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The following is an update from the American Wild Horse Preservation.
Wild horses and burros are under attack every day. We are fighting for them every day, and we want to show you every day this week exactly what we are fighting for.
This valiant wild Wyoming stallion fought off five younger stallions to defend his beautiful snow-white mare, so heavily in foal she could barely move. Moments after the battle, he returned to his mare’s side and allowed her to rest her head on his back in the warm sun.
Chivalry is not dead, but these wild horses and their way of life could be if we are not successful in stopping the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from wiping out wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard to appease powerful ranching interests.
This year, we stopped a huge BLM helicopter roundup in this area. We scored two important legal victories that put the brakes… at least for now… on the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from the Checkerboard. But the fight for the future of Wyoming’s wild herds goes on.
We call this beautiful stallion Galahad and his mare, Snow White. They are a reason to give. Their future depends on you.
Suzanne Roy, Executive Director
P.S. Today, you can double your impact for wild horses like Galahad and Snow White! Your year-end donation will be matched…so please give as generously as you can. Thank you!
Photo: Kimerlee Curyl
The following is an article from the Horse.
Four charities joined forces to promote global working equid welfare standards adopted this year by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The standards—which entitle working donkeys, horses, and mules to basic needs such as food, water, and shelter—have been welcomed as a milestone in improving equine welfare. However, they are not the law. To help governments implement the standards, technical experts from The Donkey Sanctuary, The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA), World Horse Welfare, and the Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys had a joint poster displayed at the 4th OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare in Mexico. The event, which took place Dec. 6-8, hosted policymakers from 180 member states around the globe.
The charities used the posted to promote their message of collaboration and how they can offer assistance to help implement the standards by assessing welfare; equipping service providers like farriers, saddlers, and veterinarians; and helping develop tertiary education.
“This is a great opportunity to work together as a sector to improve the welfare of millions of working equids,” said Karen O’Malley, BSc, World Horse Welfare head of international program development. “The OIE standard is a positive and important step in helping working equids to become visible to policymakers and we will continue to support national government initiatives to make this standard a reality in many countries around the world.”
Karen Reed, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS, head of animal welfare capacity at the Brooke agreed: “Brooke supported the OIE in developing the working equine welfare standards, and we were delighted to see them adopted. Of course, the challenge now is to implement them. We’re pleased to be working with likeminded organizations to support the OIE and their member states to make this happen. As well as working with policymakers, it’s very important to work directly with the communities that rely on horses, donkeys, and mules, and empower local vets and farriers. We specialize in building capacity so that these people can become self-sufficient animal welfare advocates.”
Added Stephen Blakeway, BA, VetMB, MSc, PGCE, MRCVS, director of international operations at The Donkey Sanctuary, “There is no longer any excuse for donkeys, mules, and horses to be invisible. Now we can all align our work to the standards and provide strong case studies showing how improved welfare benefits donkeys and people socially and economically.”
Francesca Compostella, DVM, MRCVS, director of veterinary programs at SPANA, added, “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with other organizations to assist the OIE in implementing the working equine standards. This document represents a momentous milestone that gives international recognition to the working horses, donkeys, and mules that play a fundamental role in guaranteeing the livelihoods of millions of families worldwide. With close collaboration and cooperation, we look forward to working with policymakers, equine owning communities, vets, and other professionals to facilitate the successful implementation of such standards. Thanks to the OIE, we now have an invaluable tool to achieve widespread, lasting change to the welfare of working equids around the world.”
The following is an article from the Horse.
In a groundbreaking move, Australian racing authorities have declared a nation-wide ban on the use of whips in harness racing.
Harness Racing Australia (HRA) announced Dec. 10 that no whip use will be tolerated on any of its tracks as of September 2017, making it the second country worldwide to ban whips in harness racing (Norway was the first to implement a ban).
However, an important distinction is that the Norwegian ban came down from a government decision, where as in Australia, the interdiction results from a decision by the national racing authority itself, a leading equitation scientist said.
“In Norway, the move was triggered by animal welfare legislation, but the HRA announcement represents the first time a racing authority has taken the lead and voluntarily walked away from the whip,” said Paul McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, MACVS (Animal Welfare), professor of animal behavior and animal welfare science at the University of Sydney.
Starting Sept. 1, 2017, HRA will no longer allow whips in racing or training, a decision that “was not taken lightly, but was made on our own initiative because we believe it is the right decision at the right time,” said HRA Chairman Geoff Want.
“We have been moving down this path for six years by limiting (whip) use with a strong focus on health and welfare of horses,” he said. “We see the ban as a vital way of demonstrating our responsibility as an industry, and to earning and maintaining the social acceptance and sustainability of harness racing.”
Their thought processes included a recognition of the fact that whips have not actually made horses run faster, McGreevy added. “The HRA announcement is a win for the sport and for horse welfare. It comes as industry figures show that, even though whip use has been increasingly limited, race times have been improving,” he stated in an online commentary.
This could be related to simple basics of equitation science—negative reinforcement and habituation, he told The Horse. If horses are whipped, then go faster, then are whipped again, they could quickly learn that going faster doesn’t make the whipping stop.
