Getting it together

© Bob Langrish. Use by The Horse Fund with his gracious permission.

Hello again from The Horse Fund.

The Horse Fund has been conducting a massive reorganization based on our end-of year-review for 2017.  We also took a close look at 2016 where we had a particularly effective year. The time has zipped by.

Accordingly, we have streamlined and regrouped our staff and resources so that we are a leaner, meaner fighting machine.

We have focused a lot on leveraging our social media activities to the highest possible effectiveness in benefiting the horses we work daily to protect. Every day we have terrific people doing just that.

Social media is a constantly changing medium and we need do more then just keep up — we have to stay ahead of the game. More on how you can make your impact there later.

In the meantime, use our Contact Form and let us know what social media platform(s) you use most for advocating. Have you seen someone doing something particularly effective? Please share!

Give us your ideas. Tell us what is important to you as an advocate. In order to continue being a great team your feedback is crucial.

If you would like to donate we have a matching gift campaign underway. It has been active through the entire month of January and expires in a few days. Donate now here.

If any of you have a particular equine cause you would like to champion and write a guest post about, please let us know about it.

Thank you!


Featured Image: With gracious permission, Bob Langrish. 

This post has been updated.

Kentucky bill reducing horses to livestock sent to Governor to sign into law

FRANKFORT, KY — Take action. Contact Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin saying you OPPOSE SB 139 becoming law.

On March 15, 2017, SB 139, the Kentucky State Bill reducing horses to livestock — removing what precious few protections they have — was sent to the Governor’s Office to sign into law.

Kentucky already has an abysmal record when it comes to animal protection laws and enforcement. If this becomes law it may deliver a black eye to Kentucky that it may never recover from.

SB 139 passed both the Kentucky State Senate Agriculture Committee and Kentucky State House Agriculture unanimously.

We cannot find that a single negative vote was cast against a bill so insensitive to the well being of horses in the Kentucky State House or Senate although Kentuckians raised their voices in opposition to it.

The State legislator who introduced SB 139, Sen. Robin Webb (D-Grayson), and pushed it through is herself an animal abuser. In 2013 Webb was cited for violations of the Horse Protection Act for evidence of horse soring.

Another issue concerning SB 139 reducing the status of horses to livestock is that it paves the way for horses to be slaughtered in Kentucky.

Securing livestock classification has been among the top policy priorities of the Kentucky Equine Education Project since its 2004 creation. In horse circles KEEP is known to be pro horse slaughter.

A KEEP board member said, “I applaud the Kentucky legislature for their unanimous support of SB 139 and recognizing horses’ rightful place along side other agriculture commodities in Kentucky.”

Others in Kentucky’s horse industry who have cheered loudly and lustily in support of this move say it is only about tax breaks and incentives. However, they did not have to put Kentucky’s horses at risk to do this.

Kentucky lawmakers could have thought outside the box and elevated the horse’s status by giving them their own unique classification apart from other animals, then awarded members of the State’s horse industry with all the perks in the world, and at the same time set the standard for other States to follow.

However, this never occurred to any of them because they do not really value the horse at all.

How shameful.

All of this in a State who built its reputation on the back of the horse, is home to the Kentucky Derby and uses the horse in its logo.

State You OPPOSE SB 139 Becoming Law

Online Email Form

Twitter @GovMattBevin

Main Line: (502) 564-2611
Fax: (502) 564-2517​
TDD: (502) 564-9551


Protect your horse with a Horse I.D. Tag

Horse Fund Horse ID Tag. Zazzle image.
Horse Fund Horse ID Tag. Zazzle image.
Horse Fund fully customizable Horse ID Tag. Zazzle image. Click to Shop! Proceeds benefit Horse Charities.


Luggage tags are a safe, durable, weatherproof way to identify your horse in the case of an emergency or natural disaster. Simply attach it to their halter or head collar.

Another good use is when you are traveling with your horses to events and outings.

Personalize the tag with the image of your choice on the front side, such as a picture of your horse, or yourself with your horse.

On the reverse side, customize the text with the information you want and need. (TIP: Reduce the font to make more room for further instructions.)


For more information on how to plan and protect your horses in the case of a natural disaster, please see “Hurricanes and Horses” here on Tuesday’s Horse.


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Create and buy your Horse ID tags here. Proceeds benefit the Fund for Horses.

No horses in your family? Then customize it and use it as a baggage tag and escape bag mix ups for years to come. Charming gift idea!

Racing executives remain complacent and clueless while horses suffer and die


After meeting for two days in Lexington to discuss horse safety and welfare, racing executives remain complacent and clueless while horses suffer and die.

