Viking: Quebec’s Poster Horse
Joël Le Bigot, who hosted the Radio-Canada broadcast today featuring Chamie Andorette, owner of Refuge Galahad, is a deft interviewer with an impish sense of humour. More to the point, Mr. Le Bigot asked pertinent questions of each guest–and, best of all, he had clearly done his own research (in contrast to the reporter on Bien dans son assiette’s recent two shows on horse slaughter).
Chamie did a good job describing how Refuge Galahad works with, and gives financial support to, selected, supervised foster homes. There is a great deal of support for Galahad in Quebec which is great. However, I would have liked Joël to know that there is another horse rescue in St-Agapit (where this May’s Salon du Cheval will be held) run by Céline Tremblay of les écuries Diabolo. Céline has rescued 400 horses in a two-year period alone. Refuge RR, run by Rose Gergely Blickstead, has been operating for over 20 years, and although she moved to Alexandria, Ontario, from Quebec about eight years ago, she has never stopped taking in QC horses. QC rescues make up 98 per cent of her overall total, proving once again that horse abuse transcends all boundaries even geographical ones.
A real treat for all QC horse lovers was guest, Sonya Renaud of Equi’SR, a NH trainer, who recently rescued Viking, an almost-near-death yearling whose signs of severe negligence were so numerous and horrifying to even look at, that, at the start, euthanasia seemed the only palliative. Madame Renaud, who believes that all horses should be given a chance, no matter what their condition, gleefully told the listening audience that Viking has improved so much that now, not only can he stand up by himself, he can actually horse around a bit in the paddock…a very little, but enough to show this little sweetie’s will to live. I urge you to visit Sonya’s FB, although I warn you that the initial photos of little Viking are extremely disturbing. Not mere hundreds, but thousands of Quebecois have been following little Viking’s progress. He is, as Sonya says, “a real fighter” ! Also see Evelyne Villers’ blog on Viking’s progress.
As with Ferdinand, Eight Belles, Deputy Broad and so many other horses whose tragic ends mobilized the public in different parts of the country to defend horses, Viking has become, as Evelyne put it, Quebec’s “symbol of national hope”. The movement in Quebec to find ways to stop horse abuse, neglect and slaughter is gaining momentum, and coalescing into a constituency of concern and compassion, a grassroots constituency whose parameters may fill the entire province one day. We can only hope, and we can see that hope in the image of Viking, given a voice by Sonya who says: “He did not ask to be neglected and left to die…we must speak for him…and it’s pretty clear by his efforts to get better that he wants to live!”
January 2013 via Sonya Renaud: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=390795171012587&set=a.205808582844581.47543.205390706219702&type=1&ref=nf