Sunday, June 19, 2011


 Why do horses end up at the auction?

Here is a little hint for you- it is not because they are broken, useless, no-good/crazy animals. Simply put, it is because their owners do not do the right thing by these horses.

A little story for you:

As a general course, I frequent Chronicle of the Horse Forums. There has been an ongoing thread about retired Standardbreds and where they go once their racing days are over. I posted about Ben, and found out some really shocking details.

I found out that Ben sold for a fairly high dollar at the yearling sale - so much so that the lady who was interested in him thought he was way out of her price range (I don't know the final $, but we're researching that).

I found out that Ben was expected to have HUGE potential.

I found out that in BC last year, there was some kerfuffel regarding standardbred racing, and a bunch of old-boys in that scene sold out and left for greener pastures, or just retired from racing entirely. Ben's owner also has a bunch of horses in Cali, and was headed down that way with a bunch of his stock. Ben did not make the cut, apparently, and was dumped.

<insert angry face>

I can only assume why Ben found himself at the auction. He had/has 2 old popped splints that are up high near his knee- one of which was freeze fired. Who knows how he got them- worked too hard too soon, perhaps? maybe he wacked himself with his opposite leg? who knows. Was injury the reason he didn't make it on the Cali-bound roster? Or maybe the owner didn't have the money to get him to Cali with the others? Its all speculation - but one thing we know for sure, Ben got a one-way ticket to the auction house.

But a little time off, tlc, and a chance to grow up - and he could've been given another go. Or he could've found a home. But instead, he went to auction, where he was damn lucky to get purchased by J & M Acres Rescue.

Ultimately he did find a home with me, and I found out that I got an amazing naturally talented gelding out of the deal. But what if J & M hadn't chosen him? What if they hadn't been there? 

Ben is a clear example that perfectly fine, even VALUABLE horses can land in the auction pen.

Lucky for Ben, he has a bright, shiny future ahead of him. He's the minority. So many of these horses don't get that chance.


  1. It's one of those things I try not to dwell on, because it makes me sick -- but yes, there are many perfectly GOOD horses that simply get disposed at auctions all over the country.

    Take heart, though, in knowing there IS still some good out there... There are those people that pull the horses out of danger, yes, but there are also those that chose to be responsible. My two boys were lucky enough to be owned by people who saw past the end of "usefulness" as a racehorse, and sent them to a program where they could be rehomed and monitored for the rest of their lives. I got two great riding horses thanks to two men who chose NOT to discard them. (Both of whom, I should add, go to great lengths to make sure all their horses have such a happy ending.)

    One of the main reasons I started blogging was to get the word out about horses like Willie, and Jabby, and Ben, so that maybe someone else will see what STBs are capable of, and be more inclined to give one a chance. It might not be much, but maybe, for one horse somewhere down the line, it'll be enough. :)

  2. It does make me sick. I know it isn't just standardbreds- in fact my other 2 horses were lifted from the same fate. My tb/qh mare is my show horse: training level this year, and hopefully first next year. She is the sweetest, kindest calmest mare one could ever want. A gentle soul, she is.

    You are right, so many people write off Standardbreds once their racing days are over. Some believe they cannot make good riding companions. I believe some don't even want to try.

    I've had the pleasure of riding and training quite a few in my past. Adopting Ben and blogging about him is my attempt, just like you, to try to show people what wonderful partners they can be. Hopefully we can make a difference!