Photos of Anita Vacation

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Anita post, I share these pictures from Mary Johnson.

Anita, approximately two weeks after arriving in Ohio…

The vet at Cleveland Equine said these are the worst ankles she’s ever seen…

ankles, by the way, Anita was raced on…


Update: Recent photos of a healthier, happier Anita…


    • Yes, Anita Vacation was raced on those ankles, most recently on June 18, 2016, at Mountaineer. I continue to be repulsed by this vile industry called horseracing.

      • Mary, thank you for what you do for the horses.
        What strikes me is Anita Vacation was cleared by the track vet. to race as recently as June.
        Where is that professional’s integrity. He should lose his license for malpractice.

  1. Please excuse my ignorance…are there any authorities that can be notified of this abuse? There is a trail of perpetrators, a history of her racing, owners, trainers…It’s not that we don’t know what happened to her. Is there no authority that documents this cruelty and confronts the perpetrators?

    • Jean, I have sent a FOIA request to the West Virginia Racing Commission. Anita NEVER should have been cleared to race…NEVER. Anyone, with minimal intelligence, should realize that. However, the bottom line is that the racing industry doesn’t give a damn and that is why it must cease to exist.

      • How did u end up with Anita? How can more of these OTTB be rescued before they go to the kill pen?
        Thanks for your help!

      • Damn right…animal cruelty charges are in line here! Spineless cowards (her racing connections) not helping her when she was standing in the kill pen. All people in racing that were involved in this…shame on you. You are being exposed, and it will not stop.

      • oyvey247, I was alerted to Anita Vacation’s situation by Joy Aten in mid-July. I really grappled with helping this mare. I normally do not support working with kill buyers whether they be contract killers or middlemen, but this mare reminded me so much of another chestnut TB that Joy and I helped a number of years ago. His name was Slade and he, too, had been damaged by racing. In fact, he suffered from multiple fractures and new bone growth in his right front fetlock and was ultimately euthanized because his prognosis, even as a pasture pet, was poor. Joy actually wrote a Shedrow Secrets story about him and I have provided the link below.

        I have quite a few “rescued” horses and I certainly didn’t need to take on another mouth to feed, but this horse touched me. Joy and I reached out to End of the Line and I agreed to take her IF her transport costs could be arranged to Ohio. Joy did an amazing job fundraising for Anita and I would like to thank all those individuals who offered financial assistance. I knew that I would have to board Anita until my barn was finished at my farm, but I was willing to step up to the plate. By the way, Anita’s bail to Ron Andio, the kill buyer middleman, had already been covered by the time she was placed into the End of the Line program.

        Although the racing apologists would try to convince you otherwise, the vast majority of TB’s go direct to kill (underground) because that makes it impossible to track them. Some will be dumped at smaller auctions and then moved into the slaughter pipeline. In fact, one of my racing contacts just shared with me that two TB’s were purchased for slaughter at a small auction in northeast Ohio called Carrollton. Carrollton is about an hour from Mountaineer and an hour from Mahoning so it is a very convenient location to dump unprofitable horses. There are thousands of smaller auctions throughout the country so it is impossible to have “rescuers” on the ground at every single one of them. Would Anita have gone to slaughter? We don’t really know but Andio does have a relationship with Bauer and Baker here in Ohio and both of them have contracts with plants in Canada. It is interesting to note that there were several individuals on a racing supporter’s wall who suggested that Anita could be used for breeding purposes but, with ankles like hers, I think those individuals must have been delusional but we must always remember that most people do exploit animals in one way or another so nothing surprises me anymore.

        During my many years working the backside of Beulah, I was able to save horses from going to kill, but I can tell you that it does take a financial toll. The basic cost (not including labor) to keep a horse like Anita is about $250 a month or $3,000 yearly. That doesn’t include vet, farrier or dental. It just includes the basics…grain, hay, and bedding. Anita is five. Let’s say she lives in my pasture for ten years. Anita will end up costing me $30,000 and, again, that is for the basic costs. The numbers are simply staggering IF you understand basic math.

