A freckle-faced boy with a shock of red hair pledged his birthday money last August to save a doomed chestnut Thoroughbred from the Canadian slaughter pipeline when nobody else would. Brandon, 9, of Ontario says he couldn’t bear the thought of the pretty ex-racehorse, whose looks reminded him of his own, going to slaughter. So after his mother MJ Allen explained to him that 17-year-old mare Karazan has been purchased by a meat buyer and would likely go to the slaughterhouse, he asked her to spend his birthday money to save her instead. Susan Salk from Off Track Thoroughbreds takes up the story…
“I did it because nobody else was going to buy her,” Brandon says. “And I saw her hair was the same, exact color as my hair. And I wanted to save her because I love horses.”
His offer floored his mother, who was so proud of her son’s generosity and compassion that she cobbled together $650 with the help of some friends and purchased the mare from an online site that offers horses who have already been sold to a meat seller, a last chance to go to a willing buyer.
Allen explains: “I recently found out about this website, Need You Now Equine, and I was watching this mare Karazan because nobody seemed interested in her. My son noticed and asked what I was doing, and when I explained it to him, that’s when he said, ‘Mummy, my birthday’s coming up. Just give my birthday money to them. I don’t want the horse to die.’ ”
A few days later, the Ontario mother announced she had a surprise for Brandon. “I thought I was in trouble,” says Brandon. But, the news was much better: Karazan had been saved from slaughter. And better still, the horse was now his!
“When I told him the horse had found a home he started jumping up and down,” Allen says. “And then I said, ‘She’s yours!’ and he went nuts.
In late August, a couple of weeks before he turned 9, the best birthday present of his life rolled down the driveway.
After years of begging for a horse of his own Brandon got his wish on Aug. 22, and Karazan got hers, too.
“Karazan’s already spoiled,” says Allen, who notes that she has given her son beautiful rides on their small horse farm, where Brandon and Karazan will create lifelong memories.
“She’s his best friend. He’s always out grooming her and whenever he feels down, he walks out into the field with carrots in his hand to talk to his new buddy,” Allen says. “They’re a perfect match; She was meant to be with him.”