Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Grant Golliher is a special kind of horse whisperer: he subdues wild horses with gentleness and a dash of spirituality.

And true to form, he's made for Hollywood: about 6 feet tall and trim, with rough, leathery hands, silver hair and piercing blue eyes. He wears buttery tan chaps and a white 10-gallon hat.

As Golliher enters a round pen at a county fair in Jackson, Wyo., a chestnut horse bolts away, bucking and screaming. The cowboy pays no heed; instead he hoses down the pen so the horse won't kick up dust.

'Show 'Em Who's Boss'

He tells the four dozen spectators sitting on bleachers that he's been breaking horses since he was a kid.

"And we did things the old way, I call it," he says. "Make 'em do it, show 'em who's boss. If they give you any grief, whack 'em with a two-by-four. Get their attention."

Over the years, he ruined a bunch of talented horses that way, he says. One horse strangled himself with his rope trying to get away.

But a quarter century ago, Golliher met Ray Hunt, one of the original horse whisperers, who tamed horses by building trust not fear.

Golliher mounts Freckles, a gray horse he calls his "buddy," and begins to chase around the chestnut.

"Now, what I'm going to do is go ahead and drive these horses around a little bit," he says, as the horse lets loose a bucking spree. "This horse is troubled. He's a 5-year-old. He's been ridden quite a bit, but lately he's been bucking off his rider — his owner."

If Golliher can't cure his bucking, he says, the horse could end up at the slaughterhouse.

The cowboy shakes a white plastic bag attached to a long crop — he calls it his "flag" — and touches it to the horse's flank. The chestnut snorts, his eyes bulge. But — and this is key — the horse is not tied up. He knows he can run away.

And that's the secret of horse whispering, Golliher says: giving a horse the chance to make the right choices.

"If the horse won't come to you, you don't capture him, you don't rope him and choke him down," he explains. "You let him know he's free, let him know he still has the freedom to choose whether to come to you or not, see. And that's the relationship with God."

Odd talk for a cowboy perhaps. But Golliher applies spiritual principles to his horse training — and horse whispering principles to life.

Discipline And Love

In the round pen, the chestnut has stopped running but is dancing around, clattering against the fence in an attempt to avert the flag. Golliher persists.

"I'm going to keep pressing the issue until we get some change here," Golliher says.

Golliher follows the chestnut around the pen, tapping the plastic flag on his haunches and forcing the horse to face his fear. The horse finally stops.

"There," he says, removing the flag and stroking the horse's neck with his hand. Golliher then walks toward the audience, and the horse follows.

Golliher says this is tough love.

"Love is great," he says. "But love without discipline is abuse. Discipline goes along with love. I love you enough when you make a mistake, I'll bring it up. We're going to try to deal with it."

Golliher sees this as a metaphor for how God works with people.

"Hebrews, Chapter 12 says God disciplines those he loves," he says later. "And when we go the wrong way, he has his way through life circumstances, we run into trouble. God steps in and starts waving his flag," he says. "So to me, this is just the Bible opening up through God's creation — which is a horse."

In the corral, Golliher has a decision to make. It would be a good time to end the session with the chestnut. But he opts to press a little further. With one swift move, Golliher mounts the horse and reaches for his flag.

"Now, if he was to buck, I just need to stay on," he says. "If I can."

A Horse Is A Mirror

The horse dances around, his hooves in constant motion. But he doesn't buck. Soon the horse settles into a calm walk. Golliher reaches down and rubs his chest.

"See him lick his lips?" he asks. "That's a good sign. That means he feels good about what just happened. Horses really love you when you help them get through their fear."

The crowd murmurs with amazement. Afterwards, people rush up to seek his advice.

Golliher says what astounds him most is not the changes in the horses, but in the people who watch and practice horse whispering. Some abused women have told him they see themselves in the skittish horses. Some men begin to use gentleness rather than fear in their relationships.

Horse whispering, Golliher says, gives people insight into themselves.

