Category Archives: Horse Care/Protection

Racing Warrior Midnight Secret Euthanized

Midnight Secret at Cabin Creek (Photo: Connie Bush)

GREENFIELD CENTER, N.Y. – NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – Racing warrior Midnight Secret was euthanized November 16 due to injuries sustained in a paddock accident.

The 20-year-old gelding was pensioned at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm based in Greenfield Center, NY, an official satellite to the Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, KY.

Bred in New York by Flying Z Stables, Midnight Secret (Key Contender – Flannel Sheets, Triocala) raced almost exclusively at Finger Lakes and earned $212,749.  In 111 starts the game gelding had 14 wins and hit the boards and additional 51 times.

Debuting as a 2-year-old under trainer David Donk, Midnight Secret moved to Gregory Martin, then as a 4-year-old entered the barn of Oscar S. Barrera, Jr., who trained him for the rest of his career. Barrera transferred him to Finger Lakes, which was to remain his home track. There, he had a rivalry with fellow Old Friends at Cabin Creek resident Karakorum Patriot – from several square-offs, they scored about even. But few can beat Midnight Secret’s hardihood.

Barrera retired the horse at Cabin Creek in 2009.

As Barrera once noted: “You never read stories about horses like this, but they’ve got something special in their heart. For a 12-year-old, he was like a 2-year-old. I walked him every day and he’d be prancing.”

“He may not have been a stakes winner, but he was a champ to us,” said Cabin Creek farm manager Joann Pepper.  “He will be deeply missed.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Joann Pepper, (518) 698-2377, cabincreek4@hotmail.com

Freedom for Sale: Wild Horses to Be Slaughtered

The wild horses and burros of the American West, symbols of American freedoms and values we share and hold dear, are under threat of losing the federal protections that keep them alive.

Protections defined by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act are at tremendous risk since the Act was unanimously passed by Congress in 1971. The House Appropriations Committee has voted to allow the Bureau of Land Management, the federal body responsible for the care and stewardship of these animals, unlimited sales of captive wild horses and burros as part of the proposed 2018 budget. Now the Senate Appropriations Committee, followed by a joint House-Senate conference, will decide their fate. We have reason to believe that America’s mustangs are already being shipped for slaughter to Canada and Mexico – and as far afield as Japan where they are butchered and served as sushi.

It’s inexcusable. Unconscionable! And unless we press our lawmakers, the nightmare scenario of mass horse slaughter will become reality.

Taxpayer dollars would be used to fund and facilitate the roundup and sale of these animals from federal lands to a vicious and cruel slaughter. Federally funded horsemeat inspections and programs would pave the way for the return of barbarous horse slaughter to US soil.

If the proposed budget moves forward in its current form, as many as 96,000 captive and wild horses would be deemed “excess,” as if they were mere objects to get rid of. Mustangs and burros who are not already languishing in holding pens would potentially be gunned down on the very lands that were promised to sustain them decades ago.

To save America’s horses and burros from export and certain slaughter, we need your help and your donation of any amount to In Defense of Animals Wild Horse Campaign today.

In Defense of Animals has joined with the National Academy of Sciences and 40 other national organizations to propose humane, sustainable solutions for managing wild horses and burros on public lands. We are countering the ridiculous claims made by the Bureau of Land (mis)Management to smear the horses. Wild horses and burros have been made into scapegoats by the extractive and cattle industries which the BLM allows to exploit the very lands that were legally mandated to nurture our nation’s mustangs over 45 years ago – and all at taxpayer expense!

Your donation today will help In Defense of Animals fund and support practical solutions for the continued peaceful existence of our nation’s majestic mustangs.

Urgent action is needed! Our voices must be heard, and your donation today makes that happen.

Marilyn Kroplick, MD
President, In Defense of Animals

P.S. Our democratic process is being hijacked by wealthy special interests, and wild horses and burros are paying the price! More than 45 years ago, we promised as a nation to be stewards of these symbols of freedom. If we do not act soon, that promise will be broken and these living, feeling, majestic animals will be gone forever. Please fight for our nation’s horses and burros with your contribution to our Wild Horse Campaign now.

