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A Visit to Camelot Auction

February 1, 2010

Camelot Auction: Hip 893

This is a relatively new aspect of the equine industry that I am exploring and I appreciate all feedback and comments you may have about the topic.

For the past year or so, I’ve had my eye on the Camelot Sales Auction horse sale results. I read Fugly Horse of the Day and her Washington (state) auction reports have piqued my interest in our local sales. Camelot is located in Cranbury, NJ.

This summer, I attended the auction a few times, visiting both the auction ring and the holding pens. All horses have shelter, feed, and unlimited hay and water. They are bedded on shavings and can lie down to rest. One night, I saw a tall, handsome grey warmblood type. This gelding knew his stuff, changing leads and taking jumps with casual grace. He sold for about $2,000. Another night, I saw a pinto pony sell for $750 but he looked like he was worth his weight in gold; he could jump the moon and was as game as could be.

The folks who bought these horses had a good eye for horseflesh and took home some quality animals. These horses were sound, attractive, and well-trained. Why are horses sold at public auction instead of through a private sale? An auction can be a good way to assess the market value of a horse. The horses are sent to auction for so many reasons, from an owner’s divorce to a retired lesson horse to a person who cannot afford his rent. With people tightening their financial belts and cutting back on luxuries, the horse population is undergoing big changes. Factors as basic as the time of year can lead to increased horses at auction in the wintertime due to the increased cost of feeding a horse. People who could afford to keep multiple horses a few years ago are struggling to keep one or two now. Some are getting out of the business completely. A barometer of the climate can be seen in the decline of public auction prices, all the way from the elite Thoroughbred sales to the local riding horse auctions.

At the lower end of the market, there is the added element of the feedlot buyer. Some sellers create a reserve price and if the horse is an RNA (reserve not attained), the seller takes the horse back. Horses without a reserve run the risk of being sent to slaughter. If there are no bids over the going rate for horsemeat, a horse can be sold for slaughter at a public auction.

The question of equine slaughter is a major hot-button topic among horsemen. I don’t know the answer but I’m doing my best to learn more about the subject. Some see equine slaughter as a necessary evil and as a means to control the horse population. Some see horses as livestock and find equine slaughter no more disturbing than the slaughter of cattle. Some see it as inhumane. Some see it as an end that is kinder than years of neglect.

As is the case with any controversial topic, it is quite difficult to get the whole story from either side. Slaughter is not the same as euthanasia, nor is it the same as rendering. At the heart of the debate is the actual treatment which the horses receive both en route to the plant and at the plant itself. Since 2007, slaughter plants in the United States have all been shut down so horses are now shipped to Canada or Mexico. A cursory Google search will provide some of the details of horse slaughter, but be warned, the videos and photos are quite graphic.

Due to the recent decrease in private horse buyers, there appears to be an increase in the number of horses sold at public auction being sold for slaughter. Within the past few months, a network of horse rescue groups have rallied around some large auctions, including New Jersey’s Camelot, and made an attempt to find a home for every horse intended for slaughter and relocate them to rescue groups, foster homes, or private owners.

Each week, the descriptions and photos of every available feedlot horse are posted online and distributed across the online horse community. For the past few months, the number of horses getting purchased from Camelot is high: virtually every horse has been privately sold/adopted from the feedlot. A lot of questions have been raised about these horses. Where do these horses come from? Who is benefiting from this process? What exactly are people rescuing? What happens to the horses who are rescued but have chronic health or behavioral issues? How long can this adoption streak keep up?

My mother, a friend, and I headed to Camelot last week to photograph available horses the morning after the auction. As a horse photographer, I’ve learned that a good photo of a horse can be what gets him a home. I figured that the more photos people can see of the horses, the better they can see conformation and personality.

From a photographic standpoint, I had to break all my usual rules in order to get the shots. Because the horses are close-up and indoors, I ditched my trusty telephoto lens and natural light and instead shot with a wide angle zoom lens and a speedlight (flash).

