back up with an offer of several horses for $150 each. Tawnee agreed. He said he had been in southern Ca, took some along, bought others, and now only had 40 horses.
Since we were heading to the same area to get the pregnant mares today, we called him up and arranged to see his horses that he had for sale. We said we could buy about 4 of them. As we pulled up, Animal Control was there. There were definitely some thin horses. Animal Control was preparing to leave, so Tawnee jumped out and talked to the officer. Tawnee explained everything she knew about Dave, but the Animal Control officer simply said there was nothing that could be done, and hoped we would take them all. Tawnee told him we couldn’t take them all, but we would do our best.
and Dave headed across the field to the trailer where the horses were waiting. He started explaining to Tawnee
that the reason Animal Control was there was there was a foal, no water, someone
complained, something died. He
just wasn’t making much sense.
Tawnee walked up to the waiting trailer, the horses were unloaded and then Tawnee’s stomach began to roll. She walked away from the trailer in horror and disgust.
Dave said “I put the dead foal in the trailer, see here it is.” All the poor horses were standing there in the heat with the dead stinky foal laying there. It was utterly terrible. “The foal was found dead this morning, someone drove by and complained to Animal Control. So I drug it over here. Not sure what happened to it. It was born at my place the other day, but I didn’t have any shade at my place so I brought it over here so its mom could take it up in the hills were shade is, but it died here. Since you’re taking the momma you need to take it too. You can skin it and graft an orphaned foal onto the momma. She’s got a good bag of milk.” Tawnee
agreed merely for the fact she wanted our vet to look at the poor little foal and try to figure out what happened to it. It’s one of those times when you feel like screaming and yelling, throwing up your hands and walking away in utter disgust. But one very wise person once told us “You must bite your lip until it bleeds, you’re there to help the horses.” Sometimes it’s so hard to do.
put everything behind her and started loading the horses we purchased into the trailer. Two young horses, a pack mule and the mother of the dead foal.
After everyone was loaded Jason and Dave put the dead foal into the back of the pickup. As the foal was being put into the truck you could see a large gash on its neck and blood flowing out of its nose.
It was wonderful
to have all the horses loaded up and be headed away from that terrible place.
We hadn’t driven 150 feet when we noticed a herd of horses standing around in a circle. Since we stopped, Dave stopped.
got out to ask Dave about some pricing on the thinner horses in the herd. “You can have that one for $150 since its thin, but the heavy ones have to be more ya know.” The water trough was empty and they were all thirsty. As we drove away he was fiddling with the water hoping to get it to work.
Finally the open road lay ahead and we were on the way to the vet. It was hard leaving those other horses there, but our trailer was about full. It’s definitely
one of the hardest things about rescue, not being able to save them all.
It was good to be at the vet’s office with the bright green grass, and a trailer full of happy horses.
One of the little guys from the first stop is about a year
old and needs to be gelded. Since we were at the vet, we decided to unload him so he can get his brain surgery
. It was cute opening the door and seeing all the little faces looking out in amazement
. Anyone want to donate to help cover his gelding cost? Click here.
Gelding typically costs about $150, due to his age and size it should be the lower rate, any additional donated funds will be used to care for the horses.
He is such a cute little guy. The vet examined him and said he is mature enough for his operation.
The vet also looked at the dead foal. She says her best guess is that the foal had been attacked by a stallion or gelding. It had been grabbed on the neck and shook, breaking its neck and causing paralysis
, and finally death. It is so very sad.
Finally they were back at the rescue and trailer was being backed up to the loading chute to be unloaded.
The trailer door opened and a little face looked out with wonder. A few hours before, the poor little guy was standing in a hot trailer with a dead foal at his feet. Now he was at the rescue, fresh food and water were awaiting him.
All the babies came piling out one after another into their waiting pen.
Then it was the adults turn.
Soon all the horses were settled, but it was heartbraking to see the mare that had lost her foal looking longingly at the trailer gate. You could see it in her eyes “Where’s my baby? What has happened?” It’s so hard to see a horse grieving, wondering what had happened. You wish you could tell them that it’s ok, not to worry, but the only way you can do that is through time and love, proving to them that their troubles are over.
Please help us help them, click here.
You can be a part in saving lives.