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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Midwest Thoroughbreds Give Big Gifts to Remember Me Rescue

Most people in the industry might look at Midwest Stables and Rich and Karen Papiese as just another large operation that has now won more races than any other owner in history.

Little is known about this operation for Rich and Karen are humble, quiet individuals who do not want any fanfare or notoriety. What is not known about them is their love for horses and what they do for the industry.

Remember Me Rescue, a 501(c)3 organization, takes in dozens of retired racehorses each year, and places these horses with little or no help from grants, or professional organizations but fund their efforts through the generosity of people in the horse racing industry.

They have aided in large scale rescues of thoroughbred horses in Louisiana and Texas and have placed hundreds of horses in new homes since starting the program in 2008. Many horses at Remember Me are not rescues but are donated by caring owners and trainers who want a future for their retired racehorses. Horses leave Remember Me with the skills they need to make sure they always be wanted, useful horses.

Upon hearing about the amazing work Donna and Dallas Keen have done with this rescue and the limited space and funds, Rich and Karen silently and on their own initiative donated not only $10,000 to help but have also offered to build a new rehabilitation facility with 20 stalls for the horses at Remember Me Rescue.

Rich is pretty adamant about doing this quietly without attention, but I feel , as does Donna, that its time that he is understood as a horse loving owner that does give back to the industry and cares deeply about horses .

It's the time of year for all horse owners and farms in this Holiday Season take a hard look at what they have given back to the sport and the many rescues that are desperately in need of help for the horses that bring such joy in racing, but need help when their careers are over.

Press release by Maggi Moss 12/12/12

Remember Me Rescue

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Battle of the X;s, the OTTB Trainer Challenge

About 2 months ago Remember Me Rescue was involved in a 20 horse thoroughbred rescue from a ranch in San Marcos, Texas.   There were 85 horses on the trail riding ranch being overseen by a young incompetent wrangler. 

Most of the horses were in fair condition but the thoroughbreds were all in need of serious attention.  One had a fractured shoulder, several with laminitis, another with a life threatening wire cut, and another 2 diagnosed with EPM.   Others were simply emaciated, depressed, and living off tree bark and manure.   They were in need of a lot of care to say the least.
Western Escape, a 7 year old gelding moved to RMR

With the help of fosters and a couple of local rescue groups we quickly placed several of the horses in immediate need and transported 9 others to Remember Me Rescue, 2 in critical condition.  Even though we were almost at capacity at that time we made room for the new members, bringing our total number of horses at RMR to 17.  

Once arriving at RMR the horses were put on carefully calculated diets to reintroduce them to grain and hay.  Then we had to come up with a plan to place horses in new homes.   Some of these horses hadn't been ridden since retiring from racing several years ago so it was crucial they be restarted and retrained by professionals.  While talking to other board members we came up with this plan.  Do something similar to the Mustang Challenge and place horses with people that are experienced horse trainers.  So the idea began.

Donna Keen and Great Claude, a 10 year old gelding moved to RMR
Since we already had preliminary plans for an all thoroughbred show in the spring we thought we might combine the two and pick a location and a date that could accommodate a big crowd.   We choose April 27,2013 at the historic Will Rogers Coliseum in Ft Worth, Texas.   Next had to call in a few favors.  Before we knew it we had booked Hall of Fame Jockey Julie Krone, Hall of Fame Trainer Jack Van Berg, and singer Liza G. Fly

We decided to call the event The Battle of the X's, The OTTB Trainer Challenge and All Thoroughbred Show.   Only thoroughbreds will be able to compete in classes ranging from Western to English, to jumping and hunter classes.   We will also feature a "Companion Only" class for retired racehorses that can not be ridden.   Common racetrack injuries and ailments as well as soundness will be overlooked.   They will be judged on appearance and showmanship.   Special prizes will be awarded to these special people who take these retired athletes into their families.

