Raced in January; Nine Months Later, Found Starving to Death

Shedrow Secrets

They Just Wanted Her Gone

by Joy Aten

Several weeks ago, I received a private message from Laura Swien, owner of Pair A Dice Ranch in Texas, asking if Horseracing Wrongs would share the story of a Thoroughbred mare she recently rescued, a mare who, like untold others, had been bred for, used in and finally discarded by the racing industry. Laura said:

“I am so sick to my stomach and brokenhearted as I write this. I was contacted by Animal Control and they asked me if I would be able to take in two horses from a seizure case. I took one look at these poor babies and of course I said yes.

“I was so shocked when I first saw them. I had ten different emotions hit me all at once. How could anyone be so cruel to starve these beautiful babies? There were four skeletons standing there staring at me at the Animal Control facility. It was the most horrific thing that I had ever seen.

“I immediately made the decision to help these poor creatures in any way that I could. I was asked if I could take these two horses and of course I said yes. (They found someone to take the other two horses.) I will do everything in my power to get them healthy again. We will take it slowly day by day.”

Photos followed Laura’s initial explanation of the situation:

October, the day the mare was seized by Animal Control…

Several weeks later, still at the holding facility…

November, shortly after arrival at Laura’s…

Her enlarged and painful left front ankle, yet another obstacle for this timid, emaciated mare to overcome…

And Laura gave her a name – Willow…

“Willow” racing at Arlington in 2017. She was, in fact, raced at Hawthorne only nine months prior to being found starving to death on a desolate piece of Texas property. Imagine – from racing in January to being unable to rise to her feet – due to starvation – in October…

Willow was christened (by her exploiters) Time for Parading. She was bred, owned and raced by Kenneth Hutchens. In fact, Hutchens owned her for her entire “career” (35 races) and reaped the lion’s share of the $57,071 she “earned.” In her last race, at Illinois’ Hawthorne Race Course January 4, she finished last, over 31 lengths behind. Although she ran with a 5K price tag on her head, she was not claimed (bought).

It took several calls to Hutchens to make contact. At first he seemed wary of my inquiries into a mare he had bred and raced, but since our objective was to learn of any injury Time for Parading might have incurred while he had her, he eased up, answering the several questions I posed:

“Was she injured, Mr. Hutchens?”
“No, she was sound.”

“So after her last race in January, who did you sell her to? Or maybe you gave her to a rescue or racehorse placement program, Mr. Hutchens?”
“No, she was claimed.”

“Well that’s odd, because I checked her past performances and not only were there NO claims in her last race, Mr. Hutchens, but in looking at her races, I cannot imagine anyone wanting to claim her.”
“She was claimed.”

“OK…so have you followed up on her to see how she was doing, Mr. Hutchens? Given you bred her and raced her?”

“Well you might be interested to know she was recently found starving – a skeleton – and she’s very lame on her left front, as well, Mr. Hutchens.”
“Well she was sound when I had her.”

“OK, Mr. Hutchens…she is in good hands, she’s been rescued, but she is not out of the woods yet.”
No response.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Hutchens. If you would like to help with Time for Parading’s veterinary expenses, or with the feed bill since she needs to gain hundreds of pounds, you’ve got my number. This mare could really use your help.”
No response.

Laura reached Time for Parading’s last trainer of record, Chris Dorris. Laura: “Dorris said ‘the gallop boy,’ who lives in Chicago, wanted to buy Time for Parading so [Dorris] sold her to him after her last race in January.” Dorris assured Laura he would speak to the “gallop boy” about the mare’s condition and where she was found, then would get back to her. To date, he hasn’t. Also to date, there has been no financial assistance from either breeder/owner Hutchens or trainer Dorris.

Time for Parading’s “re-homing” scenario is nothing unusual. Racehorses no longer wanted by their “connections” are sold or given away to people who can barely afford to feed themselves. Every week we see racehorses who had been “re-homed” landing in kill pens, a year or two out from their last races, mere shadows of their former selves. Apologists bellow at the heartrending discoveries, but add, “It’s not the connections’ fault! They thought they gave them to a good home!” RIGHT…they sold or gave away their horse, one of the most expensive animals to care for, to someone who has to pray that their rust-bucket of a vehicle starts when they get in.

