Shedrow Secrets: Heza Mountain Man

Horses have been a major part of Joy Aten’s life for 25 years. Shortly after the creation of CANTER in 1997, she became a volunteer and eventually an executive board member. Her responsibilities as chair of the rescue’s Track Committee at Great Lakes Downs (Michigan) took her weekly to the barn area (the “backside”). It was in these shedrows that she first became aware of racing’s dark underbelly.

Joy devoted nine years to CANTER Michigan, working with owners and trainers in an effort to get them to sell or donate their “spent” horses rather than sending them off to slaughter. Once acquired, she worked hard on rehabilitation and retraining. Today, through individual and group efforts, she remains active in the rescue and placement of retired racehorses – indeed, of all breeds in need. Joy is also a co-founder of Saving Baby Equine Charity, a member of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition, and an adviser to the documentary, “Saving America’s Horses – A Nation Betrayed.”

In addition to 4 children and 10 grandchildren, Joy proudly counts four horses – two of which were racing Thoroughbreds – as family members. She says: “Greenwish and Saucon Creek came off the track injured, worn-out, and used-up. Sharing their lives is a constant reminder that there are thousands of horses just like them. Daily across this country, Thoroughbred racehorses are sacrificed for the financial gain of owners and trainers. And thousands more end up on slaughterhouse floors.”

Joy lives by the credo: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

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Shedrow Secrets

Heza Mountain Man
by Joy Aten

How many times have we been told that racehorses are loved by their owners? I used to believe it. Not anymore. So when the breeder of a racehorse in need suggested I contact the former owners for help (“They loved that horse!”), I didn’t get my hopes up. And they didn’t surprise me.

In December of 2009, our small group of horse advocates was made aware of several racehorses in poor condition, all with the same owner and all up for sale on Craigslist. What could have been a relatively quick and easy rescue – the horses were already for sale – was instead extremely difficult with the owner demanding outrageous prices for his skinny, used-up racehorses. The horses were listed for 3K up to 6K and in a phone call to him, it was quickly determined he was not budging on the prices. We sent one of our group members, acting as a potential buyer, to the farm where the owner kept his horses. The visit revealed the horses to be in worse shape than expected, so we notified the local animal control authorities. But as is typical with animal neglect cases in many Michigan counties, no charges were filed. Within days, the owner moved his neglected horses to another location – “out of sight.”

I remembered one of the horses from when he raced, during the years I was with CANTER-MI. His name was Heza Mountain Man, and I thought of him as Black Beauty come to life. He was stunning. Although “just a Michigan-bred,” the dark bay 2001 gelding was quite the celebrity at the Midwest tracks where he ran. He was a multiple stakes winner and had earned over 156K from 55 starts. In a 2003 Daily Racing Form article about an upcoming stakes race at Great Lakes Downs, Heza Mountain Man was “the one to beat.” And to this day, his breeder – Davidson’s Tracks-N-Time – has photos of him on their website as one of their winners. I decided to contact the gelding’s breeder to request financial assistance for his acquisition. She responded: “We here at the farm are just hanging on and have no extra money to help with his purchase or keep.” She then suggested I contact his former owners, John and Jan Buth, since Mrs. Buth “really loved that horse.”

Heza Mountain Man raced for the Buths for four years, starting 32 times and earning over 135K for them. But by the time he was a 6-year-old, his earnings steadily decreasing, they were putting him in 10K claiming races without any takers. So on July 30, 2007, they dropped him into a 4K, and he was promptly claimed. Knowing this, I decided it was still worth a call to the Buths …to ask them to help a horse who brought them into the winner’s circle…a horse Jan Buth “loved.” My conversation with John Buth lasted only minutes as he had no desire to help Heza Mountain Man. In fact, he was quite annoyed that I was asking for his assistance – he curtly replied to my request with “It’s not my problem” and “Take him to your house, I don’t have any room for him.”

