“Can you help us help this mare?”

Cymple Rythmn, the night of her rescue. Photo courtesy of Auction Horse Rescue and Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue

Cymple Rythmn, the night of her rescue. Despite her situation, she still has a beautiful face and a kind eye.All photos belong to Auction Horse Rescue and Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue 

September 22, 2013
I helped save a life, last night.  It wasn’t how I intended to spend my evening, and I can’t take credit for any heroic actions that saved this life, but I was a participant in saving a life from a sad, tragic, and totally unnecessary end.  It was so easy to do (considering the enormity of the task), that I knew I had to tell you the story and encourage you to do the same.

It started with an email I received from the Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue [http://www.sctbrescue.org], as 6:30 p.m. approached.  I didn’t get the pictures embedded in the note, but the need was clear.

“Can you help us help this mare?”

The email went on to state, Dear Friends, this tattooed, ten year old OTTB mare is at auction this evening…We have a space for her, but no funds to support the rescue and rehab of another horse in desperate need of help. We would LOVE to help her. We have a bidder on the auction lot.”  Later, when I was able to see the photos, this is just some of what I saw.

Painfully skinny.

Painfully skinny.

I’m lucky.  I have a job and a way to make sure my four horses are taken care of well, and never know painful neglect and hunger.  This mare, Cymple Rhythm, has not been anywhere near as fortunate, at least not in recent times…That is until her luck changed a couple nights ago, when Auction Horse Rescue [http://www.auctionhorsesrescue.com] spotted her and put out a call to their network of friends and fellow rescue organizations for someone who could take her, if they bid successfully.  Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue stepped up and said they had a place to keep and rehab her, but needed funds for that effort.  That’s when the email went out to everyone and anyone who had ever expressed interest in the organization.

Donations flooded in from all over, including my $30.  I also decided that I could forego a few things to sign up for a recurrent donation of $20 per month.  From what I could tell from Facebook posts on the SCTR site, many others had cracked open piggy banks, searched through jacket pockets, and like me, gone over their checkbook to see just what could be done to make Cymple Rhythm a winner one more time.

Yes, this pretty Chestnut daughter of Rhythm and Cymreig, by Lear Fan won her second race – a claiming race at Fresno, of which she was “much the best”, winning by 4 ½ lengths under Adam Landeros.  She never again had her picture taken in a Winner’s Circle, though she made nine more tries at it, never doing better than fourth.  Her last start was August 10, 2008 in a $3,200 non-winners of two, lifetime, going two turns at Ferndale, in California (Ferndale is a “bull ring” and it’s track is only 5/8th’s of a mile around.).  She finished fourth, beating one horse, picking up her last check ($394) and disappearing into her next life, whatever that was.  Sadly, not everyone who owns a racehorse has deep pockets or vast acreage on which to retire their horses when their racing careers have ended.

CR-At Auction-1So, five years later, Cymple Rhythm ended up in a feedlot sale, in a small pen.  Presumably, to sweeten the deal, she wore an English saddle and bridle. As you can see from the photos, the mare’s condition was well beyond poor and smack dab in the middle of “criminal” (my own opinion).  Megan Gaynes, of Auction Horse Rescue, found Cymple Rhythm and was able to discern enough of her tattoo to get her identified.  The story appeared to be that her previous owner could not afford her and finally turned her into the sale, but not before she looked like the pictures here.  I don’t recall the whole story, but there may have been something about the mare trying to live off fallen acorns – not exactly any domestic horse’s feed of choice.

That night, enough money was received by SCTR to bid, transport, and secure a veterinarian visit, if they were able to win the bid.  A few moments after she entered the sales ring, she left under Megan’s watchful eye for all of $100.  [Yes, one hundred dollars!]

The point of this story is not to make you feel especially angry or sad, though I’m sure you feel both if you looked at these photos, but rather to let you know how very little it can take for all racing fans to make a difference in the lives of many horses that might otherwise come to a far worse end than Cymple Rhythm, and too many like her.