“The decision is welcome news,” McGreevy said. “The HRA has recognized that you can—and should—have an even playing field without whipping tired horses in the name of sport.
“This is the prime example of what can be achieved for animal welfare when the industry wakes up and smells the coffee and works with welfare organizations to arrive at decisions that are good for both the industry and animal welfare.”
While the decision is a victory for trotting and pacing horses in Australia, whips remain allowed in Thoroughbred racing, McGreevy added. But, he added, “the Thoroughbred racing industry is presumably feeling a lot more pressure than it did before because of this groundbreaking gesture in the name of animal welfare.”
This article is featured on the HORSE.
A group of equine advocates in Louisiana have filed a federal lawsuit to halt the Army’s plan to remove estray horses that roam property at Fort Polk, in Vernon Parish, Louisiana, and the Kisatchie National Forest, which spans seven central and northern Louisiana parishes.
Last year, the Army issued a public notice of intend to conduct an environmental assessment in advance of a proposed action to remove the so-called “trespass horses” at Fort Polk. In April the Army released the final assessment, which stated that, due to herd growth, the horses interfered with Army training operations at the base and in the national forest and presented a safety concern to nearby communities.
On Dec. 14, the Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) filed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent the Army from removing the horses on grounds that the animals had roamed the base and national forest property since the 1600s, and that the removal plan threatens the horses’ long-term survival.
“The Army’s plan sets a dangerous precedent for future viability of these unique horses,” said Amy Hanchey, PEGA president. “The unique herds of truly wild horses are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans. They should be preserved and protected.”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Russel Honoré, a Louisiana native who served in the Army for more than 30 years, said the horses are part of the region’s ecosystem.
“They were here before we got here and we just have to figure out how we’re going to deal with that,” he said.
Kim Reischling, information strategies officer for the Fort Polk Public Affairs Office, said Fort Polk’s Commander was aware of the lawsuit, and that the right to file such litigation is a critical part of Americans’ freedom.
“Everyone is entitled to due process and we stand behind that right,” Reischling said. “We shall follow the letter of the law.”
The lawsuit remains pending.
Equine charity Brooke has met its goal of reaching two million working horses, donkeys and mules in a single year.
The ambitious goal to reach this vast number of working horses and donkeys to relieve their suffering and improve welfare through training, research and treatment was set almost six years ago.
It is estimated that at least 100 million equines are supporting more than 600 million people in the developing world. The majority of those animals are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, lameness, and/or contagious diseases, nearly all of which can be prevented with proper training for their owners.
Measuring the impact of its work is a key focus for Brooke. In 2016, in Nepalese brick kilns where Brooke works the number of animals with eye problems fell by 42%. In Brooke projects in Nicaragua the number of severely underweight animals was reduced by 31% and Brooke Pakistan reduced by 16% the number of animals in their coal mine projects with severe wounds. In the UK, Brooke now has 30 community fundraising groups passionate about raising money for the cause, and almost 10,000 new supporters have jumped on board this year alone.
“Reaching two million horses, donkeys and mules in a year is one of our proudest achievements,” said Chief executive Petra Ingram said.
“We’re so grateful to our donors for enabling us to offer support to so many animals. This success paves the way for the future of Brooke. By 2021 we want to reach even more working horses, donkeys and mules in the greatest need. And we want to ensure that Brooke makes a lasting difference to animals’ lives – so they continue to benefit for generations to come.”
US donors had also contributed to the year’s success, through its American fundraising affiliate Brooke USA.
Brooke USA Chairman Dr David Jones said the organisation would rely on its donors in coming years “as we strive to expand and reach our next goal of five million animals each year by 2021.”
In a huge milestone for Brooke’s global animal welfare and advocacy work, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced this year the first set of welfare standards for working horses, donkey and mules. Furthermore contribution of working equines to food security was officially recognised by the UN in livestock recommendations formally endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
“This means that the needs of countless horses, donkeys and mules who have laboured for so long without recognition can no longer be ignored. They’re on the international agenda – giving Brooke a hard-won opportunity to reach more of the world’s 100 million working equines than ever before,” Ingram said.
Heralding this new chapter, Brooke launched its new brand in 2016, including the new strapline “Action for working horses and donkeys” to create instant understanding of the charity’s work and the role of animals in the everyday life in a world where fewer than 20% of people have access to a motor vehicle.
Brooke currently works primarily India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and has pilot projects in several other developing countries.
Brooke appointed five new trustees including three from countries where it works, helping to bring it closer to the communities that rely on working animals.
Brooke’s new overseas trustees are CEO of Change Alliance in India, Belinda Bennett, CEO of Emerge Africa Ed Rege, based in Kenya, and Cheikh Ly, from Senegal, a veterinary school full tenure professor. The UK trustees are Graeme Cooke, the UK’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer and former Veterinary Director of the World Governing body of Horse Sport (FEI) and Sarah Arnold, a specialist trust and estates solicitor.
