Fall hay drive in progress.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES, October 19, 2023 / — Kill pens are the last stop many of the country’s domestic and wild horses, burros and other equine will know before being transported to slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico. Whether they end up there intentionally or because owners do not know what can happen to their family horse when sold or taken to auctions, kill pens become their last location while on home soil.

Horses are often kept in crowded conditions and may not have access to food or water in these pens. They may be injured or sick. The conditions are often deplorable. The horses are commodities rather than sentient beings.

Diamond Bar Ranch offers one last opportunity for these slaughter bound animals to be rescued. Since receiving their first unplanned rescue, they have saved almost 100 equines. The ranch became a rescue by need rather than choice or planning. Diamond Bar Ranch is a 501c3 non-profit rescue based in Oklahoma. They are dedicated to providing care to equines caught in the slaughter pipeline that have been abused, neglected and abandoned. Diamond Bar Ranch offers medical care and sanctuary to those that are considered “unadoptable” by other rescues. They provide the love, care and safety these equines deserve.

In the last thirty days alone, founders Duane and Retta Risley have added three additional extremely difficult cases to their already full facility. Co-founder, Retta Risley, Ed.D, MSN, RN, shares, “we take hard cases, the cases requiring surgery or prolonged medical care, starvation cases and many orphan foals who others turn away because of the extreme time and financial cost involved with this type of rescue. Additionally, these horses are usually not easily adoptable so they will either live their life here in sanctuary or they will need years to find their perfect forever home. Horses like the ones we take require long term financial support and most rescues just will not commit to years of care. We are not most rescues. We commit by faith to the ones put in our path regardless of if they need us for a few months, a few years or a lifetime.”

Blossom, the mini, is one of those rescued this past month. Found wandering on a road, she was picked up by law enforcement as a “loose mini horse who appears injured.” She later ended up consigned to an auction frequented by kill buyers after the eighteen day waiting period passed without anyone claiming her. Rather than seeking help from an area rescue, law enforcement consigned Blossom to a Texas auction frequented by kill buyers. There she was purchased and ended up in an Oklahoma kill pen tagged for slaughter. Blossom was wearing a USDA slaughter back tag when rescued by Diamond Bar Ranch.

Blossom could barely move because of the overwhelming length of her hooves. Risley stated, “her hooves, in the condition they were in, can cause life threatening conditions. It’s simply a miracle her coffin bone didn’t rotate and come through the sole of her hoof. Blossom was seen by our farrier and vet immediately. She is still suffering almost three weeks after her initial trim. She has multiple abscesses most likely from poor care. These infections are causing her severe pain. We are packing her feet with medicine to draw out the infection and giving her pain medication, but she was starved so long that her poor neglected body is having a hard time processing the pain meds. She is getting medication to help with that also.”

Marshall is another difficult case rescued last month. He’s a three year old unidentified Thoroughbred who was literally dying of infection due to unknown broken ribs. Diamond Bar Ranch tried conservative treatments hoping to avoid costly surgery, but the procedure was required to save his life. Marshall had the life saving medical care needed for his broken rib that refused to heal. A fragment remained that needs removal. DBR hopes that with the surgery to clear out the bone debris and infected bone completed, his broken rib will finally heal, and he can truly recover.

The third horse to arrive in the same time period was Opal. Risley described her as “a young otherwise healthy horse with her beautiful markings and crystal clear blue eyes. As if looks weren’t enough, she was a sweet and friendly girl. Her life could have ended very different if she received proper care when she first got sick. At the first sign of infection, had she seen a vet and received antibiotics the tragic outcome could have been avoided. We expected the outcome to be different but further examination showed corrective procedures were not an option. I stood beside a beautiful six year old as the veterinarian set her free of the continuous pain she had suffered from for months.”

Diamond Bar Ranch is currently holding the annual hay drive for their winter hay supply. The additional and unexpected medical expenses needed to help their newest residents make this year’s drive even more important. The hay drive helps raise awareness about Diamond Bar Ranch and Equine Rescue and the work that they do. They want to show the community that there are people in their Oklahoma area who care about horses and are willing to help them.

Readers interested in helping the horse rescue and it’s equine residents can donate hay or money to the DBR hay drive. Volunteers are also welcomed at the rescue. These are just a few of the many ways to help horses in need. Community support allows Diamond Bar Ranch to ensure each horse or donkey has the proper care needed to provide for their individual needs.

The public is invited to learn more about Diamond Bar Ranch. The rescue is located at 1301 S. Choctaw Road, Luther, Oklahoma, 73054. The website is Their Facebook page is called Diamond Bar Ranch an Equine Rescue & Sanctuary-501c-3. Risley adds, “we strive to provide a safe environment to learn about horses, specifically slaughter bound horses.” The contact number is 314-359-9577.


American Equine Awareness provided this news piece.

Donna Brorein, AEA Advocacy News
American Equine Awareness
+1 770-870-7589
[email protected]

Originally published at

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