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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Proposal for Freeze Branding Thoroughbred Racehorses to keep them out of the human food chain.

This is my proposal for keeping our thoroughbred racehorses out of the human food chain.  I am going about it from a different angle.   Of course I do not want our horses to go through the horrendous journey to slaughter, but I also do not want children who are fed horse meat by their parents to become sick.  We really don't know what the effects of eating tainted meat are long term, but as with any poison it couldn't be good.  I know people do not want to eat this medicated meat, and I am positive they do not want to feed it to their children.   Would you?
Please read my proposal.   I am open to any suggestions.  But please keep this debate civil.   Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog. 

Freeze Branding Horses Unfit for Slaughter


 Prepared by

Donna Keen

Remember Me Rescue

4100 Conveyor Drive

Burleson, TX 76028



We are all aware of the problem the thoroughbred industry faces with our injured and aging horses ending up at slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada and now very soon in America.   I believe I have come up with a solution to not only protect our thoroughbreds but to save the lives of people consuming tainted horse meat in other countries.  Children who eat horse meat are at the most risk.  Aplastic Anemia is on the rise and horses that have been treated with phenlybutazone are the cause.
Phenlybutazone, (bute), is a substance given to almost every racehorse at some point in his life.  Any horse that has ever received even one dose of bute is banned for life from being slaughter for human consumption.   I personally do not know of a horse that has not ever been treated for a high temperature, a mild colic, or been given bute as an anti-inflammatory.   In asking track veterinarians most agree 90-95% of horses at the racetrack have had bute, making them unsuitable for slaughter.  There are 17 other drugs that also have lifetime bans from slaughter including nitrofurazone, the most common leg sweat and wound ointment at the track.
By placing a small but easily recognizable freeze brand on horses who have received a banned medication I believe we will greatly reduce the number of thoroughbreds that are slaughtered.   At the same time we will put in place a system to take care of them when they become aged, injured, or unwanted. 
The brand will be voluntary and the decision to brand will be made with a veterinarians assistance.  Freeze branding is safe and almost completely painless.
This brand will signify a horses’ meat is contaminated and unsafe for human consumption.  I am currently in the process of registering the brand in counties in Texas where horses cross the border and notifying every Texas sale barn and known slaughter buyer about the brand and what is stands for.  The brand has been registered in New York and applied for in several other states.
Notices and photos of the brand with a description of what it represents will be sent to the holding pens at the border and all known feedlots where horses are ‘fed out’ before completing their journey to slaughter.
The freeze brand we have in mind is the nationally recognized symbol that refers to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans. 
It should be placed on a visible part of the horse, such as a shoulder or a hip.   It shall be as small as possible but be easy to read and recognize.   
To ensure the brands authenticity, the veterinarian administering the drug or prescribing the medication that will make the horse unfit for slaughter will be asked to fill out a form. The form will certify the horse as receiving the drug or medication.  This will rule out any discrepancy to whether the animal is contaminated.
There will be a fee paid to register the certification.   This fee shall be placed in a ‘horse savings account’ and will be used to aid in the rescue, placement, or euthanasia of any horse in need with the brand. 
We will keep a national data base of every horse that has received the certified brand complete with photos, markings, and ownership information at the time the brand was placed on the horse.  The data base will be very user friendly and any horse can be positively identified with a lip tattoo number.
A little about Remember Me Rescue,
The Remember Me Rescue Program was formed by Dallas and Donna Keen in 2008 to assist retired or injured racehorses when their career at the track is over.   RMR has accepted, rehabilitated and retrained over 350 thoroughbreds.  We have three permanent residents and 5-15 horses available for adoption at any given time.
Remember Me Rescue is an approved 501(c)3 tax exempt foundation and operates solely on donations and sponsors.  We have no salaried employees and no paid board members.  
RMR has been very blessed.   Midwest Thoroughbreds donated a 20 stall barn this year.   We now have the capability to provide care for up to 30 horses if the need arises.
Our greatest mission is to provide retired racehorses the opportunity to learn new skills so they will never be unwanted.   Each horse goes through a retraining program including desensitization techniques and basic riding skills.   All adoptions must go through an approval process and adoption contracts are signed on every horse.
Remember Me Rescue has been very successful in helping hundreds of horses to a better fate, but we feel the need to do more.   Too many of our horses are finding an undeserving fate as they grow older or become unproductive.   
We have had overwhelming support from thoroughbred owners and breeders.   Rich Papiese, the leading owner in the country, has offered to be the first to implement the freeze brand by placing it on all of the Midwest Thoroughbred horses.
I hope you too will support us in this mission.   It can change the way people look at our industry by showing we care about our horses before, during, and after their racing and breeding careers are over. 
Please feel free to suggest any changes or additions to this proposal.   It is still in the planning stages and I want to make sure we do not forget anything.
Thank you for your time and please feel free to comment with your thoughts or ideas.   Your opinions will help me shape this program into one that will work.
Donna Keen 


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