Mailbox With Re­gard To Do­nated Horses

Practical Horseman - - Practical Tips & Talk -

I’m reach­ing out to your mag­a­zine in re­sponse to the Fe­bru­ary 2018 ar­ti­cle fea­tur­ing Ron Danta (“There’s a Real World Out There”). I ap­plaud the work that Danny and Ron’s Res­cue does for un­wanted an­i­mals and have noth­ing but the ut­most re­spect for Ron as a horse­man. I do, how­ever, have con­cerns about his state­ment that many show horses who are un­sound get do­nated to schools for a big tax write-off and then ul­ti­mately the schools send them to kill pens. A state­ment like that paints all schools with a very neg­a­tive brush and can make it very hard for us to se­cure qual­ity do­na­tions or stu­dents.

I have been a mem­ber of the fac­ulty in the School of Equine Stud­ies at Lake Erie Col­lege for 12 years and the di­rec­tor of rid­ing for eight years. We typ­i­cally main­tain over 50 horses in our school string and not one of them in all that time has ever been sent to a kill pen or auc­tion by us. We spend tremen­dous ef­fort and time find­ing re­tire­ment homes for our horses—mak­ing cer­tain that each home is safe and ap­pro­pri­ate. Some­times—al­though rarely—cir­cum­stances change and peo­ple need to give up those horses. If they no­tify us, we help find an­other home. We take our re­spon­si­bil­ity to our horses se­ri­ously and know that it is up to us to help them fin­ish out their days in com­fort.— Mary Pardee, As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Equine Stud­ies/ Di­rec­tor of Rid­ing, Lake Erie Col­lege, Painesville, Ohio

Ron Danta re­sponds: I never in­tended to point a fin­ger at all school pro­grams in my ar­ti­cle. Un­for­tu­nately, I have wit­nessed with my own eyes and have saved more than 18 horses that schools have dropped off at the kill pen. I know many great schools that take care of their horses un­til the end, and eu­thana­sia is a kind and hu­mane way to end their life in peace. Own­ers must also step up to the plate and be re­spon­si­ble for their horses’ re­tire­ment. We can’t turn our heads and say this is not hap­pen­ing, be­cause it is. Please help me end this night­mare for all of those poor horses that do not de­serve this at the end.

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