Greetings, fellow horse folks. Well, if you haven't heard about the drama surrounding trainer Juslain LuMaye, you might be living under a rock.
Here's a quick summary of the situation:
As the days went by, Juslain lied about the disease they had (strangles) saying the sick horses just had colds. She refused to call a vet out for any of the horses, refused to pay anything towards their care, and refused to help with the daily care of ANY of the horses, despite the fact that Kelly had previously informed her of an upcoming surgery that would leave her unable to do barn chores. Kelly's family provided care for the sick horses.
One young colt named Chrome died at Kelly's farm on January 25th. Juslaine never even arranged for the carcass to be hauled away, abandoning the corpse in Kelly's pasture. Chrome had been a very healthy horse before being sold to Juslaine. Here are pictures of him with his previous owner, then of his dead body after Justlaine had owned him for a few months.
The cops and vets got involved. Kelly Radtke's entire farm had to be quarantined due to the outbreak of strangles. Kelly's personal horses had to be carefully isolated to keep them from being infected, making barn chores even harder. Juslain was banned from the property.
The last six horses, which belonged to Juslain herself, stayed at Kelly's for several weeks. Several developed "bastard" strangles.
Bastard strangles, an advanced and more serious case of strangles, is potentially deadly. Even when it does not kill, it can permanently cripple. In bastard strangles, abscesses develop randomly in the bodies of affected horses. They can pop up in the legs, abdomen, neck... or even in the throat, lungs and brain. Bastard strangles can usually be prevented by treating the normal form of strangles in time. However, because Juslain lied about the horses just having "colds" and refused to call the vet, the horses were not treated in time. Kelly DID call the vet, but by then the horses were severely infected. You can see the horrific results in these photos.
Kelly did tell Juslain that she would consider Juslain's debts paid if she'd give up ownership of the sick horses. Kelly wanted nothing more than to make sure those animals stayed safe. At that point, the vet bills cost far more than the horses would ever be worth. Juslain refused. Juslain also never paid her anything for board, feed, or vet bills. Eventually, Juslain's solution was to send a meat buyer to pick up the sick horses.
We know this note is authentic, because a police officer came to mediate when Juslain's meat buyer, ROBERT SKORCZEWSKI, showed up. The officer verified the note and made copies for all parties involved. Kelly then told R.S. the meat buyer to get lost, and he did. Since Kelly had not yet been paid for all the expenses involved in this case, and since there were quarantine concerns about the strangles, Juslain couldn't sell the horses out of Kelly's hands. Next, guess who popped up on Facebook, defending Juslain? The wife of the meat buyer, and a friend of Juslain's, Amanda Skorczewski-Klapczynski.
Yes, that's right. Juslain WANTED her horses to go to slaughter, rather than surrender them or pay for their vet bills. I am still stunned that anyone could do that.
Many other people were SHOCKED that a "professional" horse trainer would rather see her horses killed than pay her debts to her friend and get them back.
Many people were also shocked that a "professional" horse trainer would buy, sell, and train horses without requiring vet records, or ever vaccinating any of them for strangles herself.
We all hoped Juslain would learn from her mistakes. That was not the case.
Juslain's mommy showed up, and paid all of the debts that Kelly could prove she was owned. Juslain had someone come pick up the horses. Juslain still owns, breeds and trains horses, advertising her services on the internet under a variety of names, including:
J L Versatile Performance Horses
Double J Performance Horses
God help those horses that wind up in her care.
I can't help but despair at the fact that the suffering of so many in this case could have been prevented if Juslain LuMaye had simply vaccinated her horses against strangles. The vaccine is cheap and can even be ordered on the internet. I wonder what other basic care she neglects to give her animals...
I have a great deal of sympathy for the horses in this case. Clearly, Juslaine LuMaye is a scumbitch whose irresponsibility is only outmatched by her lack of empathy. She has treated these horses like shit, and the friend who tried to help her like shit. BUT...
...what about the owners of these horses sent to be trained by LuMaye? What about Chrome's previous owner? Don't they have some responsibility here? I say YES. Ten minutes of easy searching reveals the following about Juslaine LuMaye:
- Her website is full of spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Her board-and-training rates are suspiciously CHEAP.
- This video on her own website shows her riding a small, undeveloped two year old...and she's not exactly a lightweight. Also, check out her riding. (Yuck.)
- She has a long criminal record that involves lots of bad checks, theft, lots of revoked license charges, eviction, bail jumping, "Livestock running at large" (loose horses left to roam), and unpaid debts. (EDIT: You can look at the criminal record of anyone in WI for free by going to Wisconsin Circuit Court Access and searching for their name.)
Especially with one of your horses?!
Juslaine LuMaye is certainly a scumbitch...but some measure of the blame in this case must be placed on the shoulders of those who put their horses in her hands. The moral of this story is that you must do some basic research about the horse professionals you're going to hire, no matter how nice they seem, no matter how well they represent themselves.