Everywhere she looked was sick horses.
Noses running, they coughed as they stood shivering in the slop left behind by a Canadian winter rainstorm.
The gray, who raced under the name E.Z. Irish, stood gingerly on a broken pelvis, and Somarvelous, who’d previously earned more than $200,000 on the track, was huddled among them; a total of nine forgotten Thoroughbreds, some still wearing their racing plates, deposited on an Ontario feed lot last December, awaiting their final ride to slaughter.
Not knowing how she could rescue as many as that, Mindy Lovell whispered to the horses, “I’ll get you out of here.”
The seasoned Thoroughbred advocate, who for years has bargained with horsemeat buyers and begged for donations to purchase doomed horses back, was overwhelmed by the magnitude of taking so many horses, all at once.
“When I saw them standing there, some slick from just coming off the track, still wearing with their racing plates, and others like the broodmares, who are the life of the industry, and you look at them and know they have nowhere else to go, that there’s only one more destination for these horses, it’s so unfair,” Lovell says. “It was pretty miserable. I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation.”
But she didn’t give into it. She took action. How could she not?
She’d promised to get them out.
Hastily she wrote a plea on Facebook seeking $5,100 to pay the meat buyer for the animals, and from out of the woodwork, the money came. A variety of organizations and private individuals in the US and Canada contributed, and as the fundraising effort was getting down to the wire, well-known horseman Maggi Moss emailed to ask if she had enough money.
“I told her I still needed $1,010 to cover the bail and I don’t know if it was coincidence, but the next thing I knew, within minutes, a thousand dollars came in from Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement, the final thousand I needed to get them out of there.”
With no time to rejoice once the horses were paid for and shipping arranged, Lovell raced back to her overflowing horse farm to get ready.
Scrambling like field hospital personnel in a battlefield, she pulled all her horses out of the barn, cleaned the stalls, and prepared for the truck to arrive. “The driver called and said he’d be there in 45 minutes! To be honest, I didn’t know if I could pull it off,” she says.
Her driveway was still snow covered from an earlier storm, and a hay delivery appeared only moments before the rescues were due to arrive. At one point, as she tried to maneuver around the hay deliverer, in the slush, with her wheelbarrow, she noticed she had a flat tire. “I just completely lost it.”
But soon, the truck came rumbling up the road, the door was opened, and one after the other they hopped down from the trailer and were led into the freshly cleaned and barn.
“It was like bang-bang-bang,” she says. “And when they walked into the barn, it was like they’d lived there their entire lives. They were so hungry and thirsty that all they did was eat and drink. And they were so tired. Their heads hung low, and their eyes were half closed.”
As they rested, Lovell and a veterinarian appraised their condition, and fortunately, except for E.Z. Irish, whose broken pelvis would heal in time, the others suffered no worse than colds, cuts and tired bones.
Lovell was able to identify all but one horse through tattoos and markings by availing herself of Jockey Club assistance. Their names were E.Z. Irish, Somarvelous, Twinkle of Hope, Grette Jabo, Honor Card, Sneakin Sally, Krystal Scepter and Mia Chilena. These eight and the other represented the largest, single-day horse rescue she had ever attempted.
And since the returned from the land of unwanted horses, two have already found new homes, while E.Z. Irish has bloomed into a stunning, “full of herself” mare who may be introduced to some light training soon.
“I’ve been doing this work for five-and-half years, and I had never taken in so many in such a short period of time. I think I pulled around 50 out of those particular kill pens, when this kind of thing went on week after week for six or seven months straight,” she says. “I had to. I made sure not one single Thoroughbred got left behind, no matter who they were or what they had, or had not done—every one of them deserved better!”
Mindy Lovell is a woman of her word. And she did as she’d promised. She got them out.
42 responses to “‘I’ll get you out’ she whispered, saving 9 horses”
Sadly, the whole world is a battle between good and evil, right and wrong, generosity and greed. Mindy’s last name is LOVEll…so, I say LOVEll 9+ : Ugly 0.
I cannot put into words how shameful the people are who left that poor mare with a broken pelvis. It is just too horrifying to even contemplate! She is such an amazing person to do what she did. There is a very special place in animal heaven for this woman!
