In Loving Memory of Jilly

Jilly, a Mule, passed away on April 6, 2014. She was one of the sweetest, gentlest equines we ever rescued.

In 1999, Susan Wagner went to a special Mule Sale at New Holland slaughter auction in Pennsylvania. That day, there were 500 mules for sale. We could only afford to buy seven of them that included Jilly, along with her brother, Jack. The auctioneer announced that they were a team that used to pull a plow at an Amish farm where Jilly had sustained an injury. Susan had to bid against the killer buyers to save them and luckily she was the highest bidder. She bought them both so not to separate them.

Jilly has been happy and healthy for the 15 years she was with us, but on the morning of her passing, she was clearly in a lot of discomfort. Our veterinarian determined that she had an impaction in her small intestines and at age 30 (+) she was not a candidate for surgery. She was humanely euthanized in the field with her brother, Jack, at her side, along with us and the other six equines that lived with her in the area we call “Mule Town.” She went very peacefully. Jilly was a delight to be around and will be sorely missed. We are so pleased to have given her a second chance at life when the alternative would have, otherwise, been devastating.

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2014 American Equine Summit

Jane Velez-Mitchell to Open Equine Advocates
2014 American Equine Summit

Architects of U.S. Horse Slaughter Ban to Address Invitation-Only Crowd
with Special Video Message from Vice President Joe Biden

The 2014 American Equine Summit, which will feature presentations from some of the most prominent equine experts in the nation, will take place on Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY.  Veteran television news journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell will make a personal appearance to deliver the Keynote Address.  Vice President Joe Biden will also help kick off the event with a special video message about horses.

“The 2012 Summit became the catalyst for a series of life-altering developments for America’s horses which would not have happened otherwise,” said Equine Advocates President Susan Wagner.  “I invited a group of experts to present new ideas for how to stop the slaughter of America’s equines. Speaker Victoria McCullough announced that she would use information from the studies presented at that Summit to build a case against horse slaughter – ultimately leading to a ban.”

In less than two years, McCullough, an international equestrian, philanthropist and owner of Chesapeake Petroleum, had met with the Vice President, the Secretary of Agriculture and other members of the executive branch. The end result was the insertion of language to the 2014 Omnibus Bill by Vice President Biden to defund horse slaughter in the United States. President Obama signed it into law on January 17th.

“For the first time since the historic California State Initiative banning horse slaughter passed in 1998, I feel that the will of the vast majority of Americans to permanently end the slaughter of our wild and domestic equines is within reach. I am so proud that our Summit played a small role in this.  We look forward to a future where equines from the U.S. are also prohibited from being shipped across our borders into Canada or Mexico for the purpose of slaughter.”

The full roster of speakers for the 2014 American Equine Summit includes:

  • Jane Velez-Mitchell – Keynote Address
  • The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Vice President of the United States
    – Special Video Appearance

(In alphabetical order)

  • Senator Joseph Abruzzo, Palm Beach County, FL (via video)
  • Frank Biden, Former White House Legislative Director for the Clinton Administration, President of Mavericks Schools and brother of Vice President Joe Biden (via video)
  • Debbie Coffey, Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
  • Vickery Eckhoff, Writer, Forbes Magazine
  • John Holland, President, Equine Welfare Alliance
  • Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation
  • Dr. Ray Kellosalmi, Retired physician and Board Member, The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (sic)
  • Dr. Kraig Kulikowski, Equine Sports Medicine, Saratoga Springs, NY and Wellington, FL
  • Victoria McCullough, International equestrian, philanthropist and owner of Chesapeake Petroleum
  • Allen Rutberg Ph.D., Director, The Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy
  • George Strawbridge, Jr., International horseman and owner, Augustin Stables
  • Susan Wagner, President and Founder of Equine Advocates

Founded in 1996, Equine Advocates is a non-profit equine protection organization based in Chatham, NY. Its mission is to rescue, protect and prevent the abuse of equines through education, investigation, rescue operations, the dissemination of information to the public and through the operation of a horse sanctuary for slaughter-bound, abused and neglected equines. For more information on the American Equine Summit contact or call 518-245-1599.

Susan Bang / Emily Collins
Bang + Collins PR
Ph: 917-991-9714 / 518-771-3003 /

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In Loving Memory of Jeremy

Jeremy, a Quarter Horse, passed away on February 21, 2014. He was in his late twenties.

Jeremy was one of two severely emaciated & neglected horses that came the sanctuary after they were seized by police during a cruelty case in upstate New York in 2007.

In early 2014, Jeremy started to experience lameness in his right hind. Our veterinarian recommended that he go to Tufts University Equine Hospital for a bone scan after he was unable to isolate the problem. The results could not have been any worse – they found an inoperable malignant bone tumor on his right femur (hip).  According to the doctor, this kind of tumor is extremely rare in horses.