The process took about 45 minutes. The proprietor was courteous and had one of his assistants help us find all the horses on our list. Many auction proprietors do not allow post-auction purchases so we are fortunate to have this courtesy available to us in New Jersey. We walked from pen to pen, and eventually all 35 horses were photographed. It was a quiet morning, the only ruckus came from a stall where a miniature horse stallion was calling to potential girlfriends. Horses rested, munched on hay, or watched us. Some were shy, nervously walking away and some were friendly, nosing us curiously.

Only when I got home and began to edit the photos did the horses’ stories spring to life. I began to match up the hip numbers with the descriptions…

“Belgian Draft Mare, 16.2 hh, 15 yrs., droopy ears, looked ‘sad’, picked up feet. Purportedly exposed to Mammoth Jack. So could be pregnant for a Mammoth Mule.”

Waiting in Apparent Silence

“Bay Pony Mare, 14 hh, 4 yrs old, a little head shy in the pen, Green under saddle, probably never ridden before tonite . . . . $150.00 NOT FOR A BEGINNER.”

“Palomino Gelding, 15.2 hh, 5 yrs old, looked gaited. Ridden thru, not much info. $225.00″

Camelot Auction: Hip 871 & 869

“Bay mare, Looks like a mule, but possible illegible lip tattoo (or pigment) maybe Standardbred if NOT a mule, 16 hh. 15 yrs, let thru, very, very thin – -we’re talking about 200+ lbs. . .. $150.00″

Camelot Auction: Hip 853

“Palomino Mare, 15.3 hh, 15 yrs., Very nervous/worried, but cute. Was a backyard mare, people ran out of money, led thru quiet but said to be broke to ride . . $100″

Camelot Auction: Hip 893

“Sorrel/roan Grade/App Gelding with an enormously swayed back. Led thru, but is supposed to be a games horse, intermediate+ rider . Find a Saddle for this guy! . . . $100.00″

Camelot Auction: Hip 892

“Very, Very thin Black/white pinto Gelding. 6 yrsl, 16 hh, went thru very quickly, think the price was $100.00 – -just led thru.”

Camelot Auction: Hip 857

“Mule – Belgian Draft-X, Mare, 16.1 hh, they didn’t announce age, was worried in the pen, picked up her feet. Snotty nose – - from Tenn., led thru but announced that she rode and drove. A pretty liver chestnut color . . . . $450.00″

Camelot Auction: Hip 855

I posted the photos online on Thursday night. By the weekend, every horse had been purchased to be sent to a private home or to a rescue.

62 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2010 7:25 am

    Thank you for donating your time and skills to this cause. Definitely, the hardest thing about “bailing out” these horses can be getting people to put faces with the hip numbers… It helps them so much to have good, clear photos available.

    • February 1, 2010 8:13 am

      Thank you for your comment. It seems like it makes a difference for these horses and I hope everyone continues to cooperate since it is a mutually beneficial situation.

      • David Shaffer permalink
        March 31, 2010 11:08 pm

        Hi Sarah , I am interested in saving a couple of these horses how do I go about doing it? I have a 4h group for kids in my area and now have way more kids than horses so I am looking for a way to find horses on my income, so this sounds like a win win situation.

      • April 1, 2010 12:34 am

        Here’s a good place to start. Best of luck to you!

        http://forums.delphiforums.com/alexbrown/messages?msg=46966.1

        There are also several Facebook groups that can help. Are you on Facebook?

  2. February 1, 2010 8:03 am

    It was nice the proprietor allowed you to photograph them. I went to go into Sugarcreek (OH) with a friend and was told it probably wasn’t a good idea to take my camera in. The only photos I have seen from there have been from phones and smaller cameras. I didn’t want to be the one making waves so I left mine behind the couple times I went. Your photos bring a new light to the auction house.

    • February 1, 2010 8:12 am

      I agree and I’ve heard the same thing about many auction houses. For the privacy of the people in attendance and the riders of the horses, video is also not acceptable in most auctions. I have not heard of any other auction houses that allow photography and I’m grateful that I am allowed to get these photos. It certainly seems to have helped get these horses homes so it worked out for the auction house as well as the rescue groups.

  3. CHG permalink
    February 1, 2010 9:02 am

    Heartbreaking. Going to auctions has always been heartbreaking for me. The ones that get me the most are the working horses that are somehow no longer needed – like the Drafties. It kills me that they dutifully put in years of service then get kicked to the curb for whatever reason.

