Pets Like Me: ASPEN

A cowboy is useless without a horse. On the range, distances are too great and it’s impossible to round up thousands of cattle on an ATV. Aspen was one of those horses who could turn and drive cattle in the right direction. She was reliable and loyal as ever to her cowboy until he was no longer around. I trotted by her side to listen to her story. Come to find out we both love carrots!

There’s something relaxing about roaming freely in the rain, grazing on green grass—and rolling in the mud! Even with all its uncertainties, life is still beautiful.

I was raised on a Texas cattle farm where I helped wrangle cattle. After my family passed on, I was purchased at an estate sale by a kill buyer—and I was destined for doom. For those not familiar, I’ll explain: A kill buyer is the grim term for those who buy horses with the intent to sell them to slaughterhouses.

I’m so grateful my path took a turn for the better when someone saw me on an auction site and placed a winning bid. Soon I was loaded safely in a trailer, headed to Florida.

Now I enjoy a graceful lifestyle, worry-free—a privilege every horse should have. I keep company with a brood of free-range chicks, a couple of barn cats and a stable of horses. My mom spoils me with peppermint candy and wraps me in pink. She says I’m a bit tame, and a whole lot wild, but I’m her princess. I’ll admit, I was a little standoffish at first, and quite stubborn, but with time, our bond deepened and now I’m swooning. From the beauty in her eyes to the love in her heart, I know she cares; she dotes on me every time she’s at my stall. She taught me to trust again and I taught her to hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

Thousands of horses are auctioned each year, including healthy companion horses, former racehorses, donkeys—even wild horses. Often, these animals are too old to ride or work, or the owners went bankrupt or died. Some simply can’t take care of them, so they’re auctioned not to caring folks, but to slaughterhouses.

If the dissipated equines aren’t bought, slaughter pipeline interests will buy them all and resell them. For many horses, it’s the end of the line. Cracking down on auctions operating this way is the first step toward ending the egregious cruelty. Every horse owner needs to plan for their loyal steed’s whole life, securing a good home for their animal if they can no longer keep him. Every horse deserves a second chance to be saddled up and ridden off into the sunset.

Happy trails!

Davi is recommitted to reading the label of his dog food.