Press Exclusive: A Christmas Miracle

221300_508522909178150_547297385_oJust a few days before Christmas, Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbreds worked a miracle for one very battered Thoroughbred mare.  Press Exclusive was one of the OTTBs rescued by Mindy from a slaughter holding pen in Canada.  Thousands of U.S Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico every year.  There is currently talk of bringing the barbaric practice back to the United States because the Pro-Slaughter side claims to be concerned about the horses welfare during transport to the slaughterhouses.

Take a look at the pictures of this mare if you can.  This is what a horse looks like after being transported loose in a trailer designed for cattle. They are packed in too tightly to move or balance properly.  The aggressive horses bite and kick the weaker ones and the haulers aren’t exactly animal lovers.  If the horses fall or go down during the ride, they will likely be trampled to death.  This is NO way to treat any living creature.




How did Press Exclusive end up in this nightmare?  Maybe she wasn’t a good runner?  Wrong!  A quick search on Equibase will show that her career earnings were over $400,000 and her average earnings per start were around $9,000.  If you add in the career earnings of her offspring, the number jumps to around $750,000.

Maybe she wasn’t well-bred and had no value as a broodmare?  Wrong again!  Her pedigree is quite impressive and she had numerous foals, including one named A Notebook.  Her grand-sire was Fleet Nasrullah and there are plenty of other famous names in her bloodlines.  Even with a down economy, one of her fillies just sold for over $10,000 in September.  Press Exclusive is an older mare but she hasn’t reached such an old age that she would be useless.

Her unnamed yearling filly sold for $10,139
Philanthropist – Press Exclusive, by Press Card
(Annahein Racing Stables; Richard G. Hogan, agent) – Colleen Beaumier

You would think that earning over $400,000 might earn her a nice retirement on a farm somewhere.  Whoever sent her to the auction didn’t agree.  There are alternatives to sending a horse to an auction where you know they will likely be bought by a kill buyer and shipped to slaughter.  Find an equine rescue or another program where the horse can go.  Find a person that can be trusted to care for the horse.  If no home can be found, call a vet and have the horse humanely euthanized.  Yes, this costs money and so does burial or having the body hauled away but it gives peace of mind.  The owner knows their horse will never end up in a nightmare like the one that awaited Press Exclusive.  Yet another nightmare make still be unfolding.  Mindy’s vet reports that Press Exclusive may have been nursing a foal as little as 6 weeks ago.  This mare was bred to Milwaukee Brew for a 2012 foal.  The terrible question:  where is that foal now?

Press Exclusive was very lucky.  She found a guardian angel.  If she makes a good recovery, she may finally get retirement on a farm with one of her daughters for company.  She deserves to live out the rest of her days in peace and safety.



“I would also like to thank every single person who has stepped up to help with her costs and are wishing her the best recovery possible and I will do my best to make this happen for her. I would like to add just one more thing for now – PLEASE do NOT send your horses to auction – there are alternatives!! PLEASE take advantage of them!! NO horse deserves this!!” – Mindy Lovell

If you would like to make a donation to help Mindy care for this mare and many others that she has saved, please send donations via PayPal directly to:


Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


I’ll Have Another: Pasture or Plate?

ImageAccording to the Daily Racing Forum, I’ll Have Another is going to be retired from racing and used as a stallion. I’m sure all the fans who watched him win the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness wish him a safe and happy retirement. He is a magnificent horse and he deserves the best.

He was scratched from the Belmont due to a tendon injury–a wise move by his trainer, Doug O’Neill. I would rather see the horse able to retire in good health instead of having a breakdown on the track because he was pushed too hard. A life of rest and relaxation with plenty of mares to keep him busy. Sounds perfect?

Well, maybe not… I’ll Have Another was bought by Japanese stable and will be leaving for Japan sometime in August after going through the proper quarantine procedures. Once he’s half way across the world, it will be hard for anyone to keep track of him and make certain that he is safe. A career as a breeding stallion in Japan had a tragic end for another Kentucky Derby winner.

