This week I attended the horse auction at the infamous New Holland auction house. It was not my first trip. In fact, I have been there numerous times in the last year. I had no illusions about what I would see. I knew there would be some beautiful horses that would command good prices. I knew there’d be a few bone wrecks, worn out buggy horses and draft horses worked into the ground. And, I knew there’d be race horses.
I wasn’t there long before I found two thoroughbreds tied next to one another. Both had obvious ankle issues. #396 spoke to me with his sad eyes. He was very friendly, albeit confused. He was used to a stall. His coat was still shiny and well groomed. He laid his head against mine and searched for comfort. I spent quite a bit of time with him. I found myself drawn to him again and again. He was just so kind and loving.
I asked someone far more educated than myself if he could be rehabilitated. The sad answer for both of the Thoroughbreds was that they should have been euthanized at the track they came from. Both only two years old, and both destroyed by an industry that by and large seems conscienceless. Whoever sent them to New Holland wasn’t satisfied with what they’d already taken from these two young horses. They wanted those last few dollars for their bodies.
The end of the auction at New Holland is always the most difficult for me. That’s when the kill buyers pull the shoes off the horses they are going to kill. It’s emotionally devastating to watch.
I didn’t watch them pull the shoes off #396 – I could not. However, after they led that sweet gelding off to take his last ride, I went over and picked up his shoes and took them home with me.
I can’t look at them without feeling despair and heartbreak. How can we American’s have left our horses down so badly?
My husband said, “Why do you do this to yourself?”
Because I never want to forget. I want to feel the pain and anger that will inspire me to keep fighting to end horse slaughter. I will continue to fight for the American Horse Slaughter Protection Amendment (S 311/HR 503) as long as I draw breath. I will keep those horse shoes highly visible so that this kind, young horse’s death will not be in vain.
#396 never had a chance. His people used him up and threw him away for a few dollars.
RIP #396...I will never forget you.