Today I came across this plea from a respected horsewoman, who when not taking care of the family racing stable and family, spends a lot of her time working to improve the lot of retired race horses as well as aid in bringing attention to horses in danger, those who attempt to profit at the expense of these off-the-track standardbreds, and reconnect horses with their previous owners or others connected to them. In addition to helping raise attention to the plight of these horses, she has her collection of rescues on her farm which she takes care of without any outside support. Clearly she has reached a point of frustration when she wrote this opinion piece which is important for the industry to see.
I really wish that the industry would spend some time putting effort into creating a set of guidelines and regulations when it comes to the welfare of standardbreds.
Horsemen who actually care about the fate of these animals are getting hit from all sides. First we have to deal with the phone calls that tell us that a horse that we once owned or trained (even if it was years ago) are standing in a kill pen and we must come up with hundreds of dollars to "free" them (or else!). Then we have to deal with people who sell horses to the Amish and worry about dealing with those people to get them back (or else!).
Now the new thing is, the THREAT of Amishing a horse...."pay me $3,000 more than the horse is worth or I'm selling him to the Amish." I'm telling you, the market for extortion in this business is going up and up and up. All you have to do is claim a horse for $4,000, keep it for a few months (making no money with it) until it is unsound mentally and physically (because you had no business buying it to begin with) and then tell the previous owners to give you three times what the horse is worth or "I'm Amishing it."
The people who do these things have no business being in the horse business, especially if we are to protect racing for the future. The rest of the horse world is sick of seeing the headlines with yet another one of our horses ending up in a kill pen...and if you Amish a horse that is where it is ultimately going to end up once it's used up and tossed away.
We cannot claim ignorance anymore, "Oh I thought it was going to go live a good life in the country and live its life out in a lush pasture." That DOES NOT happen.
Do you know how many of these horses would end up on meat trucks if the Amish were taken out of the equation? NOT MANY. Because the Amish are the pipeline. It's not race owners and trainers shipping them to these sales, it's the Amish and it's their agents who scoop them up and ship them there. But I must add that common decency among horseman has been degraded to the point that I am not surprised that the horses suffer in the end, because we can't even be fair and decent to one another.
Right now I have SIX (count it 6!) fellow horseman that are desperately attempting to locate, buy back or prevent their horses from going to the Amish. This is turning into a disease.
The question is, Is anyone listening? I wonder.....