Image Ferdinand, winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeder’s Cup was also shipped off to Japan for a new career as a stud. However, he was unsuccessful as a stallion and within a few years, he could not be found. When his former connections from the United States demanded to see the former champion, they were told that he had been “disposed of” meaning sent to a slaughterhouse in Japan sometime around September of 2002. His career earnings were over 3 million dollars and he had won two of the biggest races in the United States. In the end, none of that mattered. He was in a country where eating horse meat is part of the culture. If he was no longer useful alive, they could make use of his carcass. Unbelievable? Keep reading…

Another Kentucky Derby winner met a similar fate in Sweden. Exceller was retired to stud and moved from place to place until he ended up at a Swedish breeding farm. By this time, he was 24 years old and still in good health. Rumors began circulating that he was sterile and his owner shipped him off to a slaughterhouse. His career earnings were over 1 million dollars and he won several prestigious races before his retirement. None of that mattered in the end. His last owner thought he was no longer useful and sent him off. That is hardly the ending one expects for a champion.

Both of those horses have organizations bearing their names that now work to rescue horses and educate the public about the dangers of the horse slaughter pipeline and the cruelty of the slaughterhouses.

The Exceller Fund can be found at

Friends of Ferdinand can be found at

Image I sincerely hope that I’ll Have Another will enjoy a happy and peaceful retirement. He has earned it. Still, I and many others would feel safer if he was not living out his life in a country where horses are regarded as food when they have outlived their u$efullne$$ to their owners.


Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


A Rescuer’s Heart

People who don’t do animal rescue often have a hard time understanding those of us who spend long hours and sleepless nights working to help animals. We don’t make money. In fact, we usually spend most of the money we have. We don’t get lots of attention and on the rare occasion when the media does turn up, they frequently lump us all into the same category; crazy animal right activists. We usually spend more time with the animals than we do with other people. We get bitten, kicked, scratched, slimed, trampled, etc. We see things that would cause a normal person to have a nervous breakdown; slaughterhouses, abuse, cruelty, and animals with such horrific injuries that it is amazing that they are able to go on living. It takes a strong stomach, nerves of steel, and an unbreakable heart.

You don’t do this for headlines. You don’t do it to become famous and have people follow you. You do it to help the animals because they cannot help themselves. They cannot even ask for help. You do to give a voice to those who suffer in silence. They trust us with their lives and too many people abuse and betray that trust.

If they come to you broken and injured, you heal them. Some injuries are physical but others are mental. An abused animal may take a very long time to trust anyone. Those that have been severely abused may never trust anyone again. It is much harder to save one that has learned to hate people. It can be done but it takes a great deal of time and infinite patience. If they refuse to trust you, treating their injuries becomes much more difficult. They don’t understand that you’re trying to help them and they will fight you every step of the way. If you’re able to save them and keep them alive, that is the happy ending. Seeing them them able to have a life is the reward and they are grateful in ways that cannot be explained to anyone who has not been through it. If you have saved an animal’s life, they will do things for you that they would not do for anyone else.

Recovery may take months or even years. Hours spent nursing the animal back to health with veterinary care, physical therapy, food, shelter, and anything else that they need to help them heal. Some of them may fully recover and be able to start over again. Depending on their injuries, others may recover enough to enjoy retirement but they are never the same. They are left with scars or permanent damage that prevents them from jumping, running, or doing what they did before they were hurt. You try to find something else that they can do even if it’s something as simple as being a companion for another horse.

Animals may need continued help from their rescuers and in some cases, from their own kind. They can help each other in ways that we could never help them. If a person is blind, they may be helped by a guide dog. First the dog has to be trained to help the person and then the blind person learns how to handle the dog. So how do you help guide a blind horse? Another horse answered that question for me. While I was trying to figure out what to do, Amigo solved the problem by staying next to Sylvester, the blind horse. He guided him through the pasture. He protected him from the bigger horses. They became inseparable. Amigo guarding Sylvester (blind horse in blue halter)Amigo knew Sylvester couldn’t see so he became his eyes and Sylvester followed him. Blind faith. He did what he needed to do. No questions asked. No training required.

There are some wounds that cannot be healed. That is the darker side of rescue. You spend time healing one injury and another one develops in the mean time. When the first one has healed, the second one emerges. Sometimes you cannot save their lives. The best you can offer them is a peaceful death. Humane euthanasia instead of a slaughterhouse. If they are in terrible pain with no hope of recovery, the only thing you can do is help them cross the Rainbow Bridge. Instead of giving them a new life, you settle for ending their suffering. It is bittersweet and heartbreaking but you let them go. Your heart shatters into a thousand pieces and you swear to yourself that you will never do another rescue again. The pain seems too great but the moment you see another animal that needs help you will do everything all over again.

