Epic rescue at kill pen a New Year’s gift for draft horses

If you are looking for a flicker of hope in the early days of 2022, draft horse rescue and sanctuary, Gentle Giants provides a source of comfort to both equines and humans. Horse rescues rank at the top of all horse lovers across the country. Many of us donate to or volunteer at rescues that give horses a second chance.

On New Year’s Eve, the Gentle Giants rescue team deployed six trailers and drove over one hundred miles to a public auction. The fast and furious bidding by the meat buyers could not match the will and skill of the Gentle Giants staff and volunteers. The video on this page records Gentle Giants’ New Year’s gift to the twenty-one souls they rescued, and maybe our souls, too.

Public auctions shadow the dark side of horse slaughter. Kill pens are frequently a scheme for brokers to sell horses purchased at public auctions. In reality, brokers have already shipped horses for slaughter, and attending public auctions grows their profits which they use to troll the lots for abandoned, sick, and deposed horses to build their meat sale business. Draft horses and draft crosses are most at risk because of their size and weight. When a meat buyer sees a draft horse, dollar signs soar.

Gentle Giants was formed to rescue draft and draft cross horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.  Gentle Giants staff and volunteers travel to public auctions where they outbid kill buyers. Contributions to Gentle Giants NEVER go into the pockets of meat buyers but the actual purchase of horses at these auctions. Gentle Giants staff and volunteers work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate, retrain, rehome, and safely retire horses ineligible for adoption.


The deluge of unsettling news assaults our inboxes and computer screens every day. Gentle Giants offers not only horse lovers in Maryland a moment of respite, but horse lovers in this country and others a moment to take a breath and recognize passionate people with the temerity to go up against meat buyers can and do win. Honor the horse rescue in your area by donating cash or in-kind or strap-on your boots and volunteer.

Stay tuned and stay horsey! Please share this blog post and encourage friends and family to sign-up for Nicker Notes. Anna and D’arcy