Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Event- Sept. 15 in Wisconsin

Debra Lopez has always loved animals, but horses can be considered a favorite. That's why her newly founded organization, Animal Fairy Charities, will be hosting its first Musical Horse Aid, an all day event on Sept. 15 that will raise money for charities dedicated to equine protection and care.

"I've been in sales my whole life, and if there is one thing I can do, it's raise money," said Lopez, also president of her charity. "I might as well do it for animals."

Lopez ventured into the animal charity world with her Web site Campaign for Barbaro. She soon partnered with Shelley Abrams in leading an advocacy group for the safety and welfare of horses. Their main objectives are banning horse slaughter and improving race tracks. Both Lopez and Abrams are involved with Thoroughbred horse racing. "I knew my life was going to change and I wanted to do something more substantial," Lopez said.

Musical Horse Aid is not a political event, but purely for horse lovers to come listen to talent from all over the country, and hear speakers from national horse advocacy organizations. The Wisconsin National Guard will open and close the event with a full color guard and national anthem tribute. Honored organizations will receive an Animal Fairy ornament and desk piece sculpture as a gift.

The ultimate goal of Lopez' organization is to raise awareness in a time when legislation has stalled in Congress to ban horse slaughter. And she will do that, along with her partner in Animal Fairy Charities, Lori Charney, by funding other charitable organizations and laminitis research. They believe that if a cure was found for laminitis, that would be "the end all." Getting equine hospitals the equipment they need is another step in the right direction.

"I believe I can make that difference," Lopez said. "I hope to inspire other people to come and do more, to open a rescue, to learn, and to volunteer at rescues. I ask that people are aware of how many horses are out there."

What: Musical Horse Aid

Where: Walworth County Fairgrounds, southeastern Wisconsin

When: Sept. 15, noon to 10p.m.

Tickets: $25, kids under 12 are free

All proceeds go to charities including the Humane Society, Thoroughbred Charities of America, Habitat for Horses, and others.

Visit for more information regarding this event, or to donate.

AHDF president, Shelley Sawhook, will be attending the event and will be speaking. Please join us for some fun, music and helping horses.


As anyone who has ever seen a horse or works around them knows these are big animals who could, if they wanted to, cause damage. I am often in awe of the fact that these big beautiful animals defer to us little beings so often. During my life I have taken tumbles from horses, had my feet stepped on and been bit. To those who don't know horses you may say, what are you a masochist? No, my injuries have been very few and far between and well worth it to be in the presence of these great beasts. My most recent injury came from loading a rescue horse in a trailer, but was NOT the horse's fault. She was balking at getting in the trailer and it was hotter than hades outside, so we were pulling hard on the lead rope. The snap on the rope broke and the metal swung back and hit my hand. I thought it was bruised and ignored it. We finally got her into the trailer with a little grain and I almost forgot about the incident. However, over the next 2 weeks my hand got worse and I finally went to the doctor. It turns out that not only did I break my hand, but I also chipped the bone and, because I kept using the hand, I had tore up the tendon.

I am not supposed to use the hand until mid October. Since it is hard, if not impossible to type with one hand, posts may be slow in coming. (Shhh, nobody tell the doctor I was on here posting.) I am reading all my emails and messages, I just am not responding unless it is urgent, I don't have a phone number to call and/or I am just going crazy with boredom.

BTW, for those who want to know what happened to the horse, she was immediately adopted. She now belongs to a young lady who loves her to death. She was a real sweetheart who was just afraid because she had been through so much. Actually she is just a big cuddle bug who has had some wonderful training. Stargate, is only 5 years old, a registered Quarter Horse mare. There are a number of wonderful horses at rescue facilities. Just like most people are surprised to find registered dogs at the pound, there are real polished diamonds who end up at rescue facilities. As a matter of fact, all of the horses we picked up during that rescue have been adopted except the 3 year old Paint/Appy cross who is still available here outside of Memphis, Tennessee. We also have a large number of mares and foals available at our facility in Texas.

