Five-year-old Texas bred Swass Like Me was pulled from a kill pen in Oklahoma Monday night and by coincidence was to ship back to the woman who had saved his life as a sickly newborn.
Swass was foaled on the Keen Farm in Texas, and nursed to health by Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue. Born with a physical condition that prevented him from receiving proper nutrition and hydration in utero, the colt could not stand and nurse when he was born. So Keen and her family slept in his stall and nursed him back to health, says Keen.
Swass Like Me
Sire: Special Rate
Dam: River at Twilight
Foal date: Feb. 3, 2009
Earnings: $62, 670 in 36 startsNamed after a line in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, he’d actually crossed Keen’s mind earlier in the week, as, unbeknownst to her, he was to be placed on a truck and shipped to slaughter in Mexico. Thinking of the colt with fond memories, Keen posted a picture of him on her Facebook page. Only days later, Keen received a call from Moriah Owens of Helping Hands Equine Assistance telling her that the colt had been sold to kill.
Owens was all set to purchase the colt from a meat buyer on behalf of philanthropic Texas businessman John Murrell when Keen insisted on stepping in and buying the colt with her own money.
“We made money off him, and it was our job to step up” to buy him back, says Keen, noting, “The whole thing was so coincidental and strange. He had just crossed my mind because I was thinking about foaling season and getting excited about it, when I decided to post Swass Like Me’s photo on Facebook.”
Keen got up early Wednesday morning and drove to a highway rendezvous with a volunteer shipper, who agreed to drive the rest of the way with the payment Keen handed off, and get the T-bred safely on the van and headed back to Keen’s farm.
Keen always loved the little bay horse with the huge, white star, and hopes he is sound enough to potentially work as a pony for her, down the road. After bringing the horse back from the brink of illness early in his life—he was born with a malformed umbilical cord and did not receive proper nutrition— she felt protective of him. “I foaled him for his owner at the time, Karl Broberg, but was upset when he had to leave the farm,” says Keen, noting that she slept in the same stall with the sick colt for two days after his birth.
He went on to run 36 times and earned $62,000, but was lost by Broberg in a claimer to William Orrin, she adds.
“I was so attached to this horse, and am so grateful to Moriah and Tara Sanders for finding him and contacting me,” Keen says.
After Swass is assessed by a veterinarian and quarantined, Keen will figure out whether he will eventually be placed for adoption, or be folded into her herd. “I’m so thankful to get him home. I hope he’s sound enough that I can keep him and train him to be a bridleless pony,” she says. ♥
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14 responses to “Mexico-bound Swass Like Me saved just in time”
I saw a winners circle picture of him a couple of years ago. Funny how everyone looked like they loved this horse at the time. So who dropped him at a kill pen anyway? They need to have their license taken away if a trainer. I have never heard of Retama Park.
Talk about your Black Beauty story. Thrilled he is saved!!
The general population of Canada does NOT eat horsemeat. There are a few restaurants in Toronto (gag) and it’s sold in Quebec. The vast majority of the meat is shipped to Europe. It’s a disgusting industry, start to finish.
Glad to hear that one more horse is safe. 🙂
Happenings like this one affirm my belief that there is a sense not visible or audible to the human, but a heart sense, that when properly tuned, brings about good for those we love, both human and animal. I think it must be somewhat like sound waves or light, but of a different form. Happy for Swass and for those who love him.
The meat goes mostly to Europe. The thing is to get Europeans (France, Italy are the biggest consumers) to stop eating horse meat. Btw, any mixed meat like salami that comes from Europe can have horse meat in it as it doesn’t have to be labeled as such. Glad Donnas intuition or sixth sense kicked in and he is home. It’s he guaranteed a permanent home there?
What a heart-warming story ! If only every breeder had compassion and Conscience like Donna Keen. God bless Helping Hands Equine Assistance for all their great work!
Cheers for Swass and Donna. And she will probably be sleeping with him for the next few days. I sure hope he vets healthy and sound and gets to stay with Donna at RMR. This is so great.
So glad that Tara saw my post and contacted Donna Keen….also glad that we are able to use social media to share an urgent need and have a happy ending like this one. With less than 24 hours to get a horse pulled from the kill pen~it really does take a great group of people to make it happen.
Wow, thanks to Moriah and Tara, John Murrell for the offer, the volunteer shipper, and Donna for taking Swass back. It DOES take a village and this little village sure stepped up!! I don’t believe it was a passing thought that Donna had either, there was a reason she thought of Swass and posted his picture on Facebook. If not for that, he would have been lost forever.
It really does ‘take a village’ to secure a horse thru its ~30 years on this earth, and that work begins when the new foal hits the ground. His mare can’t keep him secure after that moment. Safety for that horse is the job of an army of humans who happen to be in the right place at the right time, and who take a meaningful effort to keep the horse safe from the worst hell: commercial horse slaughter for human consumption.
To date this year, some 94,911 US horses have shipped to a gruesome death in Mexican slaughter plants, their unregulated, unsafe meat ready to harm human consumers there. That unethical product will be consumed by children, pregnant women and the general population of Mexico and Canada.
As Americans, is this how we want to be seen by the world’s people?
Contact Washington DC again and again, until they respond to our outrage: ban the commercial slaughter of US horses.
Thank you Donna Keen, et.al! I don’t believe that passing “thought” was coincidental….that was a God thing!! I hope he’ll wind up staying with you always! Needed this good story today for sure. Please keep us posted with pictures if have time!!
Good work to Moriah and Tara for finding your Swass just in time. Thank you for saving this almost forgotten race horse.
Swass was actually located in Oklahoma. No big deal, just wanted to set the record straight and give Helping Hands Equine Rescue the credit for doing all the work. Thanks also to Tara, I would not have known he was there and been able to help without her call.
I’m so sorry! I corrected the location of the kill pen. Sue