Everyone knows more than me.
Lesson #1 in horse rescue: Everyone knows more than me (or you), and even those who know very little aren't afraid to tell you you're a moron. This page is about the lessons I've learned along the way.
"There's a reason most horses are on kill lots."
December 2017

I'm always shocked when I hear it from the most experienced "horse people": Horses typically do something to "deserve" landing in a Mexican slaughterhouse. It's a stunningly common rationale that goes right along with "slaughter helps conserve land" or "slaughter helps prevent horse overpopulation".

I've heard such flawed logic from veterinarians, ranchers, trainers and others who, as I mentioned above, know far more than I could possibly ever learn in my lifetime. How those who can rationalize the inhumane slaughter of sentient beings that are capable of learning and 
serving can also call themselves "horse people" is beyond my realm of understanding. (Continued below)
How horses "deserve" to wind up on kill lots...
Here's how some people can rationalize horse slaughter.

Horses don't get "put" on kill lots. Owners don't just decide to send their horses to slaughter. Horses end up in the slaughter pipeline because kill buyers paid a price low enough to make a profit off the horse's meat. Whenever you see a dirt-cheap horse for sale on Craigslist, Facebook, in livestock auctions or through other avenues, that horse will very likely end up on some table in a foreign country.

Kill buyers are business people who need to feed their families. They keep an eye open for cheap horses that will help them meet a pre-determined quota with meat processors in Canada or Mexico (horse slaughter is currently outlawed in America). Below are just some of the ways horses end up on kill lots.
"I own my horse. It's my business what I do with it." First off: How do you train a horse to trust you, then turn around and lead them to a violent death? Any being you can train to trust and follow you deserves a humane end. 

Secondly, horse slaughter is not euthanasia. Yes, it's ending a horse's life; but slaughter ends a horse's life in a prolonged, terrifying, cruel, horrific way. Euthanasia is relatively fast, controlled, compassionate, humane and appropriate way to end the life of a creature that served you.

"My horse is sick and I can't afford the vet bills. I could sure use $200."  I can't tell you how many horses we've brought in that had costly health issues that were not disclosed to us when we forked over the cash. Veterinary bills are expensive; no doubt. It's definitely cheaper for horse owners to let their horse go to slaughter than it is to pay the vet bill.

We can debate whether horses harm the earth. We can debate whether there are too many unwanted horses and not enough potential owners. We can debate whether owners have a right to do what they want with their property. What is really not up for debate is the fact that the process of horse slaughter is inhumane; and anything that is inhumane is inappropriate.

  1. Horses are crammed in cramped trailers for a days-long trip across the border with no food or water.
  2. Horses are electrocuted with cattle prods into death chutes.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Broken Down Old Nag
November 2017
I worked in television news for about 15 years, so I'm painfully familiar with the notion of age making someone disposable. I recently worked at a place where I was targeted for disposal because I was, in some people's estimation, too old to be effective. I was on the tail end of the "target demographic," which was constantly rubbed in my old, wrinkled, too-old-to-live face. If I were a horse, I would have been sent to Mexico for slaughter; but I have thumbs and a voice, so I fight for myself.

I’m always disheartened by the number of older horses I see on kill lots in my quest to save horses from slaughter. Most of them are “dead broke,” with sweet dispositions and unshakable work ethics. They’re easy to catch, practically halter and saddle themselves, and loyal to the core. Their only shortcoming is that they outlived their usefulness to some owner that, frankly, didn’t deserve them.

I’m also disheartened to see the number of “ISO” posts from people looking for a kid-safe horse that’s easy to catch and halter, “no kick, no buck, no bite,” with sweet dispositions and unshakable work ethics. Time and again, I see prospective owners searching for a horse with an elderly soul, in a 6-year-old body. For $600 or less.

I also see tons of posts from prospective owners that some might consider “long in the tooth” - folks who wouldn't make it to a first interview in many jobs.

When a person in their 50s buys an 8-year-old horse that saddles itself, brings you coffee in the morning and gives you a nightly Shiatsu massage, what happens when the owner is too old to ride, and their horse is in that now-undesirable zone of 15 to 20? What happens if, God forbid, the owner drops dead of a heart attack (it happens) and the family is left with a hard-to-market 15-year-old horse?

The mature horse is the answer. Think logically about the number (age) you’ve assigned to your dream horse. As with most humans, is it "just a number"? Or can you fairly assess the horse’s abilities and overall health? If you’re buying a horse for a growing child – a child whose body, preferences, skills and interests will be totally different in four or five years – you’re probably looking at two different horses. Today you want a horse that won’t bolt for the barn or go nuts over a candy wrapper; but when your child is more experienced, and ready to run and jump and zig and zag, you’re going to be looking for a new horse. Any horse that’s spent four or five years at a beginner’s speed is probably not suddenly going to kick it in to high gear and become a spry racehorse.

If you’re an older person looking for a pleasure horse, do you really need a young horse, and do you have a plan for that horse when your needs change? The elderly horse is the perfect option because he’s “been there, done that.” He’s not going to spook at a Walmart bag and drag his rider through the woods. He’s not going to freak out if things don’t go his way. He’s steady, reliable, calm, trustworthy, and devoted to his rider’s safety.

A young beginner isn’t realistically going to be breaking land-speed records; and an older rider doesn’t need a horse that’s going to last longer than them. With proper care, a horse can live well into its 30s. Trim its hooves, float its teeth, feed it properly, groom it and provide regular exercise, and an older horse can give you years of happy memories

The oldest horse on record was 62
"Old Billy," an English barge stallion, died at the ripe old age of 62 in 1822.
Old Shane was 51 when he died in 2013 as the world's oldest horse
According to the Daily Mail, Shayne was the oldest living horse when he died at the age of 51 in 2013. He was humanely euthanized after staff at his boarding facility found him unable to get up.
Why do women flock to horses?

Yes! Send me a volunteer packet!

We need volunteers to help with the horses in a variety of ways. Please give us a little info and we'll send you a volunteer packet so we can get started right away.

Where to find us
Swingin' D Horse Rescue
Coweta, OK

How to reach us
(918) 887-1024
I know why I'd rather hang out with horses than humans. Horses are pretty straightforward. Once you figure out their likes and dislikes, there's not a lot of guesswork. They're honest, simple, and best of all, they accept me for exactly who I am: Their primary food source. The video below is my humorous (hopefully) take on why women dominate the horse industry.