Stories of Survival (Equine Edition): Journey

March 18, 2024

Journey and Cruiser

Every horse in the United States is just one bad sale away from slaughter. Unbelievably, this cruel practice still exists: horses are routinely transported across our country’s borders to face inhumane and horrifying deaths, killed for their meat to be eaten overseas. The trip itself is brutal, too, and sadly some horses don’t survive. In 2023 alone, more than 20,000 American horses were transported to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

Journey was one of those horses. But unlike most, her story has a happy ending:

On a cold, rainy night in 2020, a tractor trailer carrying 29 horses overturned in rural Missouri, killing 14 of them. The trailer had been on its way to Mexico, where the horses were going to be slaughtered. Of the 15 survivors, four needed immediate veterinary care and were rushed to a nearby animal hospital. When their health was stable, they were transported to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri, to continue their recovery, joining the 11 other horses who had been taken in by Longmeadow immediately after the accident. 

Journey was one of the survivors of this crash who began their next chapter with Longmeadow Rescue Ranch. It’s not clear how Journey came to be on that trailer, but she was lucky to have sustained only minimal wounds. It didn’t take long for the staff and volunteers at Longmeadow to gain her trust, and they quickly discovered that another miracle was in the works—Journey was pregnant when she was loaded onto the slaughter-bound trailer, and her growing baby was unharmed.

Ten months later, Journey gave birth to a beautiful foal named Cruiser. Journey was an excellent mother, and while her experience in the slaughter pipeline gave her every reason not to trust humans, she patiently let staff care for Cruiser as she adapted to her new life. 

Once Cruiser was weaned, Journey was evaluated under saddle and made available for adoption. The trainer discovered that Journey enjoyed being ridden in the indoor arena and throughout the ranch. It was clear that she would be a great, faithful companion and riding horse. 

Soon after, Journey found her new, loving family, complete with three children and another adopted horse named Chuck. They’ve all become friends! Journey seems to enjoy mothering her new human children and helping them learn the many important life lessons of horsemanship. 

Journey’s colt, Cruiser, stayed at Longmeadow, where he has a very important job as a Barn Buddy. Barn Buddies are ambassadors who greet visitors and help raise critical funds to care for the many animals at the ranch.

Wonderful horses like Journey and Cruiser end up in the slaughter pipeline: Read the stories of Phoenix, Camille and Mama and Twister, who also were headed for slaughter before miraculously escaping that horrific fate. Tens of thousands of horses each year are not as fortunate, but you can help by raising awareness of this issue and joining the ASPCA in calling for an end to this industry. 

Learn more about horse slaughter and take action at