Equine Rescue

UNADILLA: A SHORT REFLECTION

Source: by Andy of soyoumadeittocollege blog

“A friend forwarded to me the address for the blog of this young man, a man who is forever changed by going to a horse slaughter auction.  Stop by Andy’s blog and spend some time reading the articles that precede this reflection, it will make your eyes leak and your heart break.  We are all brothers and sisters in the equine spirit.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

“I felt feelings that I will never un-feel…”
Slaughter Aisle after auction

Slaughter Aisle after auction

Two weeks seem as if it is a short amount of time when you compare it to our relatively long lives. For myself, however, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

Two weeks ago, I understood very little about how a horse auction was run. It wasn’t that I was ignorant, but rather that I just did not want to even have to imagine what a horse auction was like. So going into it, I had no expectations; I was a blank slate ready to be covered with feelings and emotions based off an experience that I had no prior expertise in. I did not even have previously seen photos to prepare myself for what I would be seeing.

But now I am no longer a blank slate.

At the auction I saw things that I will never be able to un-see. I felt feelings that I will never un-feel. I had emotions run through me that I did not even have words to express. I tried to convey my experience using the best words that I could, but sometimes words are just not enough. I took pictures, yet those pictures still do not adequately portray what it is like to actually be there. Pictures may paint a thousand words, but actual experience of an event writes a novel.

Despite having to be a part of something that was truly heartbreaking, I can confidently say that I do not regret going to the Unadilla horse auction. If nothing else, it acted as an event that will now forever MOLD the rest of my life. Witnessing a horse auction created an infinite amount of desire in me to do what I can to raise awareness about a cause that I personally saw the darkness of. At the same time,however, I also got to feel the joy that comes with saving another living creatures life. It is this mixture of emotions that I felt within myself that I hope to use as fuel for motivating myself to continue writing about this topic.

Right now as I sit here, I understand that the horses that I saw sold to slaughter are no longer mortal, living things. They are no longer bodies filled with light and the peppiness of life. They will never again be someones pet. Eyes once radiating with light, enthusiasm and hopefulness have now grown dim. They will, however, live on in my memory. I will never forget the look of that one chestnut mare awaiting death in the stable after the auction. I was the last friendly touch she would ever feel.

With a heart full of remembrance and a mind in constant recollection of my first auction, I will continue to promote the stories of those who go to these rescues. The people who consistently see what most are too afraid to see. The people who change the lives of horses, one auction at a time. Those who give hope to horses who do not understand that their hope was slowly RUNNING out. They are the people who, by saving one horses lives, have the possibility of bringing a once abandoned horse to the home of someone who will love them unconditionally. In saving one life, you have the capacity to enhance others.

These are the people who are true heroes. Changing the world for one horse at a time. People who give their time so that horses can have more time.

Click (HERE) to visit Andy’s blog and to comment

14 replies »

  1. When I was a young girl in a 4H group with my friends, our leader, Ardith Christadore, took us to an auction.It was in a big old wooden barn, dim in corners and lit with electric light bulbs. Ardy always told us that horses and ponies went to slaughter and she would attend the auctions to buy sound animals that she could save and find homes for. She was not a rescue but she was aware of good animals not finding new homes. I learned then, in 1960, that the slaughter buyers wanted the well cared for horses that families had loved but the child had out grown. I learned then that many horses come to a bad end. I have never forgotten the fright in the eyes of ponies and sweet horses left there by the people they trusted and loved. I learned young and I hope you will teach children now about this so they will grow up with compassion and care and never allow a friend to be sold at an auction.

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    • I promised my pony and also myself that I will NEVER send her for slaughter, I am an older person, and I realize that one day I might not be able to take care of her anymore. When that day comes I will call a vet to come and euthanize her, and I will do everything I can to be by her side. Some people say, why don.t you give her to someone? No, because this someone, when the novelty wears out, THEY might send her to slaughter!

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    • Thanks for sharing your story. Me, learned early too, also felt for our horses that people just discarded like trash… Helpless when I was a child, helpless no longer. We are Horse Warriors that fight to end horse slaughter. I’ve rescued 6 and will continue to Save One Horse at A Time. Think Globally (sign petitions, rallies etc) but Act Locally, help a local horse rescue, donate or volunteer your time!

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  2. I don’t think I have ever felt so alone and helpless as I did while reading story. I am sure that the horses in the story felt the same way … alone and helpless. I felt like I was walking the isles with this writer. I feel this very minute as if I should go and get the rest of the horses that were left behind for the kill buyer truck… but they are long gone.

    What in the ‘ell is wrong with people that they can make a living off of torturing and slaughtering animals … and still look at themselves in the mirror? These are (were) living, breathing, thinking, feeling animals born to a mother that nursed them and nuzzled them but now are treated like an old used car … sold to the scrap pile.