We brought Jeremy home and moved him into the barn. Restricting his exercise and having him on pain meds helped to keep him comfortable. He had a voracious appetite and, of course, we all spent extra time with him and fed him lots of treats. We knew his time had come when he had trouble getting up. Everyone stayed with him until the vet arrived. Jeremy was humanely euthanized and went very peacefully.

Jeremy lived seven happy years here at the sanctuary. We loved him and were so glad to be able to give him such a good life after living such a horrific existence before.

We will always miss our sweet Jeremy.

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Equine Advocates Thanks Great Americans for Ending Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

CHATHAM, N.Y., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Equine Advocates would like thank these key players in expediting the end of horse slaughter in the United States:

  • Victoria McCullough, horsewoman and head of Chesapeake Petroleum
  • Vice President Joseph Biden
  • Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo

It is because of their tireless and dedicated efforts that horse slaughterhouses will be prevented from opening in the U.S. once Congress passes the “Omnibus” bill by this weekend.  The last time horses were slaughtered in the United States was in 2007, when state bans in TX and IL succeeded in closing the last three remaining plants.  Since then, Congress’ defunding of slaughter inspections in the federal budget is the main reason why slaughter plants have not opened in states that do not ban slaughter outright.

“Victoria McCullough announced at our first American Equine Summit in 2012 that she would take on the challenge of ending horse slaughter in the U.S.,” said Equine Advocates President, Susan Wagner.  “She took the lead from the experts speaking at the Summit, each of whom had invaluable information and experience, and helped contribute to the resolution of this hard-fought issue. She used her own funding and dedicated countless hours to get this done.”

McCullough used the data and documentation presented by John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance; Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman, TX; renowned equine veterinarian Dr. Kraig Kulikowski; Caroline Betts, PhD, professor of economics at USC and others. Much of the necessary documentation was there, combined with Dr. Ann Marini’s brilliant study on the potentially dangerous effects the drug Phenylbutazone can have on people who eat horse meat, and subsequent studies including Holland’s scathing analysis of the misinformation in the 2011 GAO Report (#11-228).

Said Wagner, “That GAO Report was like a fixed race.”

While horse slaughter is opposed by more than 80% of Americans, the GAO Report claimed it was necessary for reasons which have been soundly refuted by Holland’s study and other experts.

“This is the first major hurdle that needed to happen so that a complete federal ban on horse slaughter can now be passed,” Wagner added. “We are grateful to Vice President Joe Biden, along with the support of congressional leaders, for adding the defunding language to the Omnibus bill. Robert Redford also needs to be thanked because he has been actively involved since he first signed the Voter Card for the passage of the California Initiative banning horse slaughter back in 1998. His support through the years has had a tremendous impact on this issue. I know I speak for most Americans when I say that horse slaughter is wrong and has no place in our culture.”

The focus now moves to passing a federal ban on the transport of equines across U.S. borders into Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Founded in 1996, Equine Advocates ( is a non-profit equine protection organization based in Chatham, NY.  Its mission is to rescue, protect and prevent the abuse of equines through education, investigation, rescue operations, the dissemination of information to the public and the operation of a horse sanctuary for slaughter-bound, abused and neglected equines. Email or call 518-245-1599 for more information.

Susan Bang/Emily Collins
Bang + Collins PR
Ph: 917-991-9714 / 518-771-3003 /

SOURCE Equine Advocates


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2014 Open Day Schedule

Come meet our amazing 85 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys & mules and two pigmy goats on one or more of our 2014 Open Days! Our first Open Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 6. There is plenty of time to plan your visit, so please mark your calendars. We know you will have a wonderful experience!

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Hayden, the Dun-Striped Mustang

Please view our Special Video Message on Hayden!

The story of Hayden, the Dun-Striped Mustang, has as many treacherous twists and turns as the Yellow Brick Road. Captured in 2009 during a cruel and unnecessary BLM round-up in the Pryor Mountains of Montana, Hayden survived capture, being uprooted and separated from his family, being auctioned off, being shipped from Montana to Colorado and then arriving at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY on October 1, 2013. The plight of America’s Wild Horses & Burros as told through Hayden’s eyes is our way of personalizing the horrendous fate of tens of thousands of Wild Equines in America today.  We are most grateful to Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation and Terry Fitch of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation for their amazing and graphic photography as they witnessed Hayden’s capture firsthand. There are also breath-taking shots of Hayden with his dam (mother) when he was a foal and of him with other Mustangs when they were all still wild and free. See Hayden’s story for more details.

This video was produced by Cathy Grier, a.k.a. NYC Subway Girl who also appears and sings in the video. Cathy is a New York-based singer-songwriter and activist who has received wide attention for her subterranean performances and for capturing unique glimpses of subway life via her website. She is also an animal lover and has performed for and worked with Equine Advocates on other projects involving equine protection.

