I was 11 years old when we got B.K’s Little Girl – but we just called her Johnnie. My parents may have had other horses prior to having children, but I really don’t know. All I do know is she was the first horse for me.
Johnnie was 18 years old when she joined the Glass Farm. She was registered with the National Spotted Saddle Horse Association. Johnnie is paint in color, gaited and only 13.5 hands high. She was the perfect starter horse for young riders.
Johnnie still grazes the pasture of my parent’s farm alongside the cattle. She truly is the boss of the farm. She’ll kick any one of those cows for getting too close to her grain.
Johnnie’s sight and hearing is starting to fade but she is still a smart horse. Johnnie will occasionally outsmart my parents. Johnnie will stand along the fence line behind the house. She will wait there until someone steps outside the house then start neighing and pacing the fence line convincing whoever it may be to bring her a bucket of feed. Sometimes mom will feed her in the morning only then to have dad fall for her trick a couple hours later. I know of several times she’s fooled all three of us in one afternoon.
Johnnie will turn 33 on January 5, 2014. She was the first horse to arrive on our farm and she’ll be the last one to leave. I know the day will come when I’ll miss seeing Johnnie graze in the pastures or pace the fence line.
No matter how old Johnnie is or how high the cost of feed, I could never imagine seeing her at auction heading to slaughter. She truly is part of our family and has been a great companion and trail horse over the years.
But the reality is, horse slaughter is back in the news. It’s a controversial topic for sure and I know many of you have your own opinions on the subject.
I recently read a post by a friend of mine on Facebook. She was outraged and appalled by the possibility of a slaughter plant opening in Missouri. But what concerned me the most was she is so uneducated on the matter. She wrote in her post, “I’ve never heard of such a thing going on anywhere.”
Prior to 2007 horses were slaughtered in this country, with 90 percent of the meat being exported for human consumption with the remainder used as animal feed.
After the horse slaughter ban, which came about due to a lack in funding from the USDA to inspect plants, lots of horses were turned into the wild. Many horse owners were no longer able to care for them. There was little reason to sell horses off the farm or send them to auction because horses had become so overpopulated in this country there was little market for them.
Reopening horse slaughter facilities reopens our export markets for horse meat, creates new jobs and offers a humane way for horses to leave this world, while providing food for others. An article in USA Today said, “It is better to slaughter the animals in a humane way, federally regulated facilities than to have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or shipped to inhumane facilities in Mexico.”
There are always good and bad sides to every story. Be sure to educate yourselves.
Best wishes,


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