The third Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit ended June 29 in Lexington with a commitment to create a national rider injury database, something that Keeneland president and CEO Nick Nicholson said was his No. 1 priority going into the meeting.

Not another database.

“I think we need it, and I was going to be very disappointed if we didn’t get (an agreement to pursue) it,” said Nicholson, whose track has hosted all three of the summit’s editions. “Personally, I think our No. 1 objective should be to prevent injuries to people, so we’ve got to track how and where they are getting hurt. Our No. 2 priority is the safety of the horses, and it all goes together. If you provide safer racing facilities for horses, one of the consequences of a safer racing environment for horses is fewer injuries to people.”

Source: Rider Injury Database a Summit Priority, Deidre Biles, Blood Horse (Jun. 29, 2010)

The summit, according to its title, is supposedly about the welfare and safety of racehorses, not the jockeys. Stating that the safety of people comes first and the safety of racehorses second is putting the cart before the horse. Not that having an injury database for jockeys is a bad idea. However, if you put jockeys up on racing fit, drug free horses, there would be little if any need for a rider injury database.

In 1978, injuries to jockeys and even a death generated no reforms to improve horse or jockey safety.

“Butazolidin is the brand name for the drug phenylbutazone, a medication that can reduce swelling and inflammation, which in turn eases pain. It’s the most widely used drug in the horse racing industry, yet, on the heels of a series of recent accidents, its very mention generates emotional sparks.

And jockeys—including Rudy Turcotte, who broke his collarbone in a horrendous four-horse spill at Pimlico earlier this month that killed one rider, Robert Pineda—are questioning its use. Jorge Velasquez, one of the nation’s top jockeys, says, “In my opinion, these places that use Bute are really not in control of it.” And Steve Cauthen says, “The thing I don’t like about Bute is the horse tries to overextend himself. The horse is better when he knows how he feels.”

Indeed, a big knock on Bute—albeit a much refuted one—is that it does make a horse feel better than it really is, thus making it possible for the animal to put too much pressure on a bad ankle or knee. The newest question raised about Bute is whether the drug adversely affects healing of an injury, and whether bone density is subsequently weakened. This question arises because of a feeling that serious breakdowns are increasing, that instead of horses coming back lame after a race, too many are snapping their legs and going down during it. Studies are under way.”

The Bute goes on.

Source: New Uproar Over A Controversial Drug, Douglas S. Looney, Sports Illustrated (May 22, 1978)

Earlier this year, more than 30 years later, a group of jockeys took a stand at Penn National refusing to ride in races where Michael Gill owned horses were running because of safety concerns.

On Saturday night, during the fifth race at Penn National Race Course, Michael Gill’s third place finisher, Laughing Moon collapsed and was euthanized in front of a crowd of onlookers. It is no mystery that horses are known to break down on the tracks as they race, but Gill’s reputation has jockeys, owners, trainers and outside observers accusing Gill of an unusually high rate of horse injuries and deaths.

Just before the sixth race, about 25 jockeys gathered together to take a stand and refused to ride in the next race unless a Michael Gill horse was scratched. Jockeys feared for their own safety, and this seemed to be an unprecedented decision when jockeys refuse to ride because of an owner. Jockey Emilio Flores claims he had too many close calls and even took a spill riding another one of Gill’s horses that fell during the past week.

Only then did racing authorities take any action because the headline making event forced their hand. Gill eventually sold his horses and walked away. End of story. Issue buried.

Source: Racing and slaughter controversy consumes Penn National Race Course, Cheryl Hannah, The Examiner (Jan. 26, 2010).

The Biles article also contains a laundry list of objectives put together by attending horse racing executives. There was only one item that directly mentioned racehorse welfare.

Creation of veterinary guidelines, in conjunction with the American Association of Equine Practitioners, to determine potential and appropriate second careers for racehorses based on physical condition.

Since the American Association of Equine Practitioners is historically and irreversibly pro horse slaughter, the second careers for racehorses based on their physical condition may be as someone’s dinner.

The slaughter of racehorses is no longer the sport’s dirty secret it used to be. Yet horse racing executives appear to believe if they ignore the issue, it will simply disappear from public consciousness. That is highly unlikely and continues to damage horse racing’s reputation.

At the end of the Biles article Nicholson states:

“Coming into this third summit, I thought it was very important for us not to be complacent, an[d] we had some real successes because the participants rose to the occasion and challenged themselves to reach out even further,” Nicholson said.

Not nearly far enough.

Read full Blood Horse article by Deidre >>