Saving Mississippi

01

Researching the fate of horses sold for Endurance to the Group VII countries is soul-destroying and heart-rending, but absolutely necessary whilst there is no real duty of care given to the horses unlucky enough to have been sold there. It’s a reality that the money thrown at corrupt individuals participating and officiating within the sport allows unheralded abuse to go unpunished.

In 2014, the outrage at the appalling condition of Shakla’s Sudden Impact when presented to compete at Compiegne opened the door on the rapidly eroding welfare values within the sport of International Endurance. A few months later, the catastrophic and horrific fate of Splitters Creek Bundy shocked many across the other equestrian disciplines. Until that point, people could be forgiven for having been seduced into thinking it an honour to have the Sheikhs come and buy their best horses. There would have been a sense of pride that an animal someone had bred, or produced, had caught the eye of a prominent Sheikh (such as Sheikh Mohammed or his extended family) to be imported into a Group VII country to compete internationally.

That expectation no longer washes. The big sellers and exporters will still tell anyone who cares to listen that all the horses receive a 5* retirement, in air-conditioned stables, and live out their days in luxury. However, they know that’s bullshit, and so do we.

As a group, we are trying to expose the harsh and unpalatable reality of what happens to most of the Group VII horses past their usefulness. Within that vein, we found one horse who had tumbled down the spiral from competition to neglect. He at least didn’t suffer the fate of being thrown out into the desert to die with a fractured limb cut off.

We found him on the 5th of April advertised on a dealing account.

Pine Lodge Mississippi was an NZ horse sold as a 10 yo in 2008 to the UAE, to Sheik Mohammed’s son, Fazza’s stable.

Clearly, the ‘almost 10 years’ was somewhat disingenuous. We identified him by the brand on his shoulder, and immediately decided to try and remove him from this awful situation. Seems also quite strange that his FEI registration was down as still active, despite him obviously being in no fit state to be competitive.

You can read his story before export, and this is the diary of getting him to safety.