        There are TB’s that can be saved before they get into the kill buyers’ hands, but why do these horses need to be “saved” when I have been told over the years that there are “many” good people in racing? The problem lies in the fact that slaughter is an economic necessity for this vile industry. There are simply too many horses and not nearly enough “good” homes. I don’t know what the future holds for Anita Vacation but what I can tell you is that she is now safe and will NEVER be placed in a precarious situation again.

        • Thank you for such a detailed reply. You mentioned End of the Line – they are a rescue I assume? Where are they located? I was just wondering what could be done to save these horses before they get into the kill buyers hands. Thank you for your great support for stopping horse racing.

  2. It’s COMMON practice in the industry to race on sore limbs, and soft tissue issues.
    These issues are consistently medicated to keep them filling races, generating profits, and picking up checks (racinos pay up to last place).
    The medication masks these issues, stressing the joints, and soft tissues beyond capacity, and breakdowns occur.
    It’s basically a game of Russian Roulette for $2 bets.
    Dog fighting has more accountability than this pathetic excuse for gambling.
    This antiquated business model has got to go.
    Anita Vacation is a very lucky mare on 2 accounts.
    First, she made it out alive which attests to her survival spirit.
    Second, she got an amazing home via Mary Johnson.
    Unfortunately, Anita Vacation is an exception, and this industry does absolutely nothing.
    I would bet that all the people that come on this blog to defend this pain, suffering, and misery didn’t contribute ONE DIME to her medical condition.
    It’s always the people who had nothing to do with the exploitation that continuously steps up to the plate to clean up the MESS that this industry creates.
    They all make me sick.

  3. Thank you Patrick for posting these pictures. Anita Vacation looks like a sweet mare. We had been in the racing industry, all facets of it, from 1977 until 2005. We have seen hundreds of ankles/ fetlocks in our experience. We also have NEVER seen ones that bad!! That is a crime to force a horse to be ridden , let alone race on joints so badly ruined from over work do doubt from too hard of surfaces and the use of pain masking medications. Possibly even shock wave therapy was used as we have seen used at our local track by a trainer who is STILL training right now. That is why we walked away in July 2005 and will NEVER go back! We inform people of this site on a regular basis so that the truth gets out to the general public. See if you can post more pictures of these poor abused horses. As the saying goes a picture is worth a 1000 words.Many thanks to the people involved with her rescue!

  4. I’m a lay person but those ankles look
    abnormal to me. This is one of the very few horses broken down by racing to be rescued by caring people. The usual fate of the injured is to be “auctuined” – sent to a slaughterhouse.
    The only answer to this abuse is to end horseracing – a start would be to take away tax incentives to breed horses. And New York State should stop subsidizing cruelty by paying for tracks and propping up NYRA with our taxes.

    • Agreed! Stop the incentives like FREE registration of foals as done in our state which is funded by a HUB wagering tax by all internet / satellite wagering for off track betters. Also, the accelerated depreciation schedules for horses placed in SERVICE or used as breeding stock just encourages horse owners to dispose of their horses quickly once they realize they are not going to be stakes producers.

  5. Joy, thank you for Anita’s story. The pictures showing the sad state of that beautiful mare just a short time from being cleared for her last start clearly illustrate the abuse these horses are subjected to. The outrageous lack of accountability is startling.

  6. How on earth anyone could allow this poor mare to race on those legs leaves me speechless and full of anger! One doesn’t have to be a vet to see how bad she was, anyone who laid eyes on her like the officials, other trainers, grooms, should’ve acted and spoken up.

    As for the vets – they should be hung out to dry.

    Thank you for taking her on Mary, it’s such a comfort to know that she’s with you.
    And thank you Joy for your selflessness and dedication.

  7. Anita Vacation is a victim of the true nature of the racing industry. The cruelty, abuse, then slaughter bound. And when she needed help the most, those in racing were nowhere to be found. I will say it again…this is the true nature of the racing industry. And this will happen again and again. I have included Patrick’s West Virginia FOIA reports. This is horse racing in West Virginia.