    And the thin ones…I cannot bear to look at the thin ones. Especially when they still manage to turn to look at you, ears pricked forward and still the tiny gleam in the eye. They still seem so optimistic thinking maybe, just maybe today’s the day where they get a decent meal, a kind word, a soft touch. Ack! It kills me.

    You are very brave and kind for going. As I get older, I find I can’t take seeing an animal in need and just walk away. I know I can’t take even just one and help it so I just can’t go.

    • February 1, 2010 7:08 pm

      I share your feelings about hard-working horses being discarded after a lifetime of service. Additionally, I share your lack of space for another horse, cat, dog, etc. The best I can do is donate a little money to the causes I support, share information with my network of friends, and use my photography skills to the best of my ability.

      • Barbara permalink
        July 8, 2011 10:38 am

        Sarah: Your photography skills are worth more money than you could possibly give. Most of us don’t post out the photos until yours come up. Your photos save these horses lives. THANK YOU!

  4. oregonsunshine permalink
    February 1, 2010 11:22 am

    Sarah,

    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! What you’re doing is so kind and wonderful. There aren’t many people who can handle the sights at auctions, let alone photo the horses.

    The palomino mare and the Belgian mare really touched me deeply. I am so glad they were pulled. And the photo of the Belgian mare is spectacular! You should put together a book of your photos. I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

    Over the weekend, we took in a rescue dog from a huge hoarding and neglect case. He’s very sweet but has had little human interaction in his short life. I’ve got him in our home office with me so he can get used to people.

    • February 1, 2010 7:14 pm

      I applaud your efforts in taking in the neglected dog. His life changed the moment you met him and everything will be better from now on. That must be a wonderful feeling.

      The work that our local rescue groups have done to find homes for these horses is nothing short of amazing. It renews my faith in the power of human compassion when we see results like these.

      Thank you so much.

  5. clotheshorseok permalink
    February 1, 2010 1:45 pm

    It is truly amazing what you are doing! Thank you for taking the time to do it, thus helping find good homes for these horses as well as inspiring others (like me) to try and get involved. Thank You!

    http://bestfromthesaddle.wordpress.com

    • February 1, 2010 7:24 pm

      That is WONDERFUL! The best thing we can do as horse lovers is motivate our colleagues to stay active and informed about current issues affecting horses. I’m thrilled to hear that you are going to get involved. Stay tuned for a post from me about how to do it :^)

  6. Diana Noret permalink
    February 2, 2010 12:07 pm

    Absolutely outstanding article. Her photography is captivatingly brilliant. Thank you for your contribution to the horse world.

  7. February 2, 2010 2:10 pm

    Hi, Sarah!

    Beautiful photos!

    Did you happen to get any photos of #847 (donkey), #851 and #874 (young percheron in box stall) while you were there? We bailed those three out and they are now in QT in Massachusetts, but we’d love to see the photos of them taken by you on Thursday morning, while we were paying for them from long distance…

    • February 2, 2010 2:16 pm

      Hi Christina, I do have photos of your donkey but I don’t think I got any of the Perch. I’ll check tonight and post what I have. Congratulations on your new equids! -Sarah

  8. February 2, 2010 2:26 pm

    I think it would be nice if folks could drop horses off at the animal shelter just like dogs and cats. If there is no room, at least they are euthanized and not slaughtered. Nice job with the photos… so glad they were all adopted.

  9. Kathy Pownall permalink
    February 2, 2010 6:25 pm

    Thank you so much for getting these photos – a picture speaks a thousand words – if I still lived in Jersey I’d be there right alongside of you!!

  10. Sharon Crumb permalink
    February 3, 2010 6:35 am

    Hey Sarah, will you be going out again tonight? I would like to let the NJ Killpen Group know if you are.

    Sharon

    Thanks so much for helping

    • February 3, 2010 10:10 am

      Hi Sharon,

      I’ll be out on Thursday morning to take photos of the remaining available horses.

