Marie writes:  I’m speechless.  If the direct quote from a Quarter Horse breeder in Alberta, Canada stating that she has to breed 100 horses to get two good ones, is not bad enough, she took 25 young, healthy mares she bred and dropped them off at a slaughter plant.  Some how she justifies not being willing to give them to a rescue organization to re-home.

FORESTBURG, Alta. – Tears welled up in Betty Coulthard’s eyes as she described the day she delivered two loads of young mares to a slaughter plant.

After a disappointing production sale last spring where 44 registered Quarter horses did not sell out of 60 on offer, she had to make the difficult choice of culling the herd on her Forestburg ranch.

She shipped 25 young, registered horses to a meat plant at Lacombe, Alta. Her average price per horse on the first load was $161 and a second load averaged $191.

A Quarter horse breeder for more than 30 years in central Alberta, Coulthard sees her livelihood slipping away. She keeps about 50 mares and many trace back to North American championship stock.

She raises and sells young horses for pleasure riding, barrel racing or showing.

“You have to breed 100 horses a year to get two good horses.”

Coulthard is concerned about people who do not want to spend $2,000 on a sound young horse that can be trained.

Instead, they are willing to buy a horse with unknown history at an auction for less than $200. At that rate, she cannot stay in business.

“We are not hobby people, we are business people,” she said.

Coulthard is also concerned when people suggest unwanted animals go to rescue services. These are often horses in difficulty. They may have structural or temperament problems. By being raised at rescue centres, their genetics are being preserved while breeders of quality animals exit the industry.

“We’ll see our horse quality diminish as professional breeders disappear,” Coulthard said.

She believes a number of things brought her business to its knees. The recession shrunk incomes and she could no longer afford to keep horses.

Too many hobbyists are breeding horses with no plans for the resulting foals and too many slaughter animals are coming in from the United States, which drives down the meat price.

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