Joyce Benning

Episode 592 with guest Susan Wagner

Susan Wagner founded Equine Advocates in 1996. A horse lover from a very young  age, Wagner began her career with horses by working with Thoroughbreds on the  New York and Maryland racing circuits.  

Wagner left the racing industry for a variety of reasons, not the least of which  was the dark side to it that did not coincide with her love for horses. She decided  to pursue a writing career and also worked as a Wild Animal Keeper for a zoological  institution. During that time, she rescued her first horse from slaughter, Gandalf,  who she calls, “the co-founder of Equine Advocates.” He had been a horse-for-hire  at a stable on Long Island when he was purchased by the zoo in 1992. He soon  became “inconvenient” due to his temperamental personality. It was at that point  that Wagner first heard the term “horse slaughter.” With two friends, Wagner  purchased Gandalf and sent him to a farm in Maryland.  

In 1994, Wagner was hired by a national animal protection organization based in  Connecticut. After being there just one day, she realized that animal protection  was where her heart was – specifically equine protection where all of her past  experience in the horse industry could be used to help save and rescue horses.  

In 1996, Wagner founded Equine Advocates and also continued her undercover  work. Wagner accompanied a camera crew from the nationally syndicated show  Extra to the Province of Manitoba, Canada to expose the cruel pregnant mares’  urine (PMU) industry where tens of thousands of mares and foals are slaughtered  

every year in order to produce the drugs, Premarin and Prempro (and in more  recent years, Duavee) – all prescribed to treat the symptoms of menopause. That  report won an Ark trust Genesis Award for the producers of Extra.  In 2004, Wagner finally got the support to fulfill a major goal for Equine  Advocates which was to establish an Equine Sanctuary. On January 16, 2008,  Wagner appeared on the award-winning Martha Stewart Show to talk about the  sanctuary, in addition to vital equine issues including horse slaughter, equine rescue and the PMU industry. 

Wagner expanded Equine Advocates’ programs to include humane equine education  with the construction of a Humane Education Center on the Sanctuary grounds in  2006. Thousands of visitors, including students, educators, law enforcement  officials and national children’s groups, among many others, come to the center  every year for classes, workshops, lectures and symposiums about equine care,  responsible horse guardianship and many other topics and issues facing equines today. 

One of the most talked about and well-publicized rescue operations Equine  Advocates has been involved with was the rescue of Bobby II Freedom, a former  New York City Carriage Horse who was rescued from slaughter and retired at  Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY in 2010. Since then, the  organization rescued two more former New York City carriage horses, Jack and  Sheena, who are also permanent residents at the sanctuary. 

Wagner knows her main goal for Equine Advocates is to bring about an end to horse  slaughter and educate the public about responsible horse guardianship through  education, outreach and hands-on experience. “This sanctuary is a haven for  horses,” she said. “Through example, education and rescue, we can make a huge  difference in the protection of horses in this country and across North America.

Joyce Benning
Joyce Benning

Hello to all! I am a born, bred & raised country girl! Passion is caring for animals with a natural approach along with inspiring women to live a Robust Lifestyle! Dogs & horses have always been a huge part of my life. They have taught me so much about living a full life! My red heeler dog Groucho, whom is my Best Buddy has taught me to never give up and live with Faith not Fear! Their love for you is by the kindness and love you have in your heart. Enjoy inspiring women to love themselves for who they are as each one is created unique. Motivate women to realize their true given talents and not compare themselves to others. Empower women to share their talents to make the world a better place for all!