The following is a call for support from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
These innocent baby mustangs were at their mothers’ sides living wild and free in Nevada just days before these photos were taken. Now they cling together in the BLM’s holding pens near Reno after being captured in the BLM’s Owyheee roundup last month. Like shadows, or partners in a haunting dance, they stay side by side as they circle the feedlot pen, afraid and alone.
We call these youngsters Opal and Sapphire. The BLM robbed them of their freedom and their families. Now agency policy threatens their very lives.
The fate of Opal and Sapphire and 45,000 other wild horses and burros stockpiled in holding facilities literally hangs in the balance. Pressure is mounting to lift the ban on killing these horses and selling them for slaughter. The new Congress and Administration will determine whether they live or die.
We face the fight of our lives in 2017 to stop the slaughter of innocent wild horses like Opal and Sapphire. Please fight with us by making an end-of-year donation today.
Opal and Sapphire are a reason to give. Their future depends on you.
Suzanne Roy, Executive Director
P.S. Remember… all end of year donations made by midnight on December 31st will be matched, so please double your impact today! Thank you!!
The following is a special end of the year update from the American Wild Horse Preservation.
I wanted to share our end-of-year video so you can see what we’ve achieved in 2017. I hope you’ll take just a moment to watch it during this busy holiday week.
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in this year, thanks to all of our dedicated supporters who have stood with us in this fight. Thank you for all your calls, emails and petition signatures. They truly made a difference for wild horses and burros!
In 2017, our wild horses and burros face grave threats to their future.
The political support, important legal precedents and strong grassroots base we’ve established this year provide a strong foundation for the fight ahead.
It’s a fight we can’t afford to lose. It’s a fight I know we can win, if we continue to work together.
Will you join us now in this battle for the future of these national icons?
Your year-end donation, no matter how large or small, is vital to our work in 2017.
All donations made during these final days of December will be matched up to $50,000!
I wish you all the best for a joyous holiday and peaceful New Year. May we continue to be inspired by the beauty and grace of the animals we are fighting so hard to save!
Suzanne Roy, Executive Director
The following is a call to action from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
We are at a tipping point in the fight for the future of America’s wild horses and burros. The incoming Trump Administration will either support Americans’ desire to protect these national icons or send them down the slaughter pipeline. If confirmed, Trump’s nominee for Interior Secretary, U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) will play a key role in determining the fate of America’s mustangs. Unfortunately, as a State Senator from Montana, Rep. Zinke sponsored legislation to facilitate the opening of horse slaughter plants in his state, stating, “When a horse is too old to breed, too old to ride, or too expensive to feed, a horse is disposed of.” This is obviously troubling and out of step with the 80 percent of Americans who oppose horse slaughter. More encouraging is Rep. Zinke’s opposition to selling off our public lands, a position that has often been at odds with members of his own party.
Ultimately, if confirmed, Rep. Zinke will carry forth the policies of the incoming Trump Administration, which has promised to return government to the people. Right now, it’s critically important to send a strong message to President Elect Trump urging him to listen to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want our wild horses and burros protected and humanely managed on our Western public lands! Please take action and share, share, share this news!
This article is featured on the HORSE.
An increasing number of owners and trainers represented by runners in this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup are pledging a percentage of any winnings to support New Vocations’ mission to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired racehorses. Over the course of the last seven years, the Pledge has raised over $380,000, with all funds going to support the program’s aftercare efforts.
“WinStar Farm is happy to participate in the pledge again this year,” said Elliott Walden President and CEO of WinStar Farm. “We’ve worked with New Vocations for a while now because they believe in ensuring the top care and opportunities for a racehorse to have a second career. Aftercare is a very important topic, and I hope more owners and trainers will consider making a pledge.”
A total of 42 contenders have their owners and/or trainers pledging their support, including Good Samaritan, owned by China Horse Club, SF Bloodstock and WinStar Farm; and the amazing comeback mare Lady Eli owned by Head of Plains. Additional owners and trainers taking part in the Pledge are Al Shaqab Racing, Bob Baffert, Gary Barber, Donegal Racing, Michael Dubb, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Jay Em Ess Stable, Klaravich Stables, Sol Kumin, Let’s Go Stable, LNJ Foxwoods, Thomas Morley, Graham Motion, Doug O’Neill, Todd A. Pletcher, Joe Sharp, R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbreds Racing, Kathy Ritvo, SF Bloodstock, Sheep Pond Partners, David Simon, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Treadway Racing Stable, Jan Vandebos-Naify, Adam Wachtel, Dave Weaver, West Point Thoroughbreds Inc. and WinStar Farm LLC.
“We are truly blessed to have such a great list of owners and trainers who understand the importance of Thoroughbred aftercare,” said Anna Ford, New Vocations Program Director. “Funds raised through the Pledge are vital as the number of horses needing our services continues to grow. The more money we raise, the more horses we can serve. The Pledge is a win-win situation for owners, trainers and the horses we all love so much.”
New Vocations will continue to seek additional pledges through Friday. Information can be found at www.newvocations.org/breeders-cup-pledge.