  8. It never ceases to amaze me how the racing apologists try to “twist and spin” the story in a desperate attempt to deflect from the atrocities committed against the horses in racing. Ms. Jen Ruberto states that, “There was a bill of sale from the trainer (Kieser) to this low life that dumped her.” Really? According to the adopter, there was NO bill of sale, and NO contract, between Kieser and the adopter yet the adopter is a “low life?” Perhaps a bill of sale was drawn up but the adopter never received it nor was any document signed by her. Why didn’t the young girl who facilitated the dumping of Anita require a contract? Why didn’t she check references? Why didn’t Kieser? The reason is simple…Kieser wanted to get Anita out of his barn. He wanted to “get rid of her.” It is the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Happens all the time and those of us who have spent years on the backside of tracks know that to be true.

    The attempts to deflect away from the damage done to Anita continue. The adopter, according to Ruberto, is a “world class douchebag” and the horse is “flipping FOOTSORE.” Wow, anyone who knows anything about horses should have realized that Anita was way more than “flipping FOOTSORE.” I took one look at the photo of her at the kill lot and knew that significant damage had been done to her by her racing connections, but we must remember that the racing supporters need to crucify the adopter, not those who damaged her beyond repair.

    Then Ruberto states that she has “seen uglier ankles than that winning races.” According to the vet at Cleveland Equine, Anita’s ankles are the worst she has EVER seen so, if we believe Ruberto’s statement, horses race on ankles worse than Anita’s? UN…FREAKING…BELIEVABLE but we must remember that this is horseracing. Perhaps with the right combination of drugs, horses with HUGE ankles can win races!

    Yes, Anita’s racing plates were pulled by the adopter’s farrier, but, according to the adopter, her hooves weren’t trimmed since her feet were already too short. The adopter was told by the young girl, who facilitated the dumping, that Anita could be used for trails which, unfortunately, isn’t true. Short feet are the least of Anita’s problems. There are many other idiotic comments from the racing supporters but I won’t waste my time by posting them here. However, I want to be clear….very clear. The adopter was wrong to dump Anita at an auction, but her racing connections were wrong to maim her and, if we are going to crucify the adopter, then we must also crucify the girl who networked Anita as well as Anita’s racing connections.

    • Mary – thanks so much for this post.
      Your opening statement is so accurate, and a common occurrence because racing apologists do twist the story.
      They are irresponsible parasites.
      They rarely take responsibility for their commodity – the racehorse.
      They blame PETA, animal rights activists, animal advocates, the government, the casinos etc, etc.
      They turn their anger on the very people that rescue, and re-home including those who finance it because it can’t financial survive on its own.
      They feel completely entitled to taxpayers money, government support, and casino money.
      They want to take the money, but they don’t want to be held accountable or transparent.
      They want to continue with the whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping and/or dying with little or no accountability.
      Their smoke, and mirrors are the commissions, the endless committees – all lip service because nothing has ever or will every change.
      Instead of getting angry with the sadistic connections of Anita – they turn their anger onto people like us who really “care” about her.
      The proverbial, “but, we got her a good home – we didn’t know,” is a broken record that I’ve heard too many times over the years.
      There’s no excuse for Anita just as there is no justification for legitimized and systematized racehorse cruelty.
      This antiquated business model has got to go.

  9. I guess I should comment once Mary has singled me out. My comments on the original posting of this mare were because people were posting that she needed to be purchased and euthanized on the spot. I was hoping that anyone who decided to take her would attend to her obviously very sore feet first and give her a chance rather than just assuming she needed to be euthanized right then. I never said her ankles were not bad. I meant that I’ve seen horses race and win on big ankles before and also have seen horses in second career who were also sound on old ankles as well. That was it. I absolutely did not want to get in a pissing match with anyone over this. I also did donate money to help with her price listed on EOTL. I was told by the person who had networked for the trainer that he had a BOS because he said he had one. Did I see it, no.
    Since Ms . Johnson blocked me on Facebook years ago I am not able to see things she has posted about me but apparently she has been dragging my name through the mud because I have racehorses. I also volunteered for canter for Mountaineer and the surrounding farms for over 10 years. I still network horses on a smaller scale but had to step back somewhat because my children needed my time more. She can say what she wants about me. I know how hard I’ve worked over the years to help horses in need and also how happy my own horses are. I also know that this website has no racing fans so I don’t expect anyone to care about what I have to say. So I’ll be on my way out.

