A filly freed from a shanty where she was slowly wasting away, and who emerged as thin as a “coat hanger with a rag thrown over it,” has regained weight and muscle—and a little something else— under the care and protection of her original breeder.
Silver and Smoke’s life hung by a thread last August after she was seized by the South Florida SPCA and the Miami-Dade Police Department.
After being been locked for at least three months in quarters so tight she couldn’t fully lift her head, or lie down to rest on the putrid floor, the young filly, who was only 4 at the time, was retrieved by original breeder Danzel Brendemuehl when news of the her plight made news, and was circulated on the Internet.
Silver and Smoke
Foal date: March 5, 2010Making news of her own, Danzel Brendemuehl stepped up immediately to retrieve her fallen horse. It was a first for the South Florida SPCA. At no time in the history of the rescue had any other breeder showed up on the organization’s doorstep to take a fallen animal back home.
But, there was no time to celebrate. At least not then. “She looked like a coat hanger with a rag thrown over it,” she says. “I wasn’t sure she would make it.”
Worrying that the mare might not survive, Brendemuehl rushed her back to her business, Classic Bloodstock Farm in Florida, and placed the mare in a paddock where all could see what had befallen her beautiful mare, her “gray lady.”
“I didn’t think she was going to make it,” Brendemuehl says. “The biggest worry for me was I was afraid she would founder as she regained, easily, 250 to 300 pounds.”
Feeding her many small meals consisting of low-starch products, and all the alfalfa she could eat, the emaciated animal regained her weight on high-fat, high-efficiency feed, mixed with sweet feed to encourage the disinterested Thoroughbred to eat.
“She was a little anorexic at first and she looked dead-eyed,” she says. “But gradually she began taking an interest in my pony horse Cooper, and a spark started to come back into her.”
Restoring the mare’s health was personal for Brendemuehl, who was devastated when one of her own wound up this way.
As a breeder, she has always promised to pay above the meat price, and for shipping charges, to get a horse from the slaughter pipeline. And she backs her promise with her word, written in a note she fastens to a horse’s paperwork. Please see earlier article: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/04/16/breeder-takes-starved-t-bred-home-in-tears-2/.
The mare was given everything she could want, including the right to decide when she went inside or out. On hot days, she stayed inside with a fan on her. At night, in a paddock equipped with motion-detection lighting, she grazed in the cool evening.
With constant care and attention, Silver and Smoke became a horse again. One who squeals, and bucks and follows Brendemuehl around like a puppy, she says.
And 12 weeks ago, after careful consideration and debate with business partner Sandra Lombardo, Silver and Smoke was bred to graded stakes winner Majesticperfection, winner of the Gr.1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in Saratoga.
The mare’s line, so close to dying with her, will continue—possibly with a champion.
“She was the last of her line,” Brendemuehl says. “I hadn’t thought of breeding her, but then Sandra said to me that of all our mares, she’s the survivor, she’s the bravest, and if she passed those genes onto her foal, she could be the mother of a champion.”
Healthy and happy and living at her partner’s upstate New York facility, Royal Thoroughbreds, until she delivers her foal, Silver and Smoke is a mare who will never fall through the cracks again, Brendemuehl says.
“We’ll keep her forever,” she says.
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17 responses to “Rescued mare carries on line that nearly died”
Kudos to the responsible breeder for rescuing this made and for breeding her! There is GREAT need for genetic diversity in several breeds, thoroughbreds being one of them. By “breeding the best to the best” breeders have actually bred for speed and race winners to the exclusion of soundness and longevity as a competitor. Many if the TB bloodlines that were known for soundness and longevity have actually died out, or very nearly so. A horse with great speed who only races a dozen times or less before being retired to stud or the broodmare band due to injury is IMHO a big part of the unwanted TB problem. This trend has led to a decline in the genetic diversity of the breed and too many horses that do not have the bone, the foot, the general soundness to go on to successful second careers after their racing days are over. Sounder horses, genetic diversity, and longevity for use should be higher on the list of priorities for breeders. This would help with the issue of what to do with the current plethora of unsound unwanted TBs. Not to mention owners and trainers should strive to retire horses before devastating injuries render them unsuitable for second careers…
Seeing the effects that all forms of Horse Racing have on the Horses, I am absolutely and categorically against Horse Racing of any kind. Breeders breed to make money from the horses they breed. Breed CONSERVANCY is an entirely different matter. We must conserve the remaining bloodlines, such as Silver and Smoke carries, but I see no reason to breed her after her coming foal. I see no reason to race the foal either.