As for the Challenge itself we have picked 10 trainers and let them draw for 10 horses.   We will be awarding $10,000 to the top 3 trainers in the Challenge.   After the Challenge we will auction the Challenge horses to Pre-Approved adopters that have submitted an adoption application and have been approved by Remember Me Rescue. 
Trainer Farley Sliss picking up her Challenge horse, Lady Charlie's Boy

The proceeds from the show and sale will benefit Remember Me Rescue and our mission to build an intensive care unit for severely injured horses and post surgery horses to give them a safe place to recover as well as the therapy they need to do so.

We are currently looking for sponsors for the event.  The sponsorship levels are as follows...

Platinum $5000
Diamond $3000
Gold $1500
Silver $1000
Bronze $500
Red $100
White $50
Blue $25
Platinum through Bronze levels will have their logos on all our print materials (flyer's, posters and print ads). Their names will be announced over the PA system ...

numerous times during the day of the show and will receive prominent placement in our show program. All sponsors will be recognized in our show program.
Class Sponsors:
$100 Class
$300 Division (3 classes)
$1000 Handy Hunter Class (pays back to 6th place)
$1500 Joker's Wild Class (pays back to 6th place)
We are also looking for a special gift for the winner of the Companion Class
If you are interested in sponsoring or donating a gift for our auction please email or visit for more information.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A new way to help support horse racing, support them after racing.

Remember Me Rescue is inviting everyone to join our team, TEAM RESTART. Team Restart has been formed to support the ever growing number of retired racehorses looking for homes when their careers at the track are over. Whether it is the end of a wonderful racing career or a injury that caused an unexpected end to racing Remember Me Rescue welcomes them all.

Unlike many rehoming programs Remember Me Rescue has a rehabilitation and retraining program developed by Dallas and Donna Keen to 'undo' the racetrack behaviors and instill a new beginning and one on one relationship with retired racehorses. Many of the horses that graduate from the RMR program have gone on to be mounted police horses, do search and rescue, or be awesome trail mounts with the thorough training they receive at Remember Me.

Our new TEAM RESTART program will allow horse lovers and racing fans a way to participate by sharing some of the financial responsibility on a small level. A gift of $10 a month buys a bag of feed that will feed a healthy horse for about 4 days. A $25 a month gift can pay for up to 5 bags of bedding for horse stalls. A $100 a month gift can feed, hay, and provide bedding for a horse in our program for up to 8 days. Most of the rehabilitation and retraining is done by volunteers or Dallas and Donna Keen personally to keep the programs costs to a minimum but veterinary and farrier expenses are on the shoulders of our supporters.

Please consider being a part our our team and join TEAM RESTART today. We need your assistance to keep our program actively working for the thoroughbred industry.

Go to for more information on our program and how we help retired racehorses transition to new homes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Past the Grandstand: Stallion Feature: Unbridled's Heart

Past the Grandstand: Stallion Feature: Unbridled's Heart: Unbridled’s Heart: New for 2012 at Keen Farms in Texas John Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rasheed al Maktoum’s bloodstock manager, is...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Running for the Horses, Carmel Heitzmann gives back

Heitzmann running for Remember Me Rescue

What a miraculous comeback year it has been for Fair Grounds-based horsewoman Carmel Heitzmann. Severely injured when kicked by a horse in front of the Fair Grounds stands last February 17, Heitzmann's life was in jeopardy during those first critical hours and days, but following exploratory surgery that led to the removal of 24 inches of her colon, the wife of local trainer Eric Heitzmann was released from the hospital 10 days later.

Amazingly, the British-born but Irish-raised Heitzmann is now preparing for an upcoming run in the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on March 4, but she's not doing it for any self-serving reason. "I'm going to do it to raise funds for my friends Donna and Dallas Keen, who operate Remember Me Rescue," the thirty-something former flight attendant for Emirates Airlines said. "I was so moved by their efforts in the rescue of more than 60 starving horses from that farm in northern Louisiana last month that I wanted to do something to help, so I'm accepting pledges from friends, racing colleagues, horse lovers and anyone else who cares to donate on behalf of my upcoming run. Whatever money I get from pledges I will be donating to Remember Me Rescue."

