So, wonderful news! The black stallion is now safe and sound at Saint Francis Horse Rescue and Retirement in Rosholt, WI. It's a beautiful place, and this guy, newly named "Diego" is already feeling better in his comfy box stall. He'll be gelded this week, and then shortly afterwards, he'll finally be able to run free in a big pasture. A HUGE thank-you to Mary and Bill for taking on this guy. I'd LOVE it if some of you readers donated to them, or adopted one of their equines. Currently, all adoption fees are waived to make room for new arrivals! They have some nice riding horses there.
|"I get hay AND water AND a clean place to sleep AND a fan?! Dude, this is paradise!"|
I'd like to remind everyone to please, please go to the authorities with any information you have about backyard Mexican horse racing in Wisconsin or northern Illinois.If you're not comfortable talking to the cops, you can email me at email@example.com. Racing may happen on private property, or illegally in county parks and other open spaces. Races usually take place on Sundays, and may involve gambling, illegal drugs and horse abuse. Families do attend these events. I'm also looking for any information on a Hispanic trainer in the Madison area that goes by the name "Salas." He rents property to train horses for these races, using abusive practices.
While knee-deep in this rescue, I didn't have the opportunity to post everything that was going on. Here's a run-down of stuff I learned from the stallion's owner, Amos, and things I saw. I hope these encourage you to do more to investigate possible abuse in your own neighborhood. It really can happen right down the road-- so don't just drive past that sad-looking horse in the barren pasture. Stop, knock on a door, talk to the owner. It's better to check than to be forever uncertain whether you could have saved an animal.
WARNING: Graphic Images Ahead
This miscarried calf and dead raccoon lay six feet from the farm's water pump, entangled in the hose where the stallion got his water from. When I visited, I frequently found him without water, and had to walk by this every time to fill his bucket.
The stallion's wound, described by Amos as "not too bad." The 3-4 inch gash obviously needed stitches, but Amos said that since his mare had suffered a similar injury "and didn't die or anything," he thought the stallion would be fine too:
Scars across the stallion's shoulders. Amos says, "that's just how you make him go":
Scars and deep halter rubs all over the stallion's head. When we went to load the stallion, Amos had to take off the horse's whole halter, because the rope attached to it was so knotted and tangled, it wouldn't come off. The stallion had been tied to a derelict barn for weeks.
Amos also had these wonderful things to say:
- Bragged about how, while some horses needed "special food," his horses would eat anything-- including straw, straight green alfalfa, etc-- and would do so without getting sick.
- Explained that racehorses, including his, were given "special vitamins" that bulked them up. Steroids?!
- Said he saw horses given "very expensive" shots right before a race that made them act "very crazy" and run very fast.
- Explained that he didn't have much money for winter hay because he was paying child support.
- Said that the stallion was short/smaller because he wasn't fed much as a colt.
In short, it was killing me not to strangle him, but I am determined to stay on good terms with Amos because he still has two horses. He's backed away from selling them to me, but I promise to keep checking in. Amos's mare is the stallion's dam-- and also the mother of the filly he sired. Yeah, Amos allowed the stallion to breed his own mom. Amos says the mare also used to be raced, until an untreated eye injury made her unusable.
By the way, have I mentioned that this is the same farm I rescued the abandoned llama from? Ryan and Jake Skalitzky, the dairy farm owners, need to stop renting out their crappy pastures to assholes. Also, dear Dane County Animal Control: I did your job for you today, since you've been doing nothing about this situation for the past two years, despite numerous phone calls. You're welcome. Also, you suck.
Okay folks, that's enough depressing stuff for now! Here are some nice pictures of Saint Francis horse rescue, so we don't end on such a horrific note. I got the full tour from Mary, and fell in love with the little silver-dapple mini there. Stay tuned for the 101st post prize giveaway!