"The horse is just a mirror," he says. "He's just trying to tell us, 'Let me show you how to live.'"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abandoned Horse Reward Fund Announced!

For Immediate Release


Washington, DC (January 29, 2009) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today the establishment of the “Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund.” Under the program, individuals providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who abandons a horse in violation of state law will be rewarded with up to $1,000 by AWI. “We’ve heard time and time again from those defending horse slaughter that the fight to end this cruel practice has led to an increase in abandoned horses. The truth is that the number of American horses going to slaughter now is the same or higher as before the domestic plants closed under state law. In fact, killer buyers seem to be buying more horses than when the plants were open,” said Chris Heyde, AWI’s Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs.

Under the program, individuals with evidence should first contact their local police department, provide as many details as possible about the horse abandonment situation and let the department know about the Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund. In such cases, eligibility for rewards and specific reward amounts will be determined by AWI. For complete terms and conditions of this reward fund, please go to

“If horses are being neglected or abandoned and the law is being violated, individuals need to be held accountable. Caring for a horse or any animal is a lifelong responsibility and not something you toss aside when inconvenient. We hope our reward fund will assist in bringing criminals to justice,” said Chris Heyde.

The Animal Welfare Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to pass a federal law to end horse slaughter. While the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption, and more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for that purpose. In Canada, horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia. Congress is currently considering the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), which will protect American horses from this brutal trade.

For further information contact:

Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142

Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Talk Radio-Live Feed Feb. 7th at 3PM with John Holland!

LIVE FEED ON SATURDAY FEB. 7TH 3PM With John Holland (Senior Analyst for AAHS) and Paula Bacon and Laura Allen!

Saving America's Horses on WFL Endangered Stream Live, Talk Radio for the Protection of Animals

The Hidden Cruelty of Horse Slaughter and the Fight for Federal Support to Make it Stop.

Host Katia Louise interviews an expert panel of guests on the continuing sordid practice of horse slaughter as currently sustained by the United States. Horses suffer unimaginable cruel treatment in the process of their transport out of the US to Mexico and Canada where they experience barbaric slaughter. Listeners will learn the truth about one of America's darkest secrets and how to take action to stop this cruel and rapidly growing business of exports through the support of current, yet disregarded bills lingering in Congress for the past 8 years.

Guests include Paula Bacon representing Americans Against Horse Slaughter and as former mayor of Kaufman TX, she helped to shut down the Dallas Crown, a US horse slaughter plant now operating in Mexico, among the worst malign abusers of cruelty in this brutal practice. Also joining us is the renown author on the issue of horse slaughter, John Holland; senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter. Holland has authored and coauthored studies on the relationship of horse slaughter to the rate of abuse and neglect in horses and has written dozens of articles on the subject of horse slaughter and its politics. Plus we have Animal Law Attorney, Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition who's been fiercely active in the support of getting legislature passed for the Prevention of the Equine Cruelty. These panelists are fighting to abolish horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter with support more stringent enforcement of laws to prevent abuse and neglect.

Call-in number: (646) 727- 2170. Calls will be accepted live during the show. The chat room at the show's WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio page will be open throughout the broadcast for simultaneous discussion and to help answer questions. Registered listeners may connect and talk straight from their computer from anywhere in the world. (learn more)

Listen live on Saturday, Feb 7th at 3pm (PST) at WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio.
Listen anytime on demand.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Supporters


