Remember Me Rescue is a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Accredited 501(c)3 organization specializing in rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming retired racehorses
The story below was written by the Remember Me Rescue Vice Presdent, Vicki Morgan and was posted on her facebook timeline July 21, 2017. It tells a wonderful story that will never get the press it deserves. The horses adoption information will be at the bottom of this page.
I'm going to tell you a story. It's about a horse, of course...but it's really about a man. A man I've never actually met in person, who over the past week has become a good friend and someone I greatly respect. A man who truly lives the adage "a man's word is his bond". So...shall we begin?
Last Friday evening, I received a text message from a friend and fellow RMR BOD member asking if I would speak to a guy about a horse in trouble. I agreed somewhat reluctantly...it was Friday evening after all and I was looking forward to a peaceful, drama free weekend. I get messages about horses in trouble all the time.. I'm cognizant of my own limitations and have had to say "no" frequently to protect my own sanity and the horses already under the RMR umbrella. Call it fate, kismet or me just being crazy, I told my fellow rescue buddy to give him my number. Five minutes later I was speaking with Mike DeMent. After hearing his story I agreed to help. If Mike would bail the horse, I'd find a hauler and the horse could come to RMR. My rescue buddy/RMR BOD member offered up half of the funds for the haul and I reached out to a dear trusted friend in LA about either QT'ing him at her farm or hauling him to us. She agreed without a moment's hesitation to pick him up and bring him straight to RMR (God Bless her and her big heart). So we were semi set. We had a plan. Everyone needs a plan right?
Mike and his family have a small racing operation in the Midwest. When they began their racing venture, Mike made a promise to always look after the horses that they've owned or raced. To that end, he attaches a sticker to their JC papers with his number and a notation "if this horse needs a home when he retires, please call". Well....that call came last week. Imagine Mike's surprise when the person at the other end of the phone introduced herself as our favorite liar liar pants on fire, general scum of the earth, very own Tara Michelle Sanders of the hell on earth, faux kill pen, Thompson's Horse lot. Now I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm pretty sure Mike has never in his life come face to face with the kind of crazy TMS brings with her. It seems a horse Mike's family once owned for half a second had the very bad luck of falling into Tara's and her significant other, Jacob Thompson's clutches and since they had his JC papers with Mike's # on it, they let their fingers do the walking to try and scare up some extra dinero. After all, I'm sure TMS needs to buy more Thrive patches or get her nails done or whatever...anywhoo I digress.
Tara proceeds to inform Mike that this horse was sent to THL as a "direct ship to slaughter", but out of the goodness of her heart, she took the time out of her busy day to call him with a heads up. She then begins to berate Mike about how this situation is "all his fault" that "his" horse is going to be killed unless he steps up and pays her the extremely "fair" price of $975. (Now I'm going to provide a little factual info here... Mike owned this horse as a YEARLING in 2012. He bought him as a pinhooking prospect and sold him a year later at a loss. The horse wasn't even named during the time Mike had him which was FIVE YEARS AGO). So, how that makes this Mike's fault boggles the mind.
Mike hasn't shared with me the verbatim conversation between Tara and himself except to say it was nasty and unpleasant. Knowing how she operates I'm pretty sure that's putting it mildly. Mike requested a video or pics of the horse so he could ascertain it really was the horse she said it was. Tara promised video's by the next day (Saturday). After getting the general gist of how the convo went I advised him on how to proceed, what would happen to the horse if he didn't and that my name, RMR's name etc had to be kept completely out of any conversation he had with TMS or JT. It would only serve to hurt the horse and Mike's effort to help him if they knew of our involvement. Let me just say we're not on their Christmas card list. All this happened Friday, 7-14-17.
On Saturday, Mike sent multiple text messages, left voice mails etc trying to get in touch with Tara and heard nada, squat, crickets... apparently she was suffering from a Migraine, but that didn't keep her from being very active on FB. By now, I'm 80% convinced that they've already "shipped" (and we all know that's total BS) or sent the horse elsewhere and are just toying with Mike for some diabolical reason (or just cause they can). Saturday fades into Sunday and by Sunday evening, I at least had given up hope that anyone would be able to help "the horse". I finally suggested Mike call Jacob. Well, wonders never cease. Jacob still had the horse and if Mike wanted him, he was for sale for $1100 (remember he was $975 on Friday?). Mike asked about his JC papers and the price went up to $1200 with papers. Mike bit the bullet and paypal'd the money. Now to get him off that lot... I had Mike request a Tuesday pickup... That was a NO. Horse has to have Coggins & HC and the vet only comes on Wednesday's. Hmmmm Tara had stated the horse arrived at THL on Tuesday (conveniently that's the day the local auction is held) so it stands to reason that if they purchased him at that auction, so he'd have a Coggins... but that's just my suspicious nature rearing it's ugly head....seems to me if the horse was truly a "direct ship" whoever sent him there would have sent him to Stanley Bros instead of Thompson's. Again I digress. JT tells Mike the earliest the horse can leave is late Wednesday afternoon (that's lightening fast for a Coggins since it was only pulled sometime Wednesday, but we all know their "vet" is under scrutiny, so I guess he's trying to at least appear to do the correct paperwork. So JT tells Mike to be safe pickup should be planned for Thursday. I have a trusted friend that's agreed to pick up the horse and bring him directly to RMR to begin his QT, but she can't do it till Friday. So...pickup is now set for Friday (today).at 9 am. Instructions are provided to my friend to call an hour before arrival so the lot can have the horse up front and ready to load. This always gives me anxiety - things can still go wrong. I'm well aware of the horror stories regarding THL - wrong horses, horses that dropped dead in the trailers etc. We were all very concerned especially since there were no pictures! None, zip, nada - no pictures of the $1200 horse. First kink - lot won't answer the phone at the appointed time. Panic kicks in. I frantically text Mike, he calls Gary (who answers the phone - go figure). Pickup is still a go. Truck and trailer and dear friend arrive at lot. Horse is ready, paperwork is ready, horse is loaded and they're Texas bound within 15 minutes.
Now about "THE HORSE" - Indio Atlantico (2011 bay TB gelding) last raced at Evangeline Downs on 6-28 finishing 6th. Owner of record is Jarrett Auguillard, Trainer was Joseph Auguillard. Indio has had numerous owners since he left Mike DeMent's care in 2012, but it was a guy that hadn't seen him in 5 years that stepped up to the plate to keep him from ending up on one. I think that says all I need to know about what kind of a human being Mike DeMent is. Welcome Home Indio. We're happy to have you! I'd like to thank Mike DeMent for his unwavering determination to get Indio to safety, Dreux Flaherty for making the connection and covering part of the haul, and to my dear friend (and secret weapon) in Louisiana for always answering my phone calls and last but not least, my friend, partner in crime and the one person I'd follow over a cliff if she asked me to, Donna Keen for the inspiration and guidance that enables us to help horses like Indio.
Indio will be available for adoption shortly. He was just released from QT and will we be evaluation him over the next couple of weeks.