OTTBs saved from slaughter on Thanksgiving

Master Fer, a 3-year-old filly, was saved from slaughter over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Master Fer, a 3-year-old filly, was saved from slaughter over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The sweet, soft expression of a 3-year-old filly who didn’t understand where she was, nor where she was headed, was what compelled a Texas woman to make room on her farm to save her and another slaughter-bound Thoroughbred over the Thanksgiving weekend.

“I’d received a message the weekend before Thanksgiving from a lady telling me there was a filly named Master Fer in the Kauffman Kill Pen (in Texas),” said Vicki Morgan, a Texas horseman and Thoroughbred advocate. “I told her we’re drowning in horses here. We’re full.”

Master Fer
Sire: Milwaukee Miracle
Dam: Nowhere Jones
Foal date: Jan. 19, 2012
But then Morgan took a second look at a photograph of the bay filly; so lovely in an azure-blue rope halter. And for reasons she could not fathom at the time, she was moved to help, even when she thought the situation impossible.

“I get calls about slaughter horses all the time,” Morgan said. “Normally they don’t get to me like that. But this one did. I started to have bad dreams about her, and I knew I had to try.”

Though it was a week before payday, and money was a bit tight, Morgan reached out to Thoroughbred advocate Gail Hirt of Beyond the Roses Equine Rescue for fundraising help. “I could cover the cost of quarantine and hauling, but I was a little short on coming up with the $750 bail,” she said. “Gail didn’t hesitate.”

Master Fer makes it to a quarantine barn en route to her final destination.

Master Fer makes it to a quarantine barn en route to her final destination.

In no time, Hirt had raised enough to save Master Fer and a another Thoroughbred, a 5-year-old mare named Kittz Koozee!”

“Horses need help out of kill pens regardless of what day it is, even holidays,” Hirt said. “Vicki asked if we could help her to fundraise, and the support came pouring in.”

By 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, in torrential rains, the skinny, shivering Thoroughbreds loaded onto a trailer and were shipped to a quarantine farm operated by Melanie Neagle of A Safe Place for Animals in Texas.

After they complete their time in quarantine, they will be hauled to Morgan’s farm approximately 100 miles away to join her 11 other horses.

“I don’t know why this filly spoke to me like that. I haven’t pulled a horse from a kill pen in a long time. I think it was the way she looked in those pictures. The look in her eye said to me that she had no clue why she was there, or where she was,” Morgan said. “Here she was, coming from the life of being a pampered racehorse, to be run through a kill pen and on her way to slaughter.”

32 responses to “OTTBs saved from slaughter on Thanksgiving”

  1. Patty wilson

    A huge thank you to Vicki and Gail. Their hearts are big and the horse rescue world is vey lucky to have them as advocates for former racehorses as well as Donna Keen.

  2. Nicole navarro

    Hbefore blaming racehorse owners,breeders and trainers,visit the kill pens. The tbs at least have advocates..but the reality is that you will see far more used or outgrown or throw away pet,pleasure, or culls in the pens… I have been attending auctions where known kill buyers routinely purchased stock, when bel Tex was still slaughtering horses less than 400 miles from my home town.. And yes, Ottb’s went to slaughter… But the reality is I saw lots and lots of well broke riding horses going to slaughter, horses ridden in to the ring, with papers, without papers.. A little too slow, too hard to keep weight on, long in tooth, no longer able to jump xyz.. No longer competitive, outgrown, was a gift and the kids are bored want me to go on… Usually Ottb’s were about 1/3, sometimes 1/2 but never more than that and usually less.. The reality is.. We live in a disposable society.. I know a far greater number of owners and breeders who think that they are placing the horses in good home or tell the trainers to make sure the horse goes to a good home, they do.. But then a month, six months or a year down the line something happens and the horse ends up in the slaughter pipeline.. The reality is I have seen trainers think that they are giving a horse to a reputable person and that person lies and gives them a line of bunk and turns around and sells the horse at auction.. But most good breeders and owners do care..I have rescued close to a 100 over the last 30 years,long before it was popular or known issue..I have also been involved with all aspects of the breeding industry racing and show horse industry…

  3. Meleen Hartwig

    I wish in this season of crass commercialism where people are in a frenzy to purchase things the receiver has no real want or need for, people would take a step back and instead donate to the organizations that make an impact in the life of a living breathing creature, perhaps saving it from an untimely and unnecessary end.

  4. Emma

    Poor girls. So glad they’re safe. I can see why that face spoke to Vicki, she has such a lovely kind eye.

    Out of curiosity, are these photos both Master Fer, or is the second one Kittz Koozy? I don’t see a blaze on Master Fer in the first picture but it might just be the angle 🙂

  5. Lynn Sullivan

    Just a comment to Jamie’s post…that’s an unfair statement “most of these women sit behind computers with nothing else to do”.
    From personal experience and knowledge…this woman and Gail Hirt both have more horses to personally care for than most rescues have and have done more good than you will ever hear about. Why is there always that 1 person determined to minimize the hard work and dedication it takes to do this. It’s a triple time 24/7 job just caring for at risk thoroughbreds…not even to mention other breeds, and there is nothing easy about fundraising, finding qt facility, transport and all other details that go in to this. We do this at least 1 time a month. It’s a never ending problem that needs support and kind words from supporters, not minimalization from those who know not what it takes.

  6. Donna Keen

    Vicki is an amazing person, as is Gail. The rescue community is very lucky to have them both.

  7. Kathy Pabst

    Thank you for saving two more. Every horse that’s saved touches lives. This is a Heartwarming story . Merry Christmas!

  8. Karen

    Hi Vicki, it’s the 3yo filly for sale? I’d be interested in pictures if sound n clean. It’s awesome you live close enough and are aware of these TB s to save. Good job!