National Horse Industry Organizations
After the Finish Line™
The American Holsteiner Horse Association, Inc.
The American Sulphur Horse Association
American Indian Horse Registry
Blue Horse Charities
Churchill Downs Incorporated
Eaton & ThorneEaton Sales, Inc.
Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.
Hambletonian Society, Inc.
Horse Industry Partners
Hughs Management
Keeneland Association Inc.
Magna Entertainment Corp.
National Show Horse Registry
National Steeplechase Association, Inc.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association
New Jersey Racing Commission
New Jersey Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
New York Racing Association
New York State Thoroughbred Racing and Development Fund Corporation
New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)
Palomino Horse Association, Int.
Racetrack Chaplaincy of America
Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
United States Eventing Association
Horse Industry Leaders
Josephine Abercrombie – Owner, Pin Oak Stud
Joe L. Allbritton – Owner, Lazy Lane Farms, Inc.
Peggy Augustus – Owner, Keswick FarmNiall and Stephanie Brennan – Niall Brennan Stables
Nadia Sanan Briggs – Padua Stables
Maggie O. Bryant – Locust Hill Farm
W. Cothran "Cot" Campbell – Dogwood Stables
Norman Casse – Chairman of the Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)
Nick and Jaqui de Meric – Nick de Meric Bloodstock
Richard L. Duchossois – Chairman, Arlington Park
Tracy & Carol Farmer – Owners, Shadowlawn Farm
John Fort – Peachtree Racing Stable
John Gaines – the late founder of the Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred ChampionshipGainesway Farm
GaWaNi Pony Boy
Randy Hartley – Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds
Charles E. Hayward – President and CEO, New York Racing Association, Inc.
John Hettinger – Owner, Akindale Farm, Principal stockholder Fasig-Tipton Co, Inc.,
Chairman Emeritus Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation,
Trustee NY Racing Association
Tom Meeker – Churchill Downs
Reiley McDonald – Partner, Eaton Sales
Herb and Ellen Moelis – Candyland Farm
Nick Nicholson – President and Chief Executive Officer, Keeneland Association
Madeline Paulson Pickens – Owner- Breeder
George Stout – National Cutting Horse Association Members Hall of Fame
Frank Stronach – CEO, Magna Entertainment
Dan and Jocelyn Sumerel – Sumerel Training and Therapy
Becky Thomas – Sequel Bloodstock
D.G. Van Clief, Jr. – NTRA Commissioner, CEO & Breeders' Cup President
Walnut Hall Limited
Donna Ward
Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson – owners of BIRDSTONE, 2004 Belmont Stakes winner
Russell Williams – VP, Hanover Shoe Farm
Kentucky Derby Winning Owners
Roy and Gretchen Jackson (BARBARO – 2006)
Jerry and Ann Moss (GIACOMO – 2005)
Patricia Chapman (SMARTY JONES - 2004)Sackatoga Stable,
Jack Knowlton, Managing Partner (FUNNY CIDE - 2003)
John and Debby Oxley (MONARCHOS - 2001)
Beverly Lewis (CHARISMATIC-1999, SILVER CHARM - 1997)
Mike Pegram (REAL QUIET - 1998)
William T. Young, Jr, Overbrook Farm LLC (GRINDSTONE - 1996)
Joseph and Eileen Cornacchia (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)
Bill Condren (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)
Mrs. Paul Mellon (SEA HERO - 1993)
Arthur and Staci Hancock (SUNDAY SILENCE - 1989, GATO DEL SOL - 1982)
Howard Keck, Jr. (FERDINAND - 1986)
Dell Hancock (SWALE - 1984)
Bert and Diana Firestone (GENUINE RISK - 1980)
Penny Chenery (SECRETARIAT - 1973, RIVA RIDGE - 1972)
Thoroughbred Trainers and Jockeys
Jerry Bailey – Hall of Fame Jockey
W.A. "Jimmy" Croll, Jr – Hall of Fame Trainer
Neil Drysdale - Hall of Fame Trainer
Julie Krone – Hall of Fame Jockey
Chris McCarron - Hall of Fame Jockey
Richard Mandella - Hall of Fame Trainer
Gary Stevens - Hall of Fame Jockey
Nick Zito – Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning and Hall of Fame Trainer
Horse Industry Press
Horse Connection Magazine
Living Legends Magazine
Natural Horse Magazine
The United States Harness Writers Association
Corporate Leaders
Les Alexander - Owner, Houston Rockets
Gary Bisantz - Founder, Cobra Golf Clubs
Alex Campbell - Chairman, Shakertown & Triangle Foundation
Jess S. Jackson and Barbara R. Banke – Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates
Summerfield Johnston - Retired Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises
Robert McNair - Owner, The Houston Texans