This is a call to action for every racing fan who has ever attended the races, watched them on TV, or read a story about them.  You…yes, you…can do something truly important and life changing as often as you like or can!

If everyone who attends the races, at racetracks all over North America, donated just $10 to at least one Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue (OTTB) organization in their area, or to several other charities with a more national, rather than local, emphasis, think of the money that could be raised to give these horses a safe retirement!   Your local racetrack, if you have one, may have a program in place to help retired racehorses in your area, or you can contact organizations such as Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation [http://www.trfinc.org], Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance [http://www.thoroughbredaftercare.org], or Thoroughbred Charities of America [http://www.tca.org].  Every little bit truly does help, so if your means allows you the opportunity to send what you can (no matter how little it might seem), please do.  You won’t regret it, and I think if she could talk, Cymple Rhythm, and all those like her, would thank you for the opportunity to feel good again, play again, and be touched by loving hands, nurturing hands, again.  Then you will know that you, too, have saved a life, and made it possible for horses like Cymple Rhythm to find new homes where they will never know this kind of suffering.

FOLLOW UP

Caroline Betts posted this update on Cymple, just two days after she arrived at SCTR’s facility.

No horse should look like this.

No horse should look like this.

Cymple Rhythm’s veterinary examination at Apple Valley Equine Hospital just ended. She has a BCS of 2 [http://www.habitatforhorses.org/the-henneke-body-condition-scoring-system], the swelling and heat observed in her foreleg is due to a superficial scrape, she is NOT in foal (hurrah), she has a gut full of 20-30 pounds of sand, horrendous teeth, AND she has almost perfect radio-graphs for both front fetlocks which the vet described as “about as good as you could hope for for a horse that has been treated as poorly as she has”. All that is needed, really, is food … and psyllium Yay!

And then….

We are calling her Della… Cymple Rhythm is doing well this afternoon, we’ll have new pics this weekend. She’s brighter, and has a spark in her eye. She’s eating all of her many small soaked alfalfa pellet and soaked alfalfa hay meals, pooping and drinking normally. So far so good A HUGE thanks again to everyone that donated to help her and support her rehabilitation. We could not be helping her without you…

Cymple Rythmn, the morning after her arrival at the SCTR facility.  Look at her demeanor. "Della" is beginning to realize she's safe!

Cymple Rythmn, the morning after her arrival at the SCTR facility. Look at her demeanor. “Della” is beginning to realize she’s safe!

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6 Responses to “Can you help us help this mare?”

  1. Ashley Spicer says:

    I too donated to save this gorgeous red head.. Wonderful article! I’m so glad there is such an outpouring of love and compassion for our retired race horses. She has a special little part of my heart, and I am so happy to help pay for her recovery into her new live.

    • Hi Ashley!
      Yup! She is a heartbreaker! It didn’t take me five minutes to decide I could find at least $10 somewhere in the budget to help her. Though she was essentially “free” at $100, everyone knows there’s no such thing as a “FREE” horse! Glad so many people responded and helped put that sparkle back in her eye! Like you, she will always have a little piece of my heart.

  2. Kelly says:

    I would like to donate a piece of my beaded jewelry for you to auction off for Della. 100% of the proceeds will go to whom ever you designate. If you have a Facebook presence–my jewelry usually does quite well to post pics of it on your facebook page and have supporters post bids until a set deadline. Once I have a confirmation of payment from the designee–I will ship it out. Please contact me for details if you are interested. Best wishes, Kelly —Beads for Steeds. You can find some of my work on Etsy at http://www.Etsy.com/shop/BeadsForSteeds

    • Kelly,
      Thank you so much for the generous offer of help! I’m not associated with either Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue or Auction Horse Rescue, other than as someone who sent in money for “Della”. Please make your offer directly to those organizations. Their website links are in my blog, and both organizations have a Facebook presence. I’m sure they would be thrilled to work with you!
      Thanks again for offer of help for these beautiful athletes!

  3. fabulous article shedding light on a huge epidemic of unwanted OTTBs and horses in general….thanks!

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