Home Sweet Home

At least, for this guy:


 JR is back with his long time owner from Charles Town, starting a 30 day quarantine after being up on the dealer lot near New Holland.

A few details about how all this happened – a woman named Carol Bailey obtained this horse after bringing her children to the track to see him, and saying he would be for her young son.  Several emails were exchanged, and conversations took place stating that if the horse didn’t work, he was to be returned, and he was to be kept on Carol’s property in Berryville, VA. 

We know now, through the investigative efforts of his owner, that JR never set foot on that property, and it seems went directly into the hands of someone named Todd.  From there he went to another man, who actually took him to the sale at New Holland, where he ended up in the kill buyer’s lot near the auction.  What money exchanged hands, or not, I don’t know.  All I know is that a few short days later I spied that familiar blaze and trace clip on Another Chance For Horses’ website in the broker-owned section.

The other horse Carol took that day, I haven’t seen anywhere, either on that website or other sites that post horses from auctions/lots.  It is possible that this horse is happy in a field somewhere, being worked and prepped as a resale project or personal horse.  I don’t know. The same goes for several other horses she obtained over the last year.  

Naming names is not something I do lightly.  In fact I was warned against it and admonished for having already posted this one in another place frequented by rescuers.  Unfortunately, I do not feel that misrepresenting yourself to obtain horses, especially using your children as a means of proving your good intentions, entitles you to protection.  Especially since there are other recent cases of horses from Charles Town ending up in the same place after having gone through the same hands (though I believe the excuse then was that a horse was “stolen from my field” – in which case I’d love to see the police report). 

Dealers who state their full intentions and say up front the horse may go to a sale if it won’t work – that at least is honest.  But this?  I’m having real problems with this.

If you, or someone you know, is planning on giving a horse away because a good home is more important than money, there are several things to remember.

  1. Check references.  Particularly vet references.  Ask if there is a quick turnover of horses at the property.  Ask the neighbors how often horses come and go.  If you can, go see the actual farm where the horse will be going.  Google the person’s name, phone number, and email address (this often turns up forum postings, sale ads, and sometimes warnings).  In this case, it may not have done much, but the effort alone might have deterred the woman from trying to get the horse in the first place.
  2. Get a written and notarized contract.  The “right of first refusal” is hard enough to uphold, but if you don’t have an actual written, signed, and witnessed contract, it can be very difficult to get your horse back in the event things go astray.  Insisting on this also makes people whose intentions are less than pure less likely to want to deal with you.

There is no way to be fully safe.  But these precautions can help protect you, and more importantly, they can help protect your horse.  In this case, the owner thought she had enough information and knew the woman from past dealings.  And this owner was not born yesterday nor is she easy to fool.  She also does her best to find good homes for horses (in fact, several of her former racers have been featured on this blog as success stories with their new owners fairly recently).  This kind of thing could happen to anybody.

And really, as a result of this, I’ve had to take a much harder look at the whole slaughter pipeline.  I’ve gotten to wondering how many of the horses in such predicaments got there by false (though not illegal) pretenses.  This is the second time I’ve been involved in recovering horses that something like this has happened to.  Given the number of hands JR went through in the space of one week, it seems to be a thriving business.

Interestingly, at the same time JR was up at the lot, another horse (a welsh pony cross) who was supposed to have gone to be  a lesson pony ALSO ended up there.  Johnny Rocket had been given to a local trainer for the lesson program.  Somehow he ended up at New Holland instead. 

The other Charles Town TB who I knew (who also ended up at New Holland the same day as JR, probably through similar though not identical channels as he left the track with someone else completely according to the little bit of information I’ve been able to find) appears to have been paid for through donations from several sources.  Hopefully a place for him to go has also been secured, and I’ll be trying to find out about that. 

And of course, with another week comes another group of horses up there.  Cute ponies.  Beautiful saddlebreds.  A grey TB mare with a knee the size of a watermelon.  *sigh*

And with that starts my vacation.  I will be heading down to Rolex tomorrow to enjoy several days of craziness in the rain with some of my favorite people.  Along the way I intend to get some pics of “Anthony Patch,”  a Thoroughbred being ridden by Laine Ashker who began his career when he was purchased off the CANTER listings as a “trainer owned” horse at Charles Town races.  I believe our fan favorite “Brandenburg’s Joshua” is also on the entry list, a horse who ended his racing career coming in dead last in a $2500 claiming race at Charles Town, and whose breeders/trainers right now have a beautiful half sister of in their stable.  🙂


One response to “Home Sweet Home

  1. thank you so much for all that you do!

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