Diamonds in the Rough
Finding the right horse at the best price
By Shelby Olson
In today’s economy people looking for horses can easily find their dream horse for a fraction of the horse’s actual value; if you know where to look. The internet gives people in the market for a horse the opportunity to select their new horse from hundreds to even thousands of horses for sale. Presentation such as the pictures, video, and description of a horse are crucial to the sale of a horse. For example; a horse that is well groomed, has video showing its talents, disposition, and athletic ability along with eye-catching pictures showing its full body confirmation from all angles, and a short but detailed description, will sell much faster than a horse with poor quality pictures, no video, or a short video showing only the horse running around its pasture.
The ads that are most over-looked and discarded by potential buyers are ads for slaughter bound horses also called “Kill Pen Horses”. The most common reasons people will not even take the time to open one of these ads, or will dismiss an ad as soon as they see what is too commonly considered “RED FLAG” words and/or a cheap price that tell the buyer the horse(s) are kill pen horses waiting for the slaughter truck to take them to their death in a Mexico or Canada slaughterhouse. It is a common belief the horses are in the Kill Pen because of old age, dangerous, ill, lame, or a problem horse. This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority of horses you will find in a kill pen are young, sane, sound, trained, kid-safe ponies & horses of all colors and breeds. Some are even registered and/or trained show horses that are still young and fierce competition in the show ring.
Sadly many horses in a kill pen are put directly into the kill pen and sentenced to death by their owner who they rely on for their care, protection, and love. These horses are usually a race or show horse that is young, sound, trained, but has not won money recently or ever at all. A prime example would be Deputy Broad, a six year old race horse, who was sound, well trained, and well behaved. He lost a race July 11th 2011, and was sent to his death at the slaughterhouse by his owner July 20th 2011. His owner did not even give him the chance to find a new home. By the time a person who knew and loved this horse found out, it was July 21st 2011, one day too late to save his life. This sad story is the same one for many horses that have lost their lives at a slaughterhouse. Good, young, sound horses who just want a person to love, and love back in return, find themselves in a bad place; sentenced to death because they lost a race or show.
This does NOT mean all show and race horse breeders and owners will sell, or have a horse killed because the horse lost. There are responsible, and caring breeder’s and owner’s who will pay the ransom asked to save the life of a horse they knew, previously owned, or bred and rush to the kill pen and take that horse to stay in the safety of their care forever. To see examples of horses who were saved from kill pens, search “saved from a kill pen” online, or go to my page for kill pen horses on Facebook called “Stop Horse Kill Pens”. On “Stop Horse Kill Pens” Facebook page you will see a wide variety of different types of horses saved from a kill pen and horses from many different states currently waiting for the slaughter truck that you can consider rescuing.
Many people looking for horses that are against horse slaughter do not believe in paying the person who is selling the horse to slaughter or want to pay less than the kill seller is asking. Unfortunately, those people WILL NOT give horses away for free or negotiate on the price because they will get the money from the slaughter house if no one pays the price to save the horse. Harassing and contacting the kill seller is NOT a good idea; kill sellers can rip away the horses chance to be saved from the public at any given time. They own these horses and can choose to give them time to be saved by the public or send them straight to slaughter giving them NO CHANCE to be saved.
Kill buyers are running a business where they make money selling these horses to slaughter or to the public; they don’t care if you or the slaughter house takes the horse, they care about the money just like every other type of business out there. True, some kill sellers will put an above meat price on certain horses. They do their homework and they know registered and colored horses can pick up a few extra dollars. Usually, they will not put a price higher than $1,000 on ANY horse regardless of color, registration, condition, or training.
It is imperative, for the sake of the horses, that you are respectful to the kill seller when doing business with them; please keep your opinions to yourself. If you want to keep profit out of the hands of a killer, go to local horse auctions and out bid them on a horse(s). The best way to find the kill buyers is to ask the owners and people attending the auction if they know of any kill buyers at the auction and kindly ask them to point out, or introduce you to the kill buyer(s). Again, please be respectful of the kill buyer, and keep opinions to yourself. The purpose of this article is to reach more people looking for a horse, and inform them of the truth about horses they can and will find in a kill pen, giving more hope to the hundreds of thousands of American horses currently waiting in a kill pen for the slaughter truck, or you, the person who will come and save their life.