We start them far too young, their joints do not fuse until the age of Four and larger horses such as the Drafts do not fully mature until the age of Seven. The stress in addition to the drugs (I defy anyone to say they never give any type of drug to their Track Horses) cause these horrible breakdowns such as Barbaro and Eight Belles. Hers was, in my opinion, the worst because her front legs were both broken and she was moving by sheer will and impulsion caused by the speed. She collapsed after she was stopped by her Jockey. They reported that she died of a heart attack but they Euthanized her at the track.
The Triple Crown has been the ‘Cripple Crown’ to me for a very long time. Breeders must ask themselves ‘why have we not had a Triple Crown Champion since Affirmed?’ Easy! Drugs and starting at the tender age of 2!
As I said, I am all for Breed Conservancy and I know that horse racing of all types can be shut down under the RICO Act as Drugs interfere with Gambling. If we shut it down for 4 years to give the breeders time to breed fewer horses and let the horses grow up then I think that would be a good outcome for all of the racing breeds.
I rescue all breeds, however, I have rescued more OTTBs than any other breed in my 20 years of rescue. They are all drug addicts when they arrive and that is the worst part.
Good luck with Silver and Smoke and I cannot wait to see her photos and her foal! Breed Conservancy: Rock On!
Thank you all for your comments. Silver and Smoke is doing very well. We have employed a wonderful veterinarian, who is a graduate of Cornell University, and Intern of Rood and Riddle Hospital to oversee her entire pregnancy. I can assure you all that she is in great hands and is currently living happily with her new buddies, which include 3 Clydesdale’s, 2 OTTB’s and a draft cross. We are commercial breeders but closely study each and every bloodline before proceeding with a mating. The goal with any mating is not only to preserve, but to improve bloodlines. Most of these race horses go on to new careers such as jumping, dressage, hunters, etc. I am not sure there are many who love their horses as much as I do, as I do keep and race most of the horses that I breed. I will be posting updates of her on my personal Facebook page (Sandra Lombardo).
If you are a horse lover, which by your responses I believe you all are, just remember that the horses that you own, and love, are also the result of a breeding process.
Thank you all.
Thank you for your reply regarding my/our comments on Silver & Smoke. I know I love my horses and I wish I could have known about her horrible condition. Even though I’m in California, I would have loved to try to save her. I would not have known all the treatment you gave her for recovery, but would have gotten a vet to help in her recovery, of course, so I applaud you for saving her. I think all of us care for her and wish all breeders would think twice before just breeding and breeding more. We need responsible breeders that would follow their Tbrds through their racing careers by knowing where they are at all times, and should, if one of their horses end up at an auction, that breeder should be compelled to get that horse that they brought into this world, and find a new loving home for him/her, but again keep tabs that that horse never ends up at an auction again, where a “d” killer buyer can get her/him. I love all these horses and donkeys and wish I had Koch’s money. There would not be a need for an auction if I had their money, because all the auction employees, and, I might add, shelter employees, would be working for my foundation for securing all these animals new loving homes or they would return to me. There needs to be responsibility in the breeding of all animals, dogs, cats, horses, etc. which I do not believe we have now. But, again, I say, God Bless You for stepping up to save Silver & Smoke. If I ever get in your area, I would love to see her and give her a hug. With all she’s been through, she deserves many of those, showing there are animal/horse lovers that wish these animals nothing but love and caring in their lives.
