Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Blog: How my mare ended up in the Kill Pen

A few weeks ago I saw a paint mare that I recognized on Craigslist. She was thinner than I had remembered. I knew the woman who had bred the pretty mare and I could tell by the ad that she wasn’t the one selling this horse. I emailed her the link and asked “isn’t this your horse?” She had given the mare away to a friend and after talking to her was assured the mare would find a safe home. This weekend I received 2 missed phone calls from the breeder followed by a frantic text, her beautiful mare was in the Enumclaw kill pen. The mare is safe now, but I thought you might all like to know how quickly and easily a horse – that is broke to ride, has nice conformation, papers and color - can go from being safe with a “friend” to being loaded on a truck headed for Mexico or Canada.

APHA Itsjustanillusion was born Mother’s day 2005, she was a long awaited filly after 3 colt's out of a favorite riding mare of mine APHA Mia Thirsty girl. Soon after Illusion was born I went through a divorce and had to sell my 5 acres I had loved in Seabeck, so I sold all my horses but Mia and her filly. Mia went to 10 acres in Poulsbo to retire and I boarded Illusion in Belfair with the people that had her sire. In late 2009 I got the opportunity to move Illusion closer to me so I could work with her more. It was a place with 2 acres and a 2 stall barn so we soon also got a horse for my husband so Illusion had company. Well when I picked Illsuion from the place in Belfair the people where I had boarded said that they thought she had a abscess working its way out as she had a very slight lameness in one of her front feet. So I kept a watchful a eye on it and it seemed to clear up just fine so I started working with and riding Illusion and she was doing well. From time to time the lameness would come back so I stopped riding her and tried to get the vet out but would end of having to cancel because she would always go sound before her appointment.

In early 2010 I got the news that a dear old friend of mine was passing away from cancer and he had to sell a horse that he had since she was a yearling and was now 4, he adored this horse. He really wanted me to have her; she was beautiful but never had been ridden. He could have sold her for a high $ amount and had many offers but really in his heart of hearts wanted me to have her. At first we said no we were boarding and we had no room for a third horse, but ultimately decided to get her and the place where we boarded said we could keep 3 horses there temporarily. During this time I met another neighbor at a slumber party that both our elementary aged children were at. We thought it was great we both had horses and we lived so close to each other and we were definitely going to ride. I invited her over to meet my horses. I told her that I wished I still had my own horse property so I didn't have to sell a horse or try to figure out somewhere else to board the third horse, and that I was trying to figure out why Illusion was having some heel pain and that I would consider selling her to the right person if it was a good home and they would be able to investigate her problem and try to get her squared away, she acted really interested and wanted her farrier to come look and did and we all agreed that her angles were bad and that if corrected that should more than likely alleviate the problem, my farrier at the time was not really getting it right.

So we talked about it for awhile and I agreed to give Illusion to her if she would take care of her. I went to see the first time her farrier worked with her feet and it looked like he did a really good job and Illusion was going sound. So I felt good about giving her to my new friend/neighbor, her farrier looked to be doing a great job and she was close. We became pretty good friends and rode together and I kept tabs on Illusion and she said she would still have lameness from time to time, but her farrier thought it was in her shoulder not her foot.

I never had any idea my friend had decided not to keep Illusion until another friend of mine sent me an ad on Craiglist with Illusion posted in July 2011 looking quite thin. I texted my friend that I had given Illusion to and asked why she hadn't told me she was trying to sell her and why she was so thin and also asked if she was still having lameness. She said off and on she was still lame and that she wasn't working out for her since she wanted to barrel race and she didn't think Illusion had the drive and that she was thin because she had her teeth floated, ok.... So I called her and said, I just would have appreciated it if she would have told me and that she might have to give Illusion away, like I gave Illusion to her because of her lameness issues, but make sure she gets her a good home and to give me contact info so I know who gets her. I didn't say this at the time, but was thinking if she can't afford to feed her any better than that then she should sell her, I wasn't buying that she got her teeth floated story.

On August 16 2011 I texted my friend who had Illusion to ask if she had sold her yet and she texted back saying that some people in Yakima had her for a few days and were going to try her out and let her know if they wanted her....so I said ok well if they get her please give them my info and website and let them know that there are pictures of Illusions dam on my website...she said "I can do that"

On August 19th 2011 we had friends over, I just decided to quickly check my emails and there was a webs form response from my website.

That read.....

04 - Your Message = I saw you had bred the mare Itsjustanillusion and thought you might like to know that she is in the Enumclaw kill pen. If I had room I would save her, she is gorgeous! Here is a link:


You could imagine my anger and disbelief, I texted my friend who had her right away and ask "Why is Illusion in the Enumclaw kill pen??!!" and this was her exact text back to me "What???!!! I talked to the people I told you about in Yakima on wed & they said they wanted her...I gave her 2 them". Her next text was that she would call the people in Yakima....

Well I had not yet looked at the link the person that contacted me had sent me and said I would send it to my friend so she could also see,(at first I was thinking these people in Yakima had sold her at the sale) and she said "yes please" We both must have looked at it at the same time, well right there on this forum that was there to rescue horses that ended up in the kill pen were pictures of my so called "friend" riding Illusion at the sale. My next text to her was "WOW " isn't that you riding her in the sale pen"? The least you could have done is tell me the truth".... She never texted me back.

So my mare did get rescued but if it wasn't for these people on the rescue forums doing what they do and getting the word out there, investigating & contacting me, I'm sure Illusion would have gone to slaughter. God bless them.

I just wanted to get the word out there so this doesn't happen to somebody else. I was never given the opportunity to take Illusion back or help find her a home, and I certainly would have found her a home if my friend would have let me know she planned to take her to the sale if she couldn't find her a home. In fact after all this happened the people with Illusions sire said they would take her back if all else failed even after she was rescued. I feel she didn't tell me because she would rather put Illusion at risk at the sale instead of giving her away to a good home just to make a few 100 bucks.

When I bred this mare I NEVER would have imagined in a million years she would end up in a kill pen.


  1. That's very sad, and disturbing. So glad she's safe!

  2. Glad you got her back. Hope she in a forever home now. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I know this is an old post, but how heartbreaking! I pulled a lost prince from a feedlot and never could figure what circumstances could have possibly come together to land him there.

    He too was registered, well broke and had a decent AHA show record in the PNW. He lived out the rest of his days with me and never had to worry about food or good care another day of his life, but so many aren't so lucky. Thank you so much for sharing this story!

  4. One of the things I am learning about 'horse people' is that you cannot trust what they say, only what they do. Lovely that your mare was rescued, so many aren't.