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Meet Hayden!

Hayden, Wild American Mustang from Cloud’s famous Pryor Mountain herd, finds sanctuary at Equine Advocates.

Hayden, a Wild American Mustang is the newest resident at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary. He arrived on October 1, 2013. Born in 2007, Hayden was captured during a Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) round-up in the Pryor Mountains of Montana when he was just two years old.  See photos of his round-up below. According to witnesses who were at that 2009 round-up, it was a brutal and highly traumatic experience for the horses who were cruelly separated from their families and loaded into holding pens. Hayden got his first owner at a BLM Adoption in Montana. Sadly, as is the case with so many captive Wild Horses, he was discarded by his owner who put him on Craig’s List. Someone connected to the Cloud Foundation rescued him and took him to Colorado where he went to the Horse Protection League, a horse rescue organization. He was subsequently adopted out again, but then was returned to the rescue.  At the same time, we at Equine Advocates were looking for a suitable pasture-mate for our Mustang, Nelson, whose buddy, Willie, had passed away. We were first told about Hayden by the good people at the Cloud Foundation. They made the connection for us with the Horse Protection League and before long, arrangements were made to send Hayden to New York.  Given all that he had been through in his young life, he seemed like a good candidate for a sanctuary and as a companion for Nelson.

Hayden is a gorgeous equine with a rich history. His unique color is known as “Coyote Dun.” He has a long Dorsal Stripe that runs down the entire length of his back and he has black stripes on his legs. Since his arrival at Equine Advocates, Hayden has taken to sanctuary life quite well. He seems to love the attention he gets from our staff and volunteers and he also seems to enjoy the slow pace and quiet of the farm. Although he has only been here a short time, he is already a favorite among visitors who love his friendly and outgoing nature. His introduction to Nelson will take place soon and we will be documenting it.

We are so grateful to Terry Fitch of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation and to Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation for helping us put together the story of Hayden’s past with their firsthand witness accounts and their amazing photography.  Please watch our special video message which features many of their dramatic images of Hayden in the Pryor Mountains.  The video also shows Hayden as he is today as an important member of our family here at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary.  Stay tuned for more updates about Hayden and his new role as an ambassador for the Mustangs and Burros who have also lost their freedom and families at these violent and terrifying round-ups at the hands of the BLM.


 Baby Hayden:  Photo Credit:  Ginger Kathrens / The Cloud Foundation.  Hayden as a foal when he was still wild and free in the Pryor Mountains of Montana
Hayden at Equine Advocates.
Love that Hay!  Photo Credit: Karen Wagner.
Wet & Wild!   Photo Credit: Nousha Salimi.



Photographer Terry Fitch was a witness to the brutal 2009 round-up on the Pryor Mountains in Montana the day that Hayden was captured. You can see the contractors and BLM personnel herding Hayden and his family into the chute, as the helicopter that chased them, hovered above (1st photo – top left). We will be posting more of Ms. Fitch’s amazing images that captured the terror experienced by these exquisite equines. This is the same horrible treatment experienced by all of our precious wild horses and burros who are captured and stripped of their families and their freedom without a thought. As Americans and as tax-payers, our voices have as much right to be heard as the special interests whose goal it is to exterminate and eviscerate America’s wild herds. We have a right to demand that these animals be humanely managed in the wild. It can be done and it has been done…and at half the cost to tax-payers as the round-ups.

          Photo ©Terry Fitch

          Photo ©Terry Fitch

In photographing and documenting the horrors of this BLM round-up which show how Hayden and other members of his herd were chased down by helicopters and cruelly separated, Terry Fitch said the following:

“The Pryor Mountain round-up of 2009 was a particularly emotional event for me.  This was my first round-up ever.  As a matter of fact, as a U.S. taxpaying citizen, I did not even know this was going on in my own country!  I’ll never forget the 6-week trek ‘out west’ that my parents took me on when I was only 14.  The typical ‘horse crazy’ girl, I was just awestruck when I saw a wild horse in the distance.  My little eagle eyes combed the horizon searching for the next horse and my heart would actually skip a beat when I spotted one.  Little did I know, 30 plus years later, that I would be so heavily involved with trying to preserve these magnicent creatures.  Who would have thought?

It was a truly sad day to see the world-famous Cloud and his band being rounded up.  What I did not realize, at the time, was that I also saw Hayden along with his family members rounded up.  My very first glimpse of the small band was at 4:06 PM on 9/7/09 with a helicopter hovering just above their heads in the distance.  Approximately 6 minutes later, they were inside the trap.  Hayden was never to see freedom again.