Paul Oreffice - former Chairman Dow Chemical Co, Inc.
T. Boone Pickens – Founder and CEO, BPCapital
Leonard Rigio - Founder and CEO, Barnes & Noble
Satish Sanan – Chairman and CEO, Zavata, Inc.
Richard Santulli - Chairman, Net Jets
Barry Schwartz - Co-Founder, Calvin Klein Inc.
Nina DiSesa - Chairman, McCann Erickson New York
J.V. Shields - Chairman and CEO, Shields & Co., Wall Street, NYC
George Steinbrenner - Owner, New York Yankees
George Strawbridge - Private Investor
Stuart Subotnick - General Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Metro Media
Daniel V. Tully - Ex CEO Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
William Ziff - Ziff Brothers Investments, New York City
Celebrity Supporters
Shane Barbi-Wahl
Sia Barbi
Barbara Bosson
Bruce Boxleitner
Jeff Bridges
Christie Brinkley
Rita Coolidge
John Corbett
Alex Cord
Catherine Crier, Court TV
James Cromwell
Tony and Jill Curtis
Ellen DeGeneres
Ron Delsener - Ron Delsener Presents
Bo Derek
Clint Eastwood
Mike Epps
Will Estes
Shelley Fabares
Morgan Fairchild
Mike Farrell
Morgan Freeman
Kinky Friedman
Melissa Gilbert
Whoopi Goldberg
Jane Goodall, PhD.
Merv Griffin
Arlo Guthrie
Merle Haggard
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, Ohio
Daryl Hannah
Tess Harper
Tippi Hedren
Mariel Hemingway
Laura Hillenbrand - author of Seabiscuit
George Jones
Ashley Judd
Toby Keith
Eddie Kilroy, Program Director, "Hank's Place" XM 13
Carole King
Kris Kristofferson
Chief Arvol Looking Horse - 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People
George Lopez
Mrs. Roger (Mary) Miller
Steve Miller
Mary Tyler Moore
Sir Paul McCartney
Ali McGraw
Jesse & Joy McReynolds of Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys - Entertainer, Member of the Grand Ole Opry,
Bluegrass Music legendConnie Nelson - Outlaw Management
Willie Nelson
Olivia Newton-John
Alexandra Paul
The late Richard and Jennifer Lee Pryor
Keith Richards
Kid Rock
Theresa Russell
William Shatner
Paul Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
Bernie Taupin
Billy Bob Thornton
Rob Thomas
Marisol Thomas
Shania Twain
Ken Wahl
Dwight Yoakam
National Humane Groups
American Horse Defense Fund
American Humane Association
American Sanctuary Association
The American Standardbred Adoption Program, Inc.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsAnimal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Protection InstituteAssociation of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
Doris Day Animal League
Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare
Equine Advocates
The Fund for Animals
Habitat for Horses
Hooved Animal Humane Society
The Humane Society of the United States
The Progressive Animal Welfare Society
The National Humane Education Society
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
United Equine Foundation
United States Equine Sanctuary & Rescue
Wild Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Arizona Racing Commission
Conquistador Equine Rescue Program (In Defense of Animals)
Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary
Hacienda de los Milagros, Inc.
Humane Education Club - Barry Goldwater High School (Phoenix)
In Defense of Animals At Arizona State University (Student Organization)
Keepers of the WildSuperstition Horse Ranch
Wildhorse Ranch Rescue
California Equine Retirement Foundation
California Thoroughbred Rescue
Cooper Racing (Carol Cooper) - Qtr Horse Breeding, Training and Layups
East Bay Animal Advocates
The Piedra Foundation
Thoroughbred Friends
Tranquility Farm
Colorado Horse Protection League
Colorado Horse Rescue
Love Can't Wait Pony Rescue
Lucky Three Ranch, Inc.
Political Voice for Animals
Project Equus
The Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines (H.O.R.S.E.) of Connecticut, Inc.
Tara Farm Rescue
The State of Delaware
South Delaware Retirement Facility
Summerwinds Rescue Tri-State Equine Rescue
Whimsical Horse Rescue
Aloha Equestrian Center
Aziizi Foundation, Inc
Retirement Home for Horses
Big Sky Farm - Quarter Horse boarding and breeding facility
Georgia Equine Rescue LeagueHorse Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund, Inc .
Magic Hollow Farms
STARS (Sound Trail And Rail Society, Inc.)
Horse Haven Rescue
For the Love of Horses Rescue and Sanctuary
Arlington Park Racecourse
Balmoral Park Racetrack
Blackberry Station Feed Store
Block Thoroughbred Farm
CANTER Illinois
Central Illinois Humane Society
