It’s the dark side of horseracing, the fact that not every Thoroughbred or Standardbred ends up retiring from the track to enter a new career as a riding horse or enjoy its golden years in rolling green fields. Indeed, many horses end up in kill pens at slaughterhouses in Quebec or Alberta. For one lucky Standardbred racehorse named Mittcent Vangogh, his life was saved at the eleventh hour through a combination of luck and determination, and of course, love.
Prince Edward Island’s Tyra Perry groomed Vangogh and her father raced him, but the 11-year-old gelding became injured and could no longer make a career on the track. Her father decided to sell the horse back to the dealer he bought him from and after a year, Tyra lost track of Vangogh. Then on November 4th came the terrible news that he was in a kill pen in Pennsylvania. A horse rescue group had posted about him, and the post was sent to Tyra by a friend who knew the horse. That’s the lucky part. Then came the determination.
Tyra posted a plea to her friends: “This morning I saw a post, it was my old horse Vangogh… in the kill pen. This broke my heart, and I immediately knew I had to try and save him. Vangogh was the sweetest boy, he loved kids, and he was so gentle… he is now in Shippensburg, PA. He only has a few days left to be saved… I have a home lined up for him, but I need to get him here first. I don’t like to ask for this kind of help on Facebook but it’s $4,000 to get him home that I don’t have.”
A friend set up a GoFundMe page asking for help to raise the funds to rescue the ex-racehorse. “Vangogh deserves a safe and loving home back here on the island. The aim is to raise enough money to get him back to where he belongs.”
Horse lovers came through and raised the necessary $1,800 to buy him from the slaughterhouse. Tyra found a local place in Pennsylvania for him to quarantine before shipping back to PEI, posting, “Vangogh made it out of the kill pen!!! We managed to raise the $1800 we needed to get him to a safe place until we can get him home! We are so grateful for everyone helping, it really means the world. Our next step is the next $2200 to get him home, as his safe place is not a permanent home for him! Thank you again everyone!”
As of this writing Tyra is about $700 short of her goal to ship him home. If you’d like to donate, visit her GoFundMe page here.