Annie is the filly I purchased from the Wakarusa sale barn two winters ago. Someone had already paid the kill buyers in order to keep her off the truck to the Texas slaughterhouse. I paid that amount for Annie, and that money most likely saved another horse from the slaughter.
For quite some time I had been looking for another horse as a companion for Ginger, my little Quarterhorse mare. The plan was to buy an older horse, a horse that had been around awhile and would be safe for someone with bad knees to ride. I had been searching for months. I had even ridden a few horses. Any of them would have been a good purchase. But I did not buy any of them, for some reason.
When my search turned up Careen Cain's name, the original plan came to an end. Careen spends tons of her own money and energy toward saving horses from slaughter. She agreed to meet me at the Wakarusa salebarn to look at a pregnant Appaloosa mare. Kathyrne (who owns five horses) went with me. The Appaloosa mare was nice looking but she had been ruined in the arena. Her hind pasterns were broken down. Someone had ruined her, allowed her to become pregnant (for a better price based on her weight?), then sold her for slaughter. For those who love horses, it is simply unconscionable.
I was tempted to get that Appaloosa. Having a colt to raise from the moment it was born was a big temptation, but the mare took no notice of me. I already had a horse that considered me as nothing more than a servant, so why would I want another one? I decided to look at the others in the pen.
Even now it is too upsetting to write about all those beautiful horses destined to be brutally slaughtered. It is not that they are killed for meat, though that upsets a lot of people. I have no issue with people eating horse meat (just not my horses). But the transport and slaughter of the horses is not regulated whatsoever. Horses are transported in stock trailers designed for cattle or pigs. They are overcrowded into the trailers and if a horse goes down, it is trampled to death. They are hauled long distances, sometimes for days, with no stops for food or water. At the slaughterhouse, they are not humanely put to death. There is horrible video evidence of horses being hung alive. It is an abomination.
Thanks to people like Careen Cain and many, many others, the only two slaughterhouses killing horses have been shut down in the US. American horses are still being shipped to Mexico for even more brutal slaughter, but it has at least been stopped on American soil. This has angered American horse breeders who routinely disposed of their unwanted surplus through the slaughter houses. They claim the sudden glut of living horses caused the market to drop. People who profess to love horses, those who make their living from horses, apparently have no problem with the animals from their farms ending their lives hanging alive from meat hooks, screaming in agony. It does not have to be that way. It should not be that way.
Someone saw something worthwhile enough in little Orphan Annie to save her from the trucks. She was an ugly little horse but she is not little any more. She is taller than Ginger. She is smarter than Ginger. I feel sorry for her that she is the only being (besides myself) that Ginger has to boss around. Just once, I wish Annie would kick Ginger right in the ribs or take a big horse bite out of Ginger's butt. Ginger has it coming. I have whacked Ginger with a stick several times for being so mean to Annie, but it is just the way of horses.
Annie has beautiful legs and trots with a lively, light spring in her gait. Ginger has none of that. Annie might have some thoroughbred in her, which is why she has such an ugly head and neck, in my opinion. She is lumpy in her belly and lean in the hindquarters. A thoroughly unremarkable looking horse. But she is my little Annie and I love her. I love Ginger the Horrible, too.
Annie puts her front leg into the water tank and stirs up the water. She LOVES to do that. I hear her up there splashing all the water out of the tank every day. I yell at her to stop, but I have to be right there next to her to make her stop. Ginger has realized she can take advantage of this on a hot day and puts her face close to the tank. The splashing water is cool and also shoos flies away from her face. It muddies the water and wastes it, too. More work for me, their indentured servant. Darn horses. Darn that Annie.