Monday, October 15, 2007

Conversations with the, kill buyer

So, yesterday was a typical Adventure in Horse Rescue. It began with the alarm going off at 4 AM and trying to get out the door to wake up the horses and feed them. As I opened the door, the barn cat rocketed in like a furry black missile, causing me to dive after him while simultaneously attempting to make no noise that would set off the three large dog-shaped alarm clocks and wake up the completely innocent non-rescuer type person sleeping on the couch.

Believe it or not, I actually accomplished this, and also accomplished getting 200 miles away to pay for the elusive Futlooseanfancyfree mare from last week's auction, who had been spotted the previous night by an alert friend, who unfortunately was not an alert friend in possession of $350 or a paypal card. While I did not have any spare cash either, I did have a paypal card, and another rescuer kind enough to send money to it, so off I went to save the Way Too Nice To Can mare.

(I confess. I'm a bad rescuer. I don't think all horses are equal and beautiful. I do think some horses are Too Nice To Can and for others it is unfortunate and cruel, and I wish they'd have been euthanized instead if there was no home for them, and I wish slaughter by the current methods was illegal, but I am not sorry they are out of the gene pool. Yes, I know, this is against the Rescue Oath and I'm going to Hell now, but at least I am honest about it.)

We finally got there and Ole's assistant cheerfully led us to the pen where they'd separated out the mare. Only, it wasn't the mare. It was a big fugly flaxen chestnut mare that looked nothing like our mare. "Oh shit," she said, "I was afraid of that. We loaded up in the dark last night.

Argh! 4 hours drive and no mare? Did we just miss her by 10 hours? I began asking if there was any way at all to pull a mare off that truck once it got started. I said I could probably hop online and get someone to pick her up pretty much anywhere in the USA. We then began searching the pens of horses. In the last one we looked in, I saw a cluster of horses grouped around a plentiful supply of hay. I looked down and saw an old bowed tendon on the right front. Suffice it to say, I have never been so happy in my life to see a bowed tendon.

So here's the lucky girl on the left. I had to back up in a 10 x 15 pen to take this picture, so it is an example of really bad photography, but you can still see what attracted us to her. This is a big mare with a hip like a Quarter Horse, big bones, big feet and deep through the heart. Her neck is longer than it looks in the pic, and her head isn't fancy but she is still a super mare and (also important) a multiple race winner with a sweet and friendly disposition. She is just one that fell through the cracks - she got traded around a bunch lately and wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I actually had a nice chat with the buyer. He says he tries to resell the ones that ride well and he works with various other resellers to do that - he has guys in various cities who put riding time on horses, fatten them up and try to resell for a profit. He did, however, and listen up, all of you crossbred breeders who think I am picking on them, say that "if a mare don't have papers, I can her." Well, yes. That is what most of these guys do. Because, for the one millionth time, there is NOWHERE NEAR the market for these horses that the delusional crossbred "sport horse" breeders seem to believe there is. Most people want to buy a good broke AQHA or Paint gelding. That is the VAST MAJORITY of the low end, under $2500, market. I don't mean "most people at YOUR barn." I mean most people who buy from auctions and horse dealers. So those of you who think your 1/4 Friesian, 1/4 Clydesdale, 1/4 Arabian and 1/4 TB is special, just so you know, you better keep her forever because Mr. Kill Buyer does not think so. A fugly AQHA mare with AQHA papers is much more likely to get on the trailer to the resale-for-riding guy than your part-draft "sport horse" is.

Now I'm going to put forth an opinion that may be unpopular (ha ha, 'cause that never happens here!) Ole or any other dealer who sells some to slaughter is not the villain here. The villain here, in this particular case, is a girl named Dawn. Dawn had this mare last, according to her papers.

Dawn has big, round, perky handwriting. It's the handwriting of a young girl. She's probably under 25, if not under 21. Dawn had written a note on the pen at Enumclaw to say that this mare rides well, trail rides, goes english, blah blah. Well, you know what Dawn? You are full of shit. This mare isn't riding sound. I can see it in the hind end when she walks. You knew that. Now, you only owned her for two months so maybe the person who sold her to you lied to you, too, but I don't care. This nice mare was pushed on a floodtide of lies down the wrong path and you, Dawn, had the chance to change that path. A little time and effort and a good pic on DreamHorse, and she would have had a broodmare home. Or you could have listed her with a rescue and tried to place her as a companion. But I guess that was too much work for you, Dawn, or maybe you just HAD to have her gone and HAD to have your $200 (shit, less than that, the auction took their cut), because you left her at the auction with no reserve and she was in the ring for maybe 30 seconds and went straight to the dealer. She didn't have a mark on her at the sale; now she has numerous little bites and scrapes from being thrown in a trailer with strange horses and then out in that pen. You, Dawn, are the one who sucks here. Slaughter isn't the problem, not really. It's irresponsible, cheap, heartless, careless and/or just plain ignorant ownership that is the problem.

Or as I like to say, the slaughter buyer is merely the garbageman. He is not the one who put the horse out with the trash.

Thanks to Marilyn of High Desert Equine Rescue in California, who fronted the cash to make sure this mare didn't become a steak. My understanding is the mare's breeder wants her back and we will be coordinating that today. I have another interested party if he doesn't want her.