  9. cheri

    They will both have long, decent lives as they should now! Greedy coordinators for the serial killers never rest, that is for sure, too. The terror, confusion and hunger now assuaged for the rescued equine is what strikes me the most. The gift of security is a gift of pure gold.

  10. Gail Hirt

    Thank you to Vicki for personally taking on these horses to save and find them homes when the rescue she belongs to was full and couldn’t take in any more. Bravo Vicki !!!!!

  11. Jamie

    I think the public are the ones to thank here, since it was their money that paid for the horse. anyone can fund raise. It is easy to sit behind a computer and make phone calls. alot of theses woman have nothing better to do with their time.

    1. Jo

      Jamie– you obviously have never been involved in rescuing horses from slaughter. You are an idiot.

    2. colmel

      Obviously, you know nothing about what this rescue does. They don’t just make phone calls and sit behind computers. Shame on you for suggesting that. They tirelessly care for the animals they save. Where do you think these horses go once they are pulled from the kill pens? They come to the rescues to be vetted, cared for, retrained, and adopted to APPROPRIATE homes. They spend a whole lot of their own money, too. Do you really think the public comes up with all the funds necessary to care for 20-30 horses? I’d admonish you to check your facts before assuming that any of the work that these rescues do is “easy.”

      1. Leslie Wilder

        My thoughts exactly. People who rescue animals are amazing and my heroes!

    3. Gail Hirt

      Yes the public does need to be thanked and have been numerous time on our Facebook. If it weren’t for them, many of these horses would not be safe today. There are many that sit behind their computer all day and make phone calls, but anyone that actually knows the people out there saving these thoroughbreds knows that there is so, so much more to this than just raising the money to get them out and into safety. Getting them out and into quarantine is only the first step. Then there is farrier work, vet attention (which many of these need) feeding them (as many are severely underweight), evaluating them, caring for them until they are able to be placed and then finding suitable homes for them. The funds raised only pays for the bail to get them out. Many of these horses are not able to go to new homes for months. Who do you think pays for all this? Most of us belong to national accredited rescues and do this under the rescue, but what happens when the rescues are full? Many of us will personally take them in to do the same things the rescue would do… under our dime. Until you are ready to step up and start helping in some way, I suggest you go elsewhere to pick apart the people that are trying to make a difference in these horses lives.

      1. Sue

        Yes, Jamie. Put your money where your mouth is, or stfu.

        1. valerie sumner

          I agree I also have been to slaughter pens and saved many horses and calves, and I am not wealthy do not own any land but I must try to save lives when in death situations, here in South Australia they are cruel also the racing industry do not care I have been to The Magic Millions and seen skeletons being paraded around often with shocking wounds, and huge knees, in fact I saved a mare who could hardly put her foreleg on the ground she had a HUGE KNEE her name was OCTICKLE by EAGLING/Nureyev yes and she had, had 7 foals and WON RACES she was a bag of bones and crippled, I bought her got her well and reduced that huge knee. Had her 12 years she passed away at 27 years of age. It is tough, and yes we get cruel remarks from others who will not save any lives

    4. Kathy

      Jamie, to you I ask — don’t -you- have anything better to do with -your- time than troll this site and denigrate the efforts of this rescue? These women put their hearts and souls into this work, saving animals who’ve been abandoned by those they should be able to trust. They deserve better, and so do Vicki and Gail and everyone else involved. You should be ashamed of yourself. Like Sue said — STFU.

  12. colmel

    Gail Hirt and all of the rescuers are complete angels. The sacrifices they all make are immense, but the good they do goes beyond description. Thank heavens there are organizations who will tackle this problem and save as many as possible. We’re always glad to help in any way we can and wish we could do more. Thank you, Susan, for bringing these stories to the fore. The more people read the stories – the more who will help to save these poor animals.

  13. l mel

    I saw this on FB over the holiday–a time when people may not be paying attention–but the kill buyers are just as busy as ever. Strapped for money, I shared it out among friends and OTTB groups, hoping for the best and was so happy to see them saved. Once more, this incident proves why we need to pass the SAFE act and why the TB industry needs to be more proactive in aftercare. FYI, Bastrop Kill Pen in LA posted three more young (between 2 and 4) TBs this week, a never-ending lineup of horses needing help.

  14. Leslie Wilder

    Sure wish there could be a law…for these race horse breeder and owners that the horses have to be well taken care of their whole life. They should not be allowed to be discarded to slaughter. It breaks my heart and sickens my stomach….I wish I had money and land to rescue….sigh…..

  15. Marla

    Thank you for your heartfelt generosity!

  16. Laurie Hall

    Vicki and Gail work tirelessly, without thought on the holidays to save these horses from the kill pens. They are heroes plain and simple….and I can certainly relate to that look in her eye and Vicki’s immediate connection. It happened to me with a terrified but wonderful stakes horse, who I can now see out my window..Tubby Time is safe.

  17. Cheryl Ann

    I see she’s a granddaughter of Alydar. That just pulls at my heart. I always loved Alydar. Thank you for saving her. There are so many that don’t make it to rescues…sigh…

    1. Sue

      CherylAnn, I assume you’d read the article about Alydar’s demise? If not, LMK and I can e-mail you a copy.

      1. Kathy

        There’s an excellent book called ‘Wild Ride”, by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach, that tells the whole sordid story. It’s still inprint,and is available in e-book format, as well.

        1. Sue

          Isn’t Wild Ride the story of Calumet Farms and its demise? The article to which I refer to above was published in Texas Monthly magazine, shortly after Alydar’s death and is specifically about Alydar.

          1. Kathy

            Yes — and Alydar was a Calumet-bred, owned by Calumet, who was standing at stud at Calumet at the time of his death.

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