Saturday, November 14, 2009

Starving Reining Horses in Washington???!!!!

This morning I received a startling e-mail, one that alleges a well known Washington breeder of reining horses is responsible for neglecting the horses in their care to the degree that some are "starving to death".

I received this e-mail fourth hand (meaning it had been forwarded four times by the time I received it) and as such I'm not going to give the full details, as of yet.

I do not personally know the ranch in question but did know of it and of the person who is making the allegations. The e-mail was written by a well known local trainer and was intended to draw the attention of a nine well respected breeders and trainers within the reining industry...I do not believe it was his intent for this information to "go viral" on the Internet but I feel it is only a matter of time before it does. Some of THE top names in the NRHA world as well as the most notable ranches in the North West were included in that list and so I can only conclude that the trainer's intent was to apply enough social pressure on this breeder that she would clean up her act.

The pictures attached to this e-mail clearly show horses that are in desperate need of attention and seriously underweight. It is alleged that these horses belong to a very well known breeder heavily involved in the North West reining industry as well as at a national level, standing quality stallions, an impressive group of broodmares and is a well being a recognized sponsor of events in the NW.

I am a bit at a loss over what or how much should be said or done without having any first hand knowledge of the situation. Obviously, I want to help those horses in any way possible including posting information about what is going on here in hopes of providing some small support in remedying the problem. Her horses are valuable show animals that are known within the community and the facilities are higher end...these are not some horses hidden away in a backyard and so I am stunned that this problem as not come to light sooner or been allowed to go that far. As we all know the ASPCA/SPCA is not always able to act in situations where they might like to and so while I am sure they have been informed, I'm not sure that much will come it. I want to find out what is true and what is not before providing names or details...

But what then? What if it is true? What is being done with these horses who so desperately need our help?

It seems unbelievable that neglect like this is possible with a ranch so prominent and well known within the community. I am going to see what I can find out and will post an update asap.


  1. It's sickening anytime something like this occurs. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY horses (and other animals) that are mistreated at the hands of those who really have no business owning animals. And when it happens with well known breeders/show barns, etc. it really makes you scratch your head. Just horrible. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this in the coming days. Wow.

  2. My trainer has two yearlings from this situation. While I have not seen them in person, I have seen pics of them and it is just disgusting that someone could do that to any horse, let alone 50-60 horses. Especially since it is someone that is so well known and involved in the horse industry. The whole situation is just sickening and I, for one, hope she gets what's coming to her. Unfortunately, any "punishment" that she receives will be nothing compared to the suffering these animals have endured.

    My trainer and many others have stepped up to take in these horses. From what I have heard, I don't believe they are lacking for homes willing to take them in. Mostly because their former owner was well regarded in the horse community and they have good breeding.

  3. Just because someone is well known and has a reputation because they're successful doesn't mean we know what goes on behind closed doors, nor does it make them a good person. Then again, if this is true, who knows what the reason is for the occurance?

  4. I am suprised simply because I dont expect to see stravation cases out of a farm that is so well known, considered "high end" and where the owners are out showing at the big shows. I dont think that big names, money and fancy facilities makes you a good person or even means you treat your horse well but this kind of neglect isnt common...abuse, inhumane treatment, drugging and all sorts of nasty things go on at all levels and sometimes even more so at the top but most of the horses I've seen on ranches like this are very well fed.

  5. This is so so TRUE. I have seen some of the horses and I know many of them. They have given their harts and soul in the show pen. They are so so bad. Some are a 1 and 1 is being the worst. Please please get the news out. She does not see what she has done... They have been on this case for a while now and I am shocked that they haven't stoped it yet. Horses are just being moved that should have been off that ranch a month or so ago. I know that at least half of the horses have been moved. But, she still has many at the ranch that she thinks that she can handle. All she had to do is ask for "HELP" befor it got this bad. She has many friends that would have lent a hand before it got this bad. If you can not afford to feed these horses you should not keep them and watch them die. She does not see what she has done and it is BAD "Out of control"...... Yes most horses you see on ranches like her's are well taken care of and they were at one time. But when times get hard, this is when things ike this happen. She needs to be stoped in her tracks on breeding for a long long time.. SHe is not in the right frame of mind here...... PLEASE HELP IN PUSHING FOR THE REST OF THE HORSES TO BE REMOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I believe we are going to see more and more cases of starvation and neglect this winter, from higher end owners, breeders and even trainers. Helllooooo, people are going broke and there is no place to go with the horses.

