Every year Mardi Gras is celebrated and enjoyed by tens of thousands of people. The revelry, food, drink and oh let’s not forget the parade, or should I say parades. If you’ve ever attended Mardi Gras or watched it on television its a feast for the senses. The costumes, the colors, the glitter, and then there are the parade horses, decked out in fancy regalia and steppin’ to the music. When the music ends and Mardi Gras comes to a close for another year, what happens to those high steppin’ horses?
Many of the parade horses used in Mardi Gras come from local stables, they are generally lesson horses, so are well -mannered enough for a parade, these horses go back to their stable after Mardi Gras and resume giving lessons, they are the more fortunate ones. There is usually a far greater need for parade horses than some of the participating stables have so some of the horses used in Mardi Gras are purchased from horse brokers (kill buyers) who go from auction to auction buying horses and turning around and selling them for a profit, a profit much higher than the horses’ original price. Some of these ‘brokers’ run a business called a kill lot. They advertise, mainly on Facebook, these horses to people who bail them, that is pay the price set by the lot for said horse, then hire transport to come haul their purchased horse to their home. It’s a very lucrative business and hundreds of thousands of dollars are made by these brokers.
To provide the needed horses for the festival some of the stables deal with these ‘brokers’, buy horses from them for the parade and sell them afterwards to the public. any horse that is not sold by a set date may go back to the broker and the kill lot and if not purchased there if they are even put up for sale again, they will be shipped to Mexico to slaughter for human consumption. There is a high demand in Europe for horse meat, it’s considered a delicacy.
Our sanctuary decided to fund raise to purchase two of the aged parade horses, Gabby a dark bay mare and Eli an aged bay roan gelding. They will be here the second week of March. It’s one of the many ways we try to help equine in need, whether it be an owner surrender, a neglected or abandoned horse, or one that has outlived the owners interest which happen often, unfortunately.