More from the heart of a rescuer

Dear Diary- confession time. 

Before I write the report, I just am going to write to whoever wants to hear. I am writing this so you guys can understand what it’s like.

Every week I see absolutely beautiful healthy horses go through OLEX. I also see horses who may be unhealthy, have behaviour issues, be older. I was contacted this week by a family who wanted help with a horse they recently purchased. She was from a training facility, broke English and western. 13 years old, crossbred. They talked to a lot of horse other horse owners, and the previous owners to take her back. She was very upset, crying and pacing when taken away from other horses. They were worried that she could hurt someone, as they were not experienced horse people.

Unfortunately today, Lady was at the auction. She needed some weight, was a bit anxious, as to be expected, and looking very sad. She went for about $300 to a purchaser who buys for a kill buyer. Maybe she will find a home, maybe not.

Who failed this mare?…

Canada! Our laws are absolute atrocious when it comes to horse protection.

Her previous owners ( the ones who used her in lessons and on trails) . They said she never acted like that before. Perhaps they could have taken her back and tried to rehome her to someone who had more horse knowledge.

The people who had her were inexperienced, but they did chose to send her knowing the possibilities. Now their young daughter’s first horse will possibly end up on a plate.

And last of all me. I did get back to them, tried to arrange to see her. I didn’t hear back. I didn’t respond quickly enough.

I am going to be honest. I (Jenn) and most other rescues are super busy. I find myself not having enough time. My husband and I work outside the home, plus we have a family, children, and a rescue. Right now we have 10 horses (5 of our own, and 5 rescues), 3 dogs that our ours, a rescue duck, we are indefinitely pig sitting, our cat, a rescue rabbit, and a little lamb who came home to be a friend. Yes! We are the funny farm. And yes, we chose this.

I have had a lot of people out to help with JLC! Thank you soooo much! I am looking for a committed and consistent group of volunteers. People who can commit to once a week in helping out. We are also looking for board members to become non-profit.

How does this have anything to do with Lady? Everything! More time and resources means we together can make a difference in more animals, in particular, horses lives. I thought it would get easier as time went by, to go to auctions and see what is going on. It is in fact the opposite. It just seems like it is never ending. We need to be heard! We need to work together. We need to support legitimate rescues and animal advocacy groups. I know how I feel is not just me, it is most of those who love and fight daily to give voices to the voiceless- the animals.

Diary, and anyone listening, do you think you can offer one hour, even a half hour of your time every week and do something for your local voice for animals- a group, rescue, organization. Take it off your Facebook time. Facebook will still be around when you get back!

If you don’t know where to start, I can send you in the right direction. Time, that is what it takes. Time. Every week I am contacted by owners needing help with horses. And, the biggest thing for me is not sinking, taking on what I can manage realistically. One more, or two, or three… I can’t take them all. But, if we all do a little more, that means more helped.

Time- 30 seconds is all it takes to decide if a horse will go for slaughter. 1 hour can make the difference between a horse going to auction or a horse going to a home. 1 hour can make a difference to your local animal welfare group. You can make a difference in the life of an animal.

Lady- she needed time. Time for someone to see how they could work with her. Time to adjust. Time to find a home who could have had skills to handle her and develop a partnership between horse and owner.

Ill be back later. I am very disappointed in myself this week. If only I had contacted them earlier… If only I had more time and resources… If only…


  1. Bless you JLC, and all the other people and organizations out there, for all the time and effort you spend rescuing unwanted horses. We have to go to the root of the problem to change the outcome and that means starting with the breeders. All horses should have to be registered at birth. A $500 fee should be collected at the time the horse is registered and that fund would always be there for humane euthanasia and proper disposal for that horse. The person registering the horse would be able to recover that cost in the purchase price when the horse is sold, and transfer papers submitted to a registry. The new owner then becomes responsible for that horse, until such time as it is sold again, or it becomes time to humanely put that horse down. The $500 fee would go directly to the vet, who would then have to submit the registration papers to collect. No funds would ever go directly to the owner. All fees collected by the registry would be invested, and the interest earned from that investment could go to fund rescue organizations, until such time as all unregistered horses have been papered, and a fee collected for all horses is in place. All slaughter houses would be shut down, and no horse could be sold at auction without having proper registration papers. Any horse showing up without registration papers could not be sold, and would go free to a rescue and either registered at that point from the interest on the fund, or humanely put down, also from the interest on the fund. The registry would be non-profit and all rescue organizations non-profit.

    Of course, initially, there would be the unscrupulous owners out there still trying to dump their unregistered horses at auction and have them paid for by the rescues, but if they are unable to make any money off these horses, eventually they will stop breeding them. They are driven by money after all and if you remove the incentive, it will stop.

    Eliminate the two dumping grounds, slaughter houses and auctions, make the breeders responsible for what they breed by charging them a fee to register, and eventually there will be no unwanted horses.

    If all vehicles in Canada can be tracked from start to finish, and fully insured along the way, why can’t we do this with horses? Just my thoughts.

  2. wietrich jeannine · ·

    Non à la l abattage des chevaux , ni pour la viande ni pour autre chose , laissez les vivrent en paix , ils en ont le droit tout comme les humains ses pauvres chevaux ( le fric … toujours le fric ! )
    Marre de ses abattages .

  3. jean robertson · ·

    It takes really special people like Jenn to be able to attend the auctions knowing that they can’t save every horse that needs another chance. I went to a local horse auction eight years ago and even then 3/4 of the horses went for slaughter. Let’ hope more wise men like N.M’s Attorney General Gary King vote against horse slaughter and maybe there will be no horses sent to slaughter some day soon.