    • Jen, horseracing makes rescue necessary. Please reconsider your support of an industry that kills thousands annually. It’s time for us as a society to do better, be better.

    • Ms. Ruberto, since you are “on your way out,” I doubt if you will see my reply to your comment above but I’m sure one of your fellow racing exploiters will graciously share my post with you. Yes, I did block you on Facebook approximately four years ago and you seem to struggle with WHY I blocked you since you have stated that FACT several times in the screenshots I have received from mutual FB friends. Deputy Broad was sent to slaughter in July of 2011. After his demise, a group of us banded together and had two billboards placed close to Mountaineer that asked the track to enforce their “no horse to slaughter policy.” Therefore, anyone, with minimal intelligence, should know that we asked Mountaineer to keep their promise. Of course, Mountaineer had no intention of keeping their promise and those “pesky” billboards were bad for business. Within one week, Mountaineer’s legal department approached Lamar and the boards were removed. Of course, the racing apologists, including you, were upset that the boards were put up in the first place. You criticized those boards repeatedly on FB, as did many others, and you had no trouble criticizing me and “dragging my name through the mud.” You and I got into it on several different threads and you stated that I should be “patient” with racing when it came to horses being sent to slaughter. I asked you multiple times how long I should be patient…three years?… five years?…ten years?…twenty years?….but you NEVER responded with an answer. Why? Because the answer, Ms. Ruberto, is FOREVER and I think even you, who supports an industry that uses slaughter as its disposal system, was embarrassed to tell me that slaughter would NEVER end. Horseracing needs slaughter to get rid of excess horses. It has been that way for years and it will continue to be that way. Just to be clear, I am NOT going to be “patient” when it comes to racing sending horses to foreign abattoirs and, anyone who suggests that I remain “patient” will be blocked. Got it?

      You seemed to have no trouble dragging the adopter’s name (Ms. Nagy) through the mud. Your words, not mine…”low life”, “moron”, “idiot”, “world class douchebag.” Just to reiterate…there is MUCH blame to go around and Ms. Nagy never should have dumped Anita at Meadville (the first auction) but Ms. Favre should have done due diligence in “vetting” the adopter rather than doing absolutely nothing…again, Ms. Favre did NOTHING to protect this horse via a contract and reference check but she isn’t called any names by you or any of the racing apologists. However, the biggest “douche bag” of all is good ole Charles Kieser who raced Anita on those huge ankles and now, Ms. Ruberto, Anita isn’t even suitable for trail riding. Perhaps if Kieser had stopped exploiting Anita BEFORE maiming her, she would have had a chance at a second career. There aren’t many people willing to take on a five year old horse whose future consists of being nothing more than a pasture pet. Your focus was to discredit the adopter and protect the true culprits…racing. Pathetic, at best.

      It is wonderful that you volunteered for CANTER but so what? Shouldn’t you try to help the horses dumped by YOUR industry? I volunteered for CANTER for years and spent thousands of dollars helping horses and I haven’t made a dime in racing. I do it because I truly love the horses. I have heard from others, including someone who is pro-racing, that you do take horses from the track, retrain them, and sell them for a PROFIT. Nothing wrong with “flipping” horses to make a buck but I wonder how many “pasture puffs” you have on your farm…you know, horses that can’t benefit you financially since their racing days are over. I would guess few, if any.

      You and I go back a good number of years to the days of Kami Brooks whose property was next to your farm. Kami had horse carcasses, and emaciated horses, on her property and I vividly remember talking to you on the phone and telling you to call the authorities. You were hesitant to do so since you were afraid that Kami would find out and forbid you from crossing over a small section of her property to get to the field where you galloped your horses. You were concerned about feeding your family even as horses were starving and you wouldn’t even risk a phone call in order to protect your ability to access a pasture. I’ll never forget that, Ms. Ruberto. I even suggested that you call anonymously but I guess the risk was too great. You didn’t speak up as horses suffered horrifically. I find that to be reprehensible.

      I am anti-racing and proud to be. You can say what you want about me and you haven’t had a problem criticizing me over the years. I know how hard I’ve worked to help horses dumped by YOUR industry. The difference between you and me is that you love the industry that maims, and kills, horses daily and I love the horses. That is the difference. Seems simple to me….