In Defense of Animals is involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to In Defense of Animals supports ALL of our worthy programs and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Thank you for your support and consideration.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031
idainfo@idausa.org

Congress Targets Our Wild Horses and Burros

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Special interests in the ranching, oil and gas and mining industries and the lawmakers who do their bidding have a nefarious but underreported agenda: to round up and destroy the wild horses and burros on America’s public lands.

This is not the first time they’ve tried, but this time, the stars are aligned in the worst way, and they just might succeed.

First, some quick history. Back in the 1950s, wild horses were at the brink of extinction. They had no federal protections. People known as Mustangers were chasing, rounding up and selling them for slaughter by the thousands. Anyone who has seen the classic 1961 Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe film The Misfits has a sense — albeit a sanitized, Hollywood sense — of this dirty work.

That changed when activist Velma Johnston, famously known as Wild Horse Annie, inspired the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act in 1959, which provided some protection for these animals. That law was followed by even stronger legislation: the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. It expressly prohibited the hunting, capture, injury and disturbance of wild horses and burros.

Over the years, however, lawmakers have chipped away at this legislation, removing many of its vital protections. Tremendous damage was done by the 2004 Burns Amendment; it passed without so much as a hearing and permitted the sale of these animals for commercial purposes. Many ended up at slaughter.

The biggest threat to wild horses today is a group of ranchers — known as “welfare ranchers” — who use federal lands to graze their cattle. They have made it clear that they want the horses and burros gone. They believe they are entitled to the land and water rights for their livestock.

Though they style themselves as independent pioneers, these ranchers are given huge subsidies by the federal government, enabling them to lease our public lands for a pittance, while the wild horses and burros are rounded up and sent to holding facilities operated by the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the Interior Department.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this program has cost the American taxpayer more than $1 billion over the past decade and is “ruinous to the public lands and the wildlife that inhabit it.”

There is no doubt that our wild horses and burros can be managed humanely, but that is not what is going on. Nearly 50,000 healthy animals are now being held captive in Bureau of Land Management holding facilities. Many suffer and die horrible deaths during the roundups, which are cruel and unnecessary.

Making matters worse, a five-year investigation released in July by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation accuses the bureau of deliberately trying to deceive American taxpayers and members of Congress about the costs and consequences of their actions.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Many thanks to Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates, for writing this excellent OpEd for the New York Daily News.

Fall Happenings at Old Friends – Breeders’ Cup and More

1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup (Photo © Laura Battles)

The Breeders’ Cup always brings back great memories, whether it’s Black Tie Affair and Alphabet Soup winning the Classic or our four Sprint winners: Precisionist, Gulch, Amazombie, and Cajun Beat. The greatest day in American racing brings the best to run against the best every year. Now, I always look at the entries for both handicapping information and, more importantly, speculating on who might be a future Old Friends resident once their racing and breeding careers are complete.

Special thanks to Hall of Famers — trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey — for signing the limited-edition, commemorative Maker’s Mark/Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity “Cigar” bottle.

A few are still available and information about ordering can be found HERE.

All the money will be shared by Old Friends and The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation. For those who have already purchased one, we thank you for your support!

(PS: You don’t have to be at Breeders’ Cup to collect your bottle — other options are available.)

Keeneland’s 5th Annual Sporting Auction will be held Sunday November 19th at 2 pm at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, and an item in the catalog will benefit Old Friends. “Sheep in a Meadow,” a 36″ x 57″ oil on board by German artist August Friedrich Albrecht Schenk, has been consigned by our friend Jim Smith, and proceeds from the sale will help the horses. You can see the catalog and register to bid online by CLICKING HERE.

For more information on any of our Fall happenings, call us at the office: (502) 863-1775.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Utah Wild Horses Need Your Help

As you may have heard, the BLM is proposing a roundup of over 325 horses from the Onaqui HMA in Utah. This potentially devastating proposal would deplete the 450-member herd to low AML, a 72% decrease in herd size. It will wreak havoc on the herd, which will no longer be genetically viable, and it would be a tragic loss for the public who carefully follows this popular herd.

