$30 auction horse to compete at national show

Metallic Sky, a $30 horse, will begin training for the Retired Racehorse Project's Kentucky makeover.

Metallic Sky, a $30 horse, will begin training for the Retired Racehorse Project’s Kentucky makeover.

A Thoroughbred purchased for $30 at an upstate New York auction house in September, and who managed to elude a trip to the slaughterhouse when a woman said his eyes pleaded, ‘save me,’ is set to begin prepping for a national OTTB event.

Metallic Sky, a dark bay New York bred who was once so thin he registered a mere 1.5 on the Henneke body condition scale, and so pathetic in appearance that he appeared a full 1-hand smaller than he is, beseeched Barb Devers, a pre-kindergarten teacher from Ithaca, to change his life; and soon, he competes at the Retired Racehorse Project’s makeover and symposium in Kentucky.

Metallic Sky
Barn name: Noble
Sire: Silver Train
Dam: Skyladywalker
Foal date: March 25, 2010
The 4-year-old gelding will ship next month to Second Chance Thoroughbreds, a Spencer, N.Y. charity, and begin training with Shannon Ryan, Devers says, noting that it’s pretty much a miracle that a bottom-rung horse nobody wanted would wind up showing at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“I think it’s just awesome,” she says. “This is a horse who would have probably been shipped to a renderer because nobody was interested in bidding when he first ran through the auction.”

Though there were roughly150 people in attendance the night she found Sky, who she nicknamed Noble for his regal bearing, he possessed a beauty only she could see. “There were a lot of horses there that night, so even the good horses were only going for $200,” she says. “Noble wasn’t considered a ‘good horse’ and was tied up with the lesser horses when I noticed him.”

Metallic Sky will train at Second Chances Thoroughbreds in NY before heading to Kentucky in October.

Metallic Sky will train at Second Chances Thoroughbreds in NY before heading to Kentucky in October.

Tied with 12 others to a fence, Noble was the very picture of cruel fate.

His coat was tattered and bleached far lighter than its natural dark-bay luster. His hips jutted out as evidence that it had been a long time since his last good meal. And yet, there was a dignity about him, and even a kindness.

“If a horse looks me in the eye, that means a lot to me. And I felt that when he looked at me, it was like he said, ‘Save me.’ I go to the auction pretty regularly, I guess I’m trying to defeat death, and I think a horse like Noble is worthy of having a good life.”

—Off Track Thoroughbreds will follow Noble’s progress as he preps for the Retired Racehorse Project’s Kentucky event. Please stay tuned.

49 responses to “$30 auction horse to compete at national show”

  1. Ruth Skorich

    To me a horse is a family member and a trusting friend. They don’t deserve the fate of being sent to a slaughter house….They deserve love……not being tortured in a slaughter house. I had a TB that I adopted through a organization called Second Career Thoroughbreds…..they saved him from slaughter and that I am truly grateful to have had the chance to own such a super riding horse…He was with me till he passed away. I miss my Danny Ryder (1987-2002)…. 🙂

  2. Dianna Johnson

    Nothing about the way slaughter is done is humane, Unless you call being sent to an action where you are whipped through a ring, ran out into pens with dozens of strange horses that are all frightened and biting and kicking. Then ran, beat or dragged into trailers so crammed that they get trampled to death if they fall. If they make that trip they are often several days without food or water to reduce “waist”. As if that isn’t enough then they are ran, beat into slaughter lanes, hit in the head to be knocked out. the captive bolt is designed for cattle and as often as not only cruses the horses sinus cavity not stunning it. Hung alive, bled and skinned often before they are dead. Nothing is humane about this. In Mexico they are stabbed in the back so they can be butchered while paralyzed but alive. So sad we think of this as a humane way to dispose of unwanted animals.

    1. Bill

      So letting too many wild horses ruin the range in the west or horses starved because the owners can’t afford to feed them and sell them at a meat auction is more humane than slaughter? Grow up. Everything dies someway and it is never pretty.