  4. Christine Murray · ·

    For a short time I lived in Guelph, Ontario and finally one day I thought I would go for a drive and explore St. Jacobs Market. I had heard of OLEX and did some investigating into it but never actually went there or knew exactly where it was. As I got closer to St Jacobs, I was aghast to see OLEX nestled comfortably right next to the market. A family market, moms and dads and aunties and grandmas, all thinking of the wonderful food, veggies, bake goods and PONY RIDES! That was the first thing that turned my stomach, the ponies in the hot sun, no shade no water. Well, I’m sure I surprised my cousin (who came with) when I started asking the carny where was the water, when do the ponies rest out of the sun?! Soon after a truck pulled next door with livestock I was fit to be tied and before I knew it I was being dragged away by my cousin “before I was removed”, as she put it. With tears in my eyes and a broken heart we drove home. I explained to her what they did there. The rest of the ride was completely quiet :o(

    1. Christine Murray · ·

      that’s not supposed to be a smile, it was eyes, nose and a frown… not open mouth,plz forgive my error

  5. As a fellow horse rescuer, my heart goes out to you. We all want to save every horse that comes to our attention. I spent years pulling my hair out about the ones I didn’t save, and at times took in more than I should which isn’t right either. Several years ago I was telling a wise friend and fellow horseman about all the ones I hadn’t saved. He didn’t say anything, but told me we were going to a movie together. He took me to see Schindler’s List, saying there was a message there for me. When it came to the part near the end when Schindler was lamenting about all the people he could have saved from the Nazis if he’d only sold his car, if only, if only and so on. Then the people he had saved gave him the ring on which they had enscribed, “To save one life is to save the world” from the Talmud.
    I still regret not being able to save every horse I hear about in need, but at least I know I try and do the very best I can. And everyone that I have saved still living today (I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and there are 36 in greener pastures who lived out their lives with me) greets me in the morning when I walk into the barn. I haven’t made a dent in the horrors that face our horses today, but if we keep doing what we do, maybe someday the world will change.

  6. I take in horses to prevent them from going to these situations. More often then not people ship to slaughter to get that last hundred bucks rather then give to a rescue that will train and rehome with natural horsemanship. Its sad and more human “training” is needed so that the lives of these wonderful animals is held in more respect. You may not always succeed but u can always try…do not blame yourself…just keep persevering…u will make a difference 🙂

  7. I think it will never end, you are right, no law. To help, it start around us, and this is what we are doing with our neighboors. Last year, in june, they bought 2 horses and it was dangerous because they knew nothing, the horses were more than green, they came for help in september. And this is what we do for free, trained thoses horses and give lessons to the family, and they do learn, and the horses are better. In last september, the horses were going to slaughter. And now it is ok. we must share when we can, give time, start at point zero and we can save a few lives. It is for the best.

  8. Nancy B · ·

    I’m so sorry! It sounds like you do all that you can and then some. I feel so bad for poor Lady! Is there any way she can still be saved? Will the kill buyer resell her? Seems sometimes they will do that. Is she still there? Can she be located? Is there anyone out there who can fund her rescue?! Please! She must be so scared and confused right now. Wondering why… why was she betrayed? What did she do to deserve this fate?! She thought she was loved. Where are the ones who loved her now?

    How terribly, horribly sad. Sounds like Lady was worried, and scared being in a new home and away from her home and friends. It’s sad that her previous people would use her, possibly for years, as a lesson and/or trail horse and then throw her away when they are through with her. Yes, it’s their fault and their responsibility! They may have believed they sold her to a good home but when they were asked to take her back they should have taken her back! Didn’t she deserve that after all the service she gave them? And the new family who were inexperienced. Absolutely no regard for her! They are ultimately responsible for her fate! Do they know what they have done? They should watch a video of horses being slaughtered so they know what they have done. They should have waited, tried harder to find her another home. They sound very selfish to me! God help their next horse. They might seem like a good home at first, but only until or unless she or he no longer meets their expectations to be perfect for them, even though they are inexperienced. Maybe they should learn a little more about horses before they get another one. Horses need leadership. Particularly a scared and worried horse in a new situation.

    I’m also sorry that I can’t help you, or help that poor, scared mare Lady. I wish I could! I’m too far to volunteer and too broke to donate monetarily. I have four horses myself, also two good dogs and three cats. Three of the horses are old with chronic conditions requiring medication and special feed considerations. Providing them with a good quality of life and what they need to thrive and be content and happy is so important to me! I’m on a fixed income and barely making it here. But they will never be sold or sent to slaughter.

    It’s beyond me how cold and callous people can be when it comes to their equine companions. They aren’t bicycles or motor vehicles that can be set aside or thrown out when they don’t perform up to par anymore. They are alive, sentient beings. They deserve better! I know that you know all this. And most folks who follow your blog know all of this too.

    My heart goes out to you Jenn. Thank you for all you do, every day for the animals. God bless you.

    1. Theresa Nolet · ·

      Nancy one of the best things you can do which costs nothing is to call your local politicians and let them know how you feel, set up an appointment with your M.P. and supply them with facts regarding horse slaughter and its health risks for the consumer. Write letters to your local papers and even ones that are not local. Post information on sites like facebook. Wear a brooch of a horse and when you get compliments on it, start to talk about horse ownership, gelding, what ever politely fits into the conversation. You do not need money to help this movement and start the change. Be creative, say prayers, I believe in the power of prayer. Take action and you will be surprised what a difference you can make with out spending money.

  9. Peppermint · ·

    You did all you could… do not blame yourself. I can only save so many horses but still fight the fight against slaughter. Wish I were closer to help.

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