If you are a horse owner, you’ve likely seen the desperate plea to rehome 52 Thoroughbreds on Facebook. Every year, like clockwork, the post makes the rounds on Facebook as people continue to share the post, thinking they are helping out.
Now, the post has taken a bit of a turn, claiming that the owner of the horses died of COVID-19. Despite this being blatantly inaccurate, people continue to share the message.
Horse owners continue to roll their eyes, as their non-horsey friends eagerly share the message with them, without the faintest idea this ancient post has now become a meme in the equestrian community.
The most recent post circulating goes something like this:
“FREE HORSES!!!! 52 thoroughbred horses need homes. Will go to Sugarcreek this Sat. for slaughter. Gentleman died due to COVID-19 and his son wants nothing to do with them. Most broodmares are broke and some are in foal weanling, yearlings, 2 yrs. and 3 yrs. old most are gelded. FREE and papered. Friend of the deceased is trying to find homes. 732-6XX-8XXX* Fairhill, MD. Please copy and paste this on your status. I would hate to see all these horses put down. PLEASE someone help they are FREE and papered!!!!!!!!”
The Real Story Behind the 52 Thoroughbreds Horses Meme
On January 27, 2011, Daniel C. Stearns, DVM, passed away, leaving behind his Thoroughbred breeding and racing business to his son, Dan. Stearns, who had worked as a track veterinarian, founded the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners.
Before his death, Stearns made arrangements with his son that certain horses would go to certain people. The remainder of his horses were to be given to reputable homes, ideally with those in the Thoroughbred industry.
Stearns was adamant that his horses were not to go to auction or inexperienced first-time owners. He did not want any of his horses to end up in bad situations.
In the hopes to help out her deceased friend, Lynn Boggs posted a message on Facebook to find homes for the remaining 52 Thoroughbreds. The post spread like wildfire and within hours she was receiving calls from all over the world. In just four short days, all 52 of the Thoroughbreds found a home, with most of them staying within Ohio.
Like many things do on social media, the original message has become skewed and blown out of proportion. In her original post, Boggs never said anything about the horses going to Sugarcreek, let alone being shipped to slaughter. However, as people continue to copy and share the post, its narrative continues to change.
For the sake of everyone in the horse world, please do not share this post if you ever come across it. The 52 Thoroughbred horses have long been rehomed and none of them were ever at risk of being sent to slaughter.
The message has become so inaccurate and overshared that it is now a running joke in the equestrian community. People are making memes and jokes out of the madness the message has become.
Without hesitation, people continue to share the post without doing any research on the matter. Whatever you do, do not call the phone number or attempt to donate to anyone claiming they are helping 52 Thoroughbreds out. Scam artists are taking advantage of those who are unfamiliar with the story.
If you are wanting to help, there are plenty of reliable organizations that work to rescue and rehome Thoroughbred horses. Donating to these accredited organizations will ensure your money is going to help real horses in need. Now you can rest assured that those 52 Thoroughbreds are safe, despite what people on Facebook might say.