While in Louisiana attending to a family crisis, I was compelled to seek out the local livestock & horse auctions. Killer buyers were quite obviously in attendance and buying horses left and right. I saw a horse offloaded from a trailer that seemed to be confused as to what was going on, but quite willing to obey the handler.
Upon closer inspection (unfortunately, you cannot go into the pens at these auctions, you view the animals from a catwalk high above them) I realized the reason for the horse's confusion was that he was missing an eye! He also had an injury near his poll that was weeping copious amounts of pus and fluid. This thin, older, gorgeous Dark Bay Thoroughbred had given his life, his eye and his heart to man. It was time to give back! I made up my mind that I would keep him out of the hands of the killers.
When he finally came through the small livestock ring there were no dollar amount bids....so they started the bidding at .32 cents a pound. I waited until it looked as if there would be no more bids (.38 cents a pound - he is a very big horse, large hindquarters, good weight for meat) before I bid. The last bid had been by a killer buyer. As soon as I bid, the killer buyer turned his chair around, looked at me and bid higher. This continued for a couple of bids (word had gotten out to the killers that 2 rescue ladies were in the audience and they knew exactly where we were sitting).
The auctioneer was unaware that we were rescue people and thought we were just dumb. He stopped the auction to ask me if I was aware that the horse was blind in one eye. I smiled, nodded my head and upped the bid. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind. The bidding continued and the auctioneer stopped the auction again to ask me if I realized that the horse had only one eye and was old. I smiled and upped the bid. One more time the auctioneer stopped the bidding and in an exasperated voice asked me if I realized that the horse had one eye, was old and he was sick. That something was wrong with him. I smiled, nodded and upped the bid. The killer buyer smiled at me when I bid .60 cents a pound and turned his chair back around. I paid .60 cents a pound for an 1150 lb. horse, a little over 700.00. Small price to pay for a life don't you think?
The lady that went with me to the auction is the head of the Humane Socienty of Western Louisiana. Not only is she constantly on the road rescuing dogs, cats, skunks, racoons, etc., she is deeply involved in the rescue of free roaming wild mustangs living on the grounds of Fort Polk, LA. Dealing with the politics of helping these horses has been difficult at best. Since the horses are on Federal land, the red tape involved in helping them to not be rounded up and sent to slaughter is quite involved.
She is doing this basically on her own. She needs assistance if/when she is able to bring the horses to safety. Should you be interested in helping Barbara help these horses, or in adopting one when they are available, please go to: http://www.lahorses.com Let Barbara know we are behind her! She is pretty much alone in this and is in need of monies, volunteers and people familiar with mustangs.
We christened the gorgeous TB I bought at auction Brother Stanley. He is a wonderfully kind horse that stood quietly while the vet dug into the wound on his neck. He is quite willing to teach Barbara about old horses with big hearts since he is now living with her and her small herd of rescued horses. Many thanks to Barbara for being there for me in my time of need while I buried my mother and step-father. Many thanks to Barbara for answering my call about....where can I help a horse while I am here? For giving Brother Stanley a loving home, with care and compassion I cannot thank Barbara enough. (She also rescued a 2 yr. old mustang and a mule from the killer buyers while we were at the auction!!!)
I went to that auction to save a horse in my mother's memory. But, it was Brother Stanley who saved me. My mother said many times It's what you learn AFTER you know it all that counts! I now know that being helpful to some and harmful to none is the best I can do. We can't save them all unfortunately, but the ones we are able to save continue to give and give. Unconditionally.
Thank you all for being there for me and for the horses that need us. Here is Brother Stanley's latest update!
Hi Gail, Sorry it took me so long to set down and write you all the latest. Stanley had surgery yesterday and is doing well. The abscess would heal and then break back open. Doc found a fractured vertebrae with a piece the size of a silver dollar broken off in his neck. He said the surrounding vertebrae had taken over the muscle control and it should be alright once it heals. We are giving him antibiotics by shot and there is a drain tube in his neck we will remove when he heals. he is so sweet. He has endured it all with no fuss. Loaded quietly both times in the trailer to go to and from the vets. Take good care of yourself. I'll keep you posted on Bro. Stanley.