When Becky Bolton called about a horse she saw in the background of some photos on my Facebook page, I had no idea that this horse would become the catalyst for a wave of rescues and new homes for not just one, but 42 horses.
As a rescuer, I list horses on Facebook, work with other rescue organizations and raise money to help slaughter-bound horses find homes. I work directly with kill buyers and pull horses from their pens just before they ship to Canada or Mexico.
Honestly, I tried to talk her out of it. I knew nothing about the health of this particular horse and had no auction tag number for identification. A hazy photo of his head and back was the only thing we had to identify him. Becky’s unrelenting plea to save this horse sparked a wave of energy throughout our horse community.
I called the kill buyer and texted him the picture. He found the horse in the chute being loaded to go to slaughter. I begged him to stop the truck and change the paperwork, which would cost him money to do so, and he agreed.
Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to ride along with my friend, Nancy Diaz, to pick up this horse at the kill pen. We ended up pulling more horses that day and the following Sunday. My network of rescuers worked frantically making calls, taking pictures, shooting videos, texting friends and posting to Facebook so we could find them homes.
I kept asking myself, what are you doing? With winter coming, the holidays approaching and knowing that there has been less and less interest each week in people wanting to adopt, I wondered how I was going to find homes for all these horses.
But everything for these horses fell right in line. The right people saw them and helped share them throughout our horse community. The right donors financially back them, and the right rescues all stepped up at the right time.
I sit in awe and amazement of the generosity of those who helped to make this happen ─ all thanks to one very lucky horse, now named "Ripple Effect."
Like the ever-expanding ripples across water, the ripple effect of generosity helped save 42 horse lives in just in 7 days.
Kris Young is an advocate for slaughter-bound horses. After visiting the horse auctions in New Holland PA, she built a controversial working relationship with a local kill buyer to help facilitate the rescue of unwanted horses. Her love for horses has helped her build a social media network of supporters that includes quarantine facilities, rescue organizations, and like-minded individuals she calls her “village” who help successfully save and find homes for hundreds of horses each year.
You can cause a “ripple effect” this Holiday Season by helping support the network of rescuers who helped make this story possible.
Birch Hill Farm is a horse sanctuary in West Virginia that takes in many slaughter-bound horses, rehabs them, and if they are suitable for adoption, places them in great, loving, forever homes.
Coast to Coast Draft Horse Connection is a community of draft lovers, working together to help find great homes for draft horses all across the country. www.facebook.com/C2CDraftHorseConnection.
LifeHorse is a 501(c)(3) organization that pulls horses directly from the kill pens, raises the initial “bail" money to get them safe, and networks them to rescue organizations across the country. Donations can be made via PayPal to Lifehorse2014@yahoo.com.
Holistic Horse: Special Report
Taking Facebook by storm....we’ve reached over 46,000 people. Watch our documentary video about the life cycle of camp horses, where they go after camp is over and how rescuers are championing the cause to implement a nationwide microchipping program.