Along with the Louisiana Horse Rescue Association, Remember Me has been at the forefront of efforts to save those horses seized last month. The owner of the farm has been charged with animal cruelty, but the horses -- those that can be saved -- face a long and expensive road to recovery.

Remember Me was officially founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization to rehabilitate and retrain ex-racehorses with the hope of finding them new homes, but the recent rescue operation has put an added strain on the organizations' resources."Remember Me has a place on their website with my name on it," Heitzmann said. "Anybody wishing to contribute to my run can go on the website and click under my name to make to make a donation, but I also carry pledge forms around with me when I'm in the barn area running my husband's shed row. Some people want to make donations based on the number of miles I complete, and some want to give me a bonus later if I complete the whole marathon. Other people have just given me a contribution upfront no matter how I do in the run. But every penny I make will go to Remember Me toward the care of those horses that were rescued."

What is remarkable, especially to those that witnessed Heitzmann's injuries last year, is that she is around at all, not that she has recovered enough to be training for a marathon. "It's still a nightmare for me to even think about," she said of her accident. "I'm just happy that I lived to tell the tale about what happened. I'll never be a hundred percent again after those injuries. I'll always have issues, but I thank God everyday that I'm still alive. The doctors gave me the 'OK' a couple of weeks ago to run in this marathon as long as I feel up to it, so that's what I plan to do. I ran 10 miles yesterday. I've been running all my life. I ran in the London Flora Marathon 10 years ago and the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon two years ago."

What is also remarkable is Heitzmann's late-developing career as a horsewoman. She initially met her husband on one of her Emirates flights in 2000 while he was an assistant trainer working for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum in Dubai. "I don't know if it was his American accent or his big blue eyes that got to me, but we connected right away," she said. "As we quickly found out, we had some mutual friends and we had our first date at Gordon Ramsey's Glass House Restaurant in Dubai shortly thereafter. "Although I was born in Birmingham, England, I grew up in Ireland helping my grandparents on their milking farm in Ireland and I'd always loved animals, but I'd never been around horses until I started working with my husband in 2007," she explained. "I absolutely love it. I fell in love with horses right away." But why -- considering the permanent nature of some of her injuries -- would she choose to subject herself to the added pressure of training for something as grueling as a run in a marathon? "To be honest," she concluded, "maybe I just want to give something back to this wonderful industry that has been so very good to my husband and to me."

When JRita Young Thoroughbreds' Leestown Doll broke her maiden with a 5 1/4-length win at Fair Grounds on January 20, it served as a reminder of one recent encouraging update among those horses rescued from severe neglect in northern Louisiana. Leestown Doll, trained by Allen Milligan, is by Leestown out of a Two Punch mare named Be Bop Baby, who was one of those horses saved by Remember Me Rescue. "When we first got (Be Bop Baby), she was suffering from a severe case of rain rot," said Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue. "She had numerous abscesses that had formed under her hair, and when we bathed her everyday she had a horrible smell about her, even after her bath was completed. She's shown some major improvement since we got her less than a month ago. She's getting better every day, and when we bathe her now she no longer has that smell of death about her. I think she's really starting to enjoy her life once again."

If you would like to sponsor Carmel Heitzmann you can do so on the RMR website on
Carmels page

Remember Me Rescue is a 501(c)3 formed for to change the lives of retired racehorses and help them make the transformation from racehorse to family horse through rehabilitation and training.

We are still in need of donations for the ongoing care of the horses seized from Many as well as the other horses in our program. Please consider supporting RMR and keep our program going.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Many, LA horse seizure Update

On January 23rd, 2012 six more of the 60+ horses seized from Charles Ford's thoroughbred farm in Many, LA arrived at Remember Me Rescue. The most anticipated was Be Bop Baby, a 15 year old grey thoroughbred mare. My heart broke the first time I laid eyes on her January 7th. She was in a large over grazed pasture with 23 other mares and 2 geldings. Be Bop was definitely the most poor and weak of the bunch and I knew then and there I wanted to bring her to RMR to help her in every way possible to regain her strength and dignity.