      • Mary, if I was a horse in a herd I would want you to be my pasture buddy.
        Thanks for exposing this person for who, and what she stands for.
        Every single racing apologist, participant, supporter of this industry is either an abuser and/or enabler of the abuse.
        Some of them carry on the abuse under a delusional shroud of manure.
        The entire industry is one big cruelty ring, and death camp whose time is long overdue to shut down.
        Thanks for being a voice for the voiceless racehorses as they die in the dirt or are on their way to die in a slaughterhouse.
        It’s heroes like you who save some, and even saving one is worth it while this multi-billion dollar industry stands by and permits this to happen, even defending it.

    • Gina, actually, Ruberto, and her colleagues, should thank us for helping to clean up the mess made by HER industry yet she comes on this blog and babbles about donating towards Anita’s bail. Not once does she thank any of us who stepped up for this damaged horse. If I made a mess, I wouldn’t expect Ruberto to clean it up but she expects us, who are anti-racing, to help pick up the bodies of damaged horses as we have been doing for years and years. I find that way of thinking to be reprehensible but it is all too common among the exploiters.

      • Actually I don’t expect anything of you Mary. You said nobody from the industry donated to help Anita. I told you I did. That is all.

      • Ms. Ruberto, I said that “nobody from the industry donated to help Anita?” That is a lie. If you feel that you haven’t lied, then provide documentation here on this blog. Yes, you posted on your FB page, where you crucify the adopter, that you did donate to bail Anita. So what? Were you looking for a pat on the back? Why didn’t you offer her a home? She helped to fill those racing cards at Mountaineer so it seems like she did her part to keep that “hell hole” track humming along. Oh, and since I have been told, ad nauseum, that there are many “good” people in racing, where were all those “good” people when Anita was standing in a kill pen and owned by a kill buyer? Did any of them step up for Anita? Nope, all those “good” people were nowhere to be found. The biggest lie of all is that there are many “good” people in racing.

  10. It seems I’m getting notifications of replies which I didn’t sign up for so here I am again. Mary, you had no idea of something thst was going on privately that was supposed to help fund aftercare for horses needing a place to go. It involved a book deal with an author out of state that adopted a horse from a mountaineer trainer. There was more to it nationally but it’s a slow process. Thato why when you asked about aftercare programs I said I hoped you would be patient because we had a private party that wants to donated possibly quote a bit of money. At the time I had no idea how long this type of thing can take. I didn’t mean anything else. However you are very good at twisting what I say and using partial quotes. I also don’t brag about the number of horses I have helped in dire situations. Probably why you feel I’ve done nothing. That’s where you are wrong but I don’t feel I need to justify myself by throwing out numbers or money amounts.
    Also, I have no, or had no connection to Anita other than people tagging me in her picture asking for help and me recognizing her from Jade’s ad. I donated money quietly to help get her out of the kill broker’s pen. As far as what transpired between her and Keiser to rehome Anita, I do not know. As far as Keiser the only reason I know who he is, is because he had a horse I had been following that used to be mine. I pestered him to make sure I was the first one to know when thst horse needed a home so I could make sure he was safe. He has since been claimed two more times abd I’ve been keeping in contact every trainer who has had him to be sure he never disappears.
    As far as Kami was concerned, I only asked to remain anonymous. Thst was all. Another neighbor had already called the authorities before I knew about anything that was going on. She lives on a hill that is secluded abd completely fenced in. There was no way for me to see anything and I was pregnant with my son so no galloping, no sight seeing. I was unaware of any of that until they told us.
    Also, I have 3 of my ex racehorses living retired on my farm. Tomorrow will stay with us when they tell us they don’t want to run anymore. Yes, I buy and resell. All to good homes with contracts. Most go on to be eventers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I am certainly not the only one in this country doing it. I just prefer to be an honest reseller making connections that do right by their horses. Some eventing at upper levels. Last, the reason I didn’t approve of your billboards was, as I told you, it completely put the track on lockdown. Nobody was allowed I unless they had a license. So no bringing people in to look at canter listed horses. I wasn’t even allowed to carry a camera around. Trainers became very suspicious and refused to list any horse needing a home. It took a long time to open those lines again. Which all the while only hurt the horses because more disappeared without a trace. THAT is why I felt the billboards were a bad move. But again, you just made me out to be a bad guy because I spoke out against you. No matter how many horses I help, past, present or future, it will never be enough for you. I realize this and as I said before, I don’t care for or need your approval.