Crosswinds Equine Rescue, Inc
Chicago Barn to Wire
Drexler Horse Transportation
Eastland Farm and Training Center
Fairberry Farm
Fairmount Park
Hawthorne National Racecourse
Hill ‘N Dale Farm
Horsin' Around TV
Illinois Thoroughbred Horseman's Association
Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation
Illinois Harness Horseman's Association
Illinois Horseman's Benevolent Protective Association
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727
John Marshall Law School, Animal Law Society, Chicago, IL
Lazy Maple Equine Rescue
Manhatten Acres
Maywood Park Racetrack
Oak Tree Farm
Pam Kuhl Horse Transportation
RERUN Illinois
Shawnee Hills Farm
Three Way Farm
Top of the Hill Farm
Tower Farm
IndianaAnimal Protection Coalition
CANTOR of Indiana
Friends of Ferdinand
Indiana Horse Rescue
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
Blairs Equine Rescue
Bluegrass Equine Products, Inc.
Brandeis Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
DreamCatcher Stables, Inc.
Holly's Place Animal Rescue
Home at Last animal sanctuary
Humane Society, A.L.L. of Madison County
Kentucky Animal Relief Fund, Inc.
Kentucky Animal Rescue Alliance
The Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection, Inc.
Kentucky Equine Humane Center
Lexington Humane Society
Marion Co. Humane Society, Inc
Wolfrun Wildlife Refuge, Inc.
Woodstock Animal Foundation
The Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates
Barrel Race in Maine
Downeast Border Riders Saddle Club
Alex Brown Racing
The American Quarter Horse Rescue Organization
Celtic Rein Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.
Heather Knisley Racing
Horsenet Horse Rescue
University of Maryland Equestrian Club
Suffolk Downs
Horses' Haven
C.A.N.T.E.R Michigan
Midwest Horse Adoption Program
Misfit Acres Inc.
Save Our Souls Equine Rescue
Pryor Mountain Mustangs
WindDancer Foundation
Miracle Horse Rescue, Inc.
Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
Wild Horse Preservation League
Wild Horse Spirit, Ltd.
New Jersey
Save the Animals Foundation
Standardbred Retirement Foundation
New Mexico
A.N.N.A. - Animals Need No Abuse
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Independence Farm
Perfect Harmony Animal Rescue & Sanctuary
Walkin "N" Circles Equine Rescue Ranch
Wild Horse Observer's Association (W.H.O.A.)
New York
Carpe Diem Equine Rescue, Inc. (NY, PA, NJ)
Double L Stable Equine Rescue & Santuary
Equine Rescue Resource, Inc.
H.O.R.S.E. Rescue & Santuary
Spring Farm CARES
Vassar Animal Rescue Coalition
North Carolina
Jus Linda's Stables
North Carolina Equine Rescue League
Stillwater Farm
North Dakota
Tremont's Pet Sitting Service
Angels4horses Adoption-Placement Foundation
Living Legend Arabians
Sound Horse Organization of Ohio
Angel Horse Rescue, Inc.
Horse Feathers Equine Rescue Inc.
Animal Care and Welfare/SPCA
Another Chance for Horses
Bran Manor Equine Rescue & Placement
CANTOR Pennsylvania
Cozee Valee Farm
Eastern University Equestrian Team
Lost and Found Horse Rescue
OohMahNee Farm Animal Sanctuary
Pennsylvania SPCA
R.A.C.E Fund, Inc.
Rhode Island
Horse Play
South Carolina
Hollow Creek Farm Equine Rescue
Neverending Farms Horse Rescue
Palmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League (P.E.A.R.L.®)
South Dakota
Helping Hands Equine Rehabilitation and Rescue
Animal Connection of Texas
Animal Sanctuary of the United States/Wild Animal Orphanage
Austin Zoo
Black Beauty Ranch
City of Flower Mound,
TXCommon Ground Foundation
The Crows Nest Miniature Horse Farm
Lone Star Equine Rescue, Inc.
Lone Star Park
Madden Investigations
Oak Cliff Breeders
The Queenie Foundation
R-9 Ranch
Sound Horse Organization of Texas
Texans for HorsesSPCA of Texas
The Texas Federation of Humane Societies
Texas Humane Legislation Network
Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team
Texas Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Wild Horse & Burro Refuge & Registry
Egyptian Cross Arabians
Misfit Ranch
Sound Horse Organization of Utah
Ches-N-Oak Farms
Helping Equines
The Laughing Horse Sanctuary
Parkway Quarter Horse, Inc.
Virginia Thoroughbred Association
White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue - Stillwater Farm
West Virginia
Santiburi Famr
West Virginia Equestrian Association (WVEA)
All God's Creatures Equestrian Center
Animal Rescue and Farm Sanctuary
Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc.
Wyoming Animal Network

