byRachel Bendler| Nov 15, 2017
The Jockey Club knows her as Sweeten Your Step, but we call her “Sunday”.
Like many Thoroughbreds, names like Secretariat and Northern Dancer are spattered across her registration papers. Though Sunday’s racing days were less than impressive, she maintained a successful jumping career on an intercollegiate equestrian team. While not a high-dollar horse, she once had a price sticker of $6K as a jumper and possessed all of the manners and talent that a good mare should have. She certainly wasn’t at risk of being slaughtered… right?
Sometimes, that’s just not good enough. Horses of all disciplines get used up and forgotten about every day. Meatmen don’t care that horses have a personality and a history. Just being obedient isn’t a ‘get out of jail free’ card to ensure that a horse is kept forever. Horses need a career, and sometimes, that’s not even enough. Horses out of a job are almost hopeless.
The day we met Sunday, she was skinny and beat up in the back kill pen. Sold for meat the week before and quietly waiting to be transported to slaughter, she had no chance of making it out of there. Gone were the show barns that had formerly housed her, and not one person from her glory days was to be found singing her praises.
That Friday, we only bought one other horse during the auction. Sunday’s stars somehow aligned and she was ours for $275. She was loaded onto our trailer at the eleventh hour.
Horses need a career, and sometimes, that’s not even enough. Horses out of a job are almost hopeless.
Sunday is the poster child for the used-up and thrown out. A bowed tendon retired her, and due to re-injury and a lack of proper rehabilitation, she was pitched. The sad thing is that Sunday isn’t unique. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we will say again that people need to own horses responsibly. If your horse is broken, fix him. If you can’t fix him, retire him. If you can’t retire him, bury him. It’s not easy, but he deserves someone to do right by him. An auction where he will be sold for his meat and slaughtered is not a humane option.
Every week, people trade responsibility for convenience when it comes to horse ownership. Let’s all try to change that.
Sunday is representative of thousands of other horses that aren’t as lucky. Thankfully, she was salvaged. Her wounds have now healed, she has gained weight, and her hooves are no longer filled with crippling abscesses. She is happy and walks around with a pleasant look on her face.
Our sweet little ‘scratch-and-dent special’ is now ready to find a real home. If you are interested in adopting Sunday, please contact us. We know that a retirement home is hard to find… but she has absolutely earned it.
About Bella Run Equine: Bella Run Equine in Athens, Ohio is a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of slaughter-bound horses. Bella Run makes a commitment to do right by each horse that passes through their doors. To learn more, visit bellarunequine.com or their Facebook page.