We see this over and over again on the backsides. A low-paid track worker is given a horse – most of the time, injured – that he has no business taking possession of. But the owner or trainer doesn’t care; he wants this horse gone and wants her gone now. The buyer’s (or just recipient’s) fiscal situation is of no concern. No vetting. No reference check. No trip to the farm or boarding facility where the horse will reside. And, of course, no follow-up.

Of the horses who do survive the track (and thousands do not), many are placed in yet another life-threatening situation, utterly dependent on someone who is ill-equipped to handle the care of an equine. Time for Parading was one of those horses. One day, no one came to feed her. The next day, again nothing. Day after excruciating day, she waited – desperate for food, any food. But it never arrived. The truth is, she was being slowly tortured to death. And all the while, those who cashed in on her labors never even gave her a second thought. How’s that for “The Sport of Kings”?

(We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Laura Swien for welcoming Time for Parading, aka Willow, and another of the starving horses – now called Duke – into her heart and home. Thank you so very much, Laura.)

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  1. Bless you Amazing people…these so called Breeders should be policed at all times…sadly to them it’s money and no Heart….I hope Karma. Bites hard on all there Family’s as they have all gained monies.. from this Beautiful majestic Horse…that was so cruelly discarded….

  2. Sickening and it doesn’t stop.
    The unwanted racehorse mess, that this vile business is solely responsible for, has been going on for years, is still going on, and as long as this business exists will always be an issue.
    Just think about the enormous amount of racehorses that are required to fill races at U.S. racetracks on any given day realizing that they are treated like disposable gambling chips and that about 90% will eventually become unwanted.
    This is the most recent:
    Now, I’ve been around too long and what is so absolutely vile is that the individuals that watch their racehorses starve, as in this case, then gets caught you know what they do?
    Well, they hire attorneys to save their ass like they did above.
    I have a question for all of you parasites that are cruel, inhumane and deliberately abusive:
    How in the hell can you find the money to pay for attorneys instead of buying a fucking bag of feed for your horses you low life scum balls?
    Isn’t it funny how this business continues to boast about all the billions dollar profits they make, yet, they can’t find the money to take care of their racehorses who generates these obscene profits?
    Isn’t it funny how when these sadistic, abusive parasites get caught starving horses that they have the money to hire attorneys, but they didn’t have the money to buy bags of feed and hay to take care of them???
    This is horse racing and this is the truth behind the facade that they would like you to believe – the facade of the fancy hats, mint juleps and forever paddocks.
    It’s only true for about 10% of racehorses because the other 90% usually end up in neglectful situations or dying on the slaughterhouse floor.
    This is what your supporting every single time you place a $2 bet.
    Go gamble, but leave the racehorses out of it.

  3. Thank you for writing this obviously truthful article. I have seen this Devastation with my own eyes and the willful blindness of those who support this abomination.

  4. This is DISGUSTING to treat any animal like this is HORRIFYING EVIL 🤬🤬🤬Hopefully the person responsible is prosecuted to the fullest!!!

  5. Just to give you hope, I took on a mare who was in exactly the same condition as this poor soul, and she had another six years of a quality life until she died at the age of 28. She’d been left with a heart murmur but she managed well in spite of it. Praying for a good outcome for this girl, and may you be blessed for taking care of her.

  6. Thank you for such lovely kind people who help these poor horses. Words are beyond me for those who cruely discard these horses. All I can say is that karma WILL eventually catch up with you you disgusting examples of humans.

  7. That is so sad. I am praying that she will make a full recovery and have a life of peace. I really don’t like horse racing in any form.

  8. here’s a question. who owned the property this horse was found on? 4 horses found, yet no one owns the property? because someone does. someone knew those horses were there.

  9. “Human Beings” (using the term very loosely) are some of this world’s worst examples…..
    I have a beautiful horse we purchased at 18 months old. She has no job to do at our house, but is loved and maintained by us because we are her forever caregivers. She will NEVER be a throwaway horse – NEVER..
    How can people stand to treat a beautiful, living/breathing creature of such majestic quality like used up trash. SHAME on these en-grades of the lowest kind…….. there awaits a place in HELL for them ALL!!!!

