Stories of Survival (Equine Edition): Mama and Twister

March 18, 2024

Mama and Twister (foal)

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.

Mama and Twister were two of those horses. But unlike most, their story has a happy ending:

In 2006, 41 horses were loaded onto a double-decker semitruck headed for slaughter.* The truck lost control and crashed in Missouri, spilling dead and injured horses all over Interstate 44. Sadly, 16 horses did not survive the accident.

Several surviving equines were taken to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri. One was given the name Mama by her rescuers because it was obvious that she was pregnant. With the trauma of the crash, it was unclear if her baby would survive. Aided by loving staff and volunteers, Mama delivered a healthy and feisty colt seven months later. He was named Twist of Fate, or Twister for short. 

Twister thrived at Longmeadow, and eventually he was weaned from Mama. After that major milestone, Mama was adopted by an adoring family, but Twister wasn’t ready to settle into adopted life—he had different plans!


Twister is a permanent resident of Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, where he serves as a Barn Buddy—an ambassador of sorts—greeting visitors, attending community events and teaching people about the rescue ranch. There, it was discovered that Twister is an artist! Volunteers at Longmeadow taught Twister how to hold a paint brush and create beautiful, abstract works of art. The sales of his masterpieces raise critical funds for the nonprofit organization. Check out his online gallery!

Wonderful horses like Mama and Twister end up in the slaughter pipeline: Read the stories of Camille, Phoenix, and Journey, 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

* The horses in this particular story were headed to slaughter in Illinois—this incident occurred the year before that plant shut down for good.