      Best,
      Sarah

  11. February 3, 2010 10:17 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that one of the horses in your photos is on his way here. The young gaited? palamino shown with the bay in the double head shot.
    Thank you for what you are doing. My best friend of 27 years was on her way to the “kill pen”. She was the most wonderful horse in the world, and I’ve had many as a horse professional for over 45 years.
    Now that I have “retired”, and recovered from Snoflake’s lose, I have found a new vocation in fostering these rescued horses, to get them back on their feet; to love them and help find them loving homes.

  12. February 4, 2010 1:57 pm

    Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Your photos were so moving. It is heartbreaking what humankind can do to animals, and for that matter what some people will do to other people. I hate the “toss out the garbage” mentality that so many people have. Thanks for helping do what you can do to save them.

  13. February 4, 2010 3:49 pm

    Just heart wrenching isn’t it.. I send a check to Saddlebred Rescue every single month and wish everyone would support at least one rescue…and not breed unless you are willing to keep what you get!

  14. February 4, 2010 3:49 pm

    Just heart wrenching isn’t it.. I send a check to Saddlebred Rescue every single month and wish everyone would support at least one rescue…and not breed unless you are willing to keep what you get!

    Enjoyed visiting your blog!
    Julie
    http://www.ridingaside.blogspot.com

  15. Linda permalink
    February 6, 2010 11:36 pm

    Sarah, your pictures are amazing. You are definately assisting in these animals finding homes. You enable people who would never take a horse sight unseen to get a wonderful peek at how these animals are. I rescued a TWH #958 and your photo reassured me that the sweet face I thought I saw in his origial photo, was definately there when I saw your photo. Great picture for conformation evaluation as well. Keep up the amazing work, you are very talented. Thank you for doing what you do! Linda

  16. Paula Eckler permalink
    February 7, 2010 1:01 am

    Week of 2-4-10 I would love to purchase picture of the horse I bought a the Camelot auction. She is a paint number 928 head shot and a beautiful picture of her. Please email me…

  17. March 24, 2010 8:28 pm

    Sarah,
    I have updates on some of the horses that we have gotten from Camelot who moved on to new homes. If you’d like to email me I can put you in touch with their new owners so you can see what they are up to now. It’s great work that you’re doing, please keep it up!!

  18. Roger K. permalink
    April 23, 2010 7:46 pm

    I find this an interesting topic as I received and invitation to a group on Facebook on saving horses from slaughter houses. I grew up in a farm and ranch atmosphere and know how these things work and the need to for slaughtering animals for meat. Before the Animal Rights Activists got the Horse Slaughtering in the United States closed down and horse slaughter outlawed it was a big business the same as slaughtering cattle. Since the closing of these slaughter houses in the United States there is a big over population of horses in the United States simply because a lot of people cannot afford to ship horses to Auction Barns that auction horses. The biggest downfall to this is that now you have horses that are no longer of use due to age, sickness, disease or simply people not able to take care of them anymore due to the economy you have horses ALL over the United States now that are suffering from malnutrition, diseases, starvation, colic and many other things that can cause the death of horses. Not to mention people having to put down a horse by shooting it and calling what is known as a “Death Wagon” to come pickup the dead animal. They pick the animal up and take it to a Rendering House where they use the animal for dog foods, glue, leathers or whatever else they can utilize from the animal.

