I've had the privilege of meeting many impressive and inspirational people in my lifetime. And I'm not talking about celebrities who live in the Hollywood Hills with bank accounts with more zeros than one can count. I'm talking about the people in this world who are making a difference for animals the only way they know how. Dedication, perseverance, and pushing back against anyone who stands in their way. Siri Lindley and Rebekah Keat are those kind of people. They are the founders of Horses in Our Hands. And as part of their mission through the In Our Hands Action Fund, they are determined that in their lifetime, they will see the end to horse slaughter in the United States.
In the time it took you to read those words above, a horse has lost its life at the hands of humans. And it wasn't done in a humane way, either. Horses are killed here or shipped off to other countries to be killed for their meat. A horse that is bound for slaughter did not choose this path they were placed on. Every year, 60,000 American horses are slaughtered.
These horses are cruelly labeled as "unwanted," but this is NOT the case. These horses are healthy. These horses can accomplish many feats. But they can't do it if they don't find a kindhearted person to spare them from certain death.
We must do something to stop this. And thanks to the In Our Hands Action Fund, we can do something to stop this heinous act which happens day after day. The numbers are dwindling in recent years, but one horse killed for their meat is one too many.
Think of all that horses have done for humans. For centuries, mankind has relied on equines to carry them into battle, to take them cross country, to be used for pleasure riding, and for companionship. And since horses are herd animals as we know—they crave this desire to serve us, to be near us, and for us to show them their purpose.
Slaughtering horses has to stop. You can be the difference between life and death for a horse that is bound for slaughter. All you have to do is stand up for them. It only takes more eyes going to legislative inboxes to let our voices be heard on behalf of these beautiful creatures that have no voice. We owe it to them for all they have done and continue to do.
I had the opportunity to chat over the the phone with Rebekah and Siri about this pressing issue, and their words are not only heartfelt and inspiring, they are humbling and endearing. Both of these women are admirable in their own right. They have competed in some of the most challenging events on the planet and won. Even when told they didn't stand a chance, or were told they never could, they set to prove everyone wrong. Ironman, the Olympics, marathons, triathlons, you name it, and they've crushed the finish line of it. And now, they even train others to achieve their athletic dreams. But despite both of their equally impressive resumes, all of that pales in comparison to their shared goal: to end horse slaughter in the United States by working to get the Safeguard American Food Exports Act finally passed.
Rebekah told me that,
"Fulfillment isn’t long-lasting from racing. But those horses give you fulfillment that’s endless. It’s our duty to do this, to give back. I want to make a difference and make a lasting impact. I’d rather be remembered for putting an end to horse slaughter in the US than be remembered for winning any of the races I’ve won. That to me, means more than any finish line I’ve crossed...or ever could."
For Siri, seeing the end to horse slaughter in the US is something that is deeply personal. Her first horse, Savannah, was rescued from slaughter. Savannah is more than just a horse. She is her inspiration. She has given Siri more than Siri could ever give in return. When Siri was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in November of 2019, she was given a 10% chance to live. She sat in the hospital, thinking of Savannah. She missed her horse which had inspired her to unleash her power within. Once back home with Savannah and her wife, Rebekah, her horse knew she had a job to do. She needed to heal her human, and she knew exactly how to do it.
"In November 2019 I was diagnosed leukemia, they allowed me to come home due to COVID restrictions so I wasn't forced to recover in an apartment near the hospital. The healing power of horses is real. While at the hospital, all I could think of was just how badly I wanted to ride Savannah. I’d lost 20 pounds since being diagnosed, but I'd been dreaming of her. She knew. The first time I rode her after getting back home from the hospital, she was taking these tiny steps. She knew that I was weak. As I started getting stronger, she knew I could do a little bit more and she was teaching me and showing me more. And her endless support for me was always there, just like it always has been."
And, if not for Savannah, Siri says she would never have had the courage to speak at the many Tony Robbins events that she has. She is living proof that the love and support of a horse is healing, and that it can inspire you to do things which you may have never thought possible.
I asked the ladies some questions I had regarding the In Our Hands Action Fund (501C4) and their process for Believe Ranch and Rescue, a nonprofit 501c3 which is dedicated to saving, rehabilitating, and adopting out horses which were once bound for slaughter. And while they can't save them all, although they wish they could, they have successfully saved 116 horses to date.
What is the process like for you once a horse that was bound for slaughter is now in your care?
"A lot of times we are saving them and we know nothing. We quarantine them immediately for four weeks. Some are sick when they arrive, all are distressed, some are even emaciated and on the brink of death. Those saved at auction often have strangles. Once they are in our care, there is an immediate vet check, worming, vaccines, all of that. We immediately work to build their trust, we remain consistent. But immediately we give them love. So much love. And they have all gone on to be incredible." — Rebekah Keat
Tank is proof of their dedication. He too was once bound for slaughter, but fate led him to Believe Ranch and Rescue. Today, he is the best therapy horse at Horses for Healing at Sky View Acres, a nonprofit which serves children with disabilities by way of equine therapy.
Rebekah reminded me of a famous Michelangelo quote that she believes embodies these once ill-fated horses: "I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved till I set her free." She tells me that, "we see the angel inside all of these horses, and suddenly the angel is revealed to us when they learn to trust us." And she ensures me that each and every one of those 116 horses has "gone on to change people's lives."
"When we save them, we try to take the ones that no one thinks will survive. We look for the ones that need our help the most."
You can make a difference. The impossible is possible for these horses if you lend your voice. If we band together to protect these horses, we can win. Do it for them. Let these horses get the second chance they deserve and they so desperately crave.
They are worth so much more than what they're being labeled as. Because the truth is, no horse is unwanted. Click here to help now. Horses in Our Hands has eliminated all the guesswork and made the process simple for you to show your support. All you have to do is click and fill out the form which takes under sixty seconds, and your address will be verified (Congress requires this).
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
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- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films
Let's do this together, for the horses. It's the very least that we can do. If we don't, who will?
Please, I beg you, show your support for the In Our Hands Action Fund, and share this with other horses lovers who are passionate about ending horse slaughter. You can even do more by sharing this with those who don't realize that not enough is being done. Educating others on the fate of these horses is what we need to end this inhumane practice. No horse deserves to die at the hands of man for their meat. Horses deserve better, and if you believe that too, share the heck out of this.