Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Saving "Nic" From Horse Slaughter - A Day At New Holland Livestock Auction

This is a factual account of the New Holland Livestock Auction on Monday, February 23rd, 2009. Cheree, who rescues Arabian horses in danger of slaughter plans to attend the Auction and save a horse - probably an Arab. He is her account of "Saving Nic."

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My day was off to a rough start before I even left the house. I set my alarm for 5:00 am, but didn't sleep a wink, I was up all night tossing and turning, just dreading the day ahead of me.

I left for New Holland around 7am, when I was about three miles from the auction I saw the first nightmare of the day... an Amish buggy, being pulled by a horse that just couldn't do the job: (He was a Saddlebred very obviously, but about 300 lbs too thin, and the sweat pouring off this horse was so intense it looked like he has a water hose on him. He was trying his hardest to pull the weight, but could barely break a trot, and they were literally beating him with the whip to keep him moving forward, he had whip marks all over his rear an was bleeding in some spots.... When I saw this, I almost turned the car around and went home. It was awful.... My heart was pounding out of my chest when I arrived at new Holland minutes later. It was 8:30 am.... Most of the horses that were going to run through the auction that day were already there tied up and waiting…there weren't as many as I thought there would be this week... Maybe seventy-five at most.

I was anxious for [my friend] Rita to arrive, because it was all very hectic and confusing, and I needed someone in my corner for sure... While I was waiting for Rita (who by the way is one of the most amazing women I have yet to meet) I walked around asking about local transport, as Lorraine was full. I found it, in about 5 minutes or less... so now I knew it was time to buy... Obviously I was looking for an Arab, luckily for my new guy, there were none in sight... I walked the isles over and over again.... looking at all these poor horses... Some of them nice, some very neglected, too thin, cuts, scars, and a lot of draft horses....I saw a young filly, who was obviously scared to death with her eyes bugging out of her head, pull back on her tie, as something spooked her, she was pulling back and going crazy trying to break free, and some people came and took a cattle rod to her rear, and scared her even more, and she finally reared up and flipped over cutting her back up... I left the auction halls, and went to my car to sit for a moment and get myself together....I returned about ten minutes later and saw a few more horses had arrived, been tagged and were waiting for the auction to begin, so they could determine their fate...It wasn't long before the horse I was meant to save chose me to save him... His number was 388... he was a gorgeous 16.2 hand boy thoroughbred with black stockings, his face was so pretty, I thought there must have been a little Arab blood in there somewhere, he turned around as much as he could and starred at me, locked eyes, and held it for a good 30 seconds or more even, without reading too far into, his eyes most definitely were pleading for me help... He was so nice looking, I thought for sure he'd be out of my price range, he was the nicest horse at the auction, and the locked eye contact touched me, as all the other horses were either too busy biting and kicking each other or so scared the kept their faces buried in their hay... This one was special...

Rita arrives!!! YAY!! Someone to show me the ropes, someone to share my sorrows! Thank God she is here!!!! Rita and I walked around, as I told her excitedly that I found someone to ship and I think I had found my horse!!!! She said "well let’s go see him" and so we went.... It was around 9:30ish by then, five minutes earlier my boy starred me down and asked me to save him, five minutes later, with Rita by my side I go to show her him... and he is gone.... Never being to New Holland before, I am very confused... "Where could he have gone?" "The auction didn't even start yet?!" Rita new where he had gone...he was in the kill pen... purchased privately by a meat buyer before the start of the auction.... We found the broker who brought him to the sale and proceeded to find out which dealer bought him and if he was in fact in the "pen."

We met much resistance to say the least. I had five good ol' boys at once telling me "You don't want that crazy son of a bitch, that horse will hurt you, he is CRAZY!" "I'm not gonna sell you that horse, he deserves to be slaughtered, that crazy son a bitch got loose in here, and it took five of us to catch him, we had to rope that crazy a$% horse, you do not want that horse!" I politely asked and stated "what makes him so crazy?" "If I got lose at a scary auction like this, I would run too and you could bet no one would catch me!" I then asked "is this crazy horse broke to ride?" They said "yes, he's a real nice riding horse, BUT he's crazy as sin, real head shy won't let you touch his face, if the wind blows he'll rip our arms off, again lady, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS HORSE!"Rita and I then walked back to the kill pen, and there he was... with about 25 other horses, he was more scared than any horse I have ever seen in my life, he was bleeding slightly on the face by his left eye, and has been kicked in the cheek and was all puffy, his eyes were big and blood shot, he was so scared... I gave him a treat through the bars and he snatched it up... I walked away with Rita... we were very sad....as we were walking back to the barn... the reality set in and I realized, that I had given that horse his last treat... the last treat he'll ever have.... How can I let this happen to such a young, beautiful and so called "crazy" horse??? I couldn't..... We headed back to the barn to find the meat dealer who had his fate sealed... Rita was coaching me along the way.... I was scared to death to have to go head to head with the meat dealer trying to make a deal for a horse I know he didn't give a damn about.... Rita stood back, and I approach the man point out to me. He said "Your back? You till want that crazy horse don't you?" I said "What do you want for him?" He said "How much you really want him?" I said "it's not about how much I want him, it's about what he' worth, how much?" He said "500.00" I said "NO WAY 350.00", he laughed in my face, and said AND I QUOTE "Shit no, I'll get more to slaughter that SOB, they'll give me at least 700.00 for a horse that size, then he raised his voice, his face got really grim and mean and said "NO DEAL" I looked over to Rita, she was holding up three fingers as to say "No more than THREE HUNDRED" and I agreed...I walked away....