    Now what I find disturbing about this Stamp Out Horse Slaughter claiming to “Save The Horses of Camelot” group is they paint this big picture that every horse that goes through the Camelot Auction house is going to slaughter, then they want donations to buy these animals to save them from slaughter. The problem is this…. NOT all horses sold there are going to slaughter houses, the “donations” they are claiming are buying these horses are NOT a price that a horse going to slaughter sales for and is inflated by hundreds of dollars. One horse on there Facebook Group showed a horse that was a very good looking horse that I would guess to be under 10 years old with a freeze brand on his hip. No this horse was a classy looking horse and you could tell this horse had been well taking care of and had the muscular mass that clearly showed he was a working horse that had been being rode regularly. They asked for donations to SAVE this horse from slaughter, but already has a home for him. Ok that’s all fine and good, so I move on to see a few more horses that are really good looking horses with that pretty much fit the bill as the horse I just described above and ALL they wanted was donations to buy this horse and save from slaughter, but it already has a good home to go to. NOW this is what is bothering me about this ordeal… I’d bet the farm these horses were NOT being sold for slaughter, PLUS they were asking anywhere from $600 to $900 in donations to “save” these horses. WRONG… Slaughter horses do NOT sale for that kind of money. Not today, Not tomorrow, Not when slaughtering was allowed in the US. There lies the problem I have with this so called organization that is supposedly “saving these horses from slaughter houses”. It’s NOT happening at those prices and why is it EVERY good looking horse they wanted donations for ALREADY had a home? It doesn’t make sense to me and I know horse trading when I see it and this is Horse Trading at its most scandalous I’ve ever seen. This Stamp Out Horse Slaughter that claims they “Save The Horses of Camelot” is making a hell of a lot of money from these inflated donations they are getting from these so called “slaughter horses” and some of the donations they are getting I bet anything someone is getting some damn good horses for FREE. I also bet they are turning right around and selling these same horses they got donation for again to private owners. Now I believe in working for a living, but this has Scandal written all over it in so many ways. They get a $700 dollar donation for a horse that supposedly is going to a slaughter house, then turn around and sale this horse to a private buyer for $700 they just made $1400 off of a horse that someone that played on peoples sympathy to save an animal that was supposedly going to slaughter.

    Now from what I’ve seen it’s clear to me this is going on and anyone with a little common sense can pay attention and see what’s going on. All because this one thing… All of the good looking horses that are what horse people call Cadillac of a Horse for some odd reason never need a good home. They already have a home!! THEN the poor looking horses or the ones that look like they are half dead… Those horses are the ones they ask and beg people to adopt and that needs a good homes along with Your Donation To Save From Slaughter. Yeah they might be saving these horses that are sick and in poor health from being slaughtered by finding a home for them, but a real horse lover wouldn’t allow a disease stricken horse to go on suffering. Just like one of the horses they were really trying to get donations for and get a good home for got the colic and supposedly died at the auction barn. Now did those donations for that horse that got colic and died get returned to those that donated to save its life? I doubt it very seriously, so that would mean someone donated money for a dead horse to be saved from slaughter. When in all actuality that horse probably went on to a rendering house the same as several slaughtered horses do!!

    To many things don’t add up in my opinion with this Stamp Out Horse Slaughter Group with someone by the name of “Sharon Stone” as the administrator. (not the actress I’m sure) I imagine that if someone actually put in a little time into investigating this group they could have them prosecuted on felony charges, because in the short time I looked into it I found several things that didn’t make logical sense what so ever. This is truly one of those deals where there needs to be a BIG NEON SIGN THAT SAYS…. BUYER BEWARE!!!

    Somebody is getting rich by playing off sympathy from others in The United States at times of economical hardships are running rampant across the country and what they are doing to people is just as bad a Obama forcing his Snake Oil Health Care Bill upon us. Neither are right, but We The People can do something about BOTH!!!

    • Laura Houston permalink
      May 4, 2010 11:14 am

      Roger you are mistaken on many points. At the time the Texas slaughterhouse was shut down (in 2007) they were IMPORTING thousands of horses from canada to texas for meat.

      Any horse in low price auctions is at risk of being sent to slaughterhouses. Most of these low price auctions have a high end sale price of about 900 dollars. All a buyer does is buy the 900. horse use it and dump back at auction, again the risk is there of a slaughter end of life.

      Most of the low price horse auctions have or are assoiated with rendering plants for horses to poor to even stay alive on the ride to slaughter, fill lots for the ride to slaughterhouses and try to ‘sell’ some horses for more than (about 600.00) the slaughterhouse price.

      It has been pointed out time and time again. When the 3 american slaughterhouses were OPEN abuse cases were higher. All the slaughter houses were foreign owned, the one in Texas paid 5 dollars in Federal taxes, yet cost the small town they ‘invaded’ for 27 years millions.

      The meat produced was sold overseas at a very low price… THEN the profits were added and so the only ones laughing their way to the bank were not north americans.

      My point is, ALL horses in a low price auction setting are at extreme risk of entering the hell that is the horsemeat industry.

    • MindyW permalink
      October 15, 2011 12:18 am

      Sigh. Nice attempt at propaganda. I see you are a conservative, and evidently an AQHA pro-slaughter advocate. It may be skewing your ability to successfully manipulate readers. For example, exaggerating prices has two issues: One, the Camelot site I went to was offering horses for between $100 and $500 dollars. Hardly ‘raking in the money’. Two, prices for horses have always been higher on the East coast. Do your research before trying to use facts.

