Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Discarded Thoroughbred filly in critical condition a month after her last race

Dance Madam might not make it.

The circumstances are dire for the emaciated, dehydrated, strangles-infested thoroughbred filly who last raced exactly one month ago, finishing more than 23 lengths behind the winner of a $15,000 claiming race at River Downs on July 16th.  The four-year-old chestnut daughter of Dance Master hadn't hit the board in 12 starts since she'd broken her maiden for a $5000 tag at the same oval in June of 2010.

The filly's lackluster efforts on the racetrack apparently doomed her to the discard pile.  Less than three weeks after her last start, Dance Madam was spotted by a good samaritan at the Sligo auction in Kentucky on Wednesday, August 3rd, where she was being offered for sale with several other thoroughbreds, including the three-year-old St. L'Enjoleur filly Ultimate Proof, at a venue frequented mostly by kill buyers seeking to load their slaughterhouse-bound trailers for Canadian butcheries.  The two fillies were purchased for cheap money by dealer Charlie Harris, who then cooperated with a coterie of thoroughbred advocates who raised the funds for their ransom.  Bot the horses' troubles were far from over.

The Kentucky division of The United States Equine Rescue League (USERL) became aware of their plight, and contacted Melissa Kauffman, a sometime equine rescuer who agreed to open her heart, and the gates of her Middlebury, Indiana farm, to quarantine and care for them.  "I didn't know who they were or anything about them," Melissa said, "but I knew they'd given everything they had when it was asked, and they didn't deserve not to get it back."

But when the fillies arrived, on Monday, August 15th, Melissa was shocked at what she saw.  Dance Madam still had the sweat marks from the saddle she wore in her last race, and an unwashed poultice on one of her legs, suggesting to Melissa that "they literally pulled her out of the race and said, 'See you later.'"

The filly is so severely dehydrated that she didn't urinate for the first 48 hours after drinking her fill.  "If she were in the hospital, she would be in critical condition," Melissa explained.  "Her legs were so swollen that you couldn't even tell she had joints.  She has bites all over her body."  Dance Madam's caslicked vulva had apparently been forcibly penetrated by a stallion at one of the layover feedlots where she'd languished, and as a result, it is torn and infected and her urethra is grossly swollen.  Strangles are exploding like volcanoes all over her wracked body.

Melissa is doing everything possible to stabilize Dance Madam, but the filly's prognosis is guarded, at best.  "I've never seen this degree of evil," she said, angrily.  "It does not become real until a horse like this sets foot in your yard.  How can it be that within one month after racing, she's at death's door?"  Referring to Dance Madam's pedigree, which has the iconic thoroughbreds Mr. Prospector, Nijinsky II, and Storm Cat in her third generation, Melissa shook her head and asked, "How do we look into her eyes and say:  'You're worthless.'"


  1. I know this post was over two years ago but I really wanted to comment to see if Dance Madam survived? This is such a sad story(which happens a lot more than we know) and only through the help of people like you and I (and everyone reading this!) can we help put an end to it!

    1. She did! And was eventually moved to N. Carolina.... current status undisclosed 😢

    2. I don't know about Dance Madam, but my wife (fiance at the time) adopted Ultimate Proof (named Timah by USERL) as a gift for me. Have had her for 6 years now.

  2. Yes she did!. She stayed with us until Novemeber and was then transported against our wishes to North Carolina by USERL. We have been unable even with Muareen's help to obtain any updates since late 201. We still think of them often and hope they are doing well.

  3. I don't know about Dance Madam, but my wife (fiance at the time) adopted Ultimate Proof (named Timah by USERL) as a gift to me. Have had her for 6 years now