UPDATE: LS Black Bear was purchased by All The Kings Horses Equine Rescue. They accept donations on their website. I donated and am glad this horse is safe.
All across the country, horses are going through low end auctions, fueled by the threat that the horses will sell to kill buyers and be shipped for slaughter. These auctions do not guarantee soundness, do not allow vet exams, and encourage phone bidding during the auction where you might find yourself bidding against the house. This particular horse is from an auction house in New Jersey, but this scenario is played out over and over again in many places. This just happens to be the horse that’s in front of me today.
The sales video shows a horse that can barely walk. A horse that was sound less than a year ago. A horse that now has an unsightly bump on his croup and dicey looking front legs.
But, what are you supposed to do? Pay the exorbitant “bail” money? Let the horse get sent from auction to auction or on to a kill buyer? Probably the answer is to cut the brokers out of the equation and buy directly from New Holland or similar auctions. A horse like this probably cost $200 or $300 on Monday. By Wednesday the price was up to $870. At a lower price, someone might want to take a chance on a horse or help the horse over the rainbow bridge.
Not every horse that goes through these auctions is lame. And some of them are tremendous jewels in the rough. I saw a Hungarian warmblood mare
on the same auction site about two months ago. I contacted her breeder, who, although she was not in a position to take her back, was able to provide information to a prospective buyer, who took her to a dream home in Virginia. The mare is sound, sane and a spectacular mover, although very green. The new owners sent me video that brings tears to my eyes because the horse looks so happy.
For $1K she was a pretty good deal, even with the mark up that the buyer had to pay the broker. But the heart string marketing that tries to extort $820 for a horse that can’t walk? That’s just criminal.
What do you think? How would you help the horse who fall through the cracks? Should their be options for owners to euthanize damaged horses at a reduced rate so they are not tempted to get the last dollar out of a horse at an auction? Although I don’t approve of ransoming sick and old horses, I admit that when I can find a previous owner, I contact them to see if they might take the horse back. It’s a long shot, for sure, but if it was a horse I used to own, it would be worth it to me keep the horse out of the system.