Audre Cappucetti must be rolling in her grave
Wonderful piece, Sue! Spectacular work by Mindy, so great they could be saved. What a blessing.
You’re such a good friend! Thank you for writing, and congratulations on your big news!!! I loved the way you announced it. xo
Mindy you showed the world what a true example of heroism is, the kind of person that brings so much hope!!! Thank you from the bottom of all our hearts!!!
“What a beautiful race you ran for them, all the way to the finish, you saved their lives!!”
Tina Wooten For Equine Rescue
Mindy, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Tears flow when I read about these horses. We have a TB farm and make it a policy that no horse will ever be turned away that we have owned at any time. We write it on the sales contract.
You are doing the right thing…………keep it up. God sees and will provide.
Sad fate for many animals.
From an OTTB…a heartfelt THANK YOU for saving my brothers and sisters.
This what I meant about the brood mares being sent to slaughter. If anyone thinks the breeders give a hoot about these mares after they can’t reproduce any more think again. As far as the breeders are concerned these mares are of no more value than a milk cow at a dairy that won’t breed anymore. They are sent out on the first truck headed for the slaughter plant. It is a good idea to want to license these breeders but that will never happen because they have the pull of the politicians in their districts that will defeat any bill offered.
An amazing story that brought so many tears to the hearts of those who read it. I pray that something is done to change this horrible treatment of a beautiful majestic creature. There should be some regulation of the racing industry that allows such a tragedy to exist. Thank you for being an angel here on Earth!
As a huge racing fan, I just don’t understand how the owners and trainers can allow something like this to happen. I am a very conservative person, but in cases like this when you can trace their history by their tatoos huge fines or taxes should be rendered. It’s so cruel and the people responsible should be made known on billboards at the track!
All I can say is Thank You for being an angel to these deserving horses! It should be a federal crime to abandon these horses to slaughter! Each and every one of them should be protected by law and their lives funded by a program that ensures this does not happen- breeders need to take accountability! So freaking sad and unbelievable how people can use and discard animals- also so wonderful that there are others like Mindy to step in and pick up the pieces-it is not fair, though.
You made my day.You are a wonderful ,beautiful woman.Very motivating,thanks for sharing.
Such a wonderful person you are Mindy Lovell! It’s a beautiful ending for such lovely, intelligent and brave horses!
Thank you for all your hard work in saving these beautiful horses..no horse should ever go to slaughter.
Mindy certainly has some skin in the game. Living not far from New Holland I see the horse trailers going up the road. It upsets me to know many of the horses will not be around tomorrow. I consider the people that eat horses to be barbarians. Like others I can only do things on a very small scale. Mindy is fortunate to have a network of people that can jump in a assist her at the drop of a hat. That is the workings of a good team. This shows that the many small rescues if supported can make a difference. If you can support them. Money, time, consumables or transportation. All these things combined make a big difference.
God bless you, Mindy! Your heroism gave me goosebumps. thank you for saving these precious lives.
God bless you!!! You are one of the “special” humans on this earth.
Mindy I wonder what it is about so many amazing horse lovers like you,like me like lots of others who struggle to find the place the money the time to help these unwanted souls. I try everyday to understand why the people that these horses and thousands more give everything they possibly can just to please them and get maybe a little love in return. What makes people throw them away like a bag of garbage never to be seen again. My husband always tells me not to put so much thought into how they can do such an unspeakable thing. He said, once I understand that then that would make me no different than them. I personally would like to Thankyou for what you did for these beautiful horses, it was a huge undertaking and my hat is off to you . I guess we will keep on saving and helping however many we are able, and we will keep on wondering WHY.
Oh my goodness… this brought me to tears. God bless Mindy and all she does for TBs. That is just phenomenal!
WoW! Just wow!
Beautiful written story, almost feels like we are there in person, but oh, how this pulls the heart strings. So much courage, efforts, work, time and love is devoted to these unwanted souls.
WHY do folks overbreed equines, there should be a Licence, a Law in place!
Bless you Mindy and staff, ect, you are all angels and happy-trails to all your lucky survivors and many more!