Since the horses were still for sale on Craigslist, two of us acted as buyers and made an appointment to see them at the farm they had been moved to. They were now in the physical possession of a horse dealer who regularly buys and sells horses at the notorious kill buyer-attended Sugarcreek Livestock Auction. And although the owner had dropped the inflated prices, they were still too high and out of reach for us…yet in the same breath, he stated if the horses didn’t sell they were going to auction. So on a cold February day, Kim Patton and I met the dealer at his farm to see the horses.

Heza Mountain Man was 150-200 pounds underweight, had rain rot the entire length of his back, and had wounds in various stages of healing on his legs. He and his herd mates were gathered around a poor-quality round bale. There was a lean-to with just one side and a roof in their paddock, so although the environment was sub-standard, by Michigan law it was adequate. We made offers for all five of the horses but were turned down. Imagine this: Heza Mountain Man was 9-years-old at that time, was malnourished and in poor body condition, yet the owner’s bottom line for him was $4900. It was heartbreaking…to us he was priceless, yet realistically, he was worth only a few hundred dollars. We hadn’t raised enough money to buy just Heza Mountain Man at that price, so we were forced to walk away and wait.

When spring came, the horses were moved again (in attempts to get cheaper board, the owner moved the horses four times over the course of a year). We stayed in “careful contact” with the owner, wanting desperately to acquire his neglected horses before he decided one day to send them all to auction, but not wanting to appear too interested and thereby discourage him from dropping the prices to reasonable and affordable amounts. Then in April, we were able to acquire four of the horses at $550 each. But not Heza Mountain Man. At the age of nine and having been away from the track for over a year, he was put back into training.

In July, 2010, after not having raced for 19 months, Heza Mountain Man ran at River Downs in a 4K claiming race where he finished last of seven. On August 31, they ran him again…this time he came in over 20 lengths behind and was last in an 11-horse field. Equibase merely reported “Heza Mountain Man was outrun.” But it neglected to state the former stakes winner collapsed after the finish line, and it took him multiple attempts to get to and stay on his feet. An eyewitness worded it this way: “That old classy horse flopped around in the dirt like a fish out of water.”

It would be about a year from when I last saw Heza Mountain Man at the dealer’s to when I was able to see him again. During that time, he had endured multiple moves, meager living conditions with inferior provisions, lack of adequate food, and having to come out of retirement to train and race again. Neither his breeder nor his owners from his glory days wanted to help him…their fallen stakes winner was “not [their] problem.” But after nearly 18 months of being unable to sell the now 10-year-old former racehorse, the owner finally countered with a price we could pay. On February 25, 2011, we handed Heza Mountain Man’s last owner of record $1,000, and he handed us the lead rope.

In his first month with me, he steadily gained weight and started growing a healthier coat. His former self began to emerge. On March 31st, he received a full lameness evaluation by equine orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Stick at Michigan State University. We were thrilled to learn that although he would never be completely sound – no jumping, just flat work – Heza Mountain Man had only a suspensory injury that was in the process of healing. He had a future.

Heza Mountain Man went to his forever home later that spring. He lives three miles down the road from me, and I drive by often just to see him. He’s easy to spot out in his pasture – it’s like seeing Black Beauty again. But what I’m really looking at is a horse that’s finally loved.

35 Comments

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  1. Tragic story and I have no doubt it is repeated daily. If the industry wants to pull itself up by its boot straps, which is unlikely, it should hold owners and breeders accountable for long term care in some way. How about holding back a portion of purse wins? That is assuming the equine is good enough to win. Its only part of the problem, the “Kleenex” attitude of use them and throw them away must stop as must the flagrant use of drugs. Equine health must come first.

  2. Patrick,

    Thank you so much for sharing Joy’s story. Joy is a shining example of someone who actually really does love horses.

    I no longer believe all these trainers and owners that say they love their horses and then they put them into a claiming race which is slave labor and for many of them death

    Actions speak far louder than words and Joys actions in helping horses has been incredibly inspiring.

  3. Its great to hear that at least this ONE horse finally got a forever home! But how sad he had to go through all that hell – just to get a few more bucks! Do not understand the mindset of people who work with animals and put them through torture just for greed. Hopefully – what goes around WILL finally come around for them.

