The Real Truth about New Holland

On the first day that New Holland began to enforce their “No Photos.  No Video” policy, I showed up late and completely unaware that an announcement had been made earlier prohibiting the use of cell phone cameras and videos.  I  climbed from the truck with my phone in hand, Livestreaming to Facebook so that followers could have the virtual experience of New Holland.

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As we walked from the truck, we noticed a horse lying still on the ground in the row of Amish horses.  We approached only to find the horse was motionless, still in harness and attached to the Amish Buggie.

When I inspected the horse more closely, I confirmed the horse was breathless and dead.  Despite being dead, the horse appeared in good health with a shiny coat, good weight and well groomed.   I moved in closer to peer into the horse’s vacant stare.  At that exact moment, MOST people would feel compassion, empathy and sadness.  I felt none of these emotions, rather I saw a horse at peace.  This horse had died of natural causes which is a rarity in 2017.  He was not abused, neglected, discarded or unwanted like the 200 horses inside the auction.   He wasn’t shipped from auction to auction to auction to killpen to slaughter.

I imagine that morning the horse had come in from the Amish field to a nice breakfast, was groomed, harnessed and went off to work.  Then just died.  In my opinion, that was a good ending for a horse.   The horses inside the auction won’t have a good ending.  Their ending will NOT be abrupt or painless.

The dead horse has spiraled into an attack on the Amish and New Holland Auction.  Before you cast blame, here are some things to consider:

The AMISH regard horses as ‘beast of burden,’   They have little emotional attachment to a horse.  They feel the same way about their horses as you do about your car.   Think about your car: you recognize that it serves a purpose in your life.  It is an expensive asset, therefore, you care for your car by filling the gas tank, changing the oil and parking it in the garage when it snows.  You replace the tires when necessary and pull over when the engine light comes on so not to overheat.

Amish horses serve a similar purpose and their Amish owners recognize that they must care and feed a horse well in order for horses to server their purpose.  If the Amish were to abuse or neglect their horses (or Mules), these animals would be be unable to serve their purpose.

The Amish horses (and mules) I have met do not exhibit signs of abuse or neglect.  They are not head-shy, jumpy or under nourished.  My issue with the Amish is that when a horse is no longer able to serve their purpose, the horse is discarded at auctions like New Holland.   This is similar to when you decide it is time to trade in your old car for a new model.   You trade in your car to a dealer and drive off in another without a second thought of the welfare of your old car.

10632683_10204528874640677_8603750511175471992_nNew Holland.   It is far too simplistic to blame New Holland Auction for the conditions of horses at the auction.  Photos and videos that surface on social media show horses in horrible condition.  It is important to remember, these horses are dropped off at the auction in horrible condition, by horrible people….

Often times horses are not allowed in the sale because they are too lame, too thin or both.  Sadly, the owner responsible for their poor condition is turned away at the gate and forced to take the horse back home.  Many of the pictures you see of emaciated horses are in the parking lot, not the sale barn.  I would rather see that horse enter the sale and sell to a responsible owner, but state regulations prevail.

Blaming New Holland is like blaming Ford Motor Company for building cars that result in the traffic-jam in your town.  

The New Holland Auction is a clearinghouse for horses that come from farms and backyards near YOU.  Horses that got too old for lessons or summer camp.   Horses that were injured.   Horse’s whose owners could no longer afford their care.   Race Horses that ran too slow and performance horses that didn’t bring home enough blue ribbons.  Unwanted ponies that were never properly trained to be good ponies.  YOU know these horses – We see them all the time.  Yet so many are shocked and appalled when they see them at New Holland.

10645225_10204940581453090_6960020874776007876_nIf the problem were the auctions and killbuyers,  that would be an easy problem to fix.  The problem is much bigger and surrounds all of us in the horse community.  We need to start looking at the real problem, not the symptoms.

SO when you see reports of animal abuse at auctions, ask yourself the following:

  • Who dropped that horse off in that condition?
  • Who bred that horse?
  • Who owned that horse: who competed that horse and enjoyed that horse’s youth?
  • Who profited from that horse through lessons/camps?
  • Who sold that horse to the dealer?

                             Those are the questions to answer…..

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16 Responses to The Real Truth about New Holland

  1. Kim Pridgen says:

    Sorry but I have been in Amish country and witnessed the lack of care these horse receive. Trotted wide open on the asphalt, lathered and labored breathing. Some scrawny, some with sores. The Amish do NOT take care of their animals as you would a good car. They use them, abuse them, and then throw them away

    • S Ross says:

      TOTALLY AGREE with you Kim Pridgen! From PA and saw it all – was at the NH sale many times. Sickening to say the least. I have NO respect whatsoever for the Amish where animals are concerned.

