Ontario breeder finds giving away racehorse on Kijiji a hard sell

Mary Ormsby
Feature writer – The Toronto Star

What’s not to love about Buckie?

His Kijiji classified ad describes him as affectionate.  Quiet.  No vices or bad habits.  A strapping sort, athletic – mind you, his competitive days are behind him.   Good with children.  Retired, healthy.  Would like to live with a caring family.

But Buckie is a hard sell – even though the 13-year-old bay gelding is free.

Cobourg’s Ronda Markle can’t give away the trotter she bred, trained, raced, sold, then, remarkably, rescued from slaughter in February.

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  1. Allison Nicolas · ·

    I live in Manitoba and board outdoor at a beautiful facility for $125 a month!! That includes hay!! How can the owner not afford that? I don’t understand…did she not make thousands off this horse?! 😦

  2. Dennis Davey · ·

    I support a Horse rescue monthly in Ontario, in the area of Peterborough.My wife and i were there this past summer. In fact we were at an auction with her and her husband, where they saved a Horse from slaughter. They rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out to RESPONSIBLE people for a fee . They use the fee to save other Horses. Its called Freedom Valley Horse Rescue, and run by Christine and Howie Walsh, at 7057996794. Perhaps the owners of this Horse could contact them, as it may turn out with a happy ending. Anything is worth a try to keep these animals out of BARBARIC circumstances.

  3. Besides calling all reputable rescues including rescues in the US, has the owner tried marketing on all social media sites? That way, screening the next owner or rescue is possible.

    Would anyone here like to suggest that to the owner via direct contact? That action may help.

    Condemning racing will not help this horse. We already know what US racing (thorobred, AQHA and Standardbred) contributes to slaughter. These stories will keep coming up in media. Is there a recognized or standard process in Canada for rapid referrals to reputable rescues? The US has nothing, which is part of this slaughter problem.

    Are there any contacts in Canada for referrals to reputable rescues? If so, can they be posted on this site?

  4. That is typical for this industry if it wasn’t for horse racing there would never have been slaughter plants for horses in the first place. Unless racing dies a slow death, which I hope it does,
    we will never be rid of it.

  5. Georges Dupras · ·

    So much for “we (the racing industry) love our horses”. They love them as long as they are making money and no further. The industry should say; “we love ourselves”. The loss of the horse racing industry is no loss at all.

    Georges Dupras

    1. Theresa Nolet · ·

      Amen to that Georges!

  6. Anne Streeter · ·

    This is a very common life for horses who, with care, can live into their 30’s. Rarely do horses live long and happy lives in an original home. Instead they go from pillar to post – generally downhill until they end most often in one of our notorious horse slaughterhouses. Even horses that earn $140,000 racing on the track and another $10 ,000 in claiming fees, fare no differently. This clearly is a rotten business and I can’t wait until it disappears completely!

    1. There is good and bad in every sector of the horse industry. I know of some very loving and caring racehorse people. You can find bad and good in the race horse owners, the carriage horses, the high end jumping and dressage competitors and yes, even the backyard horse owner. This woman is trying to do what’s right and find the horse a home. She states that she will euthanize rather than let it go to slaughter or to a bad home. It is a difficult choice for her……if it wasn’t, she would not have bothered trying to find a home. To me, she cares about the horse. If all the ‘horse people’ that are condemning the racing industry would step up to the plate and adopt one, maybe that would show that you at least care about the horses if not the people. I myself have adopted four of them when I wasn’t planning on getting another horse. Step up to the plate people!

  7. Complaining about behavior does not save a horse.
    First, anyone calls a reputable rescue. The US has some. Canada must.
    Why not suggest that this owner do the logical thing? If a horse is listed as free, he will end up at slaughter.
    Anyone know the contact info for this obviously uneducated owner? Send a note re the common practice of calling rescues, checking the rescues out and then placing the horse at one.
    Maybe this horse can be saved if someone acts to contact the owner ASAP.

  8. lindabadham · ·

    What a disgrace, to have the horse make money then discard him like an out of date ready meal makes me sick. People are so hard hearted and and just love money. I pray for Buckie that someone will love him and want him. 13 years of service and bye bye. God what a terrible world this is . GOOD LUCK BEAUTIFUL XX

  9. jean robertson · ·

    The horse made his owner $140,000.00 in his short life surely he deserves to be retired by her or if not euthanized. The hay prices quoted seem out of wack. She was paying $2.50 a bale and now hay is up to $6.00 a bale. I would call that cheap hay. I pay $7.50 per bale stacked in my barn and there is no shortage of hay in this area. The article goes on to say the two horses eat 5 bales a day between them. Even if the bales weighed only 40 pounds each, two horses can’t consume that amount of hay in a day when 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight is considered average.
    Sorry the owner doesn’t get any sympathy from me but the horses that are no longer profitable to her do.

  10. It’s sad that a horse that earned roughly $10,000 per year during his lifetime has to be destroyed. Too bad the racing industry didn’t install a tarriff on those owners that won purses that could have been put in a “pension plan” for their care and upkeep once they retired from racing, if that was needed to happen. Unfortunately, they don’t even do that for people anymore! As sad as this is, I would rather see him humanely put down then to see him sent off to slaughter while being abused along the way.

    1. Too many owners are not informed of the facts when they do become owners. I personally think it should be a mandatory part of getting licenced to own a horse, and then when horse purchase is made and horse races a portion automatically is deducted from the purse of a horse to go towards his after care. Ignorance is partially to blame for the problem. I am sure 90% of owners would not mind an added amount monthly as part of paying for the horses care, training etc. of the horse if they knew in advance of what truly happens in retirement to alot of horses and slaughterhouses here in Canada..

  11. wietrich jeannine · ·


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