Archive for July, 2008

Savannah (21 year old mare) is actually Just Aired. She raced 60 times and earned $66,523. She went on to be a broodmare after racing and had 2 foals by Risen Star. One of her foals earned over $220,000 in just 25 starts. Savannah is a granddaughter of 1976 Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes. Her great-great grandfather is Bold Ruler. She has royal racing blood running through those veins. So, how does a horse such as this end up being starved at the end of a dirt road in Eustis, FL?

The vet was out yesterday and examined both momma and baby. Trish has to stop Delilah from nursing. Savannah is rated a 2.5 on the scale, with 0 being totally emaciated and 10 being obese. A normal horse should be in the range of 5-6. Savannah has some behaviors going on that we hope clear up once she is eating regularly and feeling better. She is cribbing and she weaves back and forth. Both of these are only seen when she is in the barn during the day. Trish is keeping her in during the day so she can conserve what little energy she has. She and Delilah are out to graze in one of the big pastures during the night. Savannah needs to eat and get TLC. Delilah had about 50 cc’s of fluid drained off one of her knees. We are hoping it was trauma related and will go back to normal. She does have a chip of cartilage floating around the joint, which may require surgery. It’s a wait and see situation. She was put on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. She is about 50 pounds underweight as compared to her momma being about 400 pounds underweight. She has a good momma and that is why she is not in as bad a shape. Now that these girls have been given a chance at life, let’s pray they can heal physically and emotionally.

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The July 28th edition of the CassidyCam Weekly Webcast is available for viewing. We take a break from our girls to meet two rescue horses that arrived at the barn over the weekend. Momma (Savannah) and baby (Delilah) are both bags of bones:

Don’t forget, you can watch the Weekly Webcast live every Monday night at 7pm Eastern (Florida) time. All previous shows are just a click away, directly below the main viewer window.

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Bath Day

The big girls are getting a bit suspicious…

Rebecca Maye is definitely interested…

Mmmm, bath water is yummy!

What is better than a good roll in the mud after getting all soaped up and shiny clean?!

WhooHooo!!!!!! Rebecca did a great job, don’t you think?

Momma Cassidy was not thrilled with being hosed off and bathed but she was a good girl for it.

Nap time was overdue…

One more look at the dirty baby – after the bath!

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The July 21st edition of the CassidyCam Weekly Webcast is available for viewing. Becca’s coat has grown in again, and she’s been sweating in the Florida heat. So it’s time for a shave!

Don’t forget, you can watch the Weekly Webcast live every Monday night at 7pm Eastern (Florida) time. All previous shows are just a click away, directly below the main viewer window.

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Yesterday afternoon I had a couple hours in between clients, so I went to the barn and got the girls out to graze. Trish’s horses, Teddy & Prince, were out in the grassy area so I thought this would be a good test for Cassidy. She’s only ever been out with the other momma horse and baby. Teddy & Prince are both nice, well-behaved geldings so I though things should be fine – as long as they listened to her.

Prince noticed the girls first and began following them at a safe distance. Rebecca Maye was very curious about him, but scared at the same time. When Prince got close enough to take a good whiff of Cassy’s butt, she whirled around quicker than you could say Boo! He decided it wasn’t important enough to try to sniff anymore. He turned his attentions to Rebecca. That wasn’t any better for the old man. Cassidy gave a slight charge and told him to back off from her baby. Teddy had been halfway watching things from a distance and he didn’t even try to come near them. The other horses all came to the front of their pasture fences to see what was going on but Cassidy wasn’t worried about them.

A couple times Rebecca got a little far from Cassidy and the boys would try to sniff her then but she would quickly run back to safety. At one point Cass noticed the gate to a pasture open and she walked inside. What did she do? Checked the feed buckets, of course! Rebecca lost sight of her when she went in there and she ran crazy looking for her and calling to her. Cass came trodding out and all was well then. Cassidy definitely had the upper hoof on the two boys. Watching their instincts at work is amazing. My girls definitely love one another.

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On Monday I got brave and trimmed Rebecca’s mane so she would look like a respectable Fjordhorse filly. Her daddy held her and I used newly purchased scissors to snip the ends off. It is standing up just like it’s supposed to and it looks TOUGH!!!! It is very cool, to say the least. I really want to cut Cassidy’s mane but Scottie is giving me a hard time about it. He compromised by saying it was ok to cut the baby’s. In the photos you can see the contrast between mother and daughter. Don’t tell Scottie, but I trimmed the ends off Cassidy’s yesterday! She has just a ton of hair – you can’t even tell I did anything.

Tomorrow our baby turns 2 months old. I’m taking a fecal sample into the vet for them to check for parasites. Hopefully, it will be negative and I won’t have to give her any worming medicine. She is certainly growing. She and momma are eating lots and lots of hay (more than all the other horses) because they don’t have any grass to graze on a regular basis.

