By VIVIAN GRANT
Wow, at long last horse breeders and traders with their thinking caps on. And not solely about themselves, but about the future of the horses they bring into the world.
This is such a step forward that it is difficult for us to think of anything sarcastic to say, and as our dear readers know, we have plenty of it for the nonsensical ideas people who have control over horses’ lives come up with. Or worse, ones that design programs who say they are in our horses’ interests, and are anything but.
In an article entitled “Unwanted Horses: A Challenge for Sellers,” by the excellent Deirdre Biles writing for The Blood-Horse, she tells us about a new adoption program for Thoroughbreds that remain unsold.
Calling them unwanted would not be our choice of words, rather these are horses, because of excessive breeding, have no takers in the sale ring. They are unsold horses, not unwanted horses.
The unsold Thoroughbred adoption program is the brainchild of Antony Beck, president of Gainesway Farm in Lexington. So far, we like Mr. Beck.
Beck tells Biles:
It’s a sad, but a very definite situation that we’re facing,” Beck said. “A large number of Thoroughbreds are going to be taken out of the breed one way or another, and it would be wonderful if they could go out of the racing orbit into the show horse or pleasure horse worlds. This is a way we can save a lot of lives.
Biles reports that available Thoroughbreds will be listed on the website of the Blood-Horse‘s sister publication, The Horse (www.TheHorse.com).
The site will allow Thoroughbred owners to list information about horses they are willing to give away free to good homes in the United States.
Uh, oh. That does not sound so good. First they are adopting them out, then offering no Sale Thoroughbreds for sale, now they are giving them away. How many times are people warned never to advertise any animal, “free to a good home?” And of course TheHorse.com is an AAEP affiliated site. The AAEP (American Association of Equine Practioners), along with the AVMA, are pro horse slaughter and lobby against legislation prohibiting it. Of course, that is their creepy Boards, and not all of their members, who have courageously broken from the pack and come out against horse slaughter.
Read >> Rescue Highlights Danger of Free Horse Offers from TheHorse.com.
Biles informs us that:
More than 5,800 Thoroughbreds are cataloged to the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland mixed sales in November in Central Kentucky. All but 189 of that total (including one late addition) are in the Keeneland auction.
According to Keeneland’s director of sales, Geoffrey Russell, his company is taking a “wait and see” approach to the situation, but he praised Beck for seeking a solution to what could become a very big problem.
“We commend Mr. Beck for trying to find alternative markets for these Thoroughbreds (that aren’t considered commercially viable), and we think it’s a great idea,” Russell said.
Here comes the money part of it, but it would be totally out of the question for it not to:
During previous Thoroughbred market downturns, people buying horses for slaughter and broodmares to join nurse mare herds shopped at the lower end of the Kentucky mixed sales. But the $1,000 minimum bid at both Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton was designed to make horses too expensive for slaughter buyers, and it also probably will shut out nurse mare owners as well.
For the minimum bid we can thank the late and sainted John Hettinger.
Ah, the cruelties of nurse mares. That is another story for another day.