Mont Devil: Death of a Horse
By Kate Muller
An Animal Rights Poem from

As posted on
December 2020

One of our readers, Kate Muller, reached out to share a beautiful poem she had written. The Ontario-based Kate has a horse background, including at the track, but she grew, as she put it, “to view the [racing] industry as inhumane.” The poem highlights one particular horse who touched her heart. Here is Kate’s intro, followed by her verse.

Thank you, Kate.

Mont Devil was bred (in Florida) in March 2001; his racing “career” ended – with three successive last-place finishes; combined 54+ lengths back – eight years later at Fort Erie Racetrack in Ontario, Canada, just across the Niagara River from Buffalo. His final trainer/owner of record was Jennifer Davis. I was told he went to a farm connected with racing from there, and was subsequently sold at an “anything goes” auction not far from my [former] tiny horse farm an hour north of Fort Erie.

While out riding one autumn day, I met the young woman who had paid a song for the retired racehorse at the auction, and lived a few miles down the road. We chatted briefly; I only learned that she had a country lot with a barn, and was a horse novice. Mont was wearing a winter blanket, and with my mare bit-chomping, I didn’t see him too closely.

I did advise her to have a vet check Mont out and give her some general advice. As a rider who has hacked along roads and trails across Canada, I’ve met a lot of folks, and I didn’t think too much of that encounter – until her mother telephoned me frantically some months later.

Having copied my number from a hay sale sign, the mother contacted me when Mont fell sick. Her daughter hadn’t been home for days, and I deduced – not brain surgery – mom had fed the horse unsoaked beet pulp, likely causing choke. My husband signaled we had vet bills of our own, but I went with my heart, as would any equicentric.

When I met the vet at Mont’s barn, the horse was in obvious distress, although strong with panic when the vet twitched him. That didn’t go well, and the young vet then struck the ailing horse; I impolitely asked him to leave, and send his boss.

While waiting, I called a woman who runs the closest horse rescue, and whom I knew by reputation. ‘Brenda’ arrived before the clinic owner, and helped calm poor Mont down a bit. We then met the mother outside the barn, and Brenda convinced her to sign the suffering horse over.

As mom handed the paper back, we heard a sound from the barn; Mont was down, and gone in a literal heartbeat … and that was that. Brenda was somewhat inured to such misery, but we were devastated by our failure to save Mont (the mother was only concerned with ridding the place of his body).

I was totally gutted, and an angry weeper for ages. Having a background in journalism and poetry, I got some solace eulogizing what I knew of Mont in a poem, then copied it along with a little bio of his life and death. Our whole county was plastered with posters in an effort to raise the profile of Mont’s harsh [racehorse] life and cruel death.

Since then, I’ve moved to a small city in an adjoining county, and keep my remaining 30ish-year-old pony at a friend’s farm, where I ‘ponybuttle’ to her high standards. Every once in a while I’ll meet, or am contacted by, someone who read Mont’s poem/story a few years ago, and we both get pretty emotional.

I like to think Mont knows.

Mont Devil: Death of a Horse

magnificent boy!
never stood a chance –
bred to run,
and born to dance…

…along furrows of
earth, in packs of speed,
the horses race –
some break, some bleed.

magnificent boy!
shimmered in the sun –
raced and raced
but could not outrun…

…the whims of man,
who shaped his days –
and gave no rest
to the tired bay.

magnificent boy!
in his final race,
had run his best –
no reward, no praise…

…as that muscled frame
fell away to bone,
his willing heart
beat doggedly on – alone.

magnificent boy!
denied relief –
ruined body craved care,
his soul, surcease…

…from the shackles of
man, who burned his wings,
and stole the sun –
game horse was done.

magnificent boy!
fell to soiled ground –
bred to dance,
not die, not down…

which man allowed;
let game horse fade
in spears of pain,
with no kind end –
for shame, for shame.

magnificent boy!
so finally free –
to soar the sky,
and scorn gravity!

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