    While the thought makes me ill for the animals, you have to worry for the mental state of the owners as well. These are normally people who would never dream of depriving an animal of the sustinance they need, but the general state of the equine market is so bad, that a lot of people have no idea of what to do. Dump the horses on rescues? Ummm...that hasn't worked out very well for a lot of the horses either. Dump them at auctions? Not much of a chance for them there either. Ask for help? And get hundreds of nasty emails from psychos telling them how aweful they were for breeding the horses in the first place.

    We all know what happens to people featured on the fugly blog. Ridicule and hatred. All it does is make people shut down even more.

    If someone has had a successful breeding/showing operation and has had a good reputation in the past, people really need to take into consideration all of the factors that led them to end up with starved horses and not just spew hatred about how they hope that person "gets what they deserve". There is obviously a lot more going on than someone just waking up one morning and deciding they didn't want to take care of their animals anymore.

    Honestly, I hope people that know this person and these horses can step in and help out as much as possible without the benefit of a media circus.

  7. BrownEyed Cowgirls>>>> She doesn't want the HELP. These horses have plenty of home to go toooooooooo.. Many people in the reining business that know her are coming in and taking what they can to help help. She just needs to release the rest of them until she can take care of them financially.. It was said that MOST of these horses are worth 30,000 and people just want a 30,000 horse for FREE. If you seen these horses, they are NOT worth that kind of money and the people that are taking them will spend a whole lot of money getting them healthy again. A reining horse that use to be worth that kind of money is no longer worth it. To many on the market. These horses are starving and what about the mares that are in foal??? Come on here, it's out of control and no one should be breeding like this in the econemy.. Your right that we need to look at her mental state.. She was able to allow this to get this bad and if you knew her, you would NEVER think this could happen on her ranch. The fact is that it's happening and she needs to except the help that people are offering.. You can not just turn your head and think everything is in control. Keeping all the horses that she still has on the ranch will still cost a fortune to feed, worm, trim and excerise to sell them.. The reining horse and any other horse market is not good, so chances of her sell most of them in a timely manner are slim.. VERY SLIM.. And all of this could have been avoided. Media, animal control and people getting furious at her. JUST WAKE UP AND LET US HELP YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is what most of us are mad about..........

  8. Sally-That really is the root of the problem...people just cannot seem to wrap their minds around the massively reduced value of horses right now. You can't believe the people I have heard bitching about how people are just trying to "steal" horses(because they won't pay what they would a few years ago). We have many people in this area who are having the same problem this lady has. At least for the most part, none of the horses are starving because breeders in this area have large amounts of land. But there are huge herds of horses standing out there in those pastures that people won't invest additional feed into or time or money for training. I really wonder how long they can last holding onto these horses before they cannot financially handle it anymore and start dumping them? And really what will these horses be worth-they have lacked all but basic care and have no training? Not much. As a whole, it is very disturbing to think about what the next few years are going to be like for the horses.

    Believe me, I understand your frustration. After all, it IS the horses who are suffering and they do not deserve that. I'm sure you guys are doing everything you can, didn't mean to imply that people who were aware were just sitting back and pointing fingers. I do know how resistant to help these people can be. They just cannot seem to see what is in front of their eyes and getting them to realize it is not easy. Obviously pressure has to be applied to get results. Allowing her to just let the horses stand there and die is not really an option.