Rita and I looked at some other horses, but I couldn't get it out of my mind... The locked eyes earlier, the scared eyes in the kill pen, did I really feed this horse his last treat? I decided I would approach him (the meat guy) again.... He had a smirk on his face this time, but was still very mean....I told Rita my plan was to poke holes in what the horse was worth, by asking it's age, and is he registered, etc.... I walk up to the meat buyer who is standing with the broker who sold him the horse... He laughed at me and said "back so soon?" I said "How old is this horse?" Broker said "5" I asked if he was registered broker said "should be, he got a lip tattoo, he's off the track, they don't race sh*# horses, although this one's crazy, and that's why he's here." The meat dealer then said "You got cash? I said "yes, but not 500.00", he said 400.00" I said "350.00" he said "375.00, let me see it" I took the money out and put it in his hand and he said to me "now look, you gotta go get the horse out of that pen, I ain’t goin' in there with all those other crazy horses, and I ain’t touching your crazy ass horse, and when this horse hurts you, I don't want you comin' up to me next auction cryin' about it, it's buy at your own risk, and you just did, ( as he shoves the money in his pocket) now go get your horse out of my pen, and good luck to you, cause you're gonna need it!" I then heard him mumble under his breath as I was walking away “crazy ass broad."

I walked away, Rita was smart enough to find the guy who agreed to haul the horse for me, who also rides at the auction, she asked him to get the horse out of the kill pen, he was nice and agreed, he went an got the "crazy horse" out, and put him in his own pen directly behind the kill pen.... He was very stressed, but....he was SAFE! Rita was my strong hold, she told me how to do it better the next time, but said she was proud of me, I held my own and I did a good job, she then pointed out, that I was shaking like a leaf... and I wasn't cold... She was right, I had just gone head to head with my # 1 enemy in the world, I could see by speaking to this man that he thought of horses like most people think of rats.... it was heart breaking, he really didn't care... Maybe he played me, maybe not. But I saved my boy, and made sure he hadn't eaten his last treat. Rita and I went back numerous times to check on him to make sure some auction worked didn't throw him back in the pen, by accident... I eventually got so paranoid, I went back and made a sign that said "SOLD! DO NOT LOAD THIS HORSE" When I went back there to put the sign on his stall, I noticed three more kill pens, three total, all full.... There were such nice horses in the slaughter pen, some had brand new blankets on, new halters...I wonder if their owners new what happened that day at the auction, and where they were headed... It was hard... to say the very least. I slipped in my pen with the new "crazy" horse, that "won't let you touch his face" and in less than a minute, I was scratching inside his ears, took his halter off to adjust the size, put it BACK ON... The horse although still very stressed, was as good as could be, his eyes softened, he listened when I spoke to him, he let me rub his face, and feel the lump on his cheek where he was kicked, I brushed him with my hands, feed him treats.... Rita walked back and said "Yeah, he seems reallllllly crazy doesn't he?" We both laughed, he surely wasn't crazy....The kill buyers thought he was a "crazy SOB" because he escaped at the auction and was running for his life, he didn't want to be caught, because he has a will to live!! To me and Rita, that's a smart horse fighting for his life, not a dangerous one...

The auction is ending... I see dead animals everywhere, a lot of cows and baby cows didn't make it :( I saw 10 BIG horned bulls in the same pen stabbing each other to death. I saw a horse being beat because it wouldn't move out of the way in the kill pen, when the truth is, there was NO ROOM for the poor thing to move. I saw babies ripped away from their mothers, and Amish horses standing for hours and hours with no water. I saw a lot of sad eyes looking back at me, and I watched horses being punished for just being horses.... I said an almost tearful goodbye to Rita, because she was such an angel and so there for me, I was truly sad to say goodbye to her.... I confirmed my address with my shipper, and I waited until most of the kill pen horses were gone to make sure they didn't try to sneak mine back into the herd and take him! I headed home.....My new OTTB was about 45 minutes behind me... he arrived, safe and sound... The most defining moment for me was when he stepped off the trailer and was heading toward the barn, and I was leading him... he let out this huge **sigh** and his eyes became as soft as they possibly could... He relaxed almost instantly... I led him back past the barn to the QT round pen, and put him in there, I went and got a blanket, tied him which the meat buyer and broker who sold him said COULD NOT BE DONE, "YOU CANNOT TIE THAT HORSE HE'LL TAKE DOWN THE BARN" I tied him to the fence of the round pen, and brushed him and put his blanket on, and he was wonderful, I put medicine on the cut by his eye, wonderful....He didn't even threaten to drag me, pull me, spook at being tied up.. He is very certainly NOT a crazy horse. I have named him "Nic" short for "Nic of time" because I literally got there just in the nick of time to save him….

1 comment:

Larissa Lefebure said...

Poor baby. I believe someone else already passed on this information, but I can help with a little info on this horse's background I think. I believe he was at my barn and I rode him Saturday.

Is this "Nic"? He should be 6, with a tattoo starting with "G"?

www.youtube.com/user/LarissaHeaddy

llefebure1@hotmail.com

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The face of death

The face of death
#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

All that is left
I will never forget him...I promise. I am so sorry, #396...I don't even have a name for you...

Why would you take my life? Am I a food source animal?

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