If you are looking for an equine friend please consider looking at an equine rescue. We have a very long list of local rescues available on the AHDF website ( and you can also see the horses AHDF has available.

As for me, I will be nursing my sore hand for a while, but I will ALWAYS enjoy my horses.


Want to meet me? Want to help horses? Want to enjoy some great music? Then join me September 15th for Musical Horse Aid at the Walworth County Fairgrounds (outside of Delavan, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois). You can get more info at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Support this Effort

The AHDF supports the following effort by the Fund for Horses. Please take a few minutes to have some fun and have your voice heard on Capital Hill.

Wag the Straw: HR 503 and S 311


Take Action Today Against Horse Slaughter!

Wag a Straw at Congress Asking Them to Swiftly Pass
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act

You will need:

  1. 3 envelopes;
  2. 3 first class stamps;
  3. 3 signed and completed copies of our Wag the Straw flyer; and
  4. 3 straws


  1. Find who represents you in Washington (1 Representative; 2 Senators);
  2. Address envelopes;
  3. Print, fill out and sign 3 copies of our Wag the Straw Flyer; pdf (please type or print legibly); and
  4. Put a signed and completed flyer with a straw in each envelope, stamp and mail.

If you need to, cut your straws to fit your envelopes. You can leave them covered, or take them out of their wrappers. Staple them to your flyers or just put them loose in the envelopes. Don't have a few straws handy? Use swizzle sticks.

Add impact with handwritten comments on the reverse of the flyer (be sure to check the box on the front showing you have done this).

That's it.

It takes around two weeks for letters to be sorted, cleared through security and delivered to Congressional Offices on the Hill, so start mailing your straws now. Congress reconvenes in a few short weeks.

Spread the Word

For this to have a big impact, we need to send thousands of straws to Congress.

It may sound simple, but they start people talking, and create a buzz.

So, please spread the word. Forward this to at least 10 people you know. Send it to your whole mailing list.

Are you a leader? Get the kids involved. See how many other people you can caught up in this campaign.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Legislative Update

Congress takes a month long vacation during the month of August. This tradition goes back to the days before air conditioning and a decision was made to allow lawmakers to escape DC during the worst heat of the summer. Now it allows lawmakers to go home and have contact with their constituents, so they can better represent them and to allow them to actively campaign.

While we had hoped to have something in place to protect the horses before the break, it didn't happen. We did have a small victory in the House before the break. Wording was added to the House Agricultural Appropriations Bill that would strengthen the prohibition of using taxpayer dollars to support the horse slaughter industry through inspections.

Congress passed legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to inspect horses for slaughter in the 2006 (and carried through the 2007) Appropriations Act, but the USDA worked with the slaughter plants to allow them to circumvent Congressional intent. When the courts decided that the USDA acted inappropriately Cavel (at this point both the Texas plants were closed) filed an appeals gaining a restraining order to allow them to continue operating. Cavel is operating under this restraining order and another one because Illinois passed a ban on horses slaughter and the courts allowed them a restraining order to prevent the state of Illinois from enforcing their new law while the court hears an appeal on that case.

During the August break we are asking EVERY person to contact their Senators in their district offices and asking them to support ANY wording in ANY bill that would ban horse slaughter. This is especially important with the Agriculture Appropriations Bill the Senate will be hearing when they resume work in September.

If you are able to schedule an appointment with your Senator or his/her aide during the break it is your chance to be heard. Just call the district offices of your Senators (you can find the number in your local phone book or by going to and entering your state) and ask for an appointment. You can also attend events where your Senators may be speaking and talk to them. This is just as important as lobbying in DC, if not more so. Senators need to hear from those that they represent and who elect them into office.

With HR 503 and S 311 stalled, it is important that we do all that we can to see that current legislation is strengthened until we can get permanent legislation passed.

It's a Boy! It's a Girl!

Recently we told you that AHDF was expecting. Meet our newest arrivals Phoenix and Comet.