There’s ALWAYS an excuse for self indulgence from people. I’ve been involved in the equine rescue, slaughter and welfare war for nearly 40 years and not much has changed. How can anyone that purports to love and value horses justify adding more, especially when they see that one of their own has had to be saved? Until, unless a long waiting line of potential keepers/stewards develops there is NO excuse for adding more until EVERY equine that is in need of a loving, forever home is provided one. Frankly I’m full-up hearing the excuses, propaganda and rhetoric for making more equines. It holds NO substance other then self-indulgent ones…
~”So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” – Benjamin Franklin~
Darrell, also well said. THese breeders need to be responsible for their actions. If it reduces their bottom line, so be it. They made their bed and they need to lay in it, even if it means they must follow that horse through all the transfers until it ends up at auction, etc.
I too, am glad she was able to rescue Silver & Smoke…however, that card did nothing to save her from almost perishing at the hands of an uncaring individual. But for the SPCA stepping in…that horses blood line would have most assuredly died with her. Now her foal could end up with a similar fate? No animals are guaranteed anything in this life, they are at the mercy of whomever buys them…Breeders need to be cognizant of this and reduce the amount of breeding taking place, whatever their reason is!!
Kim, beautifully said. I’m with you. THese race horse breeders need to limit the number of horses their putting in the pipe line for running races as they all are not going to be “winners”. Blood lines do not guarantee a “winner”. We need to work to save all the existing horses that have already been breed. I met a man that had been at Del Mar the previous week, and he said he said they were loading the young horses that had not won their races or maybe even placed. You don’t have to guess where they were headed. What a travesty – and the breeders are to blame. No excuses. Either that or the breeders have to get all the racehorses they breed if they come to an auction and are not saved by a responsible person who gives all personal information and an agency follows that adopted horse to make sure that he remains safe.
People are all entitled to their opinion– here is mine— Breeding animals carries a responsibility. A good breeder selects the finest, best conformed, healthy ( free from genetic disorders) best tempered animals They can find to do the job that the animal is being bred for…. sometimes you have to allow bad feet if you want speed. A good breeder gives the resulting foal the best chance it has to do the job it’s supposed to do….The problem is too many breeders don’t really know HOW to look at conformation and have the patience for examining bloodlines to be able to PREDICT what is the likely outcome….I’ve heard some breeders say it’s a crapshoot… but that is proven to NOT be the case. Breed the best to the best and you get the best. The top stakewinners in TB racing comes from less than 3% of the population. Because crappy breeders bred lame, slow horses, hoping for something better….it doesn’t work.
Look at warmblood breeding in Europe they have selectively bred horses for the purpose of riding and jumping… They have a grading system, inspections by unbiased other people…The results show…the lazy breeder breeds whatever they have standing in their pasture….
I don’t breed for racing, the two horses I bred I carefully compared temperament, ridability, Jumping, movement, conformation and to complement the mare I was using…. Both of the babies I put on the ground I am responsible for… I bred them for my use and would never send them to slaughter. I would have them put to euthanized and buried rather than take the chance they could end being neglected or mistreated.
IVE FOLLOWED MS SALKS BLOG FOR A LONG TIME NOW. I AM A RESCUER, AND LOCATED IN SO CAL I SEE ALOT OF IT. I HAVE A GOOD FEEL FOR CHARACTER. IM NOT PRO BREEDING OF HORSES, BUT I SO GET WHERE THIS ORIGINAL BREEDER OWNER IS COMING FROM. WE NEED RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS ALL OVER THE PLACE AND FOR ONE TO STEP UP AND KEEP HER WORD..WELL JUST LET ME SAY ONE THING, GOD BREATHED A SPIRIT AND SOUL INTO MAN, BUT HE MADE ANIMALS FIRST. THANKYOU FOR MS SALK FOR GOING FORWARD EVEN FOR ME PERSONALLY WHEN I SAW A REPORT ON ONE NOT SO REPUTABLE, BUT SO MANY WHO ARE…. THANKYOU MEGAN GAYNES FOR YOUR WORK. THANKYOU SUSAN SALK FOR YOURS, AND GOD BLESS YOU S AND S, WITH LONGEVITY AND A THRIVING LIFE WITH YOUR ONE AND ONLY BABY. LIKE A PHOENIX, UP FROM THE ASHES. WE ARE ALL EACH BUT ONE INDIVIDUAL, BUT EACH OFUS CAN AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE… GOD BLESS ALL WHO DO THESE GOOD DEEDS.
thank you guys for stepping up and rescuing your mare..god bless.you,,,,,I hope you get rewarded with a triple crown colt. never say never…..don’t know any of you …but love you now.!