      Slaughter of horses has ALWAYS been bad business. They bleed much more than cattle, and create some serious environmental issues, not to mention the challenge of safely and effectively slaughtering/killing a flighty animal with a lot of quick twitch muscles. There is a reason we were down to about three equine slaughter facilities in the U.S. before funding for inspections was halted.

      More horses are not abused now. Period. We don’t have ‘more’ horses now than before. Period. Pretty sure that your reasoning about not being able to haul horses to auction barns, resulting in more abuse and neglect than in the ‘old’ days, when people… could afford to haul horses to auction barns….? ….. yea… you just lost me on that convoluted statement. Period. But thank you for trying to convince us that life would be better if we hauled our horses long distances and put them on a meat hook instead of trying to find them good homes. It was amusing, at least….

  19. Nikki permalink
    July 20, 2010 12:36 pm

    Sarah,

    That was a really thoughtful piece you wrote. I live near New Holland, PA and have been to the horse auctions there several times. The conditions at that auction are not near as kind as that of Camelot. While I really hate that horse slaughter still occurs, and kill pens still exist, it was really nice to see a proprietor who was willing to work with you for photos and allowed horses to be ‘bailed out’. I am hopeful the same can be said of the New Holland Auction someday. Keep up the good work!

  20. November 19, 2010 6:40 pm

    Wow, I used to live a short distance from Camelot. In fact, I would ride my bike past there often on auction nights. I’m glad to hear at least these guys were adopted/bought.

  21. December 2, 2010 7:02 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. How did you find the customers/recue groups so fast? I have an AAS in horse science and horse lover also photographer and would love to do something like this. Needing more info:) please use my email or website!! Thank you, Kacey

    • December 2, 2010 7:39 pm

      Thanks, Kacey. I don’t get paid for this- it is volunteer work. I networked and met with a lot of people before I got this project off the ground. My best advice is to be creative and find horses in need in your area. Check Craigslist and local rescue groups. Best of luck!

  22. December 6, 2010 9:06 am

    I came across your web site today and and wanted to salute you for your efforts. I recently wrote a novel about a young girl saving unwanted horses, Believing In Horses, and learned much more than I already knew about unwanted horses during the process. I visited and researched several Maryland horse rescues and the New Holland, PA, auction. I’ve found so many non-horse people are completely unaware of the problem and when finding out have a desire to help. Keep up the great work with all that you are doing!

  23. Sara permalink
    January 17, 2011 12:04 am

    Can I just say that I think this is an amazing blog. Having been to Camelot myself it can sometimes be heartbreaking to think that some of these horses who may simply be underweight may not find homes. Also being a photographer myself, I believe pictures (such as your very good ones) could definitely mean the difference between a home or not. Sometimes a picture can make someone looking at a horse in a different light where they may only previously see a broken horse in a dim barn.

  24. March 5, 2011 7:49 pm

    I’m very impressed with your work and words. I admire your service to these animals. It’s been years since I visited New Holland. I think I’ll go soon and see where it leads me… Thank you for the polite nudge!

  25. March 9, 2011 10:01 am

    Sarah,
    As a fellow animal photographer and lover and volunteer – I have to say, your work is 1) beautiful to look at, 2) done in a beautiful spirit.
    Thank you for giving of your time and talent to this worthy cause.
    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever need a backup photog.
    Kind regards,
    Rebecka