The following is an update from Chilly Pepper-Miracle Mustang Rescue.
It’s Thursday, and Matt and I are finally headed home for a break. We are hoping to celebrate Christmas with our family. We have precious cargo with us once again, and Circle Bear, Princess and Leeanna are all special needs babies.
Circle Bear, shown above, was severely underweight and barely hanging on. The severe weather is extremely hard on these little ones and he was by himself. We don’t know where Mom is, but it was life and death for him so we brought him in. He has pneumonia, so please send lots of prayers.
Princess is on the left, and she is recovering from a coyote attack. I know all of us with horse kids have to worry about those beautiful little hunters. It is so hard as the coyotes are doing what comes naturally, but they do not mix well with baby horses. Princess is lucky, as her injuries could have been much worse, and she is hanging in there. She also has a cold and is feeling quite poorly.
Leeanna also has pneumonia. This winter has been brutal, and she also is severely underweight. Due to the severity of the weather, we made a temporary nursery inside the mobile home we were staying in.
The vet is hopeful they will recover, and they have been on meds and we are doing everything we can. I am so excited to get them home and into our nursery. These babies need lots and lots of prayers.
We are heading back to South Dakota after the New Year. As of now we are at the limit of 270 horses allowed to be adopted out per the court order. Matt and I still have to pick up ones that we have adopted but not yet brought home.
On a sad note, Princess Big Girl passed away. She was in labor, (yes she was pregnant and I cannot believe anyone would have bred her. arghhh). She was doing well, all her tests were good and the vet was giving her a bit of peace and quiet. He returned and she was gone. Later that night Lee had a dream she said was the best and saddest ever. Princess and her baby came to Lee and told her how sorry they were to leave, but because Lee loved her so much she could go, and that they would be waiting for her and see her again.
Due to the severity of Lee’s burns, there is a need for another therapy horse asap. Elaine Nash and Fleet of Angels have come up with several options, and I told Lee that Big Girl was sending her a new horse to do her stretches with so she wouldn’t feel guilty about loving a new horse.
Matt took the last load of horses to NV and on his way back the front end of the truck had some serious issues. Another $5,000 repair bill, but she is running perfectly and once again, God made sure we were in a safe place. :)
It’s been an intense year and I want to thank each and every one of you for being part of Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang. Thank you and God bless!
The following is an update from Chilly Pepper-Miracle Mustang Rescue.
Where to begin. Matt and I were supposed to head back to NV together to take horses home, but the reality was I needed to stay so we could load out horses as time was running out. I am glad I stayed, as we have been successful in getting horse kids out, and every single one of them is a life saved.
The horses were scheduled to be taken to auction today and tomorrow and at the last minute we were given more time to keep up the adoptions. So I get to go home for Christmas but have been scheduled to be back sorting and loading up horses after the first of the new year.Since my last update, the truck was in the shop for a new water pump & repairs to the tune of $1200 +. Matt left about a week ago to head back to NV and bring a load of horses to Chilly Pepper. While on his way back this morning, he heard some crunching and grinding noises, so he is once again sitting in the shop waiting for the truck to be repaired. Praying it won’t be too spendy, but we need it to be in good condition to safely tow the thousands of miles we are running. To date we have about 10,000 miles just on the ISPMB horses between running back and forth (Matt is on his 4th trip) and delivering some of the horses to their new homes. Unfortunately, we are seriously going to need a newer truck at some point. We have about 250,000 actual miles on this one, and she has been working hard for the horses. But prayers are much appreciated for safe travel.
We are a little over half way to meeting the $10,000 challenge. So many folks are helping to make sure we save as many lives as we can. Every penny is appreciated and put to good use. Although I can’t wait to go home, and weather conditions are just getting colder and we have another “blizzard” coming our way, we will continue to load out trailers and sort whatever we can.
We also have 3 little ones in the trailer who need some special care. One was attacked by a coyote, so please send prayers for these kids too.
All I can say is Thank You and God Bless everyone who is helping in any way. Prayers are so appreciated, as it is heartbreaking beyond measure watching these horses and knowing we may not be able to save them all. Obviously financial donations keep us able to pay for help at home while we are gone and to keep doing what we need to do.
Honestly I am praying for such a huge break once this is finally over. Not looking forward to coming back to sorting in blizzard conditions, but whatever we can do to finish out what we started will be done. At least we will all know that together, we gave it absolutely every single thing we could, and saved each and every horse we could. Thank you so much for that.
I know so many folks have already donated and we are so blessed to be able to save these horses. However, as we are a little over half way there, and when an Angel steps up and offers to match up to $10,000, I want to keep y’all updated. God bless and please send prayers for safe travel.
Please keep praying for safety, strength, warmer weather and a miracle. I know miracles can happen, and we truly need one. It seems like we keep getting new kids to take home, including these 3 little ones. Winter here is harsh and can be extremely hard on the little ones. So as usual, everything changes minute to minute.
The following is from ReliefWeb.