This is where you come in. The public comment period is open until next Tuesday! We need you to submit your comments on this roundup by 10/31/2017. Some of our coalition partners have talked with BLM employees in Utah who say the plans are not yet set in stone, and they’re looking for public input. This is a huge advantage in our favor – we need to speak up for the Onaqui mustangs!

Here are some suggested topics you can use, and instructions for submitting your comments:

  • Do not permanently remove 325 horses (72%) as they might be killed in holding, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board.
  • Removing these horses will render the herd genetically non-viable per equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran. He advises at least 150-200 horses must remain in the herd to ensure genetic viability.
  • The BLM cites the preservation of sage grouse territory as a reason for removing these horses. Yet, there are only a few places where wild horses and sage grouse live together in the HMA. In those places fencing can mitigate the potential harm to sage grouse in lieu of permanent removal.
  • The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.
  • BLM must focus on fertility control. Their plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
  • To send your comments:

o Put this in the subject line: “Population Control, Gather, and Research for the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Area Project”

o Email: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

o Mail: Bureau of Land Management

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

As always, be respectful in your comments. This helps us maintain credibility as supporters of these beautiful animals, but be honest and speak your mind. You can read more about the proposal here:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-frontoffice/projects/nepa/90785/121933/148789/Public_Notice_Scoping_10-2-17.pdf

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation
719-633-3842
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Equine Organizations Pull Together to Provide Disaster Relief

Photo Credit: KBAK & KBFX Photo, Sonoma Valley Stables, and Stephanie Chalana Brown.

The USEF (US Equestrian) Equine Disaster Relief Fund has received incredibly generous support from the equestrian community, with over half a million dollars raised to date in response to the devastation and flooding caused recently by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. With raging wildfires spreading throughout areas of California and continued relief needed in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands, there is still a need for funding to directly assist equines of any breed who are victims of natural disasters such as these.

As the wildfires continue to spread and cause devastation in California, US Equestrian is working with organizations on the ground providing aid to ensure the support helps as many horses as possible.

In Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, through a joint fundraising effort with Equestrian Canada, the Pan American Equestrian Confederation, and the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation, US Equestrian has helped contribute to over $100,000 in aid to horses to ensure they receive feed and care in the wake of the recent disasters.

Tens of thousands of pounds of hay and feed have been sent via shipping containers to the affected islands, helping to address immediate needs, such as lack of forage and nutrition. In addition, supplies sent will allow veterinarians to better assist horses needing medical care.

Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc. (CTA), which helps thoroughbreds in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is using funds provided through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund not only to help more than 850 U.S. thoroughbreds stabled at the Hipodromo Camarero Racetrack, but also to provide assistance to smaller organizations in Puerto Rico, including riding programs, Paso Fino stables, and others. “We have been so blessed to have so much support and good people helping the horses,” said Kelley Stobie of the CTA.

On the hard-hit island of Sint Maarten, a shipping container with feed will help feed over 80 horses at Lucky Stables, a riding school on the island that provides equine-assisted therapy for at-risk families and youth. Since the hurricanes, the stable has taken in additional horses, and the generous contributions from the equestrian community will ensure they have feed for at least the next month.

Although relief is being provided, the recovery is far from over. One 40-foot container can feed about 40 to 50 horses for two to three weeks, but it costs as much as $15,000 to fill and ship each one. Additionally, many of the horses will need care in the upcoming months as rescue agencies help find new homes for horses that may not be able to return to their owners.

Money donated to the fund is held by US Equestrian in an account dedicated for this purpose and distributed only upon authorization of the US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer. Any donation to the Equine Disaster Relief Fund is a timely and efficient benefit for horses and horse owners in need.

Make a donation to the USEF Disaster Relief Fund today.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Saylor Creek Wild Horses Legal Win May Protect Other Herds from Being Sterilized

Image: Chad and Lynn Hanson.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and Return to Freedom with Virginia Hudson bring good news to wild horse lovers throughout the country.

