On February 27th we went to the feedlot and pulled four horses. Two went through the Sugar Creek auction on a day we could not attend, two came in from other sales. All four had good homes lined up before their 30-day evaluation was complete. All four would have otherwise gone to slaughter the next day.
If you have been following Copper Horse Crusade, you know that I hate the online feedlot, "buy them now or they ship" programs that charge $1,000 to $1,500 for horses with no evaluation, no vet care, and little to no representation. It has been brought to my attention that some of the language we use when we attend the auction or go to pull horses directly from the feedlot is similar to the online broker programs... I want to make sure that we differentiate from those programs and explain the method we use to sensibly and sustainably save slaughter bound horses. Online, emotionally driven broker programs are charging close to market value for horses that have no vet work, no farrier work, no training or evaluation. These horses magically have deadlines granted in order for people to continue to “fund raise” for the horses that they know next to nothing about. Horses pulled by CHC, either from the sale or the feedlot, still come back to CHC and receive care and training before being placed into appropriate homes. They are NOT available to whoever comes up with $1,000 to "bail" them.
More than once I have gotten emails from well-intentioned people that bought a broker owned horse through an online feedlot "program." The horse "seemed" broke, sound, quiet etc. When the horse arrived they got something completely different. At that point they are in a position of having a horse that is not appropriate and no safe way to find alternate placement. Not to mention that they probably paid close to $1,000 to get that not sound, not sane, not serviceable horse home. This is bad for the horses, and it's bad for the people. Now, as evidenced by the four horses above as well as Valentine who was pulled last month, there are great horses that end up on a feedlot in Ohio. There's no online program to bail them. No one is posting them on social media with inflated prices and magically granted extensions before they ship. The horses that stand on the feedlot in Ohio come from sales all over the country. Some of them are not sane or sound or serviceable. Some of them are. That's where we come in.
We are able to quietly go to the feedlot and sort through the horses that have been gathered there to determine which horses can be reasonably saved and reliably find homes. Remember, the kill buyers are simply working a job like everyone else is. They don't have to let CHC come sift through the horses they've purchased, they don't have to agree to hold a certain horse out until it can be picked up from them. They don't have to work with CHC at all... Yes, they charge some $ over on the horses we pull. It is not an exorbitant amount. And they have put money / time into going to the auctions. They have maintained a truck and trailer and paid for fuel. The horses at the lot on March 28th were eating nicer hay than I have at my barn... that hay cost them something. No one can work for free. The "broker" comparison makes me bristle. These guys aren't charging $1200 for horses and making posts about "bail" to emotionally motivate people to buy horses with no information. They are charging something to cover their costs. Again, they wouldn't have to work with us at all.
We are still pulling viable horses that will be vetted, farriered, evaluated / trained and fully represented so that they can find the best possible homes. Going to the feedlot gives us an opportunity to intercept horses that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I wish I could post photos and videos from the feedlot to show you the scope of what we deal with when we go there. However, professional relationships necessitate that we use discretion. Copper Horse Crusade is sensible and sustainable, “Because Too Many Good Horses End up in the Kill Pen.”