  26. Dee permalink
    May 31, 2011 2:13 pm

    What is really needed here is a system to deal with horses that are unwanted for whatever reason to prevent animals having to endure these low value auctions and the horrendous trip to a slaughter yard. It shouldn’t be that hard. If a horse is of no use to anyone because its unsound or in some way too difficult then the owner should be able to pay the cost of having it humanely euthanised at a local site – if they really can’t find the cost it would be more realistic to have a charity that would step in and pay than put it on some merry go round of failed sales and adoptions. Local supervised slaughter houses that will pay for the animal and deal with its death quickly would be a far better option than shoving it in a sale to suffer a lot more. The slaughter houses could be constantly supervised, be enforced to have a veterinarian on site at all times and possibly someone from an organisation like the ASPCA doing regular checks, there is a need for these things – judging by the huge number of decrepit sorry animals going into the kill pens a very great one.
    I have 3 horses all from auctions and all very useful, they each have their own hang-ups but they are not robots and you have to live with some minor problems.
    Why not a 3 day warranty system that certifies animals to be sound and exactly what they are capable of – good and bad points with the seller having to collect them at their expense if they do not match up to the selling description, it would give buyers more confidence and reduce the rogue elements. A Vet could work on site to do immediate checks and blood tests as they do in England.
    Local slaughter yards are a necessary evil, closing them has only served to make the plight of unwanted horses far far worse. The better solution would have been proper control and policing of well run establishments.

  27. June 30, 2011 10:51 am

    The most comprehensive and concise resource on this topic:
    “Saving America’s Horses”, a 95 minute award winning documentary, just starting the festival circuit but already making international news.
    http://www.savingamericashorses.org

  28. Alicia permalink
    July 18, 2011 7:26 pm

    Additionally, we can all contact our congressmen/women and implore them to make appropriate changes to legislation. We can all be effective in changing the laws for these poor animals.

  29. July 26, 2011 11:05 am

    This is a wonderful project, and I cringe to think that some of the horses, mules and donkeys I might have known throughout my life, ended at the slaughterhouse. I was a very little girl when my schooling horse, My Gal Sal, a very old, old and gentle sweetie, suddenly went missing from the barn and I was told she was sent to the “glue factory”. I quit taking lessons after that.

    I wish you all success with this, and I hope this spreads like wildfire. I am going to blog your site, and I hope it will alert other animal lovers to your cause.

    How do I sign up for updates? I’d like to get it on a regular basis.

    • July 26, 2011 11:18 am

      Thank you so much. You can select “subscribe” on this page for updates. Best Wishes, Sarah

  30. July 26, 2011 11:13 am

    My friend in AZ (Douglas) is dying of brain cancer. Today she will have definitive tests.
    Is there anyone here who would like to adopt some purebred Welsh or Welsh cross ponies?
    They are probably not broken to do anything. They are from her mother’s Marwibon line, and there is a quarter horse mare (may be a cross) in there, too.

    They live in pretty rough conditions, but some of them are beautiful.

    Please contact me at the email below. Please note the date. My friend has probably less than 6 months to live and her companion and her half brother will not be able to help find them homes.

    (Lots of Chihuahuas, too.)

  31. rennie Taft permalink
    September 17, 2011 2:30 pm

    Dear Sara:

    You photos of The camelot Horses shold be a book…any thoughts about doing one, let me know I’ll work on the project….Rennie

  32. September 17, 2011 4:32 pm

    Can you tell me how to subscribe to your blog through email?

    You are doing a wonderful service.

  33. Promise permalink
    November 15, 2011 6:26 pm

    Just somehow fell across this page.. and know all about Camelot and other kill pens. It’s all great and all but when you buy from him you are lining the kill buyers pockets and enabling him to go to private sales and pick up even more horses to be slaughtered. When you tell other people to buy horses from him you are actually doing the kill buyer a favor, free advertisement. Adopt from a legit rescue. When you adopt from a rescue you save 2 horses; the one you adopted and the one you just made room for in the rescue. And yes, ksaving horses from slaughter is awesome, but is not stopping the problem.

    • December 3, 2011 4:30 pm

      I understand both sides of this issue, but you do realize that now it is legal after five years, to slaughter horses and donkeys for consumption in the USA. So, what do we do? We do all we can. The legislation passed this week. We are being governed by sick, inhumane, corrupt politicians who need to be carted off to jail.

