Well I wasn't expecting to see a friend's horse who had been sold to a seemingly good home "headed to the auction" in the classifieds. I contacted the guy who placed the ad, who indicated that the horse was already at the sale yard. He had made the unfortunate decision to just dump the horse, knowing the probable end for any horse that goes to a low end auction yard.
I couldn't make it to the auction yard but scrambled pretty quick to notify a couple of people who possibly could. A friend dropped everything and pulled up the live auction online. She was able to verify that he was there and that he was purchased "straight" for meat along with most of the other horses that day.
I know what it is like to lose a horse to unfortunate circumstances after trying to do right by them. Sometimes researching a new owner or writing up a contract doesn't matter, once a horse leaves your barn, their fate is out of your hands. It is a horrible feeling to think that you somehow failed a horse. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
We networked quickly with folks that had access to the brokers to figure out where he went and if there was hope to re-rescue him. Too many horses slip through the cracks. This horse had already survived years of neglect to find a caring individual that brought him back to health and he was not unwanted.
If nothing else, at least he deserved a dignified end and we were collectively prepared for that possibility.
It may have been too late.
We were told that the horses never unloaded off the truck and they may have shipped out directly, but there weren't enough horses at the sale that day to fill the truck, so there was a little glimmer of hope.
To be continued...