      1. Michelle C.

        Attitudes like YOURS are the biggest problem…animals have souls, just like humans. So should we start just exterminating unwanted humans?

      2. De bie

        Bill, YOU need to grow up. Not everything on this planet exists or not at your whim. We could just as easily tie you to that fence. I would love to substitute out one of those incredible sentient beings for the likes of a self important dolt such as yourself.

        1. Bill

          So just avoid the consequences of no slaughter and call me names meanwhile horse continue to destroy the range in the West by over grazing and and horses go to Canada and Mexico on a long truck ride and still get slaughtered. Humane slaughter in the USA is the most humane answer to the surplus horse population. How else can it be managed. Not all horses are adoptable or will be adopted.

    2. Malissa DeBruhl

      Where are these auctions at?? I live on the East Coast of North Carolina and we have island ponys on the South end of the Outer Banks. Every one to two years they remove some ponies from the island because of over population. The ponies that are removed only go to homes that will let them live out their lives grazing and running on horrse farms. You are not even aloud to BREAK them for riding or any other purpose.
      The horses left on the island are given a form of birth control also, to keep the population down. Why can’t we get a law passed that all PRO BREEDERS & PRIVATE BREEDERS have to take responsibility for there animals?
      We get our dogs and cats fixed and CHIPPED. If you were to do to dogs and cats what is being done to these horses, YOU WOULD BE ARREDTED!!!

  3. Bill

    Slaughter can be a humane way to remove surplus animals. The BLM has thousands of unwanted horses that are being kept in pens and fed at government expense. Let’s work for humane slaughter in the United States so that there is a humane alternative to letting horses starve or forcing them to take a long trailer ride to Canada or Mexico.

    1. Janet Schultz

      Hey Bill – we don’t slaughter our horses because we hate the fact of being hypocritical. If you are speaking from a business point of view – you are stepping into an unethical prospective in urging the slaughter of the wild horses. Did you know, the Act was written and enacted to STOP slaughter of wild horses and burros. And it still does today. Now, you are dismissed from the discussion.

    2. joanne pfeiffer

      I say we work on an inhumane way to dispose of heartless humans.

  4. Karen Bastin

    Wonderful and heartwarmong story
    I know this is a old story and I just read it now.
    What happened to Noble in the competition.and does he have a home now,?

  5. Deb Brewick

    Wouldn’t it be great if breeders were granted s limited number of registration papers annually based on the pedigree of the sire? They should also have to pay a hefty fee per certificate. It would force these breeders to be selective and return the breeds to breed standard. Each registered horse should also be required to be microchipped or tattooed and genetic testing done. Maybe it would be easier to require the breed Associations to make changes than fight the stupidity of irresponsible “breeders”. Also people interested in rescue-ing, need to purchase these sale horses before the kill buyers get them. When we purchase from rescue groups (bless their hearts) that buy from the kill buyers, we’re just putting more money in the kill buyers hands to go out and buy the market ready horses (fat and healthy) that will never get their second chance. I wish I had the money to, not buy all the unwanted, but to fight what’s creating the problem in the first place.

    1. Janet Schultz

      Why give “breeders” a free pass? Each horse they cause to be born makes them accountable for that horse’s life. I am sure the feds would figure out a way t make sure each foal is chipped and followed. Since we hate and despise slaughter – if one of their horses is found in a slaughterpen, the taxation jumps to the bought price before loading up. Killbuyers should be being kept accountabe – clean up the pens, make sure the horses are being fed (no more, they came to me starved BS) and tighten down the screws on transporation and yes, tax the hell out of them for any animal injured. As for the auctions, those are pits of he’lll and should be taxed heavily on their gross receipts as well as under pressure to keep their facilities clean and the animals fed. They should also be taxed heavily for any animal injured or dead n their property.
      It is past time to stop wringing your hands and crying over “good ending” sstories and do something to end the evil that has its hands on the animals. And stop eating flesh while you are at it.

    2. Michelle C.

      I agree Deb….I think overbreeding is such a huge problem and the people making money from it need to be held to standards since so many don’t seem to care what happens once the money from a sale is in their wallet.

