This past weekend was our County Fair, and that event always leads me to start thinking of horses and how things used to be. Every year, I looked forward to showing my horses at the Fair. It's always a bit sad today now that my horses are "out to pasture" and life has gotten too busy for something that used to consume so much of my time and emotions.
Inevitably, once I return to "the real world" after the Fair is over I usually start searching for horses. My future dream is to rescue an OTTB (off the track thoroughbred). (It may never happen, but it's still fun to dream). An internet search on OTTB rescues somehow led me to the rescue I adopted Mirage from. Mirage, called "LeRoy" when I purchased him. He was horribly thin, and his knees were in such poor condition that they were actually permanently bent. He had recently been gelded, and had never been ridden. My ambition was to rehab and eventually train him.
That was not to be, as Mirage died two years after I brought him him, likely of an aortic aneurysm. It's a common condition in neglected or abused horses. I think my mom was even more heartbroken than I was... Mirage had become her companion since I'd moved him from where I was originally stabling him to the pasture back home.
Getting back to the present, after finding the rescue's website, I decided to do a search on "The Desert Splash." I was directed to a horse forum for Egyptian bred Arabians. The discussion was how even horses with good bloodlines can end up in bad conditions. Here are a few posts from that thread:
"I,ve just come from a midwestern allbreed classifieds.. LEYROY , a just gelded breeding stallion is for sale. He is rescue from a sale barn.Was shown as a young horse with a few points..He is sired bt The Minstral and out of AK Layla..His papers appeared to be lost????? His price is 300.00 $....This is way below meat prices, as meat prices are now around 675.00... His sale is pending..."
"I remember Desert Splash from years ago. He was a feisty young, colt and Jim Deegan told us his price was $50,000. I would never have imagined he would come to this end. "
"Where exactly is The Desert Splash listed for sale? I can't imagine that he ended up this way-I owned him a long time ago. I also can't imagine him being gelded as he was such a nice breeding stallion and no trouble to handle at all. The last recorded owner on Datasource sold him several years ago."
"I just got off the phone to the rescue farm that had Splash..He is sold to a woman from Wis, and was hauled there by this farm in Minn...She assured me he did,nt go to the killers , but to a woman who is going to train him....She said Splash was bought by his last owner for 2500.00 and when he could,t care for him ,took him to an auction, where they rescued him..The original owner before had paid 25.000 for him."
-Originally purchased for $50,000.00.
-Sold for $25,000.00.
-Sold for $2,500.00.
-I paid $250.00 for him.
I bet Mirage's breeders never expected him to be saved from the kill pen, then purchased for a mere two hundred and fifty bucks. It makes me wonder... if a $50,000.00 horse can end up in conditions as poor as Mirage's were, what happens to all of these $500 - $1000 foals being churned out by small time operations or "hobby farms?"
I guess that's something the hobby breeders should think about the next time they consider breeding their mares.