How does your doctor get to the clinic in the morning? A safe bet would be to say a car. Perhaps a bicycle for the health conscious doctor or public transit for the urban doctor. In Haiti this past November, a mobile medical team from B.C. with Heart to Heart Haiti used 22 motorcycles and four donkeys to get to their patients. Now that paints a picture of how hard it is to access medicine for some rural populations.
“We did some serious off-roading as we climbed the mountain,” wrote Rebecca, the organizer.
The path had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October making it even worse than usual. On the day of the clinic in Tetbef, the donkeys were packed at 4:30 a.m. and ready to take the supplies, including three Humanitarian Medical Kits ( 2 for primary care and one Mother-Child Health Kit) provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).
When the team arrived later in the morning, there were more people than they expected. In total 150 people were seen on this one day. Malaria, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and joint pain were mostly what brought them. Seven more clinics were held like this one and a total 1,396 patients were seen- more than half were children and the elderly.
“In Canada we can comfort our children and elderly with fever and pain management,” said Lauren Rose, a nurse on the team who submitted a report to HPIC. “This is not an option for 99% of the people we see here in Haiti.”
In each clinic they saw a lot of patients with fever. “We treated these patients and it is probable that death by sepsis, malaria or typhoid was prevented,” she reported to HPIC. The Humanitarian Medical Kits are always “an essential core item” for their trips to Haiti.
The following is an article from BloodHorse.
Mark Moran found himself in the Del Mar paddock for the first time on the second weekend of November—cane, wooden leg, eye patch, and all. It was on his bucket list.
The trip south from his home in Washington state was a gift of sorts from his cousin, Boone McCanna.
Moran, 66, is riddled with cancer—untreatable adenoid cystic carcinoma—but he’s not overly concerned.
“I’m going to live until I die,” Moran says. “I should have died in Vietnam, and I’ve had 47 years since then, had a family—six grandkids—and I’m grateful every day.”
Those 47 years have been bearable, at least in part, because of horses. After an explosion took his leg in Vietnam in 1969, nothing helped quite like grooming and hotwalking Thoroughbreds for his uncle and Boone’s father, trainer Dan McCanna, at Playfair Race Course in Spokane, Wash. There were no more thoughts of the horrors of war, just the horses.
“You build trust with those horses,” Moran says. “They all have their personalities and if you treat them good, they treat you good. It takes a lot of worry out of your mind. It’s hard to put into words. It helped me calm my brain, to just feel like I was connected to something.
“If you’re working, you have dignity in this life. Grooming and mucking stalls—some people might look down on that, but it gave me dignity.”
Moran isn’t just Boone’s cousin.
“He’s always been my inspiration,” Boone says. “He was (6-foot-3)—just a stud—and he gets blown up over there. His whole body is a scar. I got to play college football and he never did, but he never complained about anything. Not one complaint.”
No complaints, but there was pain. Still Boone, now 52, saw it first-hand decades ago—the impact horses had on his cousin.
“The horses were magic to him,” Boone says of Moran’s struggles with post traumatic stress disorder, a plague upon veterans old and young to this day.
That experience, watching his cousin change with equine aura, provided the spark. If it worked for Moran, it could work for others. Years later, that spark has blossomed into a reality—Down the Stretch Ranch.
There’s always physical work to be done on the 220-acre spread in Creston, Wash., about an hour drive west of Spokane, but the real progress comes during the weekends.
Down the Stretch Ranch isn’t just a home for retired racehorses. Like a coupled entry, horses and veterans are 1 and 1A.
Boone got Richard Monaco up on Gal Has to Like It and couldn’t wipe the smile off the former B-52 Bomber crew chief, who served three tours during the Vietnam War.
“When I put him on that horse, everything just changed about him,” Boone says. “He didn’t know how to ride. I probably shouldn’t have done it. I’d been riding (Gal Has to Like It) for only six weeks, but I shoved him up there.”
When Monaco got off the stakes-placed gelding who earned $212,546 during his 29-race career, after trouncing through neighboring acres of wheat stubble surrounding Down the Stretch, the veteran was elated.
“If you could bottle the way I feel right now, I wouldn’t have to take the drugs from the VA,” Monaco says.
Monaco has been through his share of physical trials. By his count he’s had open-heart surgery, underwent operations to repair his shoulder and wrist, and even sustained a stroke, but all that seems to drift away when he’s out with the horses.
“It takes your mind away from your pain and your problems. It cleanses your mind,” Monaco says. “Meds cover up everybody’s pain, but you can hug a horse. I’m not a therapist, but the horses are.”
Monaco has turned into a recruiter of sorts for Boone’s brainchild, passing out fliers and spreading the word at the local Veterans Affairs hospital. He brings in the veterans—like retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Buecher and his wife Jen (an Army Captain), who also brought their 13-year-old son with cerebral palsy—and Boone teaches them horsemanship.
“I finally found my niche again,” Monaco says. “There’s a lot of veterans who are alone, divorced, with health problems or homeless problems. You just see the sadness every day with them at the VA. This gives me a purpose.”
For each new guest at the ranch, before any riding starts, the process begins in a round pen. Boone lets a horse run around for a while until it is comfortable with the guest.