  2. Kimberly Marie says:

    And what can we do to create spaces for these horses when they are no longer able to perform their job?
    I would love to see a rescue whose sole purpose is to offer a judgement-free drop off zone for owners to donate horses whose owner might realize they have not done a good job caring for. And a no-questions asked pickup service. Then perhaps, many of those horses would not be hidden from sight. I would love to know what the legality of that would be. Does the law allow an owner to drop a horse off anonymously and a rescue assume ownership? There are car lots that have licenses allowing untitled cars to be sold to them. Seems like a similar thing.
    Low cost euthanasia or rebate programs to help owners who are financially strapped to do the right thing for their horse.
    What about a nonprofit whose sole purpose was to help with short term horse-ownership issues. For instance, providing feed and hay for a period of time to families who have lost jobs or cannot afford their horses, either while they rehome them or for the short term so that they can get back on their feet and continue to care for their horses. Or help for some who are injured or elderly and need someone to feed for them or help carry hay bales, etc?
    What about a nonprofit that specifically worked in Amish communities to rehome their horses? They don’t have the advertising resources that the rest of us do, and I wonder how many might avail themselves of a resource that helped to place horses no longer able to work.
    I have a great deal of respect for those who are in the auction loop, bringing out horses there as a last resort, but just doing that is putting a bandaid over a severed limb. We need someone to step up and address the needs of the people calling the kill broker as a last resort or shipping to a broker/auction. We need to address the human problems in order to help the horse symptoms.

    • Melissa Hicks says:

      I wish that rescue’s would open cremation services to horse owners for a small price like 25-200 bucks depending on size of horse/pony. It would be a alternative to horse owners to have the horse put down. They wouldn’t have to worry about what happens to their horse, and it would help laws regarding disposing off equines! I would rather know my horse lived a good life and I would know he went away being put down instead of sending him god knows where to god knows who. Also when special circumstances arise like a death in winter it’s a more available option!

    • TexasHorseLady says:

      Kimberly, at least two Morgan Horse rescues work directly with the Amish to rehome their horses and have for some time. I’m a founding Board member of Forever Morgans Rescue, and we’ve been working directly with them almost since the beginning 12 years ago. It takes time to establish trust, however, especially with people badmouthing them and creating suspicion, and there are too many horses for our resources to accommodate – foster homes, adoptive homes, and funds are always in short supply. Still, we’ve rescued almost 500 Morgans over our existence and continue to rescue more (not just from the Amish – there are plenty that need rescuing that never set foot amongst the Amish).

  3. Sam @WI says:

    I have to agree with Kim. I have interacted with the Old Order Amish in Wisconsin. And they are not caring and kind to there animals.Just the bare necessities to keep their work animals going.They also have been associated with running puppy mills.

  4. Carla Coulter says:

    Your ideas are good Kimberly, but that all costs money and lots of it. So there in lies the problem

  5. Melissa Hicks says:

    I wish that rescue’s would open cremation services to horse owners for a small price like 25-200 bucks depending on size of horse/pony. It would be a alternative to horse owners to have the horse put down. They wouldn’t have to worry about what happens to their horse, and it would help laws regarding disposing off equines! I would rather know my horse lived a good life and I would know he went away being put down instead of sending him god knows where to god knows who. Also when special circumstances arise like a death in winter it’s a more available option!
    Edit Reply

  6. Melissa Horn says:

    There are people worse than the Amish. Your statement about the Amish discarding their horses at the Auction is not true at all. Matter of fact, the Amish have their own auctions at New Holland on Fridays and their horses sell for more then New Hollands Monday Auction. The killbuyers can rarely buy horses for slaughter at the Amish Horse auction sale because they sell for more money. You are stereotyping. Get your facts straight before passing judgement about things you know nothing about. The Amish are not dumping their horses and they take very good care of them. Many of their horses sell for $4000 to. $5000 per horse.

    • Janine Jacques says:

      I was referring to the $5000 Amish horse who gets too old to be a buggy horse and is lame. Those horses are the ones you see at the Auctions.

  7. TexasHorseLady says:

    Having worked for over a decade in a rescue that interacts with the Amish, there are a couple of things I’d like to say to some below. Yes, the Amish have their bad apples, just like we “English” do. There are also Amish that are very caring of their horses and even want to keep in touch with adopters to make sure they are doing okay in their new lives. Many do not realize that there are alternatives to auction and, when they find out about us, are delighted to know that there is and will contact us and share the word.

    The WORST thing you can do, for the horses, is to badmouth all Amish (insert African American, gay, women, transgender, or the similar word of your choice here to recognize exactly what that kind of attitude is). Would YOU want to work with people who consistently said nasty things about you and your entire group? No? Well, neither would they, and doing so, as emotionally self-righteous as it may make you feel (and, yes, that can be an addictive feeling), makes it MORE likely that the horses will end up at auction and LESS likely that reputable rescues will be able to step in and prevent that.

  8. Ginger Bartholomew says:

    We have race horse’s and the Amish are always coming around wanted to buy any that can’t race. I told my husband I would rather kill a horse then give it to the amish. I also know how they treat them. Go to Lancaster Pa in the summer and the temp is 90.

  9. Jodi Cook says:

    They don’t through them away. They wring the last, few dollars out of them.

  10. Jodi Cook says:

    Food for thought, and well written. Not all Amish can be painted with the same brush, however. Some give good care to their animals, some don’t.

  11. Tammy Miller says:

    Fact is: Amish are quite cruel, Period! Work their horse to death and puppy mills. Not to mention how they treat women. They haven’t even progressed to pants.

  12. TrueRedWhiteandBlue says:

    If the Amish think of their horses as “cars” and to only serve a hard life or “working purpose”, maybe they need to just go buy a truck or car. There is a special place in hell for animal abusers of any kind.

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