How two chestnut Thoroughbreds escaped certain death at a Canadian slaughterhouse after they were sold to a meat buyer Aug. 19 came down to a fluke, a photo, and a frenzy to save them.
The horses— 11-year-old gelding Cool Checkers and 10-year-old mare Nature’s Fancy— were run through the New Holland Auction and purchased by a meat buyer so fast that it was almost a miracle that Thoroughbred advocate Allie Conrad caught a look at them, and better than that, managed to take pictures including their lip tattoos, and put out an alert on Facebook page OTTB Connect.
“I hadn’t been to New Holland in 15 years, not since I bought my horse Phinny there, and started CANTER Mid Atlantic because of my experience,” Conrad says. “The reason I stopped by was that I wanted to see the impact we’ve had” with the widespread Thoroughbred re-homing efforts “because when I got Phinny all those years ago, there were about 40 percent Thoroughbreds at New Holland, racing fit, and wearing their racing plates.”
Dam: Number One Cool
Foal date: Feb. 13, 2003
Sire: Valiant Nature
Dam: Flemish Fancy
Foal date: April 22, 2004 On this return visit, a fluke trip, she walked up and down the aisles and noticed the regal Thoroughbred heads of Cool Checkers and Nature’s Fancy, scared but noble, huddled together.
She approached the frightened horses, flipped their lips, took a picture of their tattoos, and posted it to Facebook. And though it seemed all hope was lost as Conrad snapped that final picture of Nature’s Fancy, who appeared terrified as she was paraded past auctioneers and finally sold, the photos caused an immediate outcry as it made its’ was through social media and beyond.
And to those it reached and touched, the response was overwhelming as they pulled out all stops to save the horses.
“People returned the information immediately!” Conrad says, explaining that as soon as she posted photos of their lip tattoos on Facebook, the horse’s names were found and also posted to Facebook.
Once the names were known, help came out of the woodwork.
Laurie Calhoun, cofounder of Thoroughbred charity Foxie G Foundation, which had actually re-homed the gelding Cool Checkers as a yearling for breeders Joan and Dale Everett, stepped into the fray immediately. Shocked to learn via a phone call from Maryland horseman Andi Puckett that the chestnut gelding, who had a nice home for 10 years, had been sold at New Holland, she hopped on the phone.
First she notified the Everetts, who urged her to “get the horse back at any cost,” she says. Next, she called a local dealer, who has done yeoman’s work tracking horses and obtaining them from kill buyers, for Foxie G.
“This local dealer has done incredible work for us. He made some calls for me, and at one point we had the incorrect hip number, but he eventually found Cool Checkers with the mare. He asked if we wanted her too and I said of course,” she says.
Calhoun adds, “It was really intense. At one point I tried to find out if the horses had shipped to Canada already” and she feared the worst. Then, when the local dealer found the horses alive, and shipped them to her at no profit to him, she let out a deep sigh of relief.
Both horses are now in quarantine at a Foxie G Foundation barn, where they will be assessed and cared for until a decision is made about their futures.
Foxie G recently enacted strict contractual guidelines prohibiting adopters from transferring ownership to anyone, Calhoun says, noting that Foxie G insists on taking back any horse who does not work out, no questions asked.
Calhoun adds that she is eternally grateful that Allie Conrad decided to drop by New Holland Auction that day. And Conrad, who has re-homed many ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds for CANTER Mid Atlantic says the experience of Foxie G and Cool Checkers shows that even the best re-homing situation can go wrong.
“This can happen to any of us,” Conrad says. — This story was originally published on Aug. 29, 2014.
24 responses to “A photo, a miracle, saves 2 from New Holland”
The best thing all of us can do is bring awareness and education to the horse slaughter business. We need to get our message out to the public and stop preaching to the choir. Horse advocates are aware of this already. But every one of us needs to help get the word out…..50 percent of horses that go to auction end up at kill pens. Network……help to rehome our horses; get them saved BEFORE at the auctions. We can stop this, but it will take each of us! Let’s do this folks! Be an advocate and let’s stop slaughter!
The comment from one of Cool Checker’s breeder left me in tears, Apparently the breeder told them to recover the horse at any cost. Shame more breeders don’t feel that way.
Do we have an update on these two?
This wonderful story of the rallying of those who not only care but also help shows the true value of social media. Hope Foxie G and Cool Checkers are doing well!!! Love to ALL, Mary in Boone
SHAME on the horse racing industry.
Actually shame on the person who had this horse as a pleasure or sport horse for the past 10 years. He never raced, and it sounds as though his breeders did right by him from the get-go and once again when his non-racing people sent him to New Holland.
Shame on the last owner. That is the one who sent the horse to auction, not the I industry.
The billion dollar racing industry breeds these horses purely for the sole purpose of using them for racing. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the industry to ensure the well-being of its horses after racing. It is common knowledge in the horse world that genuine “good forever” homes are very rare and the industry’s PR strategy of its own funded retirement places are mostly made up of former well-known racehorses that the public can relate to when the industry publicises what it does with former racehorses, such places require that an OTTB must meet a certain criteria to be given a spot at these places and most of the time the response to such an application is “sorry we’re full”.