“They’ll stop to look at you and then put their head on your shoulder,” Boone says. “It’s all about trust.”
Boone needed a bit of therapy himself in April of 2015. In the same month, his mother died and Dennis Carr, the jockey he represented as an agent, suffered a severe head injury at Golden Gate Fields when one of his mounts reared wildly in the starting gate. Carr was thrown from the back of the gate and CT scans later revealed bleeding around his brain.
“All signs were pointing to home. I’ve gotta get out of California and start this thing,” says Boone, a Spokane native who played college football at the University of Idaho. “It really was some good therapy for me, too. Digging ditches does a lot for you.
“I’m still hustling. I’m not an agent, but I’m still hustling.”
Boone makes sure to tell each horse’s story. If a veteran comes to Down the Stretch Ranch, race replays from the past are part of getting to know the selected runner. Exit Stage Left, Roving Storm, Poker Brad, Nakiska, Warrens Wild Thing, Sandor, Trumpet Player Jay, Presenceofagenius—they all have a story.
It’s not happenstance that a connection is so often made between Thoroughbred and human. There is a parallel between the horses and the veterans.
“These horses are highly trained, great athletes, just like these guys, who are highly trained, specialized soldiers,” Boone says.
It’s almost cliché to say during turnouts or after retirement Thoroughbreds “learn to be a horse again,” but the sentiment is not off-base.
“Once these horses get out here, it takes them 6 to 8 months to get their breath and realize the pressure is off,” Boone says of the high-stress environment Thoroughbreds in training face on a daily basis. “They’re always asked to go. It has to put a pressure on them. You can see it in their eyes.
“Then, they become horses again. When you turn the pressure off—it really takes six months.”
Tim McCanna—Boone’s brother and a trainer with more than 2,000 wins—along with his wife Jan, provide a buffer for the retired horses at their farm in Yakima, Wash., before they’re moved to the ranch. Once they arrive at Down the Stretch, the retirees eventually assimilate to the herd, now around 25 in number, and break into hierarchical roles.
“I look out there and they establish their pecking order,” Boone says. “Every one in the field has made (thousands of dollars), but the pecking order is the highest earner all the way down. It blows me away.”
With time, the horses who have learned to become horses again provide that unique lesson to their human cohorts.
“They’re just like the veterans,” Monaco says, “who just need to learn how to be a person again.”
The work done to help veterans at Down the Stretch Ranch isn’t a hobby, or something to take up Boone and Dan McCanna’s time. Dan, Boone’s father, is the horseman of horsemen at ranch, often using his 60 years of experience to spot small injuries in the Thoroughbreds from as far as a quarter-mile away.
But it’s all for a common goal.
A recent study found, on average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
That fact inspired Boone to reach out to Jerry Hollendorfer. As a jockey agent in Washington and eventually in Northern California, Boone always had a good relationship with the Hall of Fame trainer, and once Boone retired to start Down the Stretch, Hollendorfer dove right in. Boone said Hollendorfer supplies much of the financial support for the ranch, along with close to half of the horses.
“The biggest part of the idea was (from) Boone, and I was just happy to be part of a good idea,” said Hollendorfer, who, along with his wife Janet, founded Down the Stretch with Boone. “We all have a connection to veterans. If I can give something back to the horses and to the people who fight for me to walk around here, then I’m happy to do that. These people go out there and put their lives on the line for me, and I’m astounded people do that.”
Moran, Boone’s cousin, calls those lost to suicide “the forgotten soldiers.”
“That’s what I think about,” Moran says. “That’s what we’re working for. We want to save them all, but if we save one, we’re doing good.
“When I got wounded and lost my leg, and a lot of my other leg, all I had to do was look at the hospital bed next to me. I’m all right. It’s not that bad, because look at that guy. Now, how can I help him?
“I never thought I was disabled. That’s the mindset I want to give these veterans. You’re not disabled. You went through these traumas and you survived it. You’re going to have these flashbacks and these dreams, and you’re going to live on.”
The quest to find more veterans who need help isn’t an easy one, but by word of mouth and through other channels, momentum is building.
“At one point, I was thinking ‘The guys coming out—they don’t seem like they’re that bad,'” Boone says, recalling a conversation he had with retired Col. Greg Allen.
“He told me, ‘It’s the guys that don’t come out that you need to get.’ I want to save a kid from hurting himself and give him some hope, and these horses seem to do it.”
The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang Rescue.
As I sit here typing, the winds are howling. We have been working in pretty much blizzard conditions, with a wind chill well under 0. It is 3 degrees with the temperature at -20 with the wind chill at this time. More snow is expected in the next few days with even colder temperatures.
At this point Chilly Pepper will have pulled 41 horses, thanks to all the wonderful folks who are helping us save these horses. We are heading out on Friday with the first two trailer loads. With the severity of the weather conditions, we cannot safely sort for the next few days. More snow is expected and it is too icy for sorting. So we will head home and take care of a weather emergency at our own rescue, get the first batch of horses all set up and head back to South Dakota.