I was also very concerned about a small unidentified bay gelding that was turned out with the mares. He too is severely under weight and has the worst case of rain rot I have ever seen. He is actually abscessing from his withers to his tail on both sides and it is extremely painful to touch. We will be starting him on antibiotics and topically treating the irritation but I am very worried about his condition. We are nicknaming him Spanky, he is very sweet and knows we are here to help him. You can see the excruciating pain he is in but still allows us to do what we have to do. It's heartbreaking.

We also picked up a 3 year old grey stallion named High On Punch that was still at the Sabine Humane Society awaiting the 15 day period his owner had to post bond for his return. Bond was not posted and all the horses are now safely away from their cruel and irresponsible owner. High On Punch was one of the last horses that ran for owner Charles Ford and trainer William Young. Punch is doing well, has a good appetite and appears to be sound and healthy other than very malnourished.

In addition to these horses we have 3 more young thoroughbred colts also from the same farm that have experienced the same horrors. I feel confident that all three can recover from their extreme condition with time and proper nutrition. As a little fundraiser we are having an online contest and the highest bidder can name one of these guys. You can see the auction at the Remember Me Rescue facebook page at and bid to name them.

To continue to meet the needs of these horses we are asking for donations to Remember Me Rescue, a 501(c)3 non profit organization. You can join TEAM RESTART and become a monthly supporter of our program for as little as $10 on the RMR website at . Please consider donating and helping us continue to help these horses and others like them. There is a Paypal button on the site for donations or you can mail a check to

Remember Me Rescue, 4100 Conveyor Drive, Burleson, Tx 76028

All donations are tax deductible, EIN# 26-3974010

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

60 Thoroughbreds seized at Louisiana Farm

On January 7th and 8th 2012 Remember Me Racehorse Rescue and the Louisiana Horse Rescue assisted the Sabine Humane Society in conducting a 60 horse seizure at a thoroughbred breeding and training farm in Many, Louisiana. There were originally reported to be about 120 horses on the property but by the time the case was built and the seizure was conducted half of them were either missing or deceased.

When we arrived at Charles Ford's farm it reminded me of a puppy mill. Horses everywhere. A large pasture that originally had 20 yearlings only 6 were still alive, 14 had died before we arrived. 53 broodmares were reported on the property, only 23 were still alive. 25 dead horses were either found or were euthanized upon arrival and countless fresh graves were found. Most of the broodmares had aborted their fetuses and their tiny little bones were scattered across the pasture along with the bones of many dead mares that were left out to rot. A true death count is impossible to obtain without resuming bodies from the graves.

Not only were the horses at Charles Ford's farm in horrid condition there was a large dog kennel full of hungry barking dogs with deceased dogs only feet away. There were also pigs and goats on the property that looked like staggering skeletons.

Remember Me Rescue and the Louisiana Horse Rescue are in possession of most of the horses and the Sabine Humane Society has fosters for a few. The SHS has moved the dogs and small livestock to safety. As of 1-10-12 Ford has still not signed over his rights to the horses.

Louisiana law gives owners the right to place bond for the horses in the amount of $1500 per horse within 15 days from the seizure. If he does so the horses will remain in foster care with the above mentioned agencies for 30 more days when Ford will appear before the local judge. With evidence that seems to be piled ten miles high we don't forsee the judge giving him rights to the horses.

We estimate the cost to care for these horses will exceed $450 a day while in our care. We are in desperate need of financial assistance to care for and meet the needs of these unfortunate horses. Please give if you can and support our efforts to not only save these horses but to ensure the owner Charles Ford and the trainer, William (Bill) Young never touch another animal for the rest of their lives.

Please visit the official Remember Me Rescue website at and click on the LA Horse Seizure page for more information about this project. There is a paypal button provided for donations or you can mail your check to:

Remember Me Rescue

4100 Conveyor Drive

Burleson, Texas 76028

attn: LA horses

Don't forget to share this story with everyone you know and ask them to do the same! By sharing this you are helping us to inform irresponsible breeders that we are looking for them, we will find them, and we will prosecute them to the fullest extend of the law for abusing these animals.