We were very sorry to hear about a young girl who ended up in the hospital last week with cracked ribs and crushed vertebrae. Her parents, first-time horse owners, adopted the horse from a rescue. The horse had been purchased from a kill buyer who was taking it to slaughter. The rescue group saved the horse, but didn’t bother to find out why the pretty horse had been taken to the auction.Typical for an auction, the horse was sold “as is” to the highest bidder, in this case the rescue outfit.
The parents, not knowing the importance of asking about the horse, its temperament, and its background took the horse from the rescue and gave it a home. The kill buyer knew why the horse was headed to the slaughter, it was because the horse was prone to suddenly and unexpected rear up and fall over backwards. He might not rear for 2-3 rides, then do it again without warning. The parents put their child on the horse thinking they had done a good deed in rescuing the horse and giving their daughter a new friend. It’s a sad story! Unfortunately, a story that is repeated all too often.
A beautiful horse headed for slaughter may be a great horse just a little down on his luck. Humans want to believe in the epic and rush to rescue the horse with everyone living happily ever after. No doubt a noble reaction. The problem is not every horse headed for slaughter is just misunderstood or just needs a little tender loving care to be rehabilitated. Some of these horses have deep scars and emotional issues that seasoned trainers can’t resolve. Newbie horse owners have no business handling them or riding them like they’re broke.
No rational parent would put their child in the hands of a hardened convict with emotional problems simply because the convict had been rescued from his place in life and given some counseling and therapy. Regardless of the cause (and it doesn’t matter why if you are the one who gets hurt), there are bad people in the world and there are bad horses. It may not be a happy, positive thought that is politically correct with a lot of folks, but it doesn’t change the facts.
Our thoughts and prayers to the girl and her parents and hopefully this post will protect another innocent victim from a trusting a horse they know nothing about.