As hopeless as he looked, barely able to bear weight on his right front hoof, and not much better on his left, we took him home anyway with hopes of a "long shot" chance as a companion. Instead, an eruption of sole-wide abscesses were cut out, proper shoes with pads put on (after X-rays taken), time to rest, eat and heal, and....voila. 3 months later, High Z is a big, sound horse, nicely broke, and a beautiful mover.
Just as often, that big, beautiful, shiny horse at auction comes home, and is never quite right. There's no real rhyme or reason as to what the result will be. Horses will give clues standing in the tiny auction pens, but even with the eye of a vet or professional looking, it's still a best guess.
But that's not why we're here. If there's a hopeless case we can take home, we'll take it -- after a long life of service, often suffering silently for decades with untreated agonizing pain, these horses endure, the process of giving them their dignity back and a happy, pain-free life, we feel duty-bound to do. Perhaps they can be fixed. Perhaps they can't. Perhaps they can find a comfortable place somewhere inbetween.
The goal with Auction Horses Rescue, when we began, was to rescue the ones that we can, network the rest and, at the very least, maintain a record of those souls we were unable to find a reprieve for.
As the years have gone by, and we've brought visibility to auctions like Mike's (who, in our opinion, provide a valuable service), attendance by rescue-minded people has drastically increased. That is wonderful. Whether the horses leaving with a "rescue" actually end up in better hands is, in reality, almost as much of an unknowable as when horses sell to the vaguely termed "private buyers." But at least it's a step in the right direction.
When we started, Mike's had a policy of "no photos." We worked from the outset to show them that taking photos of these horses, and disseminating them online, did not have to end up with the auction house itself being persecuted. A mutual level of cooperation could be established. And as time went on, we have shown just that. We greatly appreciate the relationship that has been developed, as a photo, a face to a name, can be the greatest difference between life and death; safe haven or prolonged suffering. Please network our photos from the auction today and, as always, share the information we painstakingly gathered on these horses. A name to a face can also make that life or death difference. Email us if there is anything additional you know about a horse, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our plan is to rescue a few tonight, and hopefully find a few very good homes for the rest.