Paid for by T. Boone and Madeleine Pickens.
8117 Preston Rd., Suite 206 Dallas, Texas 75225

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Volunteers Assist in Washington Horse Rescue

Volunteers fought frigid temperatures and high snow drifts last week to remove 33 malnourished horses from their snow covered pasture just outside Wellpinit, Wash. A Bureau of Indian Affairs agent discovered the herd, which included several mares and foals, on Dec. 30, 2008. They were residing without adequate food or water, but severe weather prevented the horses' removal until Jan. 3.

The horses were removed from pastures outside Wellpirit, Wash.
The horses had body condition scores between 1 and 3, and some had neglected and damaged hooves said Carrie Aenk, operator of the Shepherds Way Rescue in nearby Springdale.
The horses' 75-year-old owner relinquished the herd to Aenk. But because the rescue is already crowded with horses, a local horse trainer volunteered to foster the herd.

"We're relying more and more on volunteers in these cases," said Aenk.

The horses need farrier and minor veterinary care, but are otherwise stable, said caretaker Pam Swiderski.

No charges have been filed against the horses' former owner.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Horse Cents

Horse cents
The state Revenue Department wants to extend farming tax breaks to those who have animals but don’t necessarily breed them — think 4-H horses — but drawing the line between pet owners and real farmers is tricky

Lynn Glover pets Angel, one of the three horses at her Granger-area home on Dec. 16, 2008 at feeding time. Glover's family lives on just over two acres and consider their horses pets, but proposed changes to property tax laws for rural land may open the door for them to claim a tax exemption previously reserved for true farmers.

GRANGER — Gary and Lynn Glover call their three horses pets.

Growing up, their daughters, Stephanie and Amanda, showed horses for 4-H and rode them in barrel racing. Today, the family members ride them for fun now and again, pet them for relaxation and, twice a day, feed them hay and grain.

They sometimes jokingly call their Nelson Road home "The Hungry Horse Ranch."

They don't, however, call it a farm.

"We don't seriously consider it a farming operation," says Gary Glover.

But they might under some proposed changes to property taxes.

The state Department of Revenue has proposed extending farming tax breaks to those who have animals but don't necessarily breed them.

It's an attempt to keep up with the changing face of agriculture, says Mike Gowrylow, a department of revenue spokesman. Current rules have been around since 1971. Farms are bigger now and more specialized, while suburban communities encroach more and more on agricultural lands.