First off thanks to Susan for bringing us his story…..I love reading every one of them. Second kudos to Ms. Brendemuehl for setting the right example for breeders and actually keeping her word when called upon.I had to chime in because although I am against indiscriminate and unknowledgeable breeding this doesn’t fit the standard mold . As pointed out breeding is Ms Brendemuehl’s profession so surely she is knowledgeable and certainly not indiscriminate. I think her wish to not have this bloodline end bears great credence and obviously not as lightly made choice as it might appear. Best wishes to all and perhaps an update on the Momma and foal?
With all of the inbreeding and overbreeding, if there is a chance to conserve a Bloodline and the Mare is not at any risk at all, I agree that this Mare should be bred. This foal must be her only. I think it does not matter if the foal is a star or not, this foal should be retained by the owners for life.
Rescues routinely pick up the enormous amount of slack left by unethical breeders. I have two Lifers, one because she is so damaged by gastric ulcers it is a good day if she weighs 950 pounds. Granted she slowly gained 500 pounds in the TEN years since I rescued her, however, she will never be ridden because she still has ‘pointy hipbones’ and I refuse to put a saddle or anything on her back.
The other Lifer is a lovely Canadian Thoroughbred who is a gorgeous horse but is very defensive. She knows she is large (17hh) and she deliberately intimidates people by crowding them, etc. She does not do this with me or the Farm staff, this horse has made it abundantly clear that she wants to stay where she is.
Brava to Danzel and continued good luck to Silver and Smoke! We are waiting for updates and lots of photos of the foal when he or she is on the ground! 🙂
AWESOME!!!!!! I can’t believe how wonderful Silver and Smoke looks! She was meant to be a mom and I hope she has the next Triple Crown winner! God Bless S&S and her baby and Ms. Brendemuehl for what she has done for her! Wish all breeders were like her, but thankful for this one! Any hope is better than none! 🙂
Thank you Danzel for saving such a beautiful animal. But, I question the need to breed her after she went through such a tramatic experience and her wanting to survive. With so many “excess” thoroughbreds ending up where they should never go, I am amazed that you would want to put her through this and subject another horse, should it not be as you hope as a “great winner” in the pipe line to end up with the same fate. Why not give her a happy life and be the savior that will be there for you always. This is what is wrong with horse breeders, they can’t stop pumping more beautiful horses in the hands of killer buyers when the horses don’t win at the track. I know you are trying to keep her breeding line going, but it seems you are defeating everything by putting another horse and more later on from her descendants in the slaughter pipeline. But, God Bless You for saving this horse. I wish I would have been able to save her, she is beautiful and deserves a lovely rest of her life, with no pain and suffering.
I appreciate where you’re coming from, but, I think it’s important to recognize that Danzel is a breeder as a profession, but one who attaches a card to her horses’ paperwork offering to buy them at above the meat price, and pay for transport, to take them back. She made good on that offer once already with Silver and Smoke, earlier in the horse’s career. Now she plans to keep Silver and Smoke, and she may keep her foal as well.
So, for me personally, I think it’s important to recognize that there are good breeders, ethical ones, and to not confuse them with the larger over-breeding problem. Danzel is a really good person, and it takes people like her, working within the breeding industry, to show the way. And, also, she loved the line so much, and did not jump at this opportunity. It was something she and her partner thought long and hard about.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I’ve said, or with Silver and Smoke being bred. But, I feel great confidence in Danzel as a person and a breeder. Best, Sue
Thank you Susan for bringing us news of another hopeful ending. I commend Ms. Brendemuehl for stepping up for Silver and Smoke and for pledging to give her quality sanctuary for the rest of her life. I pray she will do the same for the foal she is bringing into the world, no matter what its eventual ability as a racehorse or the gene pool. That should be the ultimate responsibility of each and every breeder and we could put an end to the neglect, abuse and slaughter of these intentionally bred gifts from God, in one generation.