“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
I often hear ( or read) ‘What the hell are you doing?’ How can you possibly make a difference?
Well!! That is an excellent question and one I will answer at length to explain exactly WHAT we do for slaughter bound horses ( and the people helping them) why, and how .
An overview to ‘The Process’ of what I do ~
In The Beginning…..
‘How it begins’ is as follows ~
EVERY day there are hundreds, thousands, of horses in kill pens across the United States awaiting shipment to slaughter in (USUALLY) Mexico.
( Slaughtering horses and the sale for consumption within the United States was banned in 2006, with a ‘renewal’ , in March of 2018) . The last three horse slaughterhouses — two in Texas and one in Illinois — were closed in 2007.
(For more details, see link attached at the bottom. )
While this is great…..it also made the ride to literal HELL that much longer and arduous. …
There are ‘kill pens ‘ ( those who buy horses at ‘weight’ price and either
A. Extort more money through ‘sentimental tactics for these horses by listing them on social media with the threat o death on their heads ( MAKE NO MISTAKE…..These horses will, and DO ship to slaughter , save a few that they MAY take to auction and get more money for)
B. Ship to slaughter in MANY states including Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Kansas, Pennsylvania and more.
Slaughter does not discriminate …..
Old, sick, thin, fat, healthy, young, registered…..
It does not matter once they have stepped on the truck that carries them to the border.
The young , beautiful lovely paint will ship just the same as the old, tired, injured draft horse that can barely keep his head up to protest.
Both deserve the same respect….
And our help.
Though there is not YET a way to ‘save’ every horse now standing in a kill pen …
There is always a way to save SOME.
While many are working toward a solution, I feel that saving and bettering even ONE life , sparing them the fate of barbaric slaughter……Still matters.
It still means something to me.
Many will see ‘Bailing’ a horse is only ‘feeding the pipeline’. Though that may in some ways be true……….
I’d wager that ‘one’ horse may be inclined to disagree and not care about ‘The statistics’.
So yes, I ‘Bail horses’. I despise giving money to a ‘kill buyer’, naturally.
I despise what they do.
I despise they will most likely buy another horse with the money from the one I purchased.
I despise the thought of seeing a horse I ‘Could have ‘ helped and did not try to even more.
That brings us to the HOW.
Firstly….’How’ do I choose which horse to ‘bail’?
They choose me. That may sound terribly cliche and absurd, but it is quite true.
As with anything , certain horses ‘grab’ you …and just don’t let go.
This is how the horses are ‘Chosen’.
Often, a friend, or even a complete stranger will send a photo or video of a horse in danger, offering a loving home if a bit of help can be had to bail them.
Now this is important~
It is often asked ”If they can not just purchase and afford the horse themselves, why should they have him/her at all?’
While this makes financial sense……. I will tell you ‘why’.
Bail is often the cheapest part of this If there is a GOOD, loving, honest , vetted home awaiting a horse that would instead be slaughtered……….My question is …
Why WOULDN’T you want to help make that happen?
So it goes as follows ~
Bailing / Purchasing:
One of two scenarios occur for me to begin fundraising a horse.
1. I saw the horse and am wanting to bail him/her to be transported to a TRUSTED quarantine provider to be vetted, assessed, farrier care, re-feeding, and whatever else they may need.
2. A thoroughly vetted home with an application and contract for the horse has offered a home where THEY are responsible for transport and all other care costs, with a clause stating should they not be able to continue care of said horse, they will become Soul Horses’s once again.
Everyone needs a little help sometimes. . . horses and people alike.
For horses bailed TO the care of Soul Horses ( me!)~
EACH horse goes directly in to mandatory quarantine of at least thirty days.
I do NOT personally take every horse bailed in personally, though many are funded BY Soul Horses until adopted.
I do not have the facilities to house these horses here, sadly.
Therefore I send them to TRUSTED people and rescues who DO. ( More details on that as well in the next post.)
I have ( through great trial and error) established a wonderful team of people that assist with this in Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Missouri.
(Details on that coming in the next post!)
The cost for this quarantine period is most generally $10 per day per horse. In this stage they are seen be a veterinarian, farrier, and allowed to just ‘Be’, and to heal. Many picture this as the horse being locked in a stall of bubble wrap and mask wearing attendants to feed them….
In my experience, the absolute BEST thing you can do for a horse coming out of this situation is to just let them BE. Yes, they need medical and farrier care, but they need to also be a horse , and just ‘detox’ from the fright of the ‘kill pen experience’. It is a toxic environment and it reflects in their eyes, their demeanor .
They often need time to just…. breathe.
They are placed in paddocks AWAY from other horses ( unless they arrived WITH other horses form the same pen they were in a the same time. )
Mandatory thirty days, but there are often cases where ( when terribly ill with respiratory issues or , God help us….Strangles, it can take much longer.)
As with anything….it depends on the horse.
When they have healed , not only in body but in mind and spirit….
It’s on to the next leg of their journey.
Sometimes this is just being out on pasture with buddies, sometimes it is training.
I like to cater to what each horse needs, and some horses LOVE to have a job.
Quality training and time so often ensures them a much better home.
Other times they DO need ‘sanctuary’ to just live out their days peacefully and in comfort.
We try to do both.
This is the part I truly love…
To find these guys their NEW and hopefully forever person.
I want the right home for EVERY horse rescued .
They all deserve that, and more.
I believe in what I am doing.
I believe that the MORE people we reach, the stronger the community we build, the more horses we can help. . .
And each other.
I believe in these horses and the power of making a positive difference in as many lives…..horses AND human….as possible.
This sums up the ‘basics’ , but I will be going in to more detail in ‘Part II’ including care costs, quarantine facility locations and names, trainers, and our network of people who make all of this possible.
Please feel free to ask any questions, any time for I welcome them!
Link to read more about the banning of slaughter houses within the United States:
A wonderful article about ‘Kill Buyers’ by my friend and mentor in business , Richard E. Dennis ~
Until next time, remember ~
”Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” – Jackie Chan
Randi L. Collier