A pregnant and crippled kill pen mare, who eluded death in the slaughterhouse only to face possible euthanasia, now romps around a Massachusetts farm with a joy that defies her physical condition and astonishes her owner.
“My vet says she’s the worst case he’s ever seen,” says Christina Sawelsky of her rescue horse Open Zipper. “For a mare who people said should have been euthanized, she’s incredible. The second I take her halter off when I lead her out to her paddock, I have to stand way back because she bucks and spins and takes off running across the paddock—she’s just awesome.”
And in a flash of chestnut, the 10-year-old broodmare lets her inner racehorse fly free, on legs bulging at the joints, and a body twisted from old injuries.
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Nearctica, by Mazel Trick
Foal date: Feb. 3, 2006“She’s a mess. Her back juts up around her hip like a cow’s back, and her knees are in horrible condition. But she doesn’t limp,” Sawelsky adds. “She has really learned to cope and adjust” to the cards life has dealt her.
Despite having been dumped at a livestock auction with a band of pregnant broodmares, sold to a meat buyer and rescued by the skin of her teeth by Gerda Silver of Gerda’s Animal Aid, (please see earlier story: Pregnant horses rescued from meat buyer), Open Zipper cavorts with a miniature horse named Midnight like she’s the queen of the castle. “She canters over every morning to greet her three “boyfriends,” our OTTB geldings, and then spends her day with our 35-year-old mini.”
Zipper has become the poster-horse for Sawelsky, who plans one day to open a sanctuary in Massachusetts, which would welcome people with disabilities and veterans with post-traumatic stress. “She’s such an inspiration to be around,” she adds. “After all she’s been through, and her own disabilities, she has coped so well. She has the best personality. She loves people, greets me at the gate, and follows me everywhere.”
Nearby, Zipper’s weanling Faith, who is already 14-hands, is proving to be as smart as she is beautiful. A “very bold” young filly with a large, white diamond on her chestnut face, Faith is already proving to be the show horse in the family. “She’s just so beautiful. And her attitude is like, Here I am! She runs up to every paddock like she’s saying Hello! Hello! Hello!
Though Faith will never be raced, Sawelsky hopes to register the filly with the Jockey Club with the name Leap of Faith.
She adds, “It took a huge leap of faith to save these horses.” And, now they are both safe. A mother who will grow old on the farm as her foal blossoms into a beautiful riding horse, far from the slaughterhouse.
13 responses to “Kill pen mare and foal thrive, beat odds”
Nawww poor mare so glade she and her baby didn’t die
Such a beauty Faith is. Can’t believe she’s 14hh now. Her mom looks so happy with her friend the miniature horse. Who was the sire of Faith?
Thanks Susan for the update! Great to hear these two are enjoying life to the fullest now, they deserve it!
Oh, the horrors we narrowly miss… May Open Zipper, Leap of Faith and their blessed connections be safe and happy forever… surely they deserve it.
Lovely to see this pregnant broodmare discarded by the horseracing industry saved from slaughter. I don’t understand why Christina intends registering Zipper’s foal Faith with the Jockey Club when she will not be racing?
Not sure but if she is registered she would be able to do things that are supported by the Jockey Club I think.
Miracle both Faith and Open Zipper have lived through what they have.
I am registering her so that we can participate in the T.I.P. shows and now they have a trail division as well…my other OTTBs are T.I.P. registered…she will not be raced or bred…just enjoyed…:))
Thank you, Christina for this clarification.
Unbelievable. Too bad you can’t post the breeder and ones who ran her. I remember this horse as her name was quite catchy. So hard to rescue these horses even before they get to the pens. They all pass the buck. There is one running now who was 4th in a Breeders Cup race besides doing well before injuries struck. 5000 claiming… so if he isn’t safe, who is? Only those that have done extremely well get the help first and foremost. Unless some private person has the money to spend… this happy ending doesn’t happen like it should. So happy for Zipper, Very pretty mare and her foal…is amazing.
Thanks for all you do.
You can see her breeder”s name on pedigreequery.com. Open Zipper is Ontario bred.
Thanks… I will plug in that site.
Awesome! Thank you for stepping up!