    • And as long as the gambling business that you and your family choose to work in – exploiting sentient creatures, using their bodies and their very lives, then taking the money they’ve made from their labors – continues to exist, we will need to keep rescuing injured and discarded horses. So will you – doesn’t make much sense, does it…unless what you profit is greater than what you give? Meanwhile, how many of your “family members” that you’ve gotten off your books are being run into the ground by some “bad apple” that even individuals like yourself admit are licensed and working in your industry? You can “follow” them all you like – it will be too late once they’re like Anita Vacation or worse yet, like the thousands confirmed DEAD.

    • Like Mary, I cleaned up MANY messes over the years that this industry creates.
      Blaming a billboard for “Trainers became very suspicious,” is so typical.
      There shouldn’t be any billboards, any racehorses standing at kill auction, racehorses being forced to race on injuries such as Anita, forced pregnancies on broodmares, needles galore pick your joint, corruption to the max, a corrupt wagering product made on the bones, and backs of sentiment beings, doping, whipping/beating, maiming, dying, etc. etc. etc.
      Put that on the billboard, and NO I don’t give a damn what the Trainers think or anybody who participates in the ongoing cruelty to racehorses.
      Racing kills, and that should be enough for anybody to help shut it down now.

    • Jen, I’m responding to your comment about “something that was going on privately that was supposed to help fund aftercare for horses needing a place to go.” Anyone, who understands basic math, knows that there are thousands of horses looking for a soft place to land…thousands. It is estimated that 15,000 TB’s enter the slaughter pipeline every year. Most go underground like Deputy Broad. Add that to the number of horses that die in the dirt (approximately 1,200…and those are the ones that are documented) and then we must also count those that are euthanized afterwards due to the severity of their injuries. If 22,000 TB’s are foaled annually, then approximately 75% of the foal crop will EVENTUALLY end up dying in the dirt or on the slaughterhouse floor. That enrages me and it should enrage you, too. A slow process? Yes, it is a slow process (actually it is more than slow…it is stopped) because slaughter is the disposal system for unproductive horses and slaughter has been part of racing’s business model for years and years and years. Surely you are smart enough to know that but maybe not. I don’t care if someone wanted to donate quite a bit of money. It will take millions and millions of dollars to help even a fraction of the horses that need help. Again, anyone who understands basic math should know that. The TAA gets accolades constantly but the vast majority of the TAA accredited facilities are FULL…again, they are FULL…and can’t take in any more horses. I asked you, multiple times, how long I should be patient…three years…fifteen years…twenty years but you NEVER answered the question. The correct answer, by the way, is FOREVER, and I am NOT going to be patient forever. I will continue to speak out much to the chagrin of the racing exploiters. However, I will ask you, moving forward, to be honest. Just state the truth…slaughter is racing’s disposal system and is part of the culture of racing and, most likely, won’t end during our lifetimes. That is the truth.

      I didn’t say that you never help horses. You do help horses, as you should. I have heard, but don’t know this for sure, that you “cherry pick” those horses that you think you can “flip” and you try to make money by doing so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but what about the Anita Vacation’s of the world? Where are they to go? Yes, you donated money “quietly” but made sure to post it on your FB page where you allowed others to use the thread as a platform to crucify Nagy plus you have mentioned it here. Again, where will the horses that have been damaged by racing, sometimes beyond repair, go? They need a place to go, Jen, and they need it now. Not all can be upper level eventers, right?

      I am very good at “twisting” what you say? Provide documentation here. I have quoted you from the screenshots I received on your FB page. I used your words. If the truth has been “twisted”, then you have done the “twisting.” You crucified the adopter and allowed others to crucify the adopter, as well, and I am done with that.