Phoenix is a little boy born on August 5th around 5 am. We had hoped to catch the birth on a foal cam to share with everyone, but mom didn't want to be filmed. Sugar was checked at 4:30 and was anxious, but that was nothing new. At 5 am she was checked again and she was delivering. By the time everyone got to the barn little Phoenix was there. Phoenix is a little black Appaloosa colt.

Phoenix's mom is Sugar a nearly 20 year old mare that was saved from slaughter. Sugar came in with 5 other mares that are pregnant and still expecting.

Comet is a little girl from a wonderful mare that we picked up from an owner surrender/neglect case that is very complicated. Comet was born in the pasture of people taking care of horses for an owner who was facing marital/financial problems. Previously 2 other mares had delivered and lost their foals due to the poor conditions. All 5 mares were signed over to AHDF by the owner to have them saved from the bad conditions she had found her horses in. However, it took several trips and legal issues to actually get custody of the horses. In the meantime, Star delivered Comet. Comet was born on July 29th and is an almost exact replica of her momma. Star is a registered Quarter Horse mare.

From the group that Comet and Star come from we are still expecting a foal from one more mare.

If you are interested in sponsoring Phoenix, Comet or any of the pregnant mares visit AHDF's website. If you cannot sponsor a horse consider donating a halter, hay or other needed items on our website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Equine Humane History is Made

A number of equine rescues and humane organizations joined together on July 27, 2007 in a Conference destined to change the industry. The historic event took place in Washington, DC, where representatives of the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare League, American Horse Defense Fund and nearly 20 equine welfare and rescue organizations met together for the first annual Homes for Horses Conference.

Conference attendees looked at the issues of horse abandonment and neglect and the equine rescue industry. Potential solutions were discussed to counter and/or avoid these issues. The group also discussed the false claims that America will face an unmanageable oversupply of horses once the slaughter of these animals for human consumption abroad is brought to an end. The newly formed coalition will communicate constantly and meet annually to enhance equine protection in the United States.

“These types of meetings are desperately needed to foster a sense of community and a spirit of resource sharing in the equine community”, says Shelley Sawhook, President of the American Horse Defense Fund, “I commend the HSUS and AWI for organizing the event”.

The group selected a working group to look at various issues to unite the equine rescue industry and to explore the issue of self-regulation. “I am excited to see where this event and the working group will take us”, says Sawhook, “I am optimistic that we can overcome any obstacles and ensure the health and safety of all equine if we ban together. This new team approach can do nothing but make the lives of horses better.”

The working group takes its direction and goals from the full coalition with the goal of reaching a consensus within the coalition. The group has already begun to work on the issues before them and anticipate reporting to the coalition soon.

The coalition looks forward to adding members and growing to include any equine rescue organizations interested in joining.

Media Contact:

American Horse Defense Fund, 202-609-8198, Shelley Sawhook,

Seated from left to right: Barbara Geittmann, Hooved Animal Humane Society; J. Kevin Hertell, Caring Fields Animal Sanctuary; Chris Hyde, AWI; Jill Curtis and mom, Shiloh Horse Rescue; Diana Pikulski, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation; Brenda Hess-McCaskill, Equine and Farm Animal Care; Jen Reid, Best Friends Animal Society; Jacque Schultz, ASPCA

Standing from left to right: Nicholas Dodman, Tufts University and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, Stacy Segal, HSUS; Shelley Sawhook, American Horse Defense Fund; Jo Deibel, Angel Acres Horse Haven; Karen Brown, United Animal Nations; SusanKelly Thompson, Mylestone Equine Rescue, Peter Bender, Pegasus Foundation; Pennell Hopkins, Pennsylvania SPCA; Keith Dane, HSUS; Jerry Finch, Habitat for Horses; Ereleen Cole, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch; Susan White, US Equine Rescue League; Steve Rei, National Equine Rescue Coalition

Not Pictured: James Newberry, Front Range Equine Rescue

(If I have confused a name or two let me know. I was doing this from memory and may have confused a few folks. In which case I am VERY sorry. Also, I did not get Jill’s mom’s name and it is not printed on any of the materials. Again, sorry.)