  34. joanna brites permalink
    December 8, 2011 8:08 pm

    I am so glad for your post, it gave me a sense of peace reading it. I struggle with this slaughter thing greatly, i mean emotionally it bothers me. No horse that is raised as a pet should ever end up in a place like cemelot and be at risk to go to slaughter. Frank to owner is kind to give them a chance… God Bless him.
    We have to put the blame on the heartless people who own these aminals in the first place. I realize things happen in life,. loss of jobs, having kids, etc. But they still have to be responsible for the welfare of the animal, that has served them, they are the true beast of burden. Putting them down humanly is costly but they still should come up with the money to give the horse a humane dead. We need to get some vets to do this for people and maybe they can get a tax break or something like that. Just to keep the cost down.
    We have moral issues and greed issues in the country, people take the easy way out, they’d rather put a few hundred in there pocket than to do the RIGHT THING. I keep praying for clarity on this issue and I admire the people who take the time to help. I have two horses one is a cripple from the track (owned by a millionaire who just left him) and the other horse no one would want. I keep them, why?, because they would be slaughter horses. Yes, I do without vacations, new cars, clothing, dentist etc. because it is the right thing. WAKE UP PEOPLE: IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD A HORSE ANYMORE OR HE IS TO OLD TO WORK, GIVE THEM TO A GOOD HOME FOR FREE OR PUT THEM DOWN KINDLY AND HUMANELY. DO THE RIGHT THING NO MATTER WHAT IS THE ONLY ANSWER HERE.

  35. Tuesday permalink
    June 1, 2012 1:25 pm

    Thanks for what you did and I hope you can continue to help other horses in need. All of my horses have been rescues and they are the best. Most just need some kindness to see that not all humans are cruel. Keep up the good work.

  36. sarah myers permalink
    August 27, 2012 11:23 am

    Sarah, You are a blessing to these horses.Your beautiful photography helps tell their stories. You are their voice,their only chance. Thank you so much for playing such an important part in saving these wonderful animals.
    Sarah Myers
    Virginia

  37. Annabel permalink
    October 22, 2012 4:43 am

    Thank you on behalf of the horses!!! I am in england and have 10 horses …. 8 of them rescued. I am not rich and work several jobs to pay for all the expenses … I re home when I can. It breaks my heart to think of all those equines destined for the feed chain. U r right about people actually seeing the pics of the horses. Keep up the good work …. I have been looking at the helping hearts rescue Center. Thinking of trying to do the same over here. All kind regards sent x

  38. January 12, 2014 9:43 pm

    Hi Sarah, I’m a vet, still practicing (over 40 years), that adopted a clients horse for a coffee-buddy in the morning and trail ride occasionally. Today I learned that sometime in the last couple years he went through Camelot. He is a 16 hand heavy boned QH? buckskin that wears an 80 inch blanket, very shy and appears to have been abused by a man, as women aren’t so intimidating. The person said he was wearing aluminum shoes when sold. He is very biddable on a trail, am hoping to find more info to understand how to maybe improve his return back to normalcy!

  39. March 9, 2014 9:51 am

    My little Paint was a rescue, saved at the last minute from the kill pen. She’d been trained minimally as a nose-to-tail trail pony (and hates being kicked, which leads us to believe she grew to fear spurs), but was primarily (ab)used as a broodmare–8 foals by the time she was 10, at at least one point had one beside and one inside. Finally foundered, was also malnourished, and found herself at auction. This lovely little papered mare has turned out to be gentle, friendly, patient with beginners (you can put her saddle on upside down and backwards and she’ll stand there until you get it right, even letting you crawl around under her belly). She loves and trusts humans in spite of what some did to her in the past. Good shoes and proper turnout and nutrition have her pretty much sound at the age of 16, though she does favor one side. The most amazing thing: About 2 years ago I heard about Western Dressage and felt some of the exercises might be good for her balance and flexibility. She took to it like a duck takes to water! She gets bored with round-and-round-the-rail Western Pleasure classes, and her nose-to-tail past makes her want to “keep up,” which is not always a good thing. Alone in the ring, paying attention to what I’m asking her to do, which is constantly changing in dressage, she’s incredible. I cry to think that someone felt this intelligent, kind, talented, beautiful little horse was good for nothing but dogfood.

Trackbacks

  1. This Week’s Available Horses (March 3, 2010 Camelot Auction) « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  2. Camelot Auction: Eight Months Later « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  3. Equine Photographer Sarah Andrew: 2010- A Year in Photos « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog
  4. Q&A: Her photos at Camelot help save horses
  5. Q&A: Camelot photographer Sarah K. Andrew

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