Drawing the line between pet owners like the Glovers and serious farmers will be tricky.

"We need to make sure whatever we come up with is for legitimate agriculture purposes and not open huge loopholes for people to maybe get tax breaks they don't deserve," Gowrylow says.

In the Glovers' neighborhood, agricultural land is taxed at roughly $27 per acre. The exemption would cut that by more than in half.

Horse owners are just one example. The new rules also could affect people who pasture a few goats or calves each year but slaughter them for meat in the winter.

The issue boils down to open space. Enacted in 1970, the Open Space Taxation Act encourages property owners to leave land undeveloped.

Open space includes a variety of categories, but the best tax breaks go to "commercial agriculture purposes," land that contributes to the food supply or generates an income for the family. Property of any size could qualify but those who own less than 20 acres of landmust prove that they earn a certain amount of income from the farm. That income requirement varies based on the size of the farm.

Here's the catch: When property owners change their minds and remove their land from open space, they must pay seven years of back taxes, plus interest, at the higher rate.

When it comes to animals, current state law requires breeding, feeding, managing and marketing to qualify as commercial agriculture. But different county assessors enforce it differently, Gowrylow says.

For example, in Yakima County, Assessor Dave Cook allows the exemption for someone raising a steer for slaughter.

Revenue leaders and some state legislators propose removing the breeding requirement to make it easier for assessors to enforce consistently throughout the state.

The issue reared up in the form of horse stables in King County.

The assessor's office and the planning department in King County, where open space is hard to come by, had been extending the commercial agriculture exemption to horse boarding facilities and riding schools. Property owners paid a fraction of the taxes they would otherwise owe.

The issue arose earlier this year after a King County assessor's employee asked the State Department of Revenue if horse boarding facilities qualified for a tax break, Gowrylow said.

Property owners complained, so Revenue told county assessors across the state to put the matter on hold until they come up with a temporary policy and ask the state legislature to pass new laws. The legislature convenes in Olympia Jan. 12 through April 26.

State Representative Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum, plans to sponsor such a bill.

Hinkle believes horses -- even at a small place like the Glovers' -- are a legitimate part of the farm industry. Horses eat hay, sleep in straw bedding and graze in open pasture just like cows.

"Whether you're raising horses or cattle, when you get to the back porch, your boots smell the same," Hinkle says.

Keeping horses out of commercial agriculture is driving horse industry out of the state, Hinkle argues.

Yakima Valley horse owners are torn, but they generally favor removing the breeding requirement.

"Anything that involves animals for income should be considered open space," says Roger Hoff, a Thorp area cattle and horse rancher.

However, they don't want hobby farms to abuse tax breaks. In Washington, counties assess the same overall amount every year. So, when one person's property taxes go down, everybody else's go up.

Dave Cook, Yakima County assessor, contends the commercial farming exemption should be reserved for people who contribute to the food supply.

"My food prices didn't go down because (somebody) is growing horses," Cook says.

And, he fears, if horse owners qualify, owners of dog kennels might be able to apply.

Cook suggests letting horse boarding facilities reap a tax benefit under a different category of open space that rates a property's public benefit, such as two privately owned baseball fields in Naches. Golf courses sometimes fit that bill, too.

Cook doesn't know how many people would apply for the new benefit, if passed. There are 9,000 or so open space parcels in Yakima County, but many farmers who would easily qualify choose not to apply to avoid the seven year penalty.

Yakima County is home to 5,616 horses, according to the 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture census. But that number only includes horses on a farm, which Agriculture defines as a property that sells at least $1,000 of agricultural goods.

Gary Glover grew up in a farming family from Kansas. He and his wife, Lynn, helped Gary's parents for many years run a farm with alfalfa, apples and cattle east of Granger. Family photos show their daughters petting their grandparents' cows and wandering through their fields.

The farm was sold at least 10 years ago.

Their current home and the 2 acres they now own sit on property that was once a working farm. But they built there for the peace, quiet and sunset views of Mount Adams. They've never sought a property tax break.