This round-up was the event that changed not only my life, but my husband’s as well.  Having been involved with horse rescue for a decade, our focus shifted.  It now included the Wild Horses – those horses that I so longingly searched for, as a young girl across the horizon.  Now as an adult, I understand the danger that they face.  Hayden is, truly, one of the lucky ones.  I am humbled that my photos are able to help fill in some of the puzzle pieces of his past.

Below are the full images



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Give a Holiday Gift Donation!

Below are sample cards that would be sent to the recipient.  Please keep in mind that we can do a card for any occasion, including Birthday, Anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Graduation, and so on!

Make a Donation Now!    Minimum Gift Donation for a card is $25.00 (or more!)

Inside Message generally says:

We are pleased to inform you that Equine Advocates received a (occasion) Gift Donation from (donor’s name) in your honor.  How sweet!  These funds will be used for our Equine Rescue & Sanctuary Programs.

On the left inside flap of the card, we are happy to include any special message from you in a boxed area.  Just indicate exactly what you want it to say.

 Thank you for your support and generosity!

















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Meet “The Press”

Miracle mare, Press Exclusive, is retired at Equine Advocates

The fact that Press Exclusive, a 17 year-old Kentucky-bred Thoroughbred mare who raced in Canada has been retired is not exactly news. What is news, however, is the fact that this very successful equine athlete and broodmare was rescued after being nearly trampled to death on a truck bound for a Canadian slaughterhouse, then made a dramatic recovery after being near death…And then became strong and healthy enough to be returned to the U.S. after all those years and retired at our sanctuary.

The fact that Press survived at all, let alone recovered to where she can now lead a normal life is nothing less than extraordinary. This remarkable daughter of Press Card out of Gosh by Fleet Nasrullah defied the odds and survived unimaginable pain and suffering.  Never mind that she raced 48 times and won $436,810 for her owners. Forget that after her racing career was over she became a broodmare and gave birth to nine foals. Why bother to acknowledge that Press was an equine who did absolutely everything that was ever asked of her…And her “thanks” and pay back was a trip to the slaughterhouse.

To quote from “Death of a Salesman,”…”Attention must be paid!”  No one who knew this mare and profited from her bothered to ensure that she be protected from harm. Nobody who made money with her during her long racing and breeding careers cared enough to make sure that she was retired to a safe and kind home after everything she had been through.  According to Mindy Lovell who saved her life, Press ended up on the Canadian version of Craig’s List and ultimately in the hands of a killer buyer. That was back in December of 2012.  Lovell runs a Canadian rescue organization called Transitions Thoroughbreds. She saves horses from slaughter all the time. When the vet pulled Press off the slaughter truck, she could barely walk. Press had four broken ribs, cuts and lacerations across her entire body and her head was so swollen and injured from being stepped on that she was not able to open her eyes. Consequently, the vet wanted to euthanize her on the spot and condemn her carcass because of her dire condition…But something amazing happened instead. Lovell convinced the vet to give her a chance to help Press recover and he did. At first, she would not eat, but then slowly but surely, with lots of love and TLC, Press was on her way to recovery. That, in itself, was nothing short of a miracle!

Fast forward to July of 2013, Equine Advocates was contacted by Marlene Murray of The Race Fund in Harrisburg, PA who was trying to help Mindy Lovell place several rescued Thoroughbreds in sanctuaries. Press Exclusive was one of them. The decision was quickly made to give Press the permanent, loving home she always deserved. Plans were made to ship her to the U.S. and on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Press stepped on a trailer in Canada and arrived at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY that same day.

Since then, Press has been introduced to her two pasture-mates at the sanctuary – Sapphire and Femka. They are all getting along very well.  We, at Equine Advocates hope that the story of  Press Exclusive will help to educate people and save the lives of other race and performance horses from unspeakable cruelty and slaughter. The horse industry, as a whole, needs to do much more to take responsibility for the horses it breeds. No horse should ever have to endure what Press went through…And as for Press, herself, we think she is really enjoying her retirement in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. She is surrounded by people who care for her on a daily basis, in addition to all of her new admirers who come to visit Equine Advocates especially to meet “The Press!”

 The below photo of Press Exclusive was taken by Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbred, in December 2012, the day she rescued Press after she was nearly trampled to death on a slaughter-bound trailer in Canada

 Press with Susan Wagner, President and Founder of Equine Advocates taken 9/24/2013 just two weeks after her arrival at the sanctuary.

 Press with Pat Curran heading down to meet her new pasture-mates, Sapphire & Femke.

Press meeting Sapphire

 Press running the perimeter of her new home

 Her neighbors, the mules of Comedy Central, are very interested in the new girl in town!

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Equine Advocates Receives GFAS Accreditation

We are delighted to announce that The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries has awarded Accredited Status to Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary




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