  4. What a wonderful story, Joy, and it bears repeating that those who made money on Heza Mountain Man were nowhere to be found when the horse needed help. It was up to those who never made a dime on him to cough up the funds to acquire him. Fairly typical within the sinister racing industry….

  5. Thank you, joy, for what you did for Heza Mountain Man and all the others.
    Me. Buths’ “It’s not my problem” response is emblematic of how racing views the horse that racing uses up and is responsible for the dire circumstance of the horse. I beg to differ with that attitude because those in racing created the “problem” therefore racing owns the problem.

    • You are so right Rose. The racing industry should be ashamed of itself for shirking its responsibilities to the horses when they are “finished with”. These curs make a mess and think they can walk away from it. It has always irked me that the industry boasts about donating some money to the horse rescue organisations. It’s as though they think they’ve done their bit and no doubt a public relations exercise. I suspect that some of the public think that’s where all the racehorses go after finished with. Many people I’ve spoken to were always of the belief that when the horses were “retired” they went to a good loving home for the rest of their lives. As we know Heza Mountain Man and the horses that end up at rescue farms are just a drop in the ocean.

  6. That is my dream. To wall off from the horses all the abusers forever. To have them born into and live lives of love and security, just as we wish for each other. To one day, reserve ownership of horses by only those who will respect them. We take responsibility for our young and elderly and vulnerable. The prevoous owner sounded so much like some of the worst of the kill buyer/livestockers.

  7. Is the documentary mentioned here “Saving America’s Horses – A Nation Betrayed.” available for purchase on DVD? Or can it be viewed on line?

    • Hi Gina…the film is not available on DVD – yet. Funding is still needed for manufacturing costs to release the film to DVD. Patrick can give you my e-mail address and then I can copy you on an e-mail to the filmmaker…and see how you might be able to view the film.

  8. Bottom line, horse racing is despicable…crimes begin at the breeding shed and follow right down to the winner’s circle. This is an industry that deserves the public’s contempt.

  9. Such a sad story but I’m glad Heza Mountain Man finally had his happy ending and a loving forever home. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. To Joy Aten,
    Joy,
    I would love to send a financial contribution to the “Saving Baby Equine Charity” on your behalf. You are doing such amazing work rescuing these babies from a horrible, unjust fate. Is the correct address 10801 Last Drive, Plymouth, MI 48170? Marlene Thornley

    • Yes, Marlene, that is the correct mailing address. Although I have just recently resigned from SBEC, I am so thankful and appreciative of your kind offer to donate to the organization. Thank you so much!

  11. Thank you Joy for writing this story and rescuing Heza Mountain Man. What a terrible time he had, such suffering and how lucky he was that you had your eyes on him. We hate to think of all the other ones that come to a horrible end but it must be a comfort for you to look at Greenwish and Saucon Creek and see Heza Mountain Man just down the road – love your credo.

    • That’s right, Carolyn…we agonize over the COUNTLESS horses we could not save. And although it is wonderful to have my own rescued horses with me, and to see the others I was blessed to help with, looking at them IS still a reminder of the many, many that waited for help that never came. I’ve been accused of being “negative” by racing supporters when I speak of such things…and am told that we should focus on the “positive efforts” and the good outcomes for the horses that are so fortunate to get a second chance. And of course I am thrilled for the horses like Heza Mountain Man, Greenwish, and Saucon Creek! But the horrific reality of racehorse suffering is just that – reality – and I see nothing positive about even one horse being sacrificed for a $2 bet. In addition, the “positive efforts” are merely Band-Aids for massive, hemorrhaging wounds. And until horseracing is obsolete, horses WILL suffer.

  12. You can click on this link and see the win photos of Heza Mountain Man from his breeder’s website (the link I provided has the 2003 photos…on the left side of the website page, under “Racing”, you can also click on 2005 and 2006 and see more win photos of him).

    http://www.tracksntime.com/2003.html

    • Thank you Joy for posting these photos.

      They glorify these horses when they are making money and then they throw them away by the thousands when they are no longer winning.

      It is a cruel heartless industry

      • That’s exactly right, Kathleen. The breeder of Heza Mountain Man PROUDLY displays him as their winner on their website…to entice others to invest in their “product”, of course. Yet they couldn’t spare a dime to help him while he languished in a horse dealer’s possession, his owner threatening to send him off to auction at any time. That’s how the racing industry works.

    • Joy,

      Speaking of horses. I have the races on in the background on Saturday and Sunday so I can pray for the horses that are running. it is such a horrible ordeal to watch as they get hit over and over as they run. Yesterday, I watched three horses get pulled from the race moments before the race started and I have no idea why. Nor did the announcers. They were literally in the gate and then pulled out of the gate.

      From the Ray Paulick article that I will Not link to as he is a pro racing, pro gambling, heartless man who does not really care about the horses at all. He cares only about his job.
      ________________________________________

      “Shared Belief Much The Best In Big ‘Cap Romp” 3/7/2015

      today the horse “Shared Belief” won again… and the owners said “We love the horse and we want to keep the horse close to home,” said co-owner Jim Rome. “Dubai is an amazing race and an amazing opportunity but hopefully it will always be there and I just want to celebrate the moment. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
      _________________________________________

      I believe that They “love ” the horse because the horse won them a lot of money. He is also entered in the Kentucky Derby. Another terrible race.

      Here is my question.

      On-track attendance at Santa Anita Saturday was reported at 26,134.

      Do you or anyone have stats as to how gambling stats in racing was in 2014 ?

      Do you or anyone have stats as to how racing attendence was in 2014.

      Here is what I found from May 20th, 2014

      No, Horse Racing Can’t Be Saved—Even by a Triple Crown Winner

      Attendance declined almost 50 percent in just two decades—and since then, the racing industry appears to have stopped releasing annual attendance figures.

      In response to the nearly 50 percent decline in attendance in just two decades, the racing industry appears to have stopped releasing annual attendance figures. But anyone who goes out even to so fabled a racing venue as Santa Anita can readily see how dire the situation has become. Weekday attendance of 15,000 and weekend tallies of 30,000 or even 40,000 that were once routine have dwindled into “crowds” of 2,000 on weekdays and fewer than 10,000 most Saturdays or Sundays, in a facility that was built to host 80,000 or more.

      Interesting Article

      No, Horse Racing Can’t Be Saved—Even by a Triple Crown Winner

      http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/05/no-horse-racing-cant-be-savedeven-by-a-triple-crown-winner/371255/http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/05/no-horse-racing-cant-be-savedeven-by-a-triple-crown-winner/371255/

  13. Hi Kathleen…I don’t have the stats you are wondering about.

    Shared Belief…gorgeous gelding. He is a 4 y/o though, so no Kentucky Derby for him. Jim Rome and SB’s trainer only love the nearly 3 million dollars this gelding has made for them in his 11 races. I recently saw a video of SB and the comments were “look how good Shared Belief feels!”…he was being walked by two handlers and they had their hands full – he was trying to spin and go up, he kicked out numerous times. Feel good?…I guess that depends on one’s interpretation of “feeling good”. SB is fed a high-energy diet and he does NOT get to do what horses innately long to do. So when taken out of his stall, he’s got so much pent up energy that he prances and kicks and trys to rear. I feel sorry for him…what about the health of his mind? As long as he runs like a freaking machine and makes money…then the “love” will flow.

    Regarding Hollendorfer, SB’s trainer and part-owner…a couple of things:

    Hollendorfer ran a gelding named Refinery. Refinery was running with a nerved heel – numbed – so although he couldn’t feel pain in that particular area of his hoof, he also just couldn’t FEEL it (heel-nerved horses have since been prohibited from racing in certain jurisdictions, unless such horse was nerved before a certain date…then they can still run, and Refinery fit into that “grandfathered-in” group…yes, I know what you’re thinking and yes, it makes absolutely NO sense). #1, if Refinery needed nerving to not feel pain, whatever is causing that pain should be enough reason to NOT RUN THE GELDING. #2, what’s going to keep Refinery from protecting himself from further injury/deterioration to that nerved heel when he can’t feel it? Nothing.