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    • Ditto. See my comment above about being a Horse Warrior to do what we can to end horse slaughter. The rescues that go to auctions have hearts of gold, as they can’t save them all. I’ve been to a few, it just kills you to not be able to stop the whole GD sale and force the owners to try to rehome their family horses/pets B4 just dumping like trash at an auction… Horse ownership is huge responsibility and that’s the biggest one, finding a suitable new owner when your circumstances or interest change to where you must part with your horse! With a little time and effort, it is easily accomplished. Don’t let your horses get near a kill buyer, cuz they will slaughter everything, young, old, healthy or ill. Corrupt industry…

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  3. This is really a moving story of reality…I cannot understand how horse owners can do this. Cold shut off people who live in Denial about the fate of their horse(s).

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  4. Unadilla auction house is just 30 minutes from my house. I’ve only been twice, once years ago for a tack auction, and once last year with a friend who owns a nearby equine rescue/sanctuary.  That night last year will remain etched in stone in my heart and mind for the rest of my life.  In the dimly lit back aisles where the horses wait their turn to “run the floor” was a massive Belgian gelding, separated from the other horses.  He was in obvious agony from horrendous founder, and could barely stand.  We could tell he had fallen in the trailer on his way there, because his halter had dug deeply into the top of his nose, down to the bone.  He had large, ugly rub marks where he had struggled in the trailer to stand back up.  He was in so much pain that he could hardly move his incredibly overgrown feet, so the auctioneer/auction house owner refused to make him walk out to the sales floor.  My rescue owner friend waited until the auction was over, and approached the auctioneer’s window for details on the big Belgian.  The horse’s owner, an Amish man, was already at the window, arguing that he was NOT going to take the horse back home, and demanding to know why he wasn’t run through the sales floor.  When the auctioneer told him no one would have bought him, my friend stepped into the conversation and said “I will. I’ll buy him.”  The auctioneer asked if she would give ten dollars for him.  Of course she would.  While she went looking for the house vet for paperwork, her husband and I took turns holding up that magnificent horse’s head and body, now propped against a large post, trying to keep him from falling.  We could tell he was grateful, not only for the help, but for human touch.  We petted and rubbed and stroked him all over, speaking softly, reassuring him he was safe now, and could he please make it into the trailer so we could take him home?   After much vet and hoof care, Jed was in much less pain, and lived at the sanctuary for six months or so, becoming the center of attention and attracting thousands of fans.  He was even photographed trotting with his herd several times.  Sadly, the permanent damage to his feet surfaced, and my friend made the heartbreaking decision to call the vet once again to help Jed cross the Rainbow Bridge. 
    I know in my gut that if not for the kindness and compassion of my friend, Jed would have been given to the kill buyer that night, and would have been forced to endure many more days of unspeakable agony enroute to his final nightmare. 
    I will never, ever forget that night at Unadilla, and I’ll never go again.  May God bless the rescue owners who, week after week, put themselves through the madness, the frustration with humanity, and the sheer heartbreak in order to save the few horses they can make room for, in their barns and in their hearts.

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  5. My Heart is forever Broken, with the souls of all these beauties who suffer because of someone wanting to have a few pennies , that they would do this kind of thing…..There is absolutely nothing that can ever Justify this ,, !!!!!

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  6. Deafening, blinding, thoughtless, untamed men amoung these horses, struggling we save those we can manage as the horrible unseen forces are in plain view buying those souls to savage. Excuses, they blame the horses, this ones bad one claims, but maybe the horses just read peoples intent and respond in rage, their money in tight fists go up into the air, laughing with madness in their murderous adventure they share, men with iron hearts and emotions of steel, who wont waste a moment to catch a steal. They laugh, and bid, and take these horses from people with kids, they dont care about loving homes, while they pump poor blood in their tanks and head for home, their trucks packed full, the auctioneer brags one of the finest kill sales i ever had, these hateful men with their bellies full take these hungry horses scared and sad, to cruelest death in hell, instead of a home to be treated well.

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  7. I live not too far away from the Unadilla auction barn, too. Used to go with a friend of mine to the tack sale. Stayed for the auction a few times – the woman that owned the hack stable where I boarded for a while used to buy many horses there & feed them up & use them – most good horses that hadn’t been cared for. BUT many of them ended up back in Unadilla at some point. The last time I went, it was in the fall when people (?) bring camp horses to sell. That was it. Those horses had worked all summer long & I mean WORKED
    only to be hauled back there. I’m not sorry Andy went & realized what goes on – maybe that’s whats needed? I sure do give rcatheron & her friend credit for giving that horse a few months of being loved & cared for. Its only people like that who are doing everything possible to save as many as they can. I wish I could. But at this point, all I can do is send letters & donate to a few rescues.

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