Unadilla: A short reflection

Two weeks seem as if it is a short amount of time when you compare it to our relatively long lives. For myself, however, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

Two weeks ago, I understood very little about how a horse auction was run. It wasn’t that I was ignorant, but rather that I just did not want to even have to imagine what a horse auction was like. So going into it, I had no expectations; I was a blank slate ready to be covered with feelings and emotions based off an experience that I had no prior expertise in. I did not even have previously seen photos to prepare myself for what I would be seeing.

But now I am no longer a blank slate.

At the auction I saw things that I will never be able to un-see. I felt feelings that I will never un-feel. I had emotions run through me that I did not even have words to express. I tried to convey my experience using the best words that I could, but sometimes words are just not enough. I took pictures, yet those pictures still do not adequately portray what it is like to actually be there. Pictures may paint a thousand words, but actual experience of an event writes a novel.

Despite having to be a part of something that was truly heartbreaking, I can confidently say that I do not regret going to the Unadilla horse auction. If nothing else, it acted as an event that will now forever mold the rest of my life. Witnessing a horse auction created an infinite amount of desire in me to do what I can to raise awareness about a cause that I personally saw the darkness of. At the same time,however, I also got to feel the joy that comes with saving another living creatures life. It is this mixture of emotions that I felt within myself that I hope to use as fuel for motivating myself to continue writing about this topic.

Right now as I sit here, I understand that the horses that I saw sold to slaughter are no longer mortal, living things. They are no longer bodies filled with light and the peppiness of life. They will never again be someones pet. Eyes once radiating with light, enthusiasm and hopefulness have now grown dim. They will, however, live on in my memory. I will never forget the look of that one chestnut mare awaiting death in the stable after the auction. I was the last friendly touch she would ever feel.

With a heart full of remembrance and a mind in constant recollection of my first auction, I will continue to promote the stories of those who go to these rescues. The people who consistently see what most are too afraid to see. The people who change the lives of horses, one auction at a time. Those who give hope to horses who do not understand that their hope was slowly running out. They are the people who, by saving one horses lives, have the possibility of bringing a once abandoned horse to the home of someone who will love them unconditionally. In saving one life, you have the capacity to enhance others.

These are the people who are true heroes. Changing the world for one horse at a time. People who give their time so that horses can have more time.

More to come soon.

15 thoughts on “Unadilla: A short reflection

  1. Andy, I am enjoying your blog. I work with the rescue who took the 6 horses and so wish everyone could experience the reality of the auction. Most people do not know that even horse slaughter exists, non the less what happens after the auction. Thank you for your posts.

    • Hello Barbara. Thanks for the kind words. I felt that writing about my experience was the very least I could do, and I plan on continuing to document my stories as a travel to other auctions in the future. That being said, I am sure that I will be meeting you soon then, and I do look forward to that.


      – Andy

  2. I have gone to a few auctions. It is heartbreaking to see these horses and other animals mistreated and full of fear and confusion. These auctions are entertainment for many people who even bring their children to watch. They must see animals lives differently then we do. I hope your blog will make them see something different and educate them even a little to what is really going on. I run a large horse rescue in Georgia.(SaveTheHorses.org) I wish I could take them all because each animal can find a safe home if the owners would just give a little time to find that home. We are all earthlings and need to respect and honor one another. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this wonderful blog.

    • Thank you for writing. I would like to just begin by thanking you for running your own horse rescue, you are making a difference for many horses. I would be interested in hearing about some of your personal stories as a rescuer if you would consider sharing them with me… I would love to help you tell your story.

      Thanks again.

      – Andy

  3. I hope you continue to work for these wonderful beings who have the capacity to love us mortals. To send them to slaughter is the greatest betrayal. I attended a few horse auctions years ago before I knew how bad slaughter for them really is. I will never go again. I support and work at a wonderful horse rescue here in Kansas. How anyone could kill these kind animals is beyond me. Just for nothing more than greed.

    • Hello Maggie. Thanks for writing. I am still trying to understand how people can willingly discard their horses at an auction – I don’t think I have even come close to understanding the mentality that it takes to do so.

  4. I wish that there was no word slaughter.I am a horse lover and I believe they are here for a reason.God made theses beautiful creatures to help children with disabilities and not be food.I really liked your article about what you seen heard and felt.Just experiencing it does set the emotions.There needs to be alot of awareness about how this can be stopped for good.God Bless you and be the voice for the horses

    • Anessa,

      Thank you for writing. It means a lot to me to hear that you were able to connect to these articles. I hope that you will promote the cause and continue to help raise awareness in whatever way you can.

      – Andy

  5. Dear Andy, thank you for your account of the horse auction. On september 27th we (EWA, Respect4horses, Wild Horse Freedom Federation and The Cloud Foundation) will hold a press conference at the International Equine Conference in Lexington Kentucky. We hope that you can make it there for three days of expert speakers and meeting horse advocates from all over America! Thank you, Simone Netherlands, Respect4Horses.

    • Simone,

      Thank you for writing. I am very interested about hearing more about the conference. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend due to prior engagements at my school, but will any of the conference be videotaped or streamed online? If so I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me the link or the video.


      – Andy

  6. Andy, thank you for your insight of the horse auction. Horses are amazing creatures and each have their own personalities. When I hear of horses that were trained for riding and end up at a slaughterhouse it is very heartbreaking. A horse can start out in really good condition and once they have been through some auctions or maybe just with the wrong owners their health and body condition changes. When they are on that slaughter truck to hell without any help from us, it is beyond words. Sending horses to slaughter must be stopped.

    • Hello Patty,

      Thank you for writing. No matter what animal it may be there will always be people out there who do not care for them in ways that are proper and normally expected. It is a very sad reality. I’m certain that there are many great horses who have been sent to slaughter for no reason other than having an uncaring owner.

      – Andy

  7. I was at one of those Actions you wrote about, and I left there sobbing , i could not believe that anyone could do that to a Magnificent horse !!!!! And still be able to think of themselves as a Human !!!!! Thank You for sharing you story, written so beautifully , with the feelings and emotion that all who Love the Horses feel !!!!

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