  10. Thank you for rescuing you are an angel these sorry people need to be put thru what they put their pets thru only way to make them see its unholy !

    • Wouldn’t it be interesting if these people were reincarnated as racehorses? A special kind of karma for deserving people.

  11. This article of horrible truth breaks my heart.
    The race industry is in no way involved in the love of the sport, or the love of a well breed horse,or the pride of having such a treasure. Instead it is a throw away industry full of greed,
    Cruel people only interested in money in spite of decently. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU for allowing these things happen.and letting them continue to occur!!!!!

  12. Hunt these poor excuses for humans down and prosecute them!! DEMAND high fines to be used to restore the health of these poor neglected and rejected horses…..when the fines and jail sentences get stiff enough and these cruel ass led are publicly EXPOSED and are revealed and exposed…..it may do some good….it can’t hurt!! Disgusting Scum!!

  13. Breeders Trainers & Jockeys have ABSOLUTELY NO CARES for the animals unless they are performing in the money races
    I once bought a GORGEOUS Registered Quarter horse gelding at a sleezy Auction in SC
    He was sold as a 5 yr old SOUND horse
    He WAS NOT SOUND …after 4 hours at my farm he began to paw & lie down quietly
    I thought nothing of it at first but he stayed down a little longer than I thought normal, still quiet but I asked him to get up & did not want to After 10-15 mins of asking him up he finally got to his feet I began to think a Vet check was neccessary so I had one set asap which happened to be 3 days later
    In the meantime I researched his registry & prior ownership
    Not only did I find the poor horse had been sold as UNSOUND from tge prior owner but I also found the prior owner sat on the Board of Directors for the AQHA!!!
    Then I was so so TOTALLY DISGUSTED when she told me the poor horse had won at Congress twice in halter & hes only FIVE…When I asked WHY would u sell such a gorgeous horse who is UNSOUND at some teo bit auction ??? Her reply ….I have too many horses that we can no longer SHOW so we had to cut our losses, stop the bleeding she said, he wasnt working for us & we do not keep a non working QH
    Well I completely came apart on her …respectfully of course but Idk why she certainly did not deserve my respect but to know that someone like THAT actually sits on the Board of a beloved & beautiful BREED & to say what she said & do what she did to such a beautiful animal is beyond me
    I have no use for that mentality but unfortunately thats the thought process of the majority who use & abuse & exploit most any animal for that matter for thier own personal agendas
    Individuals who breed & breed & run the life out of any animal for mostly monetary gain is the reason we have such a problem w overpopulation

  14. They should be fined for rehabilitating and food for life a record as a animal abuser and no more horse breeding.. I know there is nothing that we can do because their the untouchable rich but its wrong and they are evil people. One day they will pay their due when they stand before the real King.

  15. This is exactly why I absolutely hate horse racing. They work their butts off to win and when they don’t win they are discarded like trash. This is totally unacceptable and I would hope the horse racing association would do more for these beautiful animals. Good breeders don’t do this to their animals. There are too many people who want to make a buck and could care less about these beautiful creatures. Please end this problem. Sincere thanks to the wonderful refuges who take and help these gorgeous horses. You

  16. Wow….the horse racing industry is one of the most ugly things that exists on God’s Earth today. He gave us this beautiful, noble creature and look what humans do…..destroy it….from our wild horses ( and burros) to our domesticated friends who serve us, are our best friend and a comfort to us in our times of trial. It completely breaks my heart to read these stories and those who commit these horrible atrosities should have to pay somehow. Personally, I guess they deserve to have done to them the exact same treatment. But like that will ever happe. And thank you Laura for saving the two that you did. ❤️

    • Lori Thompson, technically speaking, the wild horses and burros roaming on our public lands are domesticated horses and burros that are feral just as domesticated cats become feral under certain circumstances. They are descendants of domesticated stock. A true wild horse that was never domesticated in terms of genetics is called the Prevalski’s horse. (I think I spelled that correctly but maybe not.) You may research that if you like. I know it is easier to say “wild” horses when referring to Mustangs that have not been cared for or worked with by humans, but they are domesticated, genetically speaking. Obviously, the Mustangs need rescuing as do the Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and all horses used for racing.

