February 13th began a cloudy day in Jonestown, PA. Just a typical Tuesday with temperatures in the mid 30s. On Brian Moore’s property horses stood waiting.
Waiting on what you ask?
Simple, my dear.
If you’re at all familiar with the name Brian Moore you immediately know this is no fairy tale story.
You see, Brian Moore is a very well known name in the horse slaughter industry; a controversial and complex dark world that few people truly know about. When a horse is deemed unwanted and cannot find a loving home it will often find itself at an auction. Still unwanted this horse is scooped up by kill-buyers like Moore who bring them to kill pens where they await transportation to slaughter.
These horses were born with a purpose. Maybe someone’s childhood pony that was outgrown, the horse didn’t meet performance or even appearance standards. Some horses were “too wild” or “too lame,” “too old” or “too plain.” One of them might have been your child’s summer camp horse. Another one was a racehorse. All of these horses were brought into the world with a purpose.
Somebody took time to breed and raise them. Trained them. Loved them (hopefully). But yet they find themselves in the kill pen. Over 100,000 slaughter-bound horses are trucked across the United States border every year. Together we can dissect every detail of this dark world and discuss “Why?” or “Why not” but this is not the time. These are the facts right this moment.
February 13th began like any day but it was a special day for one thoroughbred horse named Zeno Bay. Angels found him in Brian Moore’s corral and paid for his freedom. Susan Kayne of Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation and her supporters rescued him from a sure and horrific final ending; blessing him with another chance at life.
One week later Vai Via joined him. Another bay thoroughbred gelding with angels fighting in his corner.
Throughout this year Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation (UTF) has been showing these two, along with their fellow rescued com-padres, what it’s like to be loved.
In a parallel story Zac and I purchased our home in December and began making preparations to have horses in our backyard by May. We successfully set up fencing so that Blade and Happy could come live with me. From Bad News and Good News Squared you might remember that Happy is missed at her home. That is where our two parallel story-lines intersect.
I was in a conundrum because I cannot afford to keep two horses all on my own. The farrier and vet expenses are crushing. My neighbor introduced me to Susan and the story unfolds from here.
After farm visits and some discussion we grew increasingly excited for the future of the two boys.
I work overnights so I woke up Tuesday afternoon. Bardi had his annual exam and vaccinations. I left to work my 12 hour overnight shift. I arrived back home from work around 7am on Wednesday September 19th. I fed Blade and Happy, picked paddocks, scrubbed water buckets, and loaded some hay nets.
By 8:45am Zeno Bay and Vai Via made their journey from Kinderhook, NY to my home. They unloaded from the trailer while Blade and Happy eagerly looked on from their paddock. They had a chance to stiff Blade over the gate and we turned them loose into their own paddock. Right away the boys trotted around to investigate. Ears were up, eyes were bright, tails were lifted, gaits were animated, and they were clearly very excited. The boys each found a spot to roll, and they continued to explore their new home.
This is a situation that helps everyone involved. The arrangement allows me to keep Blade in a small social group while providing the boys a safe and loving place to call home. This helps with the stabling and labor costs at UTF.
Once I was satisfied that all horses were happy and relaxed I took a much needed rest. In the afternoon when I woke I treated everyone to a full body groomdown. Happy had her favorite shoulder scratches, Blade and his tummy scratches, and I had a chance to get to know Vai Via and Zeno Bay.
From the short time we’ve known each other Vai appears to be the dominant of the two boys. He loves Zeno and shares well but likes to make a face every now and then to reassure himself that he’s higher on the totem pole. Vai and I took a good 60 seconds to “introduce ourselves” nose to nose…By that I mean…
When horses first meet one another you will often see them putting their nostrils together. As one breathes out the other in, and vice versa. This is a form of greeting and is often believed to be a bonding time. Vai expressed interest as I was brushing him so we stood in silence for a moment breathing. I also spent a few moments to introduce him to myofascial release; within seconds he was already responding to the heat of my hands at his poll.
Zeno Bay seems to be the curious guy. I brought my bucket of brushes to him along with the container of treats. He proceeded to turn the treats container and get his lips into the opening in a failing but adorable attempt to reach the bottom. So far he’s much more food motivated than Vai.
It’s just the first day so please stay tuned for more as I get to know these lovely souls.
And, if you want to learn more about Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation you can do so by visiting www.susankayne.com/foundation.html. If you feel so inclined there are many ways that you can help; even a small gift can make a big impact.