Mendahart is a prime example of how a horse ends up at the slaughter plant. Bred to race, he sold for $75,000 as a yearling. He was a money winner on the track until he became what is called a "bleeder" in the racing industry. Race horses are given lasix to allow them to run faster but sometimes will cause their blood to become so thin they have constant nose bleeds. No longer wanted at the track, Mendahart, was turned out to pasture at only four years of age. This is a horse that was used to being kept in a stall with constant care, regular feedings and exercise to keep him in shape for the race track. As with other unsuccessful race horses, he had a hard time adjusting to just being turned out to pasture. After just 6 months of neglect his health had diminished to the point that he was no longer a candidate for purchase by the average horse owner. Although 200 pounds underweight, he was still a big horse that might bring a couple of hundred dollars at the slaughterhouse. Faced with the prospect of having to spend more money to restore the horse’s health, the owner of Mendahart told one of his employees to get rid of him. He found someone who took the horse off his hands. This man knew of Melissa Stierle, the owner and trainer at Brandywine Farms in Madison, Mississippi. Melissa had rescued other Thoroughbreds, and he was hopeful that she’d take this one. Otherwise, he would be sent to an auction where dozens of unwanted Thoroughbreds are sold weekly. Unfortunately too many horses and not enough buyers make it plausible for well trained and well bred horses to end up in the kill pen. Melissa saw something in this poor emaciated animal that tugged at her heart, and she quickly raised $500 to save the horse from slaughter. Since he arrived at the farm on Valentines Day, he was instantly renamed Cupid. His hooves were in horrible shape, causing him pain when he walked, and the skin on his back was exposed to the elements due to rain rot. His muscles had atrophied from lack of nutrition and activity, but Melissa could tell that he had a good heart and was eager to please. It will take work, time, and tender loving care to bring him back to health, but Cupid has been given another chance for a good life. In time, he promises to become a fox hunter, show jumper, trail horse, or just someone’s loving pet.
Cupid has come a long way in a short amount of time. He has put on nearly 200 pounds, and the rain rot that had infected his back from being turned out to pasture has completely cleared up. A wonderful horse that wouldn’t have been given a second glance is now a beautiful young gelding and a favorite at Brandywine stables. Head held high and coat glistening, the big chestnut effortlessly canters around the obstacles that he will soon be taught to jump. There is no evidence of the soreness he suffered upon his arrival at Brandywine, and he is no longer on pain medication or anti-inﬂammatory supplements. He is a very lucky horse and seems to know it from his gentle disposition and eagerness to please his young new rider. Yes, Cupid’s story is one that is headed for a happy ending, and we’re glad to have him in a good place.
Cupid recently participated in his very first horse show and came away with the Reserve Champion in Novice Hunters. Cupid's show name is Just Believe, an appropriate name for a horse once destined for slaughter. If all horses could be given the chance to reach their fullest potential, there would be less horses going to slaughter. Lucky for Cupid, Melissa Stierle saw something in the skinny ill tempered horse that was brought by her farm almost a year ago. Most would have taken one look at him and assumed this poor horse was beyond help but because she believed in him, Just Believe, is on his way to having a successful career in fox hunting and being the wonderful horse he was meant to be. See the "Thoroughbreds Story" for more information and links to Thoroughbred rescue organizations.