  9. Thank you for the understanding.. We care for her and are not pointing fingers or bad mouthing her. Just bring it to the attention of people that can help and could of helped a long time ago before it got this bad. Just want to help a good friend that we have known for many years. If the animal control is doing their jobs like they say "watching her to be sure the horses are feed" for the past many months, then the horses that were removed this last week wouldn't look this bad. Come on, a horse that is a 1 out of 10 doesn't get this way over night. If this case wasn't kept hush, hush, many of us could have taken action and helped her and the horses. We still need to get more off the propety. She still has at least half of what she had. Just becuase she has hay on the peoperty doesn't mean that they are all being fed as I have seen for my self a couple of days ago that the county is not doing their job. I am sick to see ahors that has given so much of his life to many people suffering. The only reason she has released some horses is because of the pressure we have put on her. We need to keep this up. She needs to come to reality. This econemy has done this to many and the stress has caused so much grief in so many lifes, but it is what it is. Why take on what you can't handle right now and let people help. We need to come together and help each other through these hard times. Do business smart. Think out of the box. The breeding needs to slow way down for the next couple of years. The horse business is nothing like it use to be and will not be for many years ahead. If these breeders keep up what they have been doing in the good days then it's going to take longer for this business to recover and many, many horses are going to suffer. People need to stop being so selfish and greedy. As Lye Lovett said "It's an endless pursuit," That's what's so seductive about horses." The greatest revelation is in experiencing how much more we learn from them than they ever learn from us." Some people will never know how much these horses give people. They give us so much than we can ever give them. Some people think they are just hay burners... So not true. They help heal many sick people. We just need to keep fighting to help her see and understand what she is doing.

  10. See what I mean??? (Referring to my email)

    Good intentions can get out of hand real fast....
    AS I already said, keep us posted, okay?? :)

  11. I heard about this on Tracey's blog. So sad. I hope the horses get placed, and that they find futures that are happier.
    Keep us posted!

  12. The part that is outrageous about this situation is that she was offered help in JUNE when the condition of many of the horses were going down a road towards thin. Her excuse was that many of them had not "wintered" well. At that time she was OFFERED help with the idea to descretely help her, preserving her reputation and quietly placing horses in attempt to do right by the 20 or so horses (out of 50 plus). The offering fell on unmotivated ears. There were a couple babies (yearlings) in bad shape she gave away but others down on their luck were being asked money for. In defense of the woman who owns the ranch... She has fallen on some VERY hard times and has been selling off investment properties in effort to generate cash. Seeing her inventory of horses, MANY of them still fat and valuable, as a partial means of generating more cash, I'm sure.

    But, what I can't seem to wrap my head around is the knowing that she drove past these horses EVERY day. I don't care if you have ONE horse on your property that is starving and all the others are fat as butter cakes... You are still morally obligated to solve the hardship for that one horse that is suffering. I know she is kinda checked out as a result of the financial difficulties incurred in the past yearor so. She seems to me (my opinion) to be numb and avoiding the tough problems she has coming down the pike. There are many from horses to taxes and past business. All that being considered it would be understandable to (possibly) grasp her denial and passivity. .. Right up unto the point you realize she has BEAUTIFULLY manicured nails, freshly highlighted hair and dresses in clothes MUCH nicer than anything I have in my closet.

  13. Horses are not motorcycles that can be just stuffed away in a garage when a person is having problems. We all have problems at one time or another but if we own animals we still have to care for them if they are locked up. An animal all locked up in fences is at its owner’s mercy just like any children we bring into the world. Think about it, if your child were going hungry, would you just ignore the fact? When any person takes on the responsibility of a one of God’s creatures; I was raised to believe & still believe owners of animals are the human owner’s responsibility through sickness & health.

    I respect the kind thoughts for Caton, but the horses on her property deserve better than she. The kind thing to take place is law authority to remove those animals off that property. The good charity of any horse people that took over the care of some of the horses is commendable they didn’t do Caton any favors however by enabling her. The woman apparently only cares for herself and personally she may need a few months of going hungry to ever get the concept of what she committed against those living, breathing creatures.

  14. Wow...this is very sad. I'm a bit behind on my reading here, so I'm hoping there's an update in a more recent post. I'll continue to follow this story. Thanks for bringing it to light.

  15. Does anyone know where these horses are being kept at? I would like to help out/send money to a rescue if need be.