Darla Cherry, who has multiple sclerosis, cares for the horses more for love than money:
Her most recent castoff was Star, an 11-year-old Quarter mare acquired in June. A woman paid Cherry the requested $200 donation and handed over the horse, with a local television news crew on hand to film the exchange.
A day later, the check bounced, the woman’s phone was shut off and Cherry discovered Star suffered from a deformed flapper in her throat.
The condition left her so ill, her breathing sounded like “a train coming down the barn,” said Dr. Keith Huffman, a veterinarian who performed a tracheotomy on Star at Retama Equine Hospital in Selma after someone volunteered to pay the horse’s medical costs.
“I guess you don’t realize how much economics play into all of this,” Huffman said. “That’s a big part of treating horses. A lot of people can’t afford things that maybe need to be done.”
The story reminded me of an excellent article by Lisa Sandberg about horses that are taken to Mexico to be slaughtered for meat. In 2006, I also wrote a story about the hundreds of racehorses in Texas that die on the track every year.