While enduring the stress of trying to save as many horses as we possibly can, while fighting through horrific weather, ice underfoot and slipping horses, God sent us another Angel. Because of her generous heart, we are able to bring the above mentioned horses home. Many of them are special needs, with many blind horses in the mix. This is part of what she told us in her email:
“Many non-profits encourage people to donate to a charity instead of buying gifts. Personally, I’m going to ask my friends and family that plan on buying my husband and/or I a gift to donate to your rescue.
SAVE A LIFE FOR CHRISTMAS!
You might also include… East Coast donor willing to give up to $10,000 to save Wild 800 Wild Horses! Matching dollar for dollar!”
I liked what she wrote, so I asked her if I could use it.
Many of the horses we are bringing home are special needs, and all of them would have been first in line to be sent down the “dead end road”… We are hoping we can get some sponsors for some of the blind ones. They deserve a wonderful life and since we already have to have a “blind horse playpen” for Shadow, it seemed like the right thing to do. We also have 12 Stallions, with one of them being blind as a bat, and another with a pretty tough medical issue with his leg. But critical care is what we do, so they are coming home for all the love and care we can provide.
I know so many folks have already donated and we are so blessed to be able to save these horses. However, when an Angel steps up and offers to match up to $10,000, well you can be sure I am putting it out there. God bless and please send prayers for safe travel.
Please keep praying for safety, strength, warmer weather and a miracle. I know miracles can happen, and we truly need one.
This article is featured on theHORSE.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) released new policies and procedures for organizations wishing to host no- or low-cost gelding clinics through the Operation Gelding program. The new policies take effect Jan. 1, 2017, and applications for 2017 clinics are now being accepted.
The UHC voted in June 2016 to expand the Operation Gelding program by offering up to $100 per horse gelded. Program details are described in two new documents available on the UHC website. The How to Conduct a Clinic handbook is a resource guide to planning, running, and evaluating a clinic. It includes information about setting goals, creating a budget, recruiting veterinarians, marketing, post-event follow up, and tips from previous clinic organizers. The Funding Guidelines and Application Process document includes eligibility requirements, deadlines, and step-by-step application instructions.
“Organizations can choose between two levels of funding: $60 per horse or $100 per horse gelded,” said UHC Director Jennifer Purcell. “We are asking organizations at the $100 level to help us promote and evaluate the program by providing data and information that will clearly illustrate the outcomes of the program and the benefits to horses, owners, and communities.”
The Operation Gelding program provides materials, guidance, and support to organizations to host gelding clinics for owners who may not otherwise be able to afford to have their stallion castrated. A $100,000 grant awarded by the DeWitt Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County will result in the castration of hundreds of stallions with a goal of preventing unwanted horses nationwide.
Individuals and organizations interested in hosting a clinic should contact the UHC office at 202/737-7325 or email@example.com, or they can visit the UHC website at unwantedhorsecoalition.org. Applications for gelding vouchers will be available in December.
The following is an article from Morocco World News.
The General Authority for Veterinary Services at the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to export 10,000 donkeys to Chinese drug companies.
According to Arabic-language news source, Alarabiya, the head of the General Authority for Veterinary Services, Ibrahim Mahrous, confirmed news of the agreement, adding that the exportation will conform to an Islamic ruling from Alazhar University of Islamic Studies. The ruling requires the donkeys to be exported alive and not slaughtered.
The sale of donkeys has grown profitable for Chinese sellers, with China’s supply of donkeys shrinking from 11 million to 6 million. The internal demand for donkeys has increased, and China is now seeking to import more donkeys from around the world.
Donkey hides are used in China to produce a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) known in China as ‘Ejiao’. This medicine is mainly prescribed for women who suffer from anemia, dry coughs or dizziness.
The same source adds that a Korean company made an offer to Egyptian authorities to import dogs. The Egyptian authorities are currently considering the offer as animal rights organizations have rejected the killing of stray dogs, a practice which has been growing lately.
The following is an update from HorseChannel.
Back in August of 2015, we brought you a story on two rescued horses, Quest and Rio, who had been discovered after 15 years of neglect. The pair, along with another horse called Piper, had been locked in their stalls with minimal food and most likely no veterinary care. Most striking was the result of their total lack of hoof care. The horses’ feet were measured at approximately three feet long, so overgrown that they curled back on themselves several times over.
The three horses were rescued by the Humane Society of Washington County, Maryland, and Days End Farm Horse Rescue with the hope that it wasn’t too late for the horses to be rehabilitated with the veterinary and farrier care and nutrition they had lacked for so long. Unfortunately, Piper was euthanized at the farm due to the extent of her injuries and neglect. But Quest and Rio moved to Days End Farm to begin their recovery.
Reversing the overgrown hooves in a case as severe as Quest’s and Rio’s isn’t as simple as chopping off the excess hoof. It took months of careful farrier work to bring their feet back to a near-normal length, and care continues to get them to a condition that could be considered completely healthy. But both geldings are worlds ahead of where they were a year ago. And just this month, Rio got the happy ending that rescuers had hoped for. He has a forever home.
