California Riding Magazine • May, 2012

Letters to the Editor

Dear Riding Magazine,

One more letter on the subject of horse slaughter (California Riding Magazine, March 2012). I hope to bring up a point I have seen overlooked, overbreeding!

Every year the gorgeous stallion ads come out and a new crop of foals hits the ground. I noticed in the last month's letter to the editor the writer was weighing in on the slaughterhouse subject and mentioned her goal of breeding horses and helping her fiancé do so as well! My point exactly!

What happens to the foals who are not all you hoped they would be? People assume that because you are no longer interested in an animal that someone else will take it. A quick look at your local pound will show you how that idea does not work and yet what is happening in the dog/cat population is what is happening in the horse world as well. People who rescue horses are (like myself!) overwhelmed.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that great horses are not just born, they are made, through proper handling. I can't count the horses that I deal with that have been ruined by mishandling. And I'm not even talking about outright abuse, but people who have no idea what they are doing (but it looks so easy in the book/movie!). Also remember horses are an investment in both money and time, that many people are not willing to commit to for the full life of the horse. I have several "cast offs" from a couple high dollar ones who fell on hard times to your backyard variety whose owners did not have a clue ("You mean he's nearly blind? Maybe that's why he won't go the way I want.").
Although I realize some of your magazine's advertisers are breeders I would ask all who own horses to look at themselves. Maybe the problem is not with other people.

- Yvonne Reese

Editor's Note: In related news, United Horsemen postponed its April Summit Of The Horse convention to January of 2013 in order to "focus resources on its Rescue and Rejuvenation and Equine Owners Assurance programs." In addition to these programs, UH supports the return of the "secondary market for horses," in the form of re-opening of USDA-regulated horsemeat processing facilities.

On the other side of this issue, the ASPCA alerts all that "Slaughterers already applying to kill horses!" and asks supporters to "urge Secretary (of State Tom) Vilsack to reject horse slaughter."

"Americans don't raise horses for food and we do not eat horse meat," the ASPCA release states. "But there are ominous signs that horse slaughter proponents are taking swift action behind the scenes to open plants here—in fact, one slaughterhouse in New Mexico is already going through the government approval process to slaughter horses!"

To respond to the ASPCA's call to action, visit and navigate to the Advocacy Center within the Fight Animal Cruelty tab.

Letter to Editor,

(Regarding our Feb. 2012 story on combined driving stars Bethesda After Dark and Leslie Berndl.)

I am way overdue on thanking you for a wonderful article on my two dearest possessions.

Though your ability as a writer doesn't need any help, your years in the horse world certainly don't hurt you any to say the least. What a difference when a horseman writes about horsemen.

To keep you up to date, as of yesterday I withdrew Shadow and myself from the selection process for the US Team. I have instead decided to lease him to a very special young woman named Stefanie Putnam in Walnut Creek, CA. Stef is a talented rider and horseman in her own right, but an accident two years ago left her a quadriplegic. Her amazing ability to be able to drive is coming out through lessons with Leslie (Berndl) and Shadow. So rather then pursuing a possible medal I am hoping that Stef will be the one bringing home the gold with Shadow in 2014 at the Paralympics in Holland. Now there is a story!

Thank you for stretching across the country to include me in your magazine. I was and still am honored.

Best regards,

- Scott Monroe
Shadow's owner

Leslie provided us this update:

Hi, I wanted to update you with my progress with Uminco, "Travis." I placed second in the Sunshine State CDE, second at the Little Everglades International, and first at the Live Oak International. Live Oak is the biggest and most prestigious CDE in the country. Travis was also awarded the Hanzi Award, which is given to the best horse of the entire competition as voted upon by the jury, all big time International judges from Europe. We also won the Florida Triple Crown of Driving for all of the FEI level. Now it's on to Southern Pines in North Carolina in two weeks. Then to Portugal for the Single Horse World Championship ... there's the problem: money. I need to raise $50,000 in order to attend. So I am asking you for ideas, in fact I am asking for ideas from everyone about fund raising, sponsorships etc.?Any help would be appreciated!

Editor's Note: If you have any fundraising suggestions for Leslie, please contact her at Leslie runs Whispering Oaks Performance Horses in the Auburn area's Newcastle.