What a difference a sound decision makes from Judge Lodge’s ruling in the Jarbidge case! The decision finds that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in a variety of ways in deciding to sterilize the entire Saylor Creek herd. The court agreed that BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider the National Academy of Science (NAS) report, by failing to adequately respond to public comments, by failing to consider reasonable alternatives, and by failing to consider inconsistency between sterilization and the agency’s duties to maintain self-sustaining and free-roaming herds. This precedent-setting decision is a major win in that it could make it difficult to sterilize healthy herds elsewhere in the west.

This case challenged a controversial and precedent-setting plan by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to permanently sterilize an entire herd of wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (“HMA”) — an action that would have disrupted and destroyed the natural, wild, and free-roaming behavior of these horses, as well as the social organization and long-term viability of the herd to which they belong. The BLM authorized sterilizing this wild horse herd in its recently approved Jarbidge Resource Management Plan (“RMP”).

“The Department of Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated NEPA in many aspects,” states Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “They never considered direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that sterilizing the entire herd will have on the behavior and physiology of wild horses and herd dynamics.” The DOI and BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider a highly relevant technical report (the NAS Report) commissioned by the BLM itself from the National Research Council, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lisa Friday (TCF’s Director of Communications), wild horse adopter and advocate, states: “We have known for years what the NAS Report concluded: that ‘absence of young horses itself would alter the age structure of the population and could thereby affect harem dynamics.’  It is simply unconscionable to tamper with the social dynamics that sterilization would cause.”

Judge Lodge’s decision states, “The BLM has not considered nor explained how the herd will maintain its wild horse instincts, behaviors, and social structure if it is entirely non-reproducing. Further, the BLM has not taken a hard look at how the introduction of horses from holding pens, where they may have become domesticated and reliant on humans, or from other herds that are unfamiliar with the area and terrain will impact the herd and its wild horse behaviors and survival instincts. In sum, the BLM has failed to consider, in the FEIS, any of these significant impacts on the Saylor Creek herd’s behaviors or on the HMAs environment itself. The Court therefore finds the BLM violated NEPA by failing to take the requisite “hard look” at these aspects of the decision.”

Most importantly, this precedent-setting decision will allow for future decisions in favor of wild horses that the BLM wishes to sterilize. “This decision recognizes that the BLM must carefully consider the harmful impacts of sterilization on wild horses’ behavior and herd dynamics,” said Nick Lawton, the attorney with the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks, LLP who represented the plaintiffs. “This case underscores that wild horse advocates and courts will closely scrutinize the agency’s decisions.”

“I would like to personally thank Virginia and Jeff Hudson for their hard work documenting the beautiful Saylor Creek Wild Horse Herd,” states Ginger Kathrens. “We will continue to do everything we can to protect our wild horse families and their legal right to live in peace and freedom.”

Although this is a wonderful victory for our Wild Horses and Burros, the main fight for their existence continues in the Senate with the interior appropriations committee likely to be decided next week. So please continue to call the Senate.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Hundreds of Caribbean Horses in Peril after Multiple Hurricanes

I am Shelley Blodgett, co-founder of Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc., a non-profit (501c3) that helps Thoroughbreds racing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I think there is a story that needs to get out.

There are 864 U.S. Thoroughbreds (all Jockey Club registered) stabled at Hipodromo Camarero Racetrack in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. The racetrack, including the barns, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Maria. Further, the horses cannot leave their stalls due to debris, downed fencing and flooding. They are standing in water, and there is NO clean water or hay. I was told that they are giving them some grain (presumably without water). No horses died during the storm, but some needed stitches and such.

I learned this from a brief phone call from CTA co-founder, Kelley Stobie (the call was disconnected). She is at the track seven days a week, working as an equine therapist. She toured the track and spoke with the backstretch supervisor, some owners, trainer and vets. She told me the situation is dire and there is no way to get needed water, hay and medical supplies right now.

