Decency evades abbatoir to become top broodmare (AU)

Rebecca Bates with Decency and her Tanabota filly, Tyra.
Rebecca Bates with Decency and her Tanabota filly, Tyra.

Her name was Decency, although that mattered little in the yards of a Brisbane abattoir.

Life’s journey, it seemed, was nearly over for the nine-year-old New Zealand-born thoroughbred mare who had journeyed to Australia as a two-year-old.

The slaughterhouse found she was rideable and, in line with policy, she was given a couple of extra days in case anyone wanted to buy her at meat prices.

It was February or March last year, and Rebecca Bates was after a suitable riding horse for a friend. The pair were checking out the horses destined for the slaughter chain.

Rebecca liked the look of the big mare. She was a nice type, quiet and good to ride. It was impossible to miss the massive scar along her near-side belly – testament to a horrific injury at some time in her past.

Her thoroughbred brand was not recognised by Rebecca, but she felt there was a quality about the mare.

“She came home,” recalls Rebecca’s mother-in-law, Erica Bates, “and said, ‘I have seen this mare. I can’t get her out of my head. She’s a lovely big mare. She is quiet. Branded. I have a feeling she’s well-bred’.”

Erica says Rebecca has a great eye for horses and when she gets a gut feeling about a horse, it’s wise to follow it.

The next day Rebecca returned to Brisbane and bought the horse for $A600 – some $200 more than most slaughterhouse horses because of the amount of meat on her big frame.

“She was two days from slaughter,” recalls Erica.

Little did anyone know that Decency would, in the 18 months to follow, become centre-stage in a thoroughbred breeding fairytale that would turn her into one of Australia’s most valuable broodmares.

>> Read “The Kiwi mare who came in from the cold”, by Neil Clarkson,

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