The horse racing industry is responsible for its specially bred tbs when ANY of them end up in the slaughter pipeline at kill auctions where meat buyers are dribbling from the mouth when sighting a discarded ex-racehorse when it is a good size and appears healthy.
And let’s not forget the horrific journeys the vast majority of dumped racehorses suffer, some sick, some with a painful injury, some foals get crushed, horses go down in the transport, no food and rarely watered on the long cruel trip to Canada or Mexico where they suffer a horrendous inhumane death – the ultimate betrayal by the bloodied hands of those in the racing industry.
And how do you explain all the QHs, Arabians, Drafts, etc, etc, etc that end up in the kill pens?
I have no idea.
They are nothing to some but a worthless commodity! Most folks out there don’t even know about kill pens. This morning, the Bastrop Kill Pen showed 9 little ponies and minis that no one wanted anymore. This little ones have until July 11 to be saved from slaughter. They will most likely become fodder for a big cat. This is sick. Every looked at a horse hoof? One solid hoof. God ordained horses NOT to be eaten as a split hooved animal is. That should be our first clue. Unless we become active, advocate for all equines, wild and domestic, the slaughter will continue. What the BLM is doing to our wild horses is despicable. And it just keeps on going. Awareness, education, and networking. Unless we start sharing this with family, friends, coworkers, etc., our equines are doomed to a horrible death hanging from one hoof in the slaughter house and still alive. God help us. Our throw away animals…….guess that is no different from our throw away unborn.
I’m with you, Linda.
Oh, I saw those 9 little ponies……throw away to some! Broke my heart. From time to time I have to take a break from the posts that I get. I just cannot take is much longer…..seeing all these beautiful equines going to slaughter. But, I will hang in there and not give up. These horses are depending on us to keep on fighting for them! Seeing this same article means we are most probably reading the same sites! Keep on going!
The breaks are essential for our own well- being, Linda. We’re no good to the horses unless we take good care of ourselves first and that’s not being selfish. We and so many other people are speaking up for these voiceless noble horses who are the innocent victims of this shocking mess that we humans have created. Many years ago I looked at slaughter footage and refuse to look at any more that are sent around. We know what they suffer and I believe the best thing we can do is to inform and educate the public. Peaceful protests are very effective, in my experience.
Absolutely true what you say – the horses depend on us. And we will continue to fight for them, we are unstoppable.
Indeed…….we are the voices for the voiceless. Thank you for your advice and encouragement. That is what we are all to do….encourage one another!
What are the BLM doing..and where exactly do they take the horses to slaughter
Right now the Bureau of Land Management is hell bent on rounding up as many wild horses as they can…..many in the know think that some are being sent on to Mexico for slaughter! They are ‘supposed’ to be protected! Unless things change the wild horses will become extinct. Now they are ‘experimenting’ on them……mares are having their ovaries removed…..there will be dire consequences for this. Infection will be foremost…..how many will even survive in the wild with fresh deep wounds. I have read it will change the manner of the horse in their herd, also. Like I said, this is a huge experiment, and you can read countless articles concerning this….just google for articles…..and the consequences. These herds will never be the same. This is an atrocity against our precious wild horses.
THANK YOU FOR GOING ABOVE & BEYOND YOUR DUTY TO SAVE THESE HELPLESS LOVING ,INTELLIGENT CREATURES – THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I just hate seeing this every single day and knowing how many are slipping through the gaping holes ( BY THE THOUSANDS ) . the ones that arent saved is just so heart breaking . why people keep doing this to these majestic animals that SERVED THEM WILLINGLY is just abhorrent , I would love to hang them by their genitals and just watch them swing , listen to them scream for mercy and turn and walk away like they do to these animals . anyone who puts a DEAD SLAB of ANIMAL on their plate by the way is to blame for this – PLEASE WATCH this educational documentary from one of the most animal loving persons in the world – a true animal ACTIVE-ist – The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – Gary Yourofsky https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4
Why is any horse being shipped out of the US to Canada or Mexico for slaughter? Because our congress is sitting on their butts and not allowing House Bill 1942 and Senate Bill 1214 to get out of committee! That is why! If these two bills would get out of committee and come to the floor, can you imagine any congressman saying “shucks, go ahead and slaughter; no problem”. Really? There would be such uprising and out crying! Who knowingly wants to eat poisoned meat that is BARRED for consumption from horses that are fed all these chemicals throughout their lives. When the American folks finally refuse eat compromised food; when the American people finally say no more slaughter (80 percent are against slaughter by the way); when we say enough is enough and when our congress will finally hear us (we are not nearly loud enough)….maybe, just maybe we can get this stopped! Education and awareness. But we need everyone helping to stop this atrocity against our horses…..wild and domestic!
Susan, does anyone know if either horse had been administered Bute prior to them ending up at auction?
Loni: I don’t know for sure, but most have, haven’t they?
For sure. If they had Bute and a former owner had paperwork to show this and if there was an EID saying the horse was clear of drugs, that would be something we culd work with to show drugs are still appearing in horse meat. Do you know if the kill buyer ships to Canada or Mexico?
This was a great save but why are ANY horses going to canada?????
Yes, I recall this story of slaughter narrowly missed…. I happily review the tale, knowing the positive outcome for 2 beautiful, precious equines.