More than half of the Thoroughbreds in Puerto Rico were bred in the States. I have a line graph of numbers for both Puerto Rican-bred and U.S.-bred. There are some good horses there, including 2012 GI Belmont S. runner and 2013 Maxxam Gold Cup winner Unstoppable U, as well as Arch Traveler (who was also on the Triple Crown trail early in his career) and Becky’s Kitten. We gathered data and determined that 1,500 people have a stake in the racing industry in Puerto Rico (see pie chart). Thus, these horses are essential to the well-being of many people in Puerto Rico.

I do not believe that there has been any formal request by the Puerto Rican government to help the horses at that time, but I have been working to rattle the bushes and get things moving. I have spoken with a veterinarian, who is an equine disaster response specialist and on the National Veterinary Response Team, but they cannot help until there is an official request to FEMA from the Puerto Rican government official. Also, I’ve spoken with the Secretary of Agriculture for U.S.V.I., Carlos Robles, but he has not been able to make contact with his counterpart in Puerto Rico, though I know he has sent him an email.

There are about 200 Thoroughbreds in St. Croix, including race horses and breeding farms, and there are 40 Thoroughbreds racing in St. Thomas and many OTTBs in rescue/aftercare as well. Mr. Robles is assessing the situation in U.S.V.I. and trying to initiate needed federal help down there. I have tried calling all of the CTA board members, which include a prominent breeder, an equine veterinarian and an attorney, but all cell service is out. Further, I’ve called the Racetrack Administrator, Jose Maymo, but his cell phone isn’t in service.

We really need the racing industry and other equine organizations in the States to help urgently as there is little time to waste. These horses survived the storm, but are facing dehydration, starvation and risk of secondary health issues (e.g., colic, infection) due to the environmental hazards and lack of basic needs. These are U.S. horses. They do their jobs faithfully as racehorses and deserve better. They support the livelihood of many in the islands. Thank You.

https://www.facebook.com/horserescue/

Source: Thoroughbred Daily News

Old Friends Receives Donations from Owners of Forego Winner Drefong

Silver Charm (Photo: Rick Capone)

GEORGETOWN, KY – SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 – Champion sprinter Drefong crushed the competition in the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego Stakes at Saratoga on August 26.  His gate-to-wire score also did much for Thoroughbred aftercare.

Charles and Susan Chu of the Baoma Corporation, owner the 4-year-old son of Gio Ponti, donated $10,000 of Drefong’s winnings to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY.

“The Chus are deeply committed to aftercare,” said Baoma representative Ed Nevins, “and they are also very impressed with the work being done by Old Friends. As the Chus benefit from racing, they want to continue to give back to the industry that has given them so much happiness.”

This latest donation is one of several Old Friends has received from Baoma following the success of Drefong, who is trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“Susan has visited the farm and has been such a generous supporter,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “We are indebted to them for their generosity and to their steadfast commitment to the horses.”

Old Friends in Georgetown, a non-profit organization, is home to more than 100 former race horses, among them such luminaries of the turf as Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm and War Emblem and three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude. The farm is open to the public for daily tours by appointment.

The Chu family, long-time pleasure riders and amateur show jumpers, got into horse racing in 2012 after years of involvement in Olympic show jumping. Aside from Drefong, they have campaigned other top racehorses such as graded stakes winners Chitu and Super Ninety Nine.

With his Forego win, Drefong earned an automatic return trip to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, to be held this November 4 at Del Mar.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Kentucky Horse Park Offers Help to Hurricane Irma Evacuees

200 Stalls Available for Horses in Potential Path of Hurricane

LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 6, 2017) – The Kentucky Horse Park has opened stabling to horses that are being evacuated from areas expected to be impacted by Hurricane Irma. 200 stalls are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until September 17 for $20 per stall per night.

“Although we have limited capacity, it’s important for us to help however we can,” said Laura Prewitt, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park.

Due to contractual obligations with scheduled horse shows, no pasturing, lunging or riding will be possible. A negative Coggins test is required for stabling.

To reserve stalls, please contact Sheila Forbes in the park’s Equine Operations Department, at 859/259-4290 or at Sheila.Forbes@ky.gov. Any additional information will be made available on the park’s website at www.kyhorsepark.com.

Contact: Lisa Jackson
(859) 259-4224
Lisa.Jackson@ky.gov