Rest In Peace

Crippled at the racetrack, dumped into a kill pen, and rescued too late. He had foundered by the time he was pulled from the auction. Instead of a brutal death in a slaughterhouse, he was humanely euthanized in the horse country of Virginia where he spent his last moments surrounded by people who loved him. He deserved a long life. The best anyone could do was to give him a peaceful death.

You want to save all of them but no one can do it. There are so many and they are everywhere. The best way to help them is for rescuers to join together and network. Everyone does what they can. Some people work with the animals. Others donate money or provide supplies. You can volunteer your time. You can share their stories and network for them. Everyone can do something. However, certain things are NOT helpful…

Rescue wars are pointless and counter-productive. Once the mudslinging begins, everyone looks bad and it takes attention away from the animals. If you don’t want to work with a certain person, then you shouldn’t. If you don’t want to work with a particular group, leave and find another or work on your own. There is no room for big egos in rescue. Glory seekers need not apply.


Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


Penny Chenery speaks out on horse racing, drugs and the Triple Crown

Tuesday's Horse


“I think it is regrettable. And it isn’t the horse’s fault and this is probably a very good horse. I don’t know Mr. Reddam personally but I think he should be embarrassed that the trainer he has chosen does not have a clean record.”

So states Penny Chenery, referring to the owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who on June 9th will attempt to take American horse racing’s Triple Crown by winning the last leg, the Belmont Stakes.

If successful, I’ll Have Another will be the first horse to take the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978, guided by a teenaged Steve Cauthen. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, famously winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths.

I’ll Have Another is owned by Paul Reddam and trained by Doug “Milkshake” O’Neill. O’Neill has a steady history of drug violations…

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tuesday's Horse

Former Thoroughbred jockey Gary Stevens

“I did whatever I had to do to show up, whether is was injections in my knees or whatever,” Stevens said. “My career ended much earlier than it should have had I given myself the proper amount of time to heal up every time I was hurt. I didn’t know how bad I was hurting myself sometimes, and racehorses for damn sure don’t know. I would still be riding today, and a lot of good horses would still be running today, if medications weren’t used the way they are.”

— Gary Stevens, retired jockey

This quote comes from an article by Jay Hovdey writing for the Daily Racing Form covering former jockey Gary Stevens invitation to testify on Monday in Pennsylvania, where the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will convene for a hearing on the subject of “A Review of Efforts to Protect…

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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


Straight from the Horse's Heart

Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ volunteer president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Evil Never Goes Away, It Only Recruits New Puppets

Back in 2005 when the Belgians were murdering American horses in both Texas and Illinois the Wall Street Journal published an article on the subject which the then mayor of one of the Texas towns blemished and wounded by a bloody slaughterhouse took issue with.  That mayor was the well respected and talented Paula Bacon of Kaufman, Texas.  Mayor Bacon’s fight with the foreign scourge that bloodied America’s soil is epic and she will forever be remembered as one of America’s great and iconic heroines. 

That same battle goes on today as even though the plants have been shuttered an elected official from distant Wyoming has reared her ugly head and aligned herself with the very same players that once darkened the American Equine Industry.  Wyoming…

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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


West Virginia Racing Commission Takes a Stand Against Horse Slaughter

On April 13th, the West Virginia Racing Commission revised its regulations to allow the agency to take action against permit holders who intentionally send their horses to slaughter.  Prior to the new regulations, the management at the individual racetracks could take actions including taking a trainer’s stalls, etc.  Even if a trainer were in trouble at one track, he or she could simply move to another one and continue with business as usual.  Once these revised regulations take effect, the West Virginia Racing Commission could ban the offending trainers from every racetrack in the state.

An article in the Blood Horse states:  “We’re proud to be part of the committee that took the unprecedented step of codifying an anti-slaughter policy in West Virginia’s racing rules,” said Erich Zimny, director of racing operations at Charles Town. “In addition to Penn National Gaming’s anti-slaughter policy, having it built into state law opens up doors to fines and permit suspensions that could impact perpetrators’ ability to procure a license elsewhere.  The added level of enforcement is indicative of how serious this issue is, and that the West Virginia Racing Commission and we are committed to policing and enforcing it.”

The racing commission would be allowed to deny, suspend, or revoke a permit if an individual “has knowingly, or without conducting due diligence, sold a horse to slaughter, either directly or indirectly,” the regulations state.  The same would apply to a permit holder that “has abandoned, mistreated, abused, neglected, or engaged in an act of cruelty to a horse.”  Kelli Talbot, deputy attorney general for the WVRC, said there must be “factual determination” before the commission can take action against permit-holders.

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized