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Breeders' Cup 2017

The Horror of Ravishly

A Guest Blog by Stephanie Lambert


November 6, 2012 1:23pm
"I hear that you are trying to speak up for Ravishly. I am glad that she has an advocate. Do you have any actual information or are you just picking up others threads?"

"No, I have been in contact with Adena, Michael Iavarone, the woman who placed her and am going from there. I just want to tell of her story and get all the facts out there and how many hands she went through and what exactly happened and how we all failed her. To tell her story is to give her justice."

"I know about her last 12 hours but I will only share if I do not get quoted or dragged into discussions, I am so tired. But am happy for someone to accurately know and do this."

"What is your name?"

"Stephanie. Can I however use the info to backtrack, I won't use your name, I Promise. Thank you so much."

"So I had a secret buyer at Unadilla, since they are getting touchy about my presence. He saw the three tb mares, they were all very nice girls, came in together. Ravishly was the thinnest.
There were all new buyers, no regular faces. It's part of the KB's hiding their identity, since we bid directly against them."


"It's really become a war, we have become an adversary. We used to just be a nuisance. Now we are bringing them down. So they hate us. Step carefully."


"So, there were few buyers, but one bought Ravishly for $50. She did not sell to a 'kill buyer'. Do you know what that actually is?"

"Not yet, but I am learning."

"One person per state is designated as a shipper who is legally allowed to transport across the border. So that it's not a free for all. So technically, she did not sell to a KB. This is an important distinction, because the EU is stepping up their regs. No one violated the regs, this was all legal.
Problem was the buyer was actually purchasing on behalf of a renderer."


"Renderers are just doing their job, usually picking up DEAD horses. He sells to a company INSIDE the United States that makes dog food. Those companies only care that the horse was not euthanized.
She was not. She would have been Shot. Technically this is faster and more humane then slaughter.
But I know that is not a comfort."

"Somewhat at least."

"The renderer left with four LIVE horses that night. He cannot KILL them there.
She and the other horses were DEAD within 12 hours."

"But they did NOT ship to Canada. It will be an important distinction if you pursue this. Nothing illegal was done ... Just Immoral. The other two tb's sold elsewhere. Not to him. We are trying to find them.
At least she did not live for days in a kill pen, overcrowded, injured, scared. It was quick. But it hurts."

"Thank you for telling me."

"This is why I have no sleep, no clean clothes, no money. My conveniences are nothing compared to saving a life."

"I am starting to being to understand."

"I am happy that you will take up her torch."

"This is the first time I have ever had a Mare go to my heart. I feel like she is part of a Holocaust."

"I am still working on prosecuting the people who dumped ****, Yes, it's awful."

"I know, I cried over her."

"My mare ^^^^, dumped, pregnant, at auction..."


"She sold to kill but kill didn't want her, with her bleeding head and misstep ... She is happy now, getting fat. 
I literally cannot take them all."

"I wished I lived closer I would be there every day."

"So speak for Ravishly. Tell her tale. Tell it accurately. It's awful and needs to be told."

"I am going to tell it far and wide. I want it accurate. I want the truth. She deserves the truth."

"The sad truth is that we know what happened because we were so upset that we made calls the next day to try and buy her back... But it was too late..."

"OMG ... I so wish you had gotten her."

"And this Friday, at Unadilla, will be more tb's being dumped."

"Sick, Sick, Sick."

"It's called the forgotten auction for a reason."

"I feel so helpless."

"But you know, sadly, you will get more attention for her gone, then I could alive. Each of our horses is a miracle but no one seems to see that. I've been up since 2am ... not getting enough sleep ... too much to do."

"Someone, somewhere is responsible, starting with the farm who did not do a check back after 90 days. That CAN be changed. Less than 10 months after her last check she was dead."

"I can best relate what I know is true."

"No, the woman who had bred her told me so herself, as if it were nothing."

"Oh, really… Does she still have one? Get her."

"Thanks for telling her tale."

"I will not ever use your name, I promise. I will just tell the story."

"I will stand by what I have said but I am so tired and overwhelmed and it's not important anyway ... the truth is what is important. xo"


That is the last 12 hours of Ravishly's life as best as I know. But it did not start out that way. She was Born February 15, 2001 at Adena Springs Farm, sold for 75,000 dollars at auction and raced for IEAH Stables. She was their first winner. She was 8-0-1. and earned & 27,199. Her last race was in 2005, Ravishly had been running in claiming races at Aqueduct, Belmont, Monmouth, and Saratoga. Her last recorded race was 2/18/2005 at Aqueduct. She was then sent to Saratoga Glen Farm to the care of Kathy and Dan Barraclough, where she was to become a broodmare until 2011. Her foals were from Desert Warrior, Ten Most Wanted, Midas Eyes, Frost Giant, and Wild Desert in 2011. I was told she was "retired" from being a broodmare because her offspring did not produce the results they had hoped for. From there she was given to a girl as a private "pet" horse.

Here is what was posted on my FB page from Kathy Barraclough:

<<<<Kathy wrote: "My husband Dan and I own Saratoga Glen Farm and were entrusted by IEAH in September of 2011 to find Ravishly a good home which we did. We had loved and cared for Ravishly for the better part of six years. After watching the performance of her first two foals the decision was made to stop breeding her. We found her a home with a nice family. As with all of the horses we sell or place, we told the new owners if there was ever a time when they could no longer care for her or lost interest in having a horse we would gladly take her back, no questions asked. We continued to check on Ravishly for three months after giving her to her new owners. While it is tragic I think it is unfair to hold IEAH responsible for something that happened 14 months after she left their care. Dan and I liked Ravishly so much that we actually purchased her yearling from IEAH. We are saddened by Ravishly's death but after a horse leaves our care it is impossible for you to force others to act in a humane and responsible manner.">>>>


I do not know if there was a contract on this horse as a giveaway. I do not know if there was a contract from IEAH Stables to Saratoga Glen Farms putting them in total responsibility of the horse either. It was not 14 months either; it was less than a year. The "Good" Family she was placed with was the Family who underfed her, allowed her to become injured from Barbed Wire and took her to the auction and sold her to the renderer for 50 dollars.

Here is my correspondence with Michael Iavarone in response to an email I has sent to Adena Springs. I do realize it was an inconvenient time, but as I was also in the Northeast I dealt with it.


I received this email from Adena who asked me to respond. Although we are dealing with difficult conditions in the northeast I am glad you brought this to our attention.

This is a very tragic ending and certainly one we could have never envisioned. This mare was very well taken care of by us, and was healthy, and sound at the time she assumed new ownership. She was not bred at the time we gave her to the farm that was keeping her for us. We have been selling off or giving away our mares and horses as part of a dispersal plan.

We have given away many horses to become pleasure horses over many years. This is the first time anything like this has ever happened. We are terribly upset by the incident and are going to do a full investigation as to what took place from the moment she was no longer under our ownership. I will also have my staff follow up on other horses we have given as pleasure horses in the past. Our hearts go out to Ravishly and we thank you for showing compassion for these wonderful horses. We will certainly keep you in the loop as we gain more information.

With that being said I would like to know if you would like to be on the list of people who would like to accept retired race horses? Right now we do not have any but I know some owners that are looking for people like yourself.

Regards, Michael Iavarone


I feel that it was condecesnding at best, and I am almost certain he already knew what had happened to this horse, actually from my sources I am positive he knew. IEAH should already have 
"Check Backs " in place for his horses...sigh....I have other corrispondence but it is not to be put on a public forum.

From Saratoga Glen Farms she was placed with a "Good" family, Within one year this family brought her to auction, with 2 other Mares. She was thin and had a barbed wire injury on her leg.

Ravishly was not passed around from home to home, she was with the family that she was "Placed" with and "Checked" on (for only 90 days) and told that she could be "returned". Yet when asked, "Why she did not simply bring the horse back?" the reply was," I did not know I could," The question was asked, "Why she did not try to find a home for her?" and the reply was, "I did not think anyone would want her with that barbed wire injury on her leg".

The last correspondence I received is this from Saratoga Glen Farms:

<<The manner in which you chose to address this issue was appalling, and as is typically the case your knee jerk reaction will have unintended consequences that you did not foresee. IEAH has always allowed to us to take care of their horses in the best possible fashion. They continue to pay us board while we re-school and re-home their retired geldings and mares. We typically place between 5 and 10 horses per year. Why would public entities such as IEAH, Ramsey, Adena, Joe Torre, etc risk the bad publicity that people like you generate when 1 out of 20 horses they have been re-homed ends up at slaughter. >>



It seems cavalier and cold to me, I think that when this much money is made by the industry, BY the HORSES themselves, the least they can do is hire someone to be in charge of the placement of horses and check-backs. Ravishly was underweight and hurt. It was obvious and a check-back would have discovered it. She could have and should have been saved.

The two places in this whole story that could have saved this Mares life was a check-back policy of 6 months and 1 year as standard practice. If you are only placing 5-10 horses I do not see this as life altering. It is standard practice in the Canine Breeding world and there are many more dogs out there than there are Horses. I bred GSD's for over 10 years and I could tell you where every one of them are, it is called a notebook, a computer, and a phone, If even by a phone call someone had reached out to this child she would have known to have given the horse back, the second place is to have Contracts in place, which not only protects the Farms and Stables but also allows charges to be brought against the "Family" who did not return the horse and broke the contract.

I can only state the facts here, I can only speak the truth, A beautiful mare by the name of Ravishly was Shot, Murdered, rendered, thrown in a vat and boiled down for God only knows what. She once grazed in fields and ran on the sweeping turns of Belmont, she nursed her young, she slept out in the stars, she gave kisses for peppermints ... She was Loved ... Then she became part of the Holocaust of the Unadilla Auctions.

I have tried to tell this story with just facts and as little emotion as possible, but I cried for 2 weeks for this horse, I lost sleep, weight and almost my love of Horse Racing. It is through the efforts of Adena Farms, Rosemary Farm and many others that have placement programs, rescue and go to auctions to save as many horses they can that saved my faith and gave me hope.


Please donate where you can. Offer a home where you can. Boycott rendered products. Help change laws. We need to be the voice for the helpless. We need to do right, because it is right.



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Older Comments about The Horror of Ravishly...

IInexcusable horrific and barbaric
unexcusable and barbaric
That's good to hear selkenjr. The harness racing program has well over 5,000 horses listed. Thoroughbred racing should better publicize this program. Thanks for the info.
I think the Jockey Club does have a program like Full Circle - called Thoroughbred Connect. I don't know if it is exactly like Full Circle, but you can list horses that you are interested in homing or helping out. I listed my mare's foal on there.
Harness racing has a program called Full Circle where people sign up for horses that have owned, trained, bred etc. to find the whereabouts of their horses. Thoroughbred racing should have a similar program. Perhaps someone connected with this may have come forward if they had known of her situation
One of the great ironies of horse racing today is that we have don't have enough horses to fill many race cards at various tracks but too many horses to provide adequate proper retirement to. I really do think that breeding fees need to have an amount set aside for after care for their offspring.
The point here is that without more cautions put in place by large breeding farms ,the horses they place are in peril
IEAH is a pretty big stable/Syndacite. They MUST be held accountable for what happened to Ravishly.
Okay, I've attempted to stay out of this, but I'm in human medicine as well, and I agree completely with sidnam10's point of view.
You missed my whole point! Cadavers are bodies of humans that AGREED to donate themselves to the medical community. I wouldn't be in my occupation without human dissection either, but they aren't bodies of humans that were murdered and sent to research. They knowingly signed a document to give themselves to medicine. There is NO comparison between that and a horse that is sold to slaughter. I'm pretty sure the horses aren't signing up for that program knowing they are headed to a rendering plant. And I am also sure we aren't killing off our loved ones and shipping them to medical facilities for research just because we don't know what else to do with them.
dismember Cut off the limbs of (a person or animal). Partition or divide up (a territory or organization). We would have never been able to do work shops on knees and ankles without their being removed from the body.
Having dissected three of them, we dismembered them all the same. You cannot demonstrate much of anatomy without significant disscection.
travel_vic - what an insensitive thing to say! I work in the medical field and worked on human cadavers through school. Those cadavers are DONATED to the universities by adults who, before their death, gave a signed consent documenting that they were knowingly donating their bodies. They were not killed/murdered for the sole use of being used for medical purposes, they lived their lives out and died for whatever reason. While they are in the custody of the university, they are treated with complete respect and every last piece of tissue is saved and returned to the family for burial if desired. FAR, FAR different than any animal going to slaughter, and there is NO comparison between a human willingly donating their body to medical science and a horse that no one wants being sold to slaughter for $50. Stupid comment!
Medical students dismember cadavers on a regular basis.
Thank you for telling her story. You have given a boices to the voicesless. I am so prouud of you. We will continue to do what we can one horse at a time. Making a difference whereever we can.
I cried when I heard Ms. Ravishly's story, and even more because I don't blind myself from reality... this happens every day. What an un-evolved, depraved practice. Who can murder, then dismember a fellow mammal? A sick person who should be investigated for other crimes that are unsolved in their areas. I have a black, pure hatred in my heart for greasy devils who perform this horrific act, those who cowardly turn away from it and those who put 1,000 and some pound animal in peril. Everyone should know about beautiful, sweet Ravishly. I am comforted by the notion that her soul and spirit run free now and she can no longer be betrayed. But there are others, right now, who will suffer the identical fate until there is a tidal wave of change. Keep writing, good person. Change has to come and you may be the agent.
Slaughtering a horse is in no way humane, watch it on You Tube. Shooting it in the head yourself would be more humane, these people are not wanting for money and could euthanize their own unwanted horses. Passing the buck all around, it's always someone elses fault. I know where all my animals are and I keep in touch with the buyers and when I take a horse off track I am always asked to send pictures and keep in touch. No excuses for anyone.
The bottom line to all this is Ms. Ravishly SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MURDERED. ALL THOSE WHO KNEW HER ARE ACCOUNTABLE. PERIOD. THEY ARE ALL GREASY DEVILS WITH BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS AND NEED TO ANSWER FOR WHAT THEY DID OR DID NOT DO FOR BEAUTIFUL MS. RAVISHLY. Ms. Ravishly and her story should become the national face of horse slaughter, the means of which to communicate the horrors of this genocidal practice and to expose those who participate in it either actively or passively. How dare anyone argue with you over this.
Horse racing if it is going to survive has got to get more proactive about the aftercare of its former racehorses, broodmare a and stallions. There is too much looking the other way when horses end up in precarious situations. Years ago there were other markets for horses not just pleasure riding, but army remounts etc. I am always upset to read about a situation like this. I really do think that breeders in particular need to be held accountable for the number of unwanted horses.
I have seen many WITH a trainer license who did not know how to care for them.

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