Nash: the Rescue of a Slaughter-Horse

Posted by Ashley Wilson, ALDF Administrative Assistant on December 24, 2013

I have always been an animal lover, and the issue of horse slaughter is at the forefront of my volunteer work. In 2012, I learned of 10 horses in a Nevada feedlot who were about to be auctioned off to “meat buyers.” These individuals buy horses to sell to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Fortunately, the buyers had to wait for a full load of horses so these ten had a week reprieve to be rescued.

Looking through photos of the horses, I saw a scraggly, beat up, paint horse and I was horrified.

Nash at the slaughter auction.

Nash at the slaughter auction.

Even though I’m a college student, I pulled together every dollar I had and paid the “meat price” for this poor horse, and suddenly owned a very sick and malnourished gelding seven hours away. After some digging, I found out that he used to be ridden by children, and was sold to the kill buyer due to his “laziness.”

Even before meeting him, I named him Nashville. He was a mess when he arrived at my house. He had eye and ear infections, an upper respiratory infection and urinary tract infection, feet that were trimmed so short they were completely bruised to the point he could barely walk, he had scars covering his entire body, and I could count every rib. The vet placed him at a 1.5 on the Henneke horse body condition scale: which put him at about 200 pounds under weight.

The vet informed us that Nash had the worst teeth he had ever seen. So we got his teeth floated, this made it much easier for him to eat and reduced his pain. Nash also bore a shameful “23” spray-painted on his rump, a number that identified him before he was to be loaded onto the truck to the slaughterhouse. The first thing we did when he arrived home was spend hours scrubbing the final reminder of his uncertain fate, and removing this number.

The day we brought Nash home.

The day we brought Nash home.

Nash had to be quarantined from our other horses for the first month. I cleaned his eyes and nose every day, gave him antibiotics, and although he was clearly very scared, he was so malnourished he couldn’t put up much of a fight. As he slowly grew stronger, he remained wary of people and it took a while for us to build trust.

After a few months, Nash slowly began to look and feel better. With the help of friends and family, we began assessing his training.


Once Nash had gained a significant amount of weight, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life; with tears flowing, I decided to try to find him a forever home that could offer more than I could, where he would be happy and loved unconditionally.  Although he completely misbehaved during the showing, the first family that came to look at Nash decided to give him a chance, just as I had. They fell in love with him, and they say they will keep him until the day he dies! Nash is now living on a beautiful property in Mendocino County, surrounded by love of humans and other horses. He gets to go on overnight camping trips, trail rides, and the chance to just be a normal horse.


Nash with his new person.

It was a difficult journey for both he and I, but I am so glad Nash was rescued from his uncertain fate of slaughter. No horse deserves to spend his last days frightened, squished, and starving among a meat train headed to a slaughter plant.

16 thoughts on “Nash: the Rescue of a Slaughter-Horse

  1. Lisa says:

    So thankful for people like you to remind us that there are still good loving humans out there! Thank-you for your courage and love!

  2. Sue says:

    I too have a “Nash” who was taken off a slaughter bound truck years ago. He’s a full blood, papered QH, related to Dash for Cash. He’s got a big white blaze on his face too.

  3. Ellen Mandel says:

    Thanks for saving him, and so happy to hear of a happy ending. Let’s keep fighting horse slaughter, and range clearing for private interest of cattle ranchers and mineral and oil miners.

  4. Luis J says:

    Thank GOD for people like you. May be blessed you and your family!

  5. Amanda says:

    THANK YOU for saving him and for being a wonderful caring person!

  6. elizabeth greenspan says:

    I am so happy how people go out of their way to help these beautiful horses. Thank you so much for everything. And Merry Christmas to Nash.

  7. Suzi Pritchett says:

    Thank you for all of what you have done.

  8. freda young says:

    wow l love this l wish l could do this l live on a fixed income and get by 1 month at a time love this l love all animals

  9. Meredith Hoag says:

    Right on -I second Lisa’s comments!
    So often any more I feel ashamed to even be a part of the human race because of the sheer amount of cruelty to our non-human counterparts.
    Is there a streamlined way or organization out there(somewhere)to contribute/donate money to “pay off” these awful kill buyers so that these beautiful horses are ultimately rescued from the slaughterhouse(s)?

  10. Tricia says:

    Thank you so much for giving this poor sweet horse a new life, your story has inspired me to keep fighting for these animals and to never give up even when the odds and often, funds, are stacked against you!

  11. Jacqueline says:

    It is Christmas eve & I am listening to mid-night mass while
    reading about the rescue of Nash & the transformation of
    his life because, of your love & determination to make a difference. Nash has now flourished and he will forever have a warm spot in your heart. I have not rescued a horse; however ,I have rescued dogs and given them a wonderful life, being my kids . They are in my heart….
    Thank you for saving Nash. Merry Christmas & a Blessed New Year !

  12. Sandra says:

    I am so grateful that in this big bustling horrible world that we all live in you made a difference/Thank You for your courage and your perseverance, you are loved.

  13. Jacqueline Daly says:

    I hope horse slaughter stops. I wish I had a full time job so I could help more. Thank you. We need to reduce our consumption of meat and be more compassionate with respect yo food source animals.

  14. Lynn Juozilaitis says:

    Thank you & God bless you always! You are beyond wonderful! ♥

  15. deana l. smothers says:

    Thank You so much for posting this!!! What an ambasader both you, nash and his new family are for all of these horses!!!! God Bless !!!!

  16. roe lamirand says:

    Horse slaughter needs to be banned.

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