      I have reached out to two contacts at Mountaineer and both said that Kieser is a “dick.” In regards to your horse being claimed, that is the “name of the game” in racing. You put the horse up for sale in a claiming race and he was claimed/sold. With that being said, you can always claim your horse back, right? Just save up your money, and, voilà, problem solved. You don’t have to depend on others to make sure he never disappears. Oh, and why would he disappear? Aren’t most in racing “good” people? No need to worry about any horse disappearing.

      The Kami Brooks situation happened a good number of years ago, but I still remember you being reluctant to get involved just like you were reluctant to chastise Ms. Diana Potter when she put Watch and Wager with her pal, Mr. Joey O’Brien, who starved him. I went after Potter since Wager was a 1.5 on the body scale when he arrived at New Vocations. He would have been dead in another couple of weeks. In fact, I still have photos that Anna Ford sent to me upon his arrival. You even thanked me for speaking up FOR Wager but I don’t remember you speaking up for him. Very, very sad…

      It never fails. Racing supporters, including you, continue to incriminate themselves. Mountaineer had a NO HORSE TO SLAUGHTER POLICY but they didn’t follow that policy in regards to Deputy Broad or the thousands of other horses that have disappeared from that track. Our group wanted to hold them accountable but you wanted to give them a “free pass.” What kind of people would put a track on lockdown when you, and others, wanted to market their horses for them? You were doing THEM a favor! What the hell is wrong with this picture? Now, you want to blame me for “hurting the horses.” That is a ridiculous statement because I don’t have that kind of power. The boards were up for one week and there were racing people who supported those boards. Not many, but a few. Speak the truth and you “hurt the horses.” That is pathetic, at best. Again, you incriminate the industry that you love so much by saying that “more disappeared without a trace.” More than normal? Why would horses “disappear” from Mountaineer? Could it be that they were entering the slaughter pipeline? Danny Bird lied and Rosemary Williams lied but our group “hurt the horses.” I guess we should have just crawled back under our freaking rock and kept our mouths shut since that is what has happened at Mountaineer for years and years. Everyone at that track knows the fate of many of those horses yet the billboards were a “bad move.” Just to be clear, I would like to put a Deputy Broad billboard up at every single track in the country. I speak for the horses, not for those that exploit, and kill, them.

      I am documenting here that I acknowledge that you have helped horses into new careers. No, you don’t need my approval and I don’t need yours. I mean nothing to you and you mean nothing to me. However, I, too, have helped many horses over the years and all of that help has come at my own expense. A horse doesn’t have to have the ability to become an upper level eventer to have value to me. A horse doesn’t have to be well bred or to have won a lot of money or even be sound for me to step up for that horse. It is totally irrelevant to me. That is what sets us apart but each of us has our place helping the horses in an industry that is sinister and corrupt from top to bottom…horseracing.

      • As most of us know – the sad truth – the MAJORITY of racehorses coming off the track are similar to Anita in that they have extensive physical/mental special needs.
        These special needs often require HUGE vet bills, massive amount of commitment, and somebody who knows what they are doing.
        The reason why they are dumped in the first place is because they have physical ailments, and were no longer profitable on the track or their vet bills exceed their checks.
        In true racehorse fashion, the people who “love,” and “care” about them – dump them.
        In many cases these horses can only be pasture pets or light trail riding pets.
        Many racehorses don’t make good trail riding pets because they have been conditioned to the SOUND of a bell, and whipping/beating to perform.
        The sound of the bell usually makes them spook often on trails when responding to sounds on trails, and any horse rider knows that spooking has got to be one of the worse habits a horse can have for a safe ride.
        It’s also a trait that is almost impossible to eliminate, and to try to eliminate it requires extensive riding and horse experience with lots of patience, time, and money.
        While trying to eliminate spooking in a horse you put your life at great risk.
        Are there racehorses that make the transition to a safe, and sound second career?
        Absolutely, but they are far, and few between when you consider the irresponsible over breeding in order to fill races, and increase wagering profits.
        Moreover, there are thousands of amazing trail riding horses, selling for under $1000, who require little or nothing after purchase to throw a saddle on their back, and take them for a trail ride with no bad habits.
        Most beginners can rider them safely.
        Now I know that there are people who disagree with riding a horse ever (domestication), but I have learned that in order for a horse to get a chance at a decent home it must have something to offer their owner.
        Do I necessarily agree with this? No, but I would want a horse to get a home.
        Very few people can’t, and won’t justify the high cost of keeping a horse as a lawn ornament.
        Horses get homes when they can be ridden safe, and sound.
        That’s the reality of the unwanted horse issue, and racehorses are born to be disposed of in the grand scheme of this despicable industry – if they make it out alive.