    Hollendorfer dropped Refinery into a $2500 claiming race – this gelding that made 180K. We wanted to get him retired. I called Hollendorfer, and as typical, he was irritated that anyone would want to do that. He asked me “why don’t you save the whales?” to which I replied “why don’t you race cars?”. FYI…Refinery was acquired and retired.

    Hollendorfer ran a 2003 mare by the name of Heavenly Perfect. She was dumped – injured – at a KB-attended auction. Here’s the link to her story. https://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/trainer-of-the-year-runs-horse-to-death/

    Shared Belief, being a gelding, needs to continue making money to keep his owners and trainer happy and “in love” with him. When he can’t anymore, his saving grace will be the sheer number of eyes on him. And most likely in the end, Rome and Hollendorfer will be the “good guys” when SB goes to Old Friends or the like.

    • Joy, Heavenly Perfect last raced here in Ohio. Hollendorfer, the man I call the “bastard”, sent his broken down horses to a trainer that I knew well. After Heavenly Perfect was literally destroyed, Hollendorfer told this trainer to “get rid of her” and the trainer did as he was told. HP was sent to Sugarcreek, a kill auction here in Ohio, where she was “rescued” but, ultimately, had to be euthanized due to the severity of her injuries a few months later.

      I’ll never forget talking to HP’s trainer in the parking lot of Beulah on a wintry day. It was brutally cold and this trainer told me that he didn’t want to send the horse to an auction, but was told by Hollendorfer to do so. The trainer was quite miffed that Hollendorfer had been crucified in the court of public opinion and he said that Hollendorfer was threatening to sue. Little did he know that I had already been in touch with a couple of people who were ready to fight Hollendorfer in court if he was hell bent on suing. I told this trainer that he should tell Hollendorfer to “bring it on” because we were ready and waiting for him.

      The Ohio trainer of HP had another Hollendorfer horse, Crafty Ruler, who was taken in by CANTER and had surgery for a problem with his legs. I don’t remember the exact diagnosis but I do remember getting a call from the Ohio CANTER contact asking me for help. The call came in March, 2008, when we were at the Shipshewana kill auction. I did pay the board for fostering Crafty Ruler for 6 months until he had his surgery and recovered. I assume he is still alive and well unlike HP who suffered tremendously at the hands of those that raced her.

    • Joy,

      Thank you for the correction about Shared Belief.

      There is a show on HRTV called Pursuit of the Crown. they talk about horses, jockeys , trainers, and owners “on the road to the Kentucky Derby” I watch it so I can pray for the horses that are going to be forced to run in that race and also learn more about the owners and trainers. Some of these very high profile horses have ended up in slaughter houses too.

      The announcers had talked about Shared Belief and how many races he had won but I must have seen them talking about Shared Belief before that show started. I do remember they kept referring to him as a favorite so I thought it was for the Derby.

      I have never followed horse racing before. I just follow it now on HRTV so I can pray for these horses.

      It should be illegal for the jockeys to hit the horses they way they do. It is severe horse horse abuse. I am shocked the announcers are so heartless they say nothing about this abuse.

      Thank you for sharing the stories about these trainers.

      I do wish that someone would write a book and publish it under an anonymous name about all these evil trainers and what goes on at the racetrack and all the horse abuse and drug abuse.

      There is an Excellent book called “Last Chain on Billie” that I highly recommend every one who loves animals read.. It was written by Carol Bradley. IT is the story of one Elephant named Billy. Due to the fact that the circus owners logged her travels and due to interviews. her life in the circus was documented including the rescue by The Elephant Sanctuary where you can see her on YOU Tube Videos happily in her new home in Tennessee. it is also an in depth documentary of the Elephant history of capture and abuse in different circus’s

      IT clearly historically documents horrific abuse that has gone on to Elephants since the first Elephants arrived in New York in 1796, then 1800, then 1804. then in 1884, PT Barnum bought an elephant for 30,000. within 6 weeks, Jumbo had earned 3336,000 for the circus.

      The book weaves the story of Billy, a very intelligent and highly trained Elephant that was badly beaten and abused in the circus interwoven with the incredibly detailed history of the abuse of Elephants in the Circus going back to the 1800’s. it is an excellent expose.