  6. maggie

    Please do not blame the TB industry alone- many of the top breeds end up in auction/slaughter bids but its the backyard breeder of pure crap that requires addressing. People who want a baby of their broken down bad attitude or poor conformation horse “because”.. I have seen outrageous posts of people trying to breed their piece of crap and wanting to know what stallion would balance out her faults.. Need to require PASSPORTS with micro-chipping at birth so horses can be followed to see where the real issues are. You would be surprised at the number of backyard breeders (1-2 times) compared to Professional. Maybe do it like taxis and require permits and limit numbers. Be more selective… force it…

    1. V

      QH’s and TB’s are the top 2 breed that go to slaughter and as someone that has worked countless hours saving horse from kill pens out of the TB’s I have seen 99% are OTTB with winning. Some with substantial winnings, this industry does need to be held accountable, there should be a manditory lifetime commitment from breeders. I believe that they should have to be license and approved to breed.
      That being said, their have been some big winners thrown away do to the greed of this industry.

      1. Michelle C.

        I am so glad I am not alone in wanting breeders to be HELD ACCOUNTABLE for every life they bring into this world. It’s the LEAST they should do!

    2. Janet Schultz

      Really? Now you are going t get elitist? Does it matter if it is a tossed away highly bred TB or a wild horse? No!

      And how does your pathetic rationale explain the 300 Missouri Fox Trotters that just got disbersed off a business farm? Give us a break. Anyone breeding should be accountable for this continuing horror. Its on you. And how do you explain the filly who suffers an injury and can’t race so she is “retired to be a broodmare?”. Your business of forcfu breeding, artificial weaning and SELLING the babes is repugnant to say the least. You have made it acceptable.

  7. Barb Devers

    Noble went to Collette at Second Chance Thoroughbreds in Spencer, NY. He has been a love bug for them, gentle and easy. He has attended shows and was fairly unflappable even when firecrackers went off near him. There is something glorious that’s happened to him but I need to let Collette and Susan tell this stage of his story.

    1. Karen Bastin

      I am so glad to hear this about Noble. Hope to hear the rest of the story.

  8. Jeannie

    Good on you, we see this time and time again, the throw away horses. Look at Snowman the $80 horse. Thank you for saving him and I would love to see the slaughter pipeline to Canada END. ENough is Enough

  9. ThomD

    I agree that slaughter is not what I want to see, but where is the outrage at the overbreeding of horses that continues to this day? We’ve been talking about it for years, but it goes on. The stock breeds have improved – for about 10 years from the mid to late 90’s on, you could pick up a halter bred weanling or yearling for next to nothing at an auction, as they weren’t show quality. Now that the market took a downturn, we’ve seen their numbers get better, but the TB market, particularly the OTTB market, continues to pump out too slow racehorses that don’t get lucky enough to get the opportunity that this horse has been given. You can’t incentivize the second career market enough to give them all a new life, but the JC can’t seem to recognize that. At some point, breed associations need to determine what more they can do to stop the overbreeding of mediocre horses.

    1. Jeannie

      The over breeding has to end and the race horse industry has to stop racing these horses before their legs and backs are ever allowed to fully develop. A horses legs do not fully develop until the age of 5, that goes for any horse. I hate the races for that reason, if they really cared they would wait, work with the horses but not race them until they are mature, there are thousands of TB’s that end up at the auctions because they are broken down at the young ages and then there are many that are euthanized at the track because of broken legs . Look at Eight Bells the 3 year old, look at the video, it is disgusting and horrid and the crowd sighs and the owners are sad and YET they know they are pushed to their deaths

  10. Jeannie Parisi

    Thank you for saving this gorgeous and precious horse. I won’t go on about how I feel about the Race Horse Industry as I am fairly sure people know the disturbing facts. This reminds me of the $80 dollar horse, Snowman, happy ending

  11. Jon

    What a nicely bred horse. Nice old blood lines that are fading rapidly. He should make a good sport horse with all the greatness that he comes from. I hope he does well.

