Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Under the Blue Tarps

When I unfold a tarp and hear that rusty plastic rattle, I see the stains of fluids of decay; I smell death. Blue tarps cover the corpses of my failures.

I hate blue tarps. Ask most people what comes to mind when they see a blue tarp, and I suspect they will say, “camping,” or “shade.” When I unfold a tarp and hear that rusty plastic rattle, I see the stains of fluids of decay; I smell death. Blue tarps cover the corpses of my failures.

I touched too many tarps this summer, overheard too many phone calls that tell the whole story.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Is he old, or … ?”

“I see. That’s too bad. Yes, we can take care of that for you. I’m

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM, practices large animal medicine in Northern California, with particular interests in equine wound management and geriatric equine care. She and her husband have three children, and she writes fiction and creative nonfiction in her spare time.

16 Responses

  1. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Here is my take at this topic, and it might seem harsh. First of all if you do not like slaughter houses, and claim to love your horses then why do you place the medicine that you say is dangerous to consume into your beloved animal.

    I am a new

  2. re: Under the Blue Tarps


  3. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Slaughter plants are a horrible end for any horse’s life.  Even if horses are "harvested" (I hate when that word is used as a substitute for killed) for animal food, or even for human use, everyone knows that most horses have been given

  4. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Being a horse owner, I just love my Vet.and trust his views on animal health & Life. As my horse has age to 27 yrs. I have worried about how she will leave this life. I don’t make a lot money but I live on less so I can have my enjoyment and take m

  5. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    I do not think that death at a slaughter house is "meaningful" at all. As the present slaughter pipeline operates, horses are subjected to unnecessary stress, indifferent handling and even cruelty as they pass from one hand to the other along

  6. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Wow. I am definitely sharing this well thought out and written article about a heart-wrenching topic.

    I am not a veterinarian, but a vet in terms of my life experiences in witnessing what happens to many wounded, rank, chronic, and geriatric ho

  7. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Such heartfelt comments from people who care are the way to a solution. I am a beef cattle producer. When a male animal is born on my farm, there is a 100% chance he will be harvested for our branded grass fed, organic beef. We accept this situation be

  8. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    I get that peoples circumstances do change. I get that horses have medical issues. I get that horses get older, arthritic and no longer meet the needs of an owner. I have 4 including a 35 plus year old. If I am unlucky, at some point I will have to mak

  9. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Thank you all for the thoughtful comments posted so far.  This essay was originally written and published in 2009, so I thought that perhaps it might be a good idea to fill in a bit of the regional and economic context for the piece.

    Our pr

  10. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    In a perfect world all horses and all owners are perfect. No one’s circumstances ever change. Every horse born goes to a loving "forever home" as soon as it’s weaned. No one ever acquires a horse they can’t handle. All horses are trained huma

  11. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Donna, you are right people should look at their finances before committing to any animal. However, when I got my horses almost 20 yrs ago (they are in their 20’s now) a bag of feed cost around $8. Now it’s around $20. A trim was $12, now it’s $25. You

  12. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    Your article was very touching and incredibly accurate. I hate to see the end come also, but at least you know where ‘the end’ was and never have to wonder what happened to your horse or what types of malady and pain have been inflicted upon them when

  13. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    My husband and I decided to get me horse to keep me from dying from cancer.  My odds were poor, our child was 5.  So, the costs being within our means, we committed. It worked!! Yet within less than a decade, board cost have nearly tripled. &

  14. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    People really need to take a hard look at their finances before committing themselves to something like caring for an animal, be it a horse, a dog or a cat.  Too many times the animal who believes it has a forever home finds itself on the street,

  15. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    I applaud you for being a caring vet and for doing what is best for the horse, even if their life span is not shortened due to age or health.  I discovered long ago that there are worse things than being dead.  Especially when that death come

  16. re: Under the Blue Tarps

    I liked your article.  That being said, I was troubled by this statement:

    "However, banning the slaughter of horses hasn’t changed the outcome; the scene has simply shifted to prolonged neglect or meaningless death."

    You se

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Which hoof problem do you encounter most often in your horses?
342 votes · 342 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!