      Billie was born in 1962. She was rescued in 2006. She had been badly abused for 44 years. She is still at the Elephant Sanctuary today.

      An entire chapter is devoted to the court case of Ringling Bros that lasted over a ten year period that involved HSUS, ASPCA and a few other groups. PETA supplied court documents and testimonials. there was video and photographs documenting abuse. The Abusive trainer that was the whistle blower died of cancer so the terrible Judge ended up throwing out the case because he was so corrupt.

      Thanks to the efforts of the court case of ASPCA and HSUS, and Tremendous thanks to PETA who was at the forefront of Protests and email alerts and petitions over a 35 year period, Ringling Bros is shutting down the Elephant Act in 2018. Ringling Bros have many cases of Elephants having TB that is dangerous to people. they have made 100 million a year off the Elephants but they have lost a lot of business due to court cases and PETA’s constant drum beat and exposure to millions of people on YOU Tube and by email.

      the same can be done for Horse racing when enough people know the danger and Stop gambling. then they will not have the money to pay these large purses and keep the casinos and networks going.

      That is why I am now “following” all these anti horse slaughter groups on facebook and pro animal groups. some of these groups have retweeted my message about http://www.horseracingwrongs.com to over 13,000 followers and I will continue to do this and what ever else I can do to spread the word until horse racing is stopped forever.

      • Carolyn,

        Speaking of champions.

        Sam Simon is a Major champion that I hope will rest in Peace after all the hard work he has done for animals in the past 14 years. He passed away Monday following a battle with colon cancer.

        He has donated his 100 million dollar fortune to charities helping animals.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/simpsons-creator-sam-simon-dead-at-59-gives-to-charity-2015-3

        http://www.peta.org/blog/sam-simon-a-true-hero-for-animals/

        “I want medical experiments on animals stopped. They don’t do anything, and they don’t work,” Simon said of donating heavily to animal-rights causes. “Veganism is an answer for almost every problem facing the world in terms of hunger and climate change.”

        In August, Simon teamed with Fusion on a documentary that chronicled Simon’s fight with his terminal disease and his efforts to save animals from harmful and abusive situations.

        Even though he was an Atheist, I believe he is going straight to Heaven for his incredible heart and courage and selflessness.

        Since I also believe in reincarnation, I think he will be back to help more animals.

        He helped rescue the race horse Valediction from a horrible life (The one featured in the PETA expose on Steve Asmussen)

        https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5345

      • Thank you Joy, for all your hard work in helping horses All these years.

        I feel badly that I had No idea this was going on until I watched the television show “Heartland” ( filmed in Canada) in 2014 ………. I have Never been to a race track and I thought horses loved to run and ran on hay and oats. (based on watching the The Black Stallion) The Black Stallion was never drugged or beat. He ran on hay and oats. (At Least that was what the movie portrayed)

        I think Secretariat was probably on drugs when raced but that was not mentioned in the movie.

        I was clueless as to the horrific abuse at the race track and I am sure that most Americans are clueless to this day. even those that attend the race track and listen to the announcers as they paint such a rosy picture about trainers and owners that “love” their horses.

        I have talked to people who used to go to the race track and they had no idea these horses were being abused and slaughtered. Many people I have shared this with are in shock after I tell them what is going on.

  14. Speaking of corrupt trainers and corrupt jockeys

    Story Updates: Vazquez Back In Action; Morales Lands In Louisiana
    03.09.2015 | ray paulick

    – Trainer Juan Vazquez is back in business, though not in Maryland, where he was told by Maryland Jockey Club officials last month he is no longer welcome to stable or race at their tracks.

    In his absence, Vazquez’s horses were trained by his assistant, Hector Garcia, who racked up four medication violations in a short span, including three for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.

    Vazquez has compiled numerous medication violations in the last several years. In 2012, he had four positives for another anabolic steroid, boldenone (commonly sold as Equipoise). Three were in Delaware and the fourth in Florida. In 2013, he picked up another boldenone positive in Delaware.

    It’s no wonder the Maryland Jockey Club has denied him stalls or access to the entry box. It will be interesting to see if he is offered stalls for the 2015 meeting at Delaware Park, where he was leading trainer last year.

