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Power of internet helps save 30 thoroughbreds

July 26, 2010

by Neil Clarkson

Thirty Canadian thoroughbreds who faced slaughter this week have all been rehomed thanks to the power of the internet.

Owners meet their new horses at T-Bar Ranch before taking them away.

One of the thoroughbreds arrives at his new home.

The animals, aged two to 20, went to homes across British Columbia and Alberta following a flurry of internet and email activity that had phones running off the hook.

The horses came from Lee Oakford's T-Bar Ranch, in Chase, British Columbia.

Lee had faced difficult times and his ranch was sold.

Friend Chris Adderson, who runs For the Horse equestrian centre in Chase, heard Oakford may have been in difficulties with his horses and telephoned him.

Chris said Lee was running out of time to get the horses off the property and was devastated by the possibility that he may have to truck them for slaughter, for which he would receive $C200 to $C500 a horse.

Lee, she said, was facing up to what would be the worst day of his life in having to send the animals to slaughter.

"I decided that I would leap in and see what I could do to help."

Adderson said she went to the ranch on Thursday and photographed the horses, all of whom were well fed and well cared-for. All were from good breeding lines.

She posted pictures of all the horses on her website,

She said most of the horses at her centre are rescue animals and she had many like-minded friends, who she emailed about the plight of Lee's horses.

All of the thoroughbred horses from the T-Bar Ranch, in Chase, British Columbia, have been rehomed.

The bid to save the horses went viral, thanks to the power of internet social networking and discussion forums.

Within hours, phones were running hot with offers to rehome the horses, most of which were for sale at $C500 each.

Chris said Lee had two phone lines and he was unable to keep up with the calls. Their message boxes rapidly filled to overflowing.

She said her own phone was also running hot.

Today, with the Monday deadline looming in Canada for when the horses had to be removed, all had been found new homes. Only a handful remain to be uplifted from Lee's property.

Chris said most sold for $C500, with a few of the top breeding mares going for a little more. A handful were given away to become paddock mates, such as an older mare with a longstanding injury.

In reality, she said, the horses were worth a lot more.

Chris said the horses were off to new lives in a variety of disciplines, with the younger ones destined for competition, while others were to become trail horses or simply paddock mates.

She said it was at times chaotic at T-Bar Ranch as horse trailers turned up to take the horses to their new homes.

It was an emotional time for Lee as he saw his horses head for new pastures, Chris said, but he was happy that they had all found good homes.

The For the Horse equestrian centre works mostly with rescued horses, and currently has five available for rehoming. Its horse programme takes a holistic approach to equine management and training.



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