For about the past week we’ve had rain daily. Rebecca is a mud lover. She is so full of mischief. I can have her perfectly groomed in the morning and when I get there for dinner she has mud from head to tail. She always looks quite content. Momma usually hangs out in the tent when it’s raining. Thank goodness they don’t seem to mind our Florida thunderstorms.

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Fjord of the Flies

(I apologize for having so much time in between posts.)

Embarking into the world of horses has made one thing perfectly clear – it is all out war on flies! They really bother my two big girls. Cassidy is good at stomping them away and she has so much hair she is her own fly mask, but they are still a problem. I’ve gone through a few different fly sprays until I found one I’m happy using. I don’t want to use anything with pesticides and that’s not easy to find. Even a lot of the supposed home made natural fly sprays call for a regular fly spray in the mixture. The one I use is based from marigolds and it seems to do alright. It smells wonderful. Cassidy is good now about me spraying her and the baby has behaved since day one. I spray them as often as I see them really stomping their feet at the buggers.

Cassidy’s forelock before it was trimmed…

Another discovery I found is a fly trap that really works! It stinks to high Heaven but it gets the bugs dead in no time at all. I found it in a catalog called Solutions. It was under $20, is non-toxic and really makes a difference in her pasture. Since she’s no longer in the barn, I am able to control things better for her with keeping the pasture poop picked up and keeping the trap out. Where there is poop there are flies.

See the trap hanging from the tree…

Dead flies and maggots…gross…this was the first trap.

Closeup…more gross! Some non-fly bugs did get trapped, too, but they should have paid attention to where they were going. The greenish things you see are eyeballs!


The three bunnies are now living together in harmony. We took the two new ones to our vet and he determined they were both females so we had no worries of baby buns. The fur was flying for a while, though. Yes, bunnies fight! Now, they all three lay together and groom – it’s nice to see.


Rebecca is now 7 weeks old and she is simply a joy. She’s eating from a bucket like a big horse. She does still nurse and will for a few more months, but is also getting grain and hay. She likes being hosed off during our hot afternoons. She loves coming out to the grassy area and graze and run, but she has yet to really play with Echoe, the other baby. He has tried and she runs from him. They’ll work it out. She has twice now been scared by two different farriers. It was nothing that they did wrong. She is just not used to anyone else being in the pasture with her, I guess.  I’m going to try to work on that.

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This is written by Jennifer Swanson of Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue. Contact information is at the bottom of the article. She has vowed to the Shire Husband (a horse they failed to save) to no longer keep her mouth shut but to scream the truth from the mountaintops! Keep in mind that our girl, Cassidy April, was headed to this same fate.

June 22, 2008

As you approach the auction house the first thing you see are the eyes looking out through rusted caged windows. The horses get as close as they can to the air, the sunlight they know is out there, but they can’t get too close or their eyes will be impaled by the bent and rusted prongs. Still, they look out, hoping to see something familiar, someone coming to take them home.

Every horse has a different story. For the horses at auction, the look in their eyes all begs the same question: what did I do to deserve this? These horses are in a dark, man-made and operated cement hell.

They are poked and prodded and crammed, sometimes 50 horses, into single pens. Some horses fight, some try to stay to the side to avoid getting kicked. Some are hurt, some are mares trying to protect their foals. Others are just trying to stay on their feet so they don’t get trampled. There are tired and wounded workhorses. Colicking horses. Injured racehorses standing on three legs that still wear sweat from their last race.

This horror is just the first step in a torturous journey that these horses are on. It’s a journey that we as Americans, horse lovers and humanitarians allow in our country. And just when I think it can’t get worse, they open the gates and shove another horse in there, and the ruckus starts again, as the horses shift and struggle for position. A few strong ones can fight for a little bit of hay in the corner. Many horses have their heads stuck out of the pen in hopes a passerby will give them a pet on the head, in hopes someone will see them and take them out of there. Their quiet pleas seem somehow louder than the screams of the horses who are scared and hurt.

The horses do not have to have a voice to tell their story. The workhorses and Standardbreds, injured and abused and yet often clearly fresh from work, are the most painful to watch. These horses have given their lives to work for their owners and then they are delivered to a painful death. The Amish, the people who use these horses for their means of transportation and agriculture, in many cases provide the most horrible cases of neglect and abuse. A bullet to the head is more humane than what they do to these horses. What in their faith allows for this cruelty? The auction at Sugarcreek is the dumping grounds. Most people will bring their horses there to be sold, but they will buy their horses from better auctions. They will go to Mt. Hope or and spend thousands on a beautiful Standardbred with bows in her hair right off the track. In a year or two this same horse will be at the kill auction in Sugarcreek: weak, abused and destined for slaughter. They will go to a draft farms and spend thousands on a beautiful team or a draft horse, usually a Belgian and the same things will happen. This horse will be used and worked to within days of its life and then sent to the kill auction. That is the reward these horses receive for their work and servitude. If the horses are injured, they don’t care for them. They simply work them until they can no longer work, then they are sent to the killbuyer. I know there are Amish people out there who take good care of their horses, but we see so, so many that don’t.

