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How to Save a Life

May 10, 2015

I’ve considered breeding one of my Thoroughbred mares for a couple of years.  She’s a nicely built, athletic mare with a good mind.  I’ve wanted to experience young horse handling up close and personal.  I’ve wanted an untouched horse to bring along from scratch.  As a horsewoman, it’s a part of the process I haven’t had much exposure to.

Very recently, I’ve had the opportunity to better understand how large the problem is of equine overpopulation.  I started to study, read and understand that I have no business breeding a horse.  If I want to raise a baby, my efforts would be better spent on saving one of the so many unwanted ones.  The babies waiting for their ride to Mexico or Canada.  The babies headed for slaughter.

The 4 new horses stayed huddled together after unloading from the trailer.

The 4 new horses stayed huddled together after unloading from the trailer.

In a whirlwind of events I found myself with a couple of friends, standing at the entrance to a kill pen, aka the feedlot.  I saw a sea of horses.  There were mares with babies only days old, senior horses, and everything in between.  Some were terrified but some were very friendly.  Many looked like they had no business standing in a kill pen, waiting for slaughter.  Surely, someone had mistakenly let their beloved horse’s fate take a terrible turn for the worse.

The 6 month old filly I chose.

The 6 month old filly I chose.

I was not prepared for what was seeing – emotionally or mentally. We had a little time to choose, about 90 minutes, before the brand inspector would be there so we could rightfully own our chosen horse.  There must have been 200 horses, at a minimum.  How do you choose who to look over and whose life to save?  I knew I was ready for young horse.  I ended up deciding I could save two.  So, I set out to take a look at as many as possible and pick two that seemed “most likely to succeed”. I tried to stay logical in my thought process, emotionally in check, looking for straight legs, nice hips, kind eyes.  I eventually chose 2 – a colt and a filly.  My friend chose 2 mature horses; a mare and a gelding.

My goal is to chronicle the entire experience.  If there’s anyone out there considering this, I’ll try to paint a picture of what this journey might look like for you.  Hopefully, my blunders will save someone else a headache.  I’m optimistic that maybe someone out there will consider following in my footsteps. For others, maybe following what will hopefully be a hard knock story with a happy ending will bring joy.  For now, I’m trying to come up with names for my two new babies.

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  1. How about Briar Rose, Carpe Diem, or Brisbane?

    • Interesting names! Thank you! I’ll try those out tomorrow. Trying to find the perfect fitting names. I might be overthinking it. 😉

  2. Cheryle permalink

    I’d say an appropriate name for one of them is Lucky. Or Chance

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