Herald-Mail Media reports that the Mini Horse was adopted by Michelle Marraccini, a Days End Farm volunteer who has known Rio since he first arrived at the rescue. His teeth and hooves are in much better shape and his weight has reached a healthy level. He still has some lameness issues that may never fully resolve, but he’s learning to trust humans and live with other horses.
The following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.
In recent years, Congress has typically passed a tax extender bill to renew dozens of temporary or expiring tax provisions for individuals and businesses at the end of the year. One of these typically extend provisions was three-year depreciation of race horses. However, Congress has adjourned for the year without taking any action on a tax extender bill, allowing three-year deprecation of race horses and dozens of other tax provisions to expire.
From 2009 through 2016 all race horses could be depreciated over three years, regardless of when they were placed in service. This provision was passed in 2008 as part of a Farm Bill. The change, which eliminated the 7-year depreciation period for race horses and made all race horses eligible for three-year depreciation, expires at the end of 2016. Beginning in 2017, the pre-2009 rules will have to be used, meaning owners will have to decide whether to place a race horses in service at the end of its yearling year and depreciate it over 7 years or wait until it is over 2 (24 months and a day after foaling) and depreciate it over three years.
Congress took no action on a tax extenders bill because they hope to enact major tax reform legislation in the next Congress that would eliminate the need for many of the expiring provisions. Failure to pass the tax extender bill was not due to opposition to the three-year depreciation of race horses or any other specific tax provision.
The AHC will be closely monitoring the development of a tax reform bill and analyzing its potential impact on the horse industry.
If you have any questions please contact the AHC.
The following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.
In 2017, the American Horse Council (AHC) will begin offering three different internship programs available to both high school and college students. Students will be eligible to apply to one internship per year in the AHC Internship Program.
Also starting in 2017 is the addition of a Student Membership to the AHC Membership categories. The AHC felt it was important to continue the trend of being able to educate youth of the importance of the AHC in order to ensure the industry’s long-term sustainability. The internship opportunities being offered in 2017 are another way for students to understand exactly what it is the AHC does here in Washington, DC, and educate the next generation to advocate on behalf of the industry at the local, state or national level.
The three internships available are:
- 1 or 2 week shadowing program to gain a broader understanding of the AHC with a focus on expanding knowledge of equine industry and policymaking. Transportation and housing not included; stipend of $250 available to offset expenses. Open to high school and college students.
- 1 or 2 month internship- includes overview of AHC, student would conduct a research project and write a white paper on a specific topic of interest for academic credit. Transportation and housing not included; stipend of $500/month available to offset expenses. Open to college students.
- Semester internship- includes overview of AHC, research project and white paper for academic credit and attendance at annual AHC meeting. Transportation and housing not included; Stipend of $500/month available to offset expenses. Open to college students.
The AHC’s encourages those that apply for the internships to also join at the Student membership level in order to get a fully rewarding experience. Students will be able to see the relationship between the work that the AHC does daily, and the ensuing information that gets shared with AHC members.
Please visit the AHC website for more details and to download the application form. If you have any questions, or would like more information about the internship program, please contact the AHC at firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is a thank you from the Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue.
Thank you to all who have responded so generously to my previous newsletter request for donations.
Everything seems to happen at once…our tractor is in need of a new clutch, our invaluable “club car” is beginning to have the fall-aparts, and we are desperately in need of a building to house our ever growing supply of merchandise.
This time of year the animals all need more to eat and I am always worried about having enough hay on hand. We want to always be able to provide the veterinary care needed for all the animals here.
We had a very sad case that pointed up why a “cushion” is needed when we took in the sweet mammoth donkey named Daisy back in June.
This donkey was as sweet as the day is long and at approximately 17 years old, seemed to be in good shape. As many of you know, donkeys are very sensitive creatures. Daisy seemed to be doing well here at first, but a few days after her arrival I looked out one morning to see her standing off by herself. Donkeys are VERY stoic animals. They mask their discomfort very well. I knew that was not “normal” behavior for her. I checked her vitals, and all seemed in order, but I knew she was not feeling well so I made an appointment for our veterinarian to come out.
To make a long, sad story a bit shorter, after three days of multiple vet visits per day, it was determined that Daisy was suffering from a nasty colic and euthanasia was what was called for. That is NEVER an easy decision to make. Of course the mental and physical health of the animal in our care is paramount and ending Daisy’s suffering was the only humane alternative.
This is not only extremely hard on the heart…it is hard on the bank account as well. The sad reality of this line of work is that there will be times when an animal is going to pass away or need to be euthanized. There is the expense of veterinary care in hopes euthanasia will not be the outcome, but when it is, the story is not over as a hole still needs to be prepared and the animal placed in its resting place.
We treat occasions like this with the utmost respect and dignity for the animal. We want to always be able to do this.
This is one of the reasons I am here asking for your support once again. People often tell me how lucky I am to be in this line of work, which I agree, but it’s not something I do alone, I could not do it without your financial support. I thank you in advance for helping me once again.
President & Shelter Manager