ADORADO NINO HORSE RESCUE AND SANCTUARY is a non-profit horse rescue operating out of a farm in Leduc County. Many people do not know that Canada slaughters horses so that they can be sold overseas as a delicacy for human consumption (over 60,000 horses in 2016 alone), and that horses are even flown live to Japan, to suffer this heart breaking fate. Many are sent directly from their owners to the plants (some from the U.S.), while others are consigned to regular horse auctions, where most are purchased by meat buyers. That is where we have intervened by outbidding them to give some of these horses and foals a chance. Since 2010, we have saved dozens and foals and horses from slaughter.
One pair became the inspiration for the name of our rescue. “Adorado Nino” (which means “adored boy” in Spanish) was a beautiful little foal who was separated from his mother, “Peaches”, at auction, and sent to an Alberta Slaughter plant – miraculously, we were able to reunite them. And it was amazing how people followed their story across the globe! Peaches and Adorado inspired a bit of a legacy! More than a few mares have since foaled here; we even had a ‘dummy foal’ who we saved with the help of the Madigan Squeeze. That is a story that ultimately made its way to Horse & Rider magazine!
Adorado also provides a loving retirement to some horses who are injured during their jumping or racing careers – many of these horses are otherwise ‘shipped.’ We have helped others who have needed a ‘boost’ to start their little lives. In 2017, for instance, we saved a little foal we named “Opal” at auction – she was in such a sad state that not even the meat buyers bid on her. Another example - in 2016, a little foal (now) named, ”Samantha” was surrendered to us in such an emaciated state that she could not stand or get up on her own. She received urgently needed vet care, and we built a hoist in the barn to lift her – she was so determined to live, and after a month, she got up on her own; it was Christmas Day! She is now thriving.
We do not blame any particular ‘group’ of individuals for what happens to horses in Canada. But we believe in transparency, so like to get information ‘out there’. At the same time, we do all that we can to rescue horses with the goal of either adopting them out to suitable homes, or giving them love and care. At Adorado, we do not see horses as things to be used, but embrace them as vulnerable individuals who want love and companionship - just like every one of us.
A story aired by a local news channel in October 2017 provides a glimpse of life at Adorado, and recites a bit of the tale of a little foal and his mother that is so hard on the heart to tell. Please visit the link at CTV Two to view it:
December 15, 2017
I had a call a few days ago from someone wanting to adopt a horse; they were looking for "something" that was "well broke" that anyone could just "jump on" and ride. And the horse had to be "sound", and not young, but not old. This is the only type of horse that most people who contact me wish to adopt; another term for this type is a "husband horse." I feel that I need to clarify that although other horse rescues may have horses like this to surrendered to them, we buy almost every horse who comes here and we do so to save their lives. I have NEVER com accross a horse who meets this decription in need of rescuing.
As I looked out into the pasture areas this morning, I easily counted 27 horses who have something 'wrong' with them; they will never be riding horses, or have been ridden to the point of injury or old age. Some of the babies we have rescued have been starved to the point of being stunted; they will never be big enough to ride. Some of the healthy ones who have been rescued as foals and are now old enough to start are not the colour a person is looking for; one colt we have got a lot of interest until his papers revealed that he was very inbred - I never even looked at them - I saw a foal under 3 months old going for meat, and reached out to snatch him back and give him a chance. I get that if someone wants to put training into a young horse, they should be sound, and "perfect" in the adopter's eyes. I used to have one horse who I boarded and he was a sound riding horse. I understand.
I don't know any perfect people though - - do you? Being a horse in is tough - many are tossed away. If they can't be 'used', they are often sent to slaughter - even when they can barely walk, people are still posting them for sale as 'beginner's; or kids horses, or as a potential broodmare. This photo shows two of the individuals who came to Adorado last year. They didn't arrive at the gate - they weren't trailered here. I went to the auction and suffered the trauma of what goes on there - and I say trauma because to me, it is traumatic; I empathize with the horses; I feel their confusion, stress, their hopelessness; most sell for meat.
This is little Opal, and Rhapsody (who we saved along with Jubes, Allura, Valentino, Romeo, baby Candy Cane and her mom, Jade). Opal was in such sad shape at auction that not even the meat buyers bid on her - someone actually texted me a photo of her before I even got to the auction. When I saw her there, I almost cried; we paid $10 for her, wheras ordinarily we have paid $200 to $350 for a foal at auction. Rhapsody, on the other hand, was a 2 year old warmblood who was described by the consigner (the seller's desscriptions are read out while they are in the ring) as "a great show jumper or dressage prospect" given that her sire "was shown successfully in dressage."
As it turnd out, Little Opal had a short life here full of love; she was examined and had her legs x-rayed by the vet; I had to teach her how to drink water - she was obviously just taken from her dam before the sale. We lost her to meningitis about this time last year. She had a few months here, and was well loved by her little group from the same sale. She received IV fluids and a lot of care the day we lost her - but it was just not meant to be. It was heartbreaking to lose her. She was perfect - inside.
Rhapsody is still with us. She had an adoption pending this summer, and I was very hopeful that she would be going to a lovely person, but she 'failed' part of her soundness exam - being slightly off on her back hind while on a circle - it was so subtle neither I or the potential adopter could spot it. But her adopter wanted a jumper, so did not want to take a chance on her - I completly understand. She may still have the potential to be sound, but that's up in the air. What is not up in the air is that she is safe.
To rescue a horse is not a short term act that keeps them from the slaughter house. It is to commit to them as long as it takes. That is why so many horses come here and stay here. We even have horses that other rescues haven't wanted to keep because they needed special care. There is no money in this - there is a lot of expense and a lot of people can't 'get' it. I have had people tell me to take injured horses to the auction, and get 'good' horses. I have had people ask me to save horses from auction, only to have them change their mind about taking them. I even picked up a horse at the track because someone said they wanted to save her - once she was here, I had her ankle x-rays and found out she had 3 bone chips - the person didn't want her anymore. I have paid for horses to get them out of the hands of meat buyers - they have gone to other rescues who have adopted them out without ever mentioning Adorado.
I am not 'ranting'. I am not complaining. I am just trying to get people to understand what Adorado is about. What we do really makes no 'sense.' But in my view you can't put a price on compassion; on love or life. And those of you who donate, even though there is nothing 'in it for you' (no tax receipt means no big sponsors) clearly understand. So, I thank you so very much. And if you are looking for a well broke husbands horses, there are quite a few for sale for $6,000. Horses like that don't need our help. And that's a good thing.
And I should clarify that we do have some horses who have been started under saddle, and will make nice saddle horses - with time and more training. Like most people, they don't instantly know what you want from them - a relationship has to be built.
(And if you do believe in us and want to help the address for etransfers or paypal is We have a cute promo for the 'hay grinch' going on for Christmas. We are a non-profit, so can't issue tax receipts so don't bring in 300 thousand a year like other rescues (we've never exceeded $14,000). But unlike CRA registered groups we can say what we like! And we don't like what happens to most horses and want people to know about it so they can make up their own minds).
Tracy @ Adorado