Lila Tate and Athena

Lila-Tate and Athena

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Every year, nationwide, there are hundreds of unwanted/orphaned foals sent to livestock sales.  People take foals to these auctions to be rid of them quickly.  No questions are asked either from the buyers or the sellers.   

Who buys these foals?  1)  Many go to individuals who have their hearts set in the right place, but have no experience raising a foal and often lack the financial resources.  Sadly many die, or are passed around from one person to another, often ending up at a sale facing the nightmare they were saved from.  2)  Some foals are bought to practice questionable roping techniques until a leg is broken or the foal succumbs to an ailment.  3)  Another horrible prospect is experimental research.  4)  These sales also attract people who are interested in these animals primarily for food.  They are sold by the pound to countries outside the US.

Both Lila-Tate and Athena were found at such a local livestock sale barn.  Once a week, about 25-80 horses, coming from various counties, are auctioned off.  No information is given about any of the animals for sale.  Most of these horses are bought by a man known as “the kill guy”.  He buys the majority of the horses and then resells them, mainly in Mexico for slaughter.  He also sells horses for research. 

Lila-Tate, a beautiful, sensitive paint, was at one of these sales in May.  A bid was placed by a rescue organization.  Later that day, they were told she was theirs and they picked her up that evening.  Her estimated age was about 6 months.  She was most fearful and distrustful!  Progress has been slow, but now she allows her caretakers to place a halter lead on her and groom her.  She has some front leg issues.  She is pigeon toed and has growth plate abnormalities, but proper food and “healing light treatments” are helping.  Like her emotional issues, this physical problem is not permanent. 


Athena was brought to the same sale barn in mid-June with her mother, a big bay quarter horse.  Athena still had her umbilical cord when she came to live at the rescue, but unfortunately, her mother was purchased by the same man described above.   A big leggy foal, her age was calculated to be about 2 months.  She has an umbilical hernia which will require surgery in the near future.  She is a little ray of sunshine.  The moment she was placed with Lila-Tate, it helped the older foal to calm down.
A foal under three months of age without its mother requires very special care and diet.  The wrong feed will kill a young horse.  This special nourishment for an infant costs about $100-$150 a week.  Often these babies require medical attention as well as the fostering of their psychological healing.  Their spirits require nurturing, as they are broken hearted being separated from their mothers at such a tender age.

Lila Tate and AthenaLila Tate in trainingAthena and Lila Tate
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Because rescuing a baby horse is so expensive, this group commits to two at-risk foals a year, which involves four years of raising and training, giving them the best chance to live a full life.  During that time, the babies receive 300 training hours each.  It costs an average of $1200 a year to feed each one plus their medical care.  The goal of this organization is to train a horse to become an excellent companion and to ultimately be placed in a permanent home.

Rising costs of feed and veterinary care make owning a horse a luxury which few can afford.   Horses are still bred irresponsibly.  As with dogs and cats, there are not enough homes for horses to live out their lives as cherished pets.

We may not be able to rescue a foal ourselves, but let’s do all that we can to help alleviate the tragedy of slaughtering these beautiful, innocent creatures because there are not enough forever homes for them.   Your gift will help this rescue group continue its vital and humane work.  

Click Here to Make a Donation

Check for updates on Lila Tate and Athena on the Spotlight Animal Updates page!