  12. Elaine Nash

    Don’t ya just love happy endings?? Great story. Can’t wait to hear what happens next!

  13. Barb Devers

    Thank you for all the kind words. Thank you Susan for writing about Metallic Sky. I always think I will stop rescuing so I can afford to retire. But then I touch these horses at auction and like the Velveteen rabbit they become real. It doesn’t matter then who is selling or where they came from. It matters if they have a future whether it is to a private buyer like myself or rescue. Noble is a wonderful TB. He deserves a forever home with a forever bonded person.

  14. Don Martello

    This all begins with the breeders, owners and trainers. I watch races from tracks like Penn National, Charlestown and Portland Meadows to name a few, hell these horses for the most part our trotting, what does that tell you. So where do they go when they can’t pay their bills, not Belmont. I am a former owner, all I could afford was one horse, six starts one second, injured took him home and made him a champion pleasure horse. Lived to be twenty-seven! RIP Willie Whitesocks you are truly missed!

  15. Guest

    God Bless you and Metallic Sky, I mean Noble. Wishing all involved great success!

  16. Cynthia whitten

    These great stories are out there…as are the wonderful horses that need help. HELP IF YOU CAN!

  17. l. melone

    Can’t wait to read about his upcoming competition. Love to read about these saved souls. Makes me so happy!

  18. melissa,john,sue,renee

    Barb we are so lucky to sit with you at these auctions and save the ones we can. Our friendship has grow leaps and bounds in our journey saving these wonderful horses who deserve a second chance. Out of all of us in our little group you deserve the most credit with your dedication to each and every horse you touch with your love and devoted.

    1. john

      Noble has been entered into my horse my life contest for Barb all you have to do is like him and she could when and help so many more like him. http://nutrena.offerpop.com/campaign/704322?fb_action_ids=10206117272877787&fb_action_types=op-photo-contest%3Aenter&fb_ref=enter_5299091

  19. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    The horse has the face of an angel…it was meant to be they should meet.

  20. Michelle Y.

    Thank you Barbara for saving this horse!! I wholeheartedly agree with what another commenter said, you ARE an angel!!

  21. Fran Ubbink

    This horse came from a top trainer and an owner who has more money than most people. What was he doing ending up at a place like this. Just sad!!

  22. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    Thank you for this story, Susan. I will be looking to meet Metallic Sky at the RRP Makeover in October. Win or lose at the show, to me, these are the greatest of makeovers!

  23. Candace Shira

    Thank you for saving Metallic Sky! These stories need to be shared so that everyone understands what happens to these amazing animals! Thank you, Barbara, Shannon and Colette. See you in Kentucky!

  24. anne marie

    I to rescued my very best friend a thoroughbred off track at an auction for 25 dollars! I love him to pieces my daughter had shown him in four h for years couldn’t of asked for a better boy. And after researching his tattoo we found that he traces six times 4 of them were first 2 seconds won 187,000 in his six races injuring himself in the last race then shipped to auction. I even went as far as obtaining is winner circle photos which hang proudly in our home!

  25. Janet Schultz

    Every horse deserves respect and dignity. Help to ban the slAugter industry! These stories are wonderful, but the root cause is the vicious attitude towards them, starving, transporting carelessly and beating them as they filter through to the killbox. Please raise your voice – stop this!

    1. Dawna Jercinovich

      Thank you Janet. I have and will continue to do so.

    2. Lana Marie

      Agreed Janet!! THIS PIPELINE TO SLAUGHTER HAS TO END…every horse deserves to be saved, there is not one horse that deserves to meet that fate. Just think of those 11 other tied up horses. WE NEED TO GET THIS ENDED!
      YES, this is a wonderful horse save & will be interesting to here the updates…he is a lucky, lucky boy!!!

  26. cheri

    Wow, I sure am glad his fate surely is good fortune… I would have done the same to rescue him… Looking forward to updates on his progress.

  27. Rosanne

    You are an ANGEL and he has been blessed.

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