    ——————————–

    – Jockey Roberto Morales – who won a court ruling in Iowa stating his constitutional rights were violated when a warrantless vehicle search produced five prohibited electrical devices – is riding in Louisiana.

    Last June at Prairie Meadows, Morales was arrested and charged with three counts of prohibited acts for possessing three working and two non-working electrical devices, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of prescription drugs. He was summarily suspended by stewards the following day.
    ——————————-

    Tom Amoss suffered a setback to his appeal of a 60-day suspension in Indiana when an administrative law judge ruled there is no reason to have a full evidentiary hearing on the case involving a 2011 positive test for the muscle relaxant methocarbamol – which the Indiana Racing Commission ruled was his fourth medication violation in the previous year.

    Among other things, attorneys for Amoss argued unsuccessfully the case should be dropped because rules relating to methocarbamol were changed in 2014.

    In his Recommended Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Ultimate Finding of Fact and Order, Gordon E. White, deputy attorney general acting as the administrative law judge on the case, upheld the ruling issued by the racing commission fining Amoss $5,000 and suspending him 60 days. Attorneys for Amoss have filed a written protest of the administrative law judge’s findings.

  15. Hmmm…interesting…isn’t Amoss Maggi Moss’ trainer? You know, Ms. Moss who claims to be such a racehorse advocate? (but who fiercely supports the drugging of racehorses with Lasix…and runs her horses in claiming races)

  16. I am just so mad and angry after reading this post. Joy, I admire how you can deal with those criminals. Yes, criminals.
    I have to admit, once there was a time I loved horse racing – just because I was too stupid to comprehend the truth of this “business”. I still love seeing horses run – free and due to their own decision on the pasture, just for the fun of it. /but, once I started to understand how the “industry” works, I can only say: Horse racing is a crime, and I am sick of hearing about “good owners” or “horse was a family member”. Horse racing should become a thing of the past.

  17. Dear Joy Aten,

    My name is Angela Garfinkel, I’m the Lead Equine Volunteer for the Agoura Shelter and the Treasurer of Healthcare for Homeless Animals a (501)c. It is my understanding that you are on the Advisory Board of Wild for Life Foundation in Southern California. On Feb. 25, 2016 a non-profit affiliated with the Agoura Shelter, “Friend of Homeless Animals” hired a commercial hauler and we placed one pony mare, one miniature gelding and two goats with your foundation. Recently Katia Louise was evicted from the location in which our animals were placed, in Anza, CA I contacted Katia via Email with concern for the animals, she simply responded that, I was misinformed and that the animals are fine. I know for a fact that the animals were removed from the above mentioned property along with approximately 85 other animals. The Riverside County Care and Custody has gotten involved and did in fact inspect a facility in which some of the animals were moved to. The officer involved counted approximately 40 horses and a couple of donkey’s. They reported that the horses were in very good condition. Sadly when Katia applied for the animals at Agoura Shelter her application stated that she had 72 horses. Of course myself and the Manager Denise Rosen of Agoura Shelter are concerned about the welfare of all the animals and would like to know where the rest of are.

    I’m hoping you will assist us in the location of the rest of the animals so that they can be inspected. I would like to visit any or all of the facilities in person and I’m more than happy to meet with Katia, but at this point I don’t believe she would allow me on the property(s).

    I sincerely hope you can help. I’ll look forward to hearing back from you.

    Most respectfully,

    Angela Garfinkel, Lead Equine Volunteer, Agoura Shelter (3 years)
    Treasurer, Healthcare for Homeless Animals, (2 year)

    805-427-4651

    • Hello Angela…I am not a board member of the Wild for Life Foundation and never have been. I believe your misunderstanding is likely because I was an advisory board member to Louise’s documentary “Saving America’s Horses” back when she was making the film.

      I do have Ms. Louise’s e-mail address, though, and I’ll be happy to send her an email requesting she communicate with you. I don’t know if that will help, especially since we’ve had no contact in quite some time – the film was completed a number of years back. But I will do what I can.

      Thank you for your compassion for animals and for making a difference in the lives of so many.

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