"I'm feeling pretty good today," said Priscilla Clark, president of Tranquility Farm in Tehachapi, Calif. Aug. 6. "It's looking pretty well handled at this point."
Clark said the Phoenix man who has the horses, Dave Quinn, has "given us his word that he would not sell these horses for slaughter" and would "deal fairly" with Tranquility for their purchase. She said she hopes to begin removing them to safe locations Aug. 7.
"We believe that with all the adopters we have that we should have enough (funds) to buy all the horses," she added.
The group, which includes 40 pregnant mares and six stallions, came from a large-scale breeding operation in Southern California, Warren's Thoroughbreds. Ben Warren, the owner of the Hemet facility, said he was culling his herd and gave Quinn the horses in late July believing they would be sold for racing and breeding purposes.
Instead, they were headed for auction in Chandler Ariz., the weekend of Aug. 2-3 when news of the horses reached Clark from a friend of hers, Joyce Long, a bloodstock agent.
Steve Irlando, a Phoenix-area trainer who knows Quinn, convinced him to hold off on taking the animals to auction. Irlando is representing Tranquility on the purchase of the horses as well, Clark said. She added that Long has arranged to place them at three farms in the Phoenix area temporarily while volunteers sort through Jockey Club paperwork to match the identities of the mares, determine who they are in foal to, and take photographs.
Clark said the process has been delayed while they await the necessary paperwork from Warren. Fortunately, some of the mares are wearing identification collars, she said.
"All are in good condition, except for one mare that is pretty banged up," Clark said. They are penned at Quinn's ranch.
Clark said the generous reaction to news of the horses' plight has overwhelmed her. She has people willing to adopt the horses from all over the western United States. Others have contributed donations. A horse transport company has offered to haul the horses at heavily discounted rates.
Once the horses are safe and identified, Clark will begin the process of making them available for purchase on her farm Web site, www.tranquilityfarmtbs.org. Photographs will be posted as well.
She said all of the stallions--Seattle Bound, Dante's Inferno, Kris Kross, Mr. Bolg, Major Moment, and Dynamite Vision--"are spoken for."