Retired Racehorses Rescued from Slaughter - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Retired Racehorses Rescued from Slaughter

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An unfortunate fate for animals bred for greatness: a career beginning on the racetrack and ending at the slaughter house.
The story is multiplied thousands of times around the country, where retired racehorses are discarded to glue and meat factories. But, in North Dakota and Minnesota a group of passionate people are fighting to give them a second chance.
"That's what these rescues are about, is spreading the message these horses are good horses. They're not throw-aways. And they certainly do not deserve to be slaughtered," Caddie Caddock, a rescue advocate, said while standing inside the barn that will protect two tired and hungry horses from the cold Monday night.
Only days ago, the mares were standing in a "kill pen," the area of an auction yard where horses meant for slaughter are kept. That's where you'll find the animals most in need of help, and the people working to give them a second chance.
"It kind of happens by accident, sometimes you don't always know where they're going to be and you just kind of stumble upon them," Jessie Monson, a rescue advocate, said of the work that drives her passion. From time to time, Jessie will drop by auctions hoping not to stumble across anything, but thankful when she does.
"The first pen that I stopped at, I just saw this little nose peeking out of the bars, and I kind of recognized the head and then I recognized the horse as a whole," Jessie said of her most recent trip to a West Fargo auction yard this weekend. The chance meeting brought Jessie back to a horse she knew three years ago; and a signature racing lip tattoo confirmed it.
"I knew I had to get her out of there and do good by her."
So, Jessie put a call out on Facebook, "not knowing what I would get. But, it was something. And I had to try."
Twins Callie and Cadie Craddock came to her rescue, rallying with dozens of other advocates. They gathered enough money to buy, not only that mare, but three more right on the spot.
"In a matter of minutes, it was everybody rallying and stepping up and saying, these horses deserve better than what they face," Cadie said.
Then, they rescued a fifth when they witnessed the mistreatment first hand.
"She wanted to follow her friend into the ring, and to prevent that they slammed the door to make sure she wouldn't get there. She had fallen, and was hung by her jaw. She proceeded to thrash around and lunge forward, and suffered this heinous injury," Callie described watching the thoroughbred sustain a six inch skull fracture, exposing the bone. In response, Jessie outbid the kill buyer to bring that horse home as well.
They worked all night to sew up her face. They worked all weekend to feed and comfort the animals.
"Some of them have 15, 20 years left," Jessie said of the second chance lying ahead of the mares. "So, they have a long ways to go."
The work is far from over, with fate and faith on their side.
"These horses are faces of thousands of horses across this nation, and hundreds in this area," Cadie said.
The horses will be cared for by North Dakota group Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption and Minnesota Retired Racehorse Rescue, until they are healthy enough for a new home.
But, the need for help is great. Many of the horses are pregnant. One is due to give birth any day; and that means five more lives need rescuing.


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