  17. In one word: BETRAYAL.
    Complete and total betrayal of these beautiful, intelligent, majestic racehorses.
    Most all apologists DUMPS them in one form or another.
    Year in and year out the principles in this business, the ones that could make immediate changes such as a mandatory 1% aftercare contribution for every dollar that is generated continue to ignore their plight.
    Okay so I admit that even 1% wouldn’t guarantee that all get saved, but much more than now.
    There has never and will never be enough decent, forever homes to provide for their unwanted racehorse
    mess because they require a ton of racehorses to fill races at tracks on any given day in the U.S.
    The cycle repeats itself, year in and year out, with absolutely little to nothing getting done about it.
    Everybody else, those who never exploited them in the first place, is expected to take care of them.
    BETRAYAL – total BETRAYAL and this business doesn’t deserve ONE DIME from anyone of us.
    This antiquated business model full of parasites operating with total impunity while they cripple and kill racehorses doesn’t deserve to exist in our society and none of this should to begin with..
    BAN horse racing.

    • Gina, you said it – those two words – total betrayal. It happens all the time in this industry – breed them, use them (often injuring them), then dump them onto whomever and walk away. Typical of racing.

  18. Tears from me. How can people just ignore the animal they had purchased. To cause suffering to an undeserving animal that dies a terrible death. I love all animals. Why would anyone get a horse if couldn’t afford. Incredibly sad; damn those people.

  19. My sadness for these horses is so great. Such a beautiful and giving animal, asked to give all at a very young age, still a baby really. They give all and if they just aren’t up to par, they are thrown away without a thought to their health and well being. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Actually, this world treats many different kinds of animals the same way…like garbage. Humans make me so sick, so sad and hopeless. I try to help animals in need and I have a house full. Also, 9 in the pasture. How can we stop this mistreatment of animals?! How? My heart and soul is so broken…

  20. Omfg. These people need starving. How could anyone treat an animal in this way and think it’s acceptable is beyond me. People like this make me sick and need to pay

  21. My name is Tracy
    I rescued 2 race horses and both were starved , I have spent 3 years taking care of both of my horses , many sleepless hours and lotts of vet calls , but today they are both healthy and beautiful
    Many times I thought to my self why ! Why would anyone do this to one of gods most beautiful Animals
    These two give me so much back , everyone that has a horse or have had horses know just what I’m saying
    But sadly so many more are out there that need help
    My last thought ! Please if u can’t give them what they need don’t make matters worst

  22. There must be a System where all this Horses have to be registered including change of ownership and all addresses !!!
    By Law!!!!
    Such damned bastards who make money with this poor animals and then throw them away like trash should go to jail for 7 years, what your Mr. President decided, great decision!

      • When a TB is sold, however, unlike other registries, the registration papers showing the new owner do not need to be reported to the Jockey Club for approval and official notation. The papers also do not need to show address or other information and sales at the end of a horse’s career are commonly done without even signing away the current ownership using the Jockey Club registration papers. Therefore, the Jockey Club is not a source for finding out the number of times a horse changed ownership or who the current owner is. Don’t we wish!

      • Thank you, Jo Anne. I understand what you are saying about no requirement to record changes of ownership of a Thoroughbred. I assume that ownership changes must be recorded as long as the new owner enters the horse or horses in a race at a racetrack, because it is a requirement for the trainer to submit the registration certificate of each of “his/her” horses to a certain person at the racetrack. I’m not sure if they follow that rule but I assume they do.

        • The Jockey Club papers are kept in the racing secretary’s office once a horse arrives at a racetrack. The track officials are aware for racing purposes who the most recent owner is but that is not officially reported to the Jockey Club which it sounds like you already knew.
          When a horse is not on a racetrack, the papers are with the trainer or owner and the horse could change ownership and the Jockey Club would never even know. I was just trying to clarify for people that the Jockey Club is not a reliable source for current ownership. When I owned a QH eons ago, the registration papers actually were sent to the AQHA to update their records of change of ownership but I’m not sure if that’s still required or how they could manage that with nomadic racing QHs who need their papers with them same as TBs. Thank you!