I have closely followed Mindy and helped out in as many ways as I possibly could, since hearing her interviewed on CBC’s “Ontario Today” radio program. She has taken in so very many horses, who would otherwise be on a dinner plate somewhere. Yes, there is much accountability that needs to be forced upon the racing industry, (most of them won’t willingly accept it). I grew up around Thoroughbred racing, and sadly, in most of the industry’s eyes, the horses are nothing but a vehicle to literally run into the ground, or to trade “up”, or throw out once it has no further monetary value. Mindy needs as much help as she can possibly get, and I’m so happy to see more people becoming aware of both her and the horses’ plight. Thank you for the articles!
This touched my heart so much and brought tears of happiness and gratitude to someone that truly cares. What a beautiful soul!
God bless you for saving these poor animals. My heart breaks for all the others who aren’t saved and just thrown away like trash. There has to be a place in hell for all the people who use and abuse these beautiful animals. So many with blood on their hands! How can they look themselves in the mirror?!
Can only say AMEN and AMEN, Well said !! Kitty !! The unspeakable atrocities ,commited against our fellow companions on earth Breaks my heart each and every day.
CINDY contact Mindy on her fb page Transitions Thoroughbreds…you can donate there if you wish
God Bless you. What more can I say. I wish I lived on a farm, I’d be there doing it too. Whatever it takes, it is so worth it. It breaks my heart to think of how many don’t get rescued. It’s just wrong. That is all there is to it. How can people do this. Unthinkable to me.
Mindy, you are a true brave heart to these horses. They are not throwaways. Bless you for your care and kindness. Hope they all find loving homes.
Through tears while reading this story I just know there is still hope for a herd of 4 shivering out in the rain today near Clintonville, Wisconsin. Owned by a lifelong hoarder and knowing full well that if we give her cash she will go out and buy more horses but still thinking that is the only way to save these 4, I just want to scream. Thank you Mindy. Your an inspiration!!!
Is there a link or website that we can use (or a simple mailing address) to send a donation to Mindy for all she does? I admire her strength, her resolve, her spirit and her determination. I cannot imagine doing what she did, but I can not imagine leaving them there either. Thank you Mindy from all of us!
CINDY go to facebook and ” Transitions Thoroughbreds ” That is Mindy’s page… you can contact her there and donate if you so wish.
Thanks so much Mindy, there is definitely a place in heaven for you. I myself rescued a sweet quarter horse from New Holland’s kill pen. He had sold for $65.00. So thin, we werent sure he would make it. Now he is a beautiful trail horse who appreciates each day with me. I will always keep him safe.
I remember when this all happened, vividly! I saw the pics, read Mindy’s pleas and felt a huge lump in my throat, and kick to the stomach. I’m so happy they made it out in one piece. If there’s a heaven, there will be a special place for people like Mindy, who are so selfless. Hugs. Someday I’ll get to hug her in person. 🙂
Way to Mindy – you’re an inspiration to us all and it makes me feel not so insane when I keep taking in horses even when I’m sometimes full. Only last month we got a call from the local authorities to help out 4 OTTB’s in bad shape. Yep, just like you I cleaned out my barn and made room for them as they needed immediate help. Lucky we were only a short-term foster home, but I was grateful to be able to help. Like you….how can you say no!. Great job and thank you for everything you do 🙂 Bravo to you and your team!!!
Great story, keep up the good work..Glad there are people like you out there…
Thankyou, so much for what you do!!!
Mindy, Love you!!!! I wish there was a way that I could help my favorite of all animals, the horse. I can’t contribute monetarily, and I don’t have the space for a horse. All I can do is pass on info & send prayers.
Yes, a big THANK YOU for doing what you can! I’ve got 5 horses, myself, all rescues! 🙂 And, I don’t have any donations. Keep up the good work!
Absolutely riveting story and what lucky horses these nine turned out to be. A special Hell awaits whoever dumped these TBs, and many stars in Mindy’s crown for saving them–and stars for those who tapped their bank accounts for the funds to save them. Excellent story, Susan. Many thumbs up to Mindy!
Mindy, thank you for doing what seemed impossible and giving so many horses a shot at life! You and others are the reason so many of us have OTTBs that we love dearly – you’re the conduit to a lifetime of happiness for both horse and owner. Susan, great story – very heartwarming. Thanks.
Awesome!!! A woman of her word indeed!