  11. “more [horses] disappeared without a trace”…ah, what the horse racing industry does best…maims, kills AND makes certain their “beloved athletes” disappear without a trace. Good grief, what a DISGUSTING business….

  12. Regarding racehorse rescuing, lack of funding, lack of space in the much-touted aftercare programs…

    1), since racing apologists see nothing wrong with how racehorses are “warehoused” at the track (the horses spend at least 23 hours/day in their stalls), why not just keep a rescued or retired horse off the track IN a stall 23 hours/day? No need for pastures and paddocks which translates to more horses on less land – build countless stalls and put the newly retired/rescued horses in them!

    2), why do we see statements from racing supporters about their own retired/rescued racehorse saying such things as • “I’m just turning him out for now and letting him be a horse” • “He just needs some turn-out time and he’ll be fine” • “She does great out in the pasture and doesn’t even need any concentrated feed or supplement”.

    Hmm…”letting him be a horse”? – what, they weren’t “being a horse” at the track? Why the need for “turn-out time”? – if living in a stall 23 hours/day is “good care” and acceptable at the track, why the sudden need for turn-out when they’re retired or rescued? And pasture? – what for?…think of how many more racehorses a rescue could intake if they filled those pastures with stall after stall after stall…

    Something to think about, right? Just put ’em in a stall with a ball to play with and they’ll be as happy as can be!!

    • Spot on, Joy. Calling it for what it is – such miserable cruel lives these horses suffer.

      • But Carolyn, the “loving” racing owners not only give them a ball to play with in their stalls, they kiss them on their noses, pat their foreheads AND feed them peppermints! What could be better? LOL!

        Now, if we could only lock up those “loving” owners in their bathrooms….

  13. Mary how is anita doing I know she is in the best of hands with you, just curious how she is managing farm life and how her feet and ankles are

  14. Billy, Anita is doing reasonably well especially considering the damage done to her by racing. She arrived at my farm about three weeks ago and over the last ten days has been turned out 24/7 with another TB mare. They both have access to a very nice loafing shed.

    I am a huge believer in quality of life, not quantity of life, so we will have to wait and see what the future holds for Anita. For now, she is a happy horse that loves her turnout time. I will send Patrick a couple of recent photos of her for him to post on this thread.

    Thank you for asking about her. That means a lot to me.

    • Mary my apologizes for not getting back to you sooner,im very glad anita is finally living the life every horse should be entitled to. It is a sad shame that anita will not be able to live her life to the fullest and will die a untimely death after living however long in a debilitating state due to the damge racing did to her at such a young age purely inexcusable. Thank you Mary for giving everything you have to this horse thank you for letting her be free by the look of her eyes from the first picture to the last I have to say she is happy to say the least

      • Billy, Anita is actually a sweet horse but she is food aggressive. At first, I was apprehensive when she started pinning her ears, flipping her head, moving her rump close to me and swishing that tail but now I just ignore her. Also, she is finally enjoying her carrots. So many from the track don’t have any idea what a carrot is or an apple but Anita has finally “gotten it.” I do have an appointment with the equine dentist to have her teeth floated mid-December.

        I am a huge believe in quality of life rather than quantity of life. I don’t know what the future holds for Anita but, with me, nothing will be expected from her. She is valued and there is nothing that she has to “prove.” She is actually quite fortunate. Although destroyed by racing as far as having a second career, she actually won the race of her life…a happy retirement. That is more than I can say for the vast majority of horses who are exploited in the vile industry of horseracing.

  15. Yes, Mary, I know what you mean about the “treats”, these track horses don’t have a clue but once they catch on it’s more, more ! As well as the abuse that is piled on they are denied so much.
    Thank you for giving Anita a chance to be happy.

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