  23. I am very surprised to see that Chris Dorris was involved in this. Tom Dorris was a very well known trainer in Illinois who actually trained horses for former Governor Jim Edgar. But Chris Dorris may not be the man his father was. When it comes to getting rid of horses that a trainer has ruined I guess anything goes. This is making a very good case for case for Patrick Battuelo and Horseracing Wrongs and his position to eliminate horseracing completely.

  24. I have seen first hand the owner throw away a beautiful young life to anyone who would take them off their hands. I was there to catch one from the killers that were to come to the farm in eight hours. The owner threw me her fabulous breeding papers and said “get her out of here”. This filly “Princess Deed” was only two years old. In my care she grew up to be a beautiful lady with manners and grace.

  25. Profound thank you for saving this beautiful, innocent and for writing her story — one of thousands. Truly, we must shut down the “sport of kings” — until every death track is gone. A race horse is a miserable horse always, and frequently a dead horse. You bet, they die.

  26. Unreal, it’s so hard to believe that anyone could just let a horse starve! Hopefully Time and Paradise will recover and find the love they so deserve. Thank you Laura? You are a wonderful person!

  27. Thank you we had few horses that people starve them and when you get them fat and you think that the adopet. Was good people you go and check 6 months later they look terrible and you take them back you start looking for people again but you can not save all them when you onily have 4 acres DELTA DOWNS. TRAINERS GIVE THEM AWAY. CHEAP TO THE KILLERS AND THEY KNOW THIS AND THEY DONT FORSE THE RULE THEY HAD A TRAINER. THAT STARVED THE HORSE HE GOT NOTHING HE DIED IN FRONT THEY FARM. AND THEY BRED HIM. NO HEART. THEY JUST DID NOT GIVE HIM STALLS. TELL ME THE SUCKS

  28. Laura.. thank you so much for taking those two beautiful animals. It absolutely makes me sick what these greedy owners and trainers do to these horses who run their hearts out for them. If I had the resources I would take as many as I could. Thank you for being their voice and Savior.

  29. This is so disturbing. When you made over 50 thousand on a racehorse, you owe finding a good home where she will be cared for. There are pony clubbers and fox hunters who would have gladly taken her to train for her second career. All my fox hunters raced before being made into field hunters, and all of them will live their entire lives on my farm. Two of them age 22 and 25 are still sound and hunting, though I did get an 8 yr old ottb cause I knew the others could retire at any time

    • Betsy,
      This particular horse was injured and will always be unsound. She cannot be used for riding. If you read all of the information shared about her, you will see that she cannot be a riding horse due to the injury she sustained as a race horse. She was dumped by her “caretaker” and he deliberately neglected her need for any further care. This horse will always be lame.

      • Betsy, look closely at the photos of WILLOW. Look at her LEFT FRONT PASTERN. It has been fractured and was most likely the reason the sleaze ball owner-trainer dumped her. She could not be raced anymore and he didn’t want to spend the money for her proper care.

  30. These stories need to be heard, perhaps like feet hound racing it will become limited or at least funds set aside for these babies.

  31. Is there any way we can help financially? Can we donate or do a Go Fund Me page for these horses? They are too precious to allow anything like this to happen to even one of them.

  32. Oh my goodness! This angers me to no end! What is wrong with people! This poor baby. Thank you for rescuing her and any others! You have a beautiful soul!! ❤

  33. Horse racing is all about the money. They don’t care about the horse. It’s a tool to make money. When the money stops coming, the horse is discarded. Most end up in kill pens. I personally feel horse racing should stop. Like bull fighting, the animals suffer horrifically.

  34. WTH ?? This Horse won thousands of dollars for them & they can’t be bothered to spend some of it on her welfare? Her eyes tell the Story, what bewilderment at slow torture & betrayal. Goddamn all these ppl. Especially the ones that sell TB’s straight from the racetrack to kill buyers to “Direct Ship” to slaughter!

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