Eating Like a Horse vs Eating a Horse


I am pleased to say that Darcy's appetite has returned and she is once again eating like a horse!  I've been somewhat discouraged because I have not been able to notice much change in her weight yet.  She's a big horse and has a large frame so can carry alot of weight but my daughter rode her last night and said she could see a change in her neck.  She said it looked more filled out.  So thats a start!

The photo above is Darcy and Erin's 2nd ride together.  Darcy is still more thin than I'd like her to be and is healing the bumps, cuts and skin irritations she acquired in the time she spent between being sold by her owner/breeder at a sale barn to the time I found her at the kill pen auction.   I've described her mental state when she arrived at my place as 'shell shocked'.  She is just now starting to come out of it.  She has a sweet, kind temperament and is docile and well mannered.  How and why she ended up where she did is a mystery to me.  Bad luck but now things are turning around for her. 

I've been watching the rescue horses week after week on facebook go by as the people are joining forces and trying to help connect people to give homes and donations to the horses facing slaughter.  This is how I got Darcy as well as another QH, Rhythm. This week the faces of some young breeding stock QH and Paint mares are haunting me.  They are just run loose thru the auction, herded like cattle and often loaded on the trucks headed to the slaughter houses in Canada or Mexico. 

'The Three Amigos'

From what I am told these are truly the faces of horse slaughter.  They are at HIGH risk for slaughter and have only gotten a second chance (that ends at 4:00 pm today) because the hauler had too many horses to take them all this trip.  My misperception was that old, broken down, wild or dangerous horses went to slaughter.  Not young (2 or 3) green broke horses that are the result of overbreeding on horse farms or racetracks.  I find this so upsetting.  If you can help in any way... donating to a reputable rescue, offering a home to a horse or know of someone who might please pass this information along.  I've rescued 2 horses in this way and have found it to be rewarding.  You can scroll down and read about Darcy and Rhythm on this blog or just go the the 'broker owned' horses on the rescue link.

As an equine and animal portrait artist these faces are haunting me.  You could say I am drawn to faces... and as someone who draws faces I think I am a good judge of reading them too.  I see sweet, kind, confused expressions on these horses and I find it so troubling because this is wrong on so many levels.  The value these horses have is more than their 'food value' .... and having likely been wormed, vaccinated and medicated in some form or another, not to mentioned STRESSED even from a food stand point its not right. 

I am struggling with figuring out what I can do to help.... realistically I can't take in any more horses without jeopardizing the care of all of them.  My barn is full and although its tempting this time of year to not worry about that, fall and winter come around and it is a problem.  Becoming a horse hoarder is not the answer.... I am considering painting a series of 'Faces of Slaughter', and offering prints with proceeds going to the horse rescues.  Each week new faces come thru and I believe if people can connect the face with the reality of what happens to them things might change.  I am going to my studio and am painting.  Stay tuned for more info....

Thank you for stopping by,

Sue Steiner

horse and pet portraits in oil
2