And it’s not only the Amish. The racing industry joins them in the cruelest act. Gleaming muscled racehorses are top choice for the killbuyers. On May 23rd Pure Thoughts bought more than 15 tattooed thoroughbreds. Some of these horses were picked up at a Maryland racetrack by a man who said he would deliver them to a therapeutic riding center. Instead he planned to deliver them to killbuyers. Fortunately for those horses we were there and brought them home. What happened to Eight Belles is truly heartbreaking and it seems the racing community is trying to change practices and policies. But what about this behind-the-scenes atrocity. Do all of the people who mourned the loss of Eight Belles know what happens to many racehorses every Friday at Sugarcreek?

Next time you enjoy a day at the races, think about the ones that did not make it that far or the horses that came in last in their race. Chances are there next stop is an inhumane slaughter. Is that really worth the exhilaration you felt as the horses crossed the finish line? Is their life worth our recreation? Are we, as a nation saying “It is okay that these horses experience a horrific death” is that what we want to define us as horse lovers?

But there is more. It’s not just the racing industry and the Amish. The slaughter pens hold many of beautiful horses, show horses, ponies, trail horses, pets, workhorses. Mares and week old foals are bought by killbuyers. They will be taken from the auction together but a stop will be made. At this stop the foal will be ripped from its’ mother and either left to die or fattened up until it can be pass as a six-month old and then it will be sent to slaughter. The mare thinks losing her foal is a heartbreak, she has no idea what she is in for, this is nothing. Pregnant mares who are just days from giving birth are in the killpens after auction. They will be slaughtered. Killbuyer and slaughterhouses do not want our sick, old and lame. They want the healthy horses. Slaughter does not care what is on the registration papers, it just wants flesh.

But we haven’t even gotten to the process of slaughter yet. After the auction, the next horror these horses go through is the transport. Usually this is done unlawfully and without morals. The horses are crammed, again, into a trailer. Stallions, yearlings, mare, foals ponies are jammed in together. There is no water. There are no stops. They drive across the country to Canada or Mexico and don’t get off-loaded until they reach the slaughterhouse. Some will die on the way. If they act up, they are beaten harshly.

And yet, the American public turns a blind eye to this practice. So far we haven’t forced our government to listen to cries of the horses.

Some horse owners and lovers also stay in the dark, not educating themselves on the cruel truths of horse auctions. That nice man who seems to be buying up many good horses is NOT taking them back to his ranch. He is buying them for meat and he will smile at you politely and soon those horses will begin their long hellish journey, one that will end with him or her gasping for their last breath after being mutilated and tortured.

As rescuers we dance with the devil every day for the sake of the horses. We play the game we must play in order to be able to attend these auctions, work with the killbuyers and purchase these horses. We keep our stories amongst ourselves in order not to ruffle any feathers. We all filled with anger and rage over what happens and the tears are a river that runs constant. The story I tell is one I have lived with, it haunts my dreams and fills my soul. I look at the ones we save and cannot help but think of the ones we were unable to save. When I learned of horse slaughter, it changed my life. I gave up the life I had for a life that was once unknown to me and now I live and breathe it.

My job now is to speak for the horses and do my best to bring an end to this dirty little secret. From slaughter to nursemare foals. Cruelty and misuse of horses is inhumane and intolerable. For those who cannot speak … I will.

On May 23, 2008, Pure Thoughts Horse and Foal Rescue aligned forces with the Davis- McCullough Foundation and saved all the horses that were intended to go to slaughter at the horse kill auction known at Sugarcreek Livestock auction. We did it with help from Victoria McCullough of the Davis-McCullough Foundation, which has spent years dedicating itself to the needs children and animals.

All equines were safe that day, including some from the week before who were waiting for their trip to slaughter. That was a single day that the horses were safe. As a country we have the ability to change this action and bring the horses of our country to safety everyday. These horses are being slaughtered for human consumption and shipped overseas to Europe and Asia. Let’s ban together and tell them No. Not our horses, the horses will not be tortured for your gluttony, not on our watch.

For more information on how you can help you may email Jennifer@PureThoughtsHorseRescue.com , visit the site http://www.PTHR.org or call 561-254-0415

Jennifer Swanson
Pure Thoughts Inc.
Horse & Foal Rescue
19181 Capet Creek
Loxahatchee, FL 33470

Saving the life of a horse may not change the world………..
……..but it will change that horse’s world.

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