Success Stories


Published 01/25/2014


How Cavalier DF found his way home again.

Submitted by: Rein Lily

“He is a kind horse with a soulful eye that reaches into your heart.”

Samantha Milbredt

January 13th, 2014, 2Cavalier DF, an 18 year old, double registered Azteca and Part Andalusian gelding, was found in Zillah, WA standing in a kill pen, tagged and waiting to be loaded on a truck headed for a Canadian slaughterhouse.

The current state of the economy has hurt many families, forcing changes in how and where they live and work. Some families have given up pets, and even their most prized, Iberian horses.

Not every situation allows an owner the time to find just the right home for their horse. Even if the horse is Andalusian related, chances are high that the owner could sell the horse to an independent broker or feed lot owner who purchases horses that meet Canadian slaughter criteria for more money than the owner might receive at auction. The Zillah, WA feed lot owner (FLO) allows an assessor to evaluate certain horses to see if they could be re-sold into caring homes, rather than shipped to slaughter.

Zillah Feedlot assessor, Samantha Milbredt, felt that 1Cavalier was no ordinary horse. “When I sent in his assessment I was only thinking about the ride – but Cavalier has a nick name at the feedlot – it is Nick of Time – if you look closely [in the photos] you will see that he was tagged to ship – I ran out and saw him on the ship side [of the feed lot] and begged to be able to assess him even though he was tagged. The FLO agreed and good ole Nick rode great!”

Ms. Milbredt analyzes horses on the feed lot for re-homing. There is a small fee attached to the horse’s price that goes toward helping the next horse, she says. It makes the horses from the Zillah feedlot more expensive, but it’s geared to help the buyers have an idea what they are getting, although there are no guarantees as it’s unknown where most of the horses have come from.

Ms. Milbredt shares the descriptions, photos and video she assembles for each horse on Rebel’s Equine Feedlot Sales, a listing service on Facebook, including a forum and web site, geared toward promoting the re-homing and sale of feed lot horses in Zillah, WA. The group is administrated by Helen Love. Ms. Love then shares information on Andalusian related horses with Iberian Horse Rescue, also on Facebook.

Long-time Andalusian horse breeder, Ramona DeJong was browsing Facebook when she recognized Cavalier DF on Iberian Horse Rescue. Ms. DeJong replied,“This is a horse that I bred some years ago. I have no idea who sent him there, but he IS a great horse. His sire is Capriccioso NW and his dam is Miss Bonanza Bar Jez. He was born in 1996 and should have a microchip. He as registered with the Azteca Association. Hope someone gets him SOON !!!!”

Photo: Cavalier as a foal

Iberian Horse Rescue, a Facebook page started in April, 2013, and based in the Pacific

Northwest, has grown to over five hundred members. The page shares photos and information on Andalusian related horses and other Iberians found “in dire need (life or death) of re-homing”. Iberian Horse Rescue administrator, Rein Lily, welcomes ads from all over the world for “at-risk for slaughter” horses, generally priced under $1,000 USD.

Over the weekend, Ms. DeJong shared the information she found online about Cavalier DF with her friend and the horse’s original owner, Jennifer Maynard. In an email interview, Ms. Maynard said, “I only kept him [Cavalier DF] until he was about 3. I had to sell both of my horses because I didn’t have the time with small children to care for them properly. …Shortly before all this came about I found those pics I posted and rush of feelings overwhelmed me and the memories of that time came back and wondered how he was doing and where he was.. never in a million years thought that he would end up in a place like a kill pen. I cried for hours when I knew the situation and blamed myself for ever selling such a great horse. I wish I had the funds and a place to take him because I would’ve taken him back. I am glad that he is going to be back in Oregon and that I am going to be able to see him. That fills me with joy.”

But that’s not all. Wintery conditions and sudden changes in temperature in the Lower Yakima Valley caused some horses to begin showing signs of illness, including Cavalier. He needed to be off the feed lot and into quarantine, immediately. He needed to be saved. Enter, Shelly Houston. She had found the listing for Cavalier on Rebel’s Equine Feedlot Sales on Facebook and replied, “I think he used to be one of my horses !! Oh my gosh !!!¡! I want him back if he is !!! I owned him from 4 yr. Old !! Oh my gosh… Oh my gosh !!! Jan 17, 2014.

In special cases, Equine Fundraising Network (EFN) on Facebook becomes involved with helping fundraise for feed lot horses with home offers. The EFN page says that, “We only help raise funds for purchase and prospective buyer needs to be proactive. Proactive includes having something to get the fund started.” And horses can still be sold directly to someone else for cash, at which point donations are refunded to supporters. Saturday, January 18th, 2014, the EFN began a fundraiser for Cavalier. On Monday, January 20th, 2014, Cavalier was moved into quarantine by Ms. Milbredt, and is waiting until quarantine is over in early February to be hauled to Oregon, back to his old home with Shelly Houston.

1Cavalier – Upon listing the horse, Helen Love needed a name for him and asked Rein Lily, who replied with “Cavalier”.

2Cavalier DF – Ironically, the horse’s actual registered name is Cavalier DF.