But if a loophole appeared that provided them a tax break, they might consider it, Gary says. Horses can cost up to $2,500 per year to feed.

"Anything to offset the cost of these eating machines," Gary says.

* Ross Courtney can be reached at 930-8798 or

Friday, January 16, 2009

Northwest Horse Forum is launched

Northwest Horse Forum
The Seattle Times has launched a free online Northwest Horse Forum for horse enthusiasts everywhere. One of the many discussions is focusing on the national crisis in unwanted-horses. Horse enthusiasts from all over are participating. Join the discussion now!
Take the survey by the Unwanted Horse Coalition so you can weigh in on whether you want the return of slaughterhouses.

Horse enthusiasts are also talking about everything from dealing with grumpy and spooky horses, locating good hay, finding someone to share a trailer ride to creating the best footings for paddocks and arenas. You can make this site anything you want -- but we need your participation.

This site is a great resource for the horse community. Please consider passing this e-mail below to your horse contacts. Also, if you have a Web site, would you add a link to this forum? I'd be happy to link to your site if you contact me.


Joan Deutsch
To see the forum go to

If this link doesn't work, please copy and paste it into your browser. Or, if your email format isn't set to "html," you can fix this in Outlook. Open the e-mail and follow these steps: Select "Format" from the drop down list in the individual email and click "HTML", This will activate the link!

Directions for registering are at the top of the forum. If you have technical difficulties, please contact

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Support H.R. 503



Washington, DC (January 15, 2009) – The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), was reintroduced yesterday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN). They first introduced the bill, which will ban horse slaughter, in the summer of 2008. It gained quick bipartisan support and passed out of the Judiciary Committee but did not move further as the legislative clock wound down. Committed to seeing the measure passed into law, Chairman Conyers has given the bill priority in his committee, as signaled by its reintroduction so early on the legislative calendar. With sixty-one original cosponsors, the bill already enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Although the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law banning the practice means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption. In fact, more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for slaughter; In Canada horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia.

“There are naysayers who claim we should reopen the US plants rather than seek to ban all horse slaughter. Clearly, they’ve already forgotten how awful the plants here were,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute.

Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal just how brutal conditions were at the US plants before they were shut down. Hundreds of graphic photographs taken by U.S. Department of Agriculture employees at one plant show live horses with missing legs, with eyeballs hanging out, with skin ripped from the body and the birth of foals at the plant. Other photos show horses dead on arrival, having succumbed to the miseries of transport.

“The suffering of hundreds of thousands of our horses rests solely on the shoulders of those blocking this bill. Were it not for their stalling tactics horse slaughter would have ceased years ago. Meanwhile an American horse is slaughtered every five minutes. We commend Chairman Conyers and Representative Burton for taking the lead once again to end this cruel practice through introduction of H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act,” said Heyde.

For further information contact:

Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142

Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Support H.R. 305

Dear Americans Against Horse Slaughter Members,

the following link will take you to an action alert from HSUS regarding new legislation that will stop the Inhuman Transport of Horses.

Please click on the link and take action.


Stop Inhumane Horse Transport
Doubler decker trailers are designed for short-necked species, such as cattle and hogs, not horses. However, current federal law allows horses to be transported in these trailers to any destination other than slaughter plants.

Since these trailers are not meant to carry horses, frequently the top deck of the trailer will collapse, resulting in horrific injuries and even death. Just last year, a double decker trailer carrying 59 young Belgian horses overturned on an Illinois highway, killing 17 horses and injuring dozens of others.

Fortunately, Representatives Kirk (R-IL) and Cohen (D-TN) introduced, H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, to ban the use of double decker trailers for all horse transport.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative to urge support for H.R. 305 to prohibit double decker trailers for horse transport. You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or click here to look up your Representative and the phone number.

After making your call, fill in and submit the form on the right to automatically send an email to your U.S. Representative. Remember to personalize the email message by expressing your opinion in your own words; it's much more effective.