Shaken by the news, in front of a horse stall that once was the home of a horse boarded at San Pascual Stables in South Pasadena’s Arroyo Park is now blanketed with flowers and candles.
Many in the horse community are saddened by the news of a 10-year-old thoroughbred named “Kitkat,” found bloodied and possibly beaten that had to be euthanized last week.
The horse’s owner asked that her name not be released, and was unwilling to show her face on camera when a TV news crew came to the local stables to gather information for a story.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12, according to the horse’s owner, Kitkat was found bleeding “in really, really bad condition,” she explained. “All her legs had lacerations and she was bleeding from her nose, mouth and eyes.”
The horse’s owner was not at the stables at the time and noted that she was reconstructing the story based on what others told her about the incident.
“The grooms called the trainers and the trainers called the vet,” the horse owner explained, noting that the veterinarian arrived at the stables at approximately 5:20 a.m. “He looked at the condition she was in. She had lost way too much blood and was in way too much distress to save her, so he had to put her down on the spot.”
Speculation began to grow why the horse was found in such poor condition. “First thing people thought was maybe she escaped from her stall, got stuck somewhere and got injured,” said the horse’s owner. “But in order for her to get out of her stall she would have had to break to door. Why would she get out of her stall? Was she sick? Did an animal attack her? Those were the first things people thought.”
The horse owner said there were no signs of distress found in the stall. “It was pristine, the door was open and no lock was broken,” she said. “Then they found three halters (which fit on a horse’s head to lead the animal) that were broken and two were found in the ditch in the Arroyo wash. They were covered in blood.”
The horse, according to Kitkat’s owner, was found staggering about 25 to 30 feet from her stall. Kitkat’s owner said she can only speculate on what happened. “The vet did not find signs of an animal attack or cuts, but did say ‘this is weird because there was nothing wrong in her stall.’ If a horse is sick or uncomfortable in their stall, they will start pacing around, kicking and have a big commotion. It was a stall of a happy horse.”
Added the horse owner: “Certainly there was a human involved, because a horse does not cut the ropes and throw away the halters. It seems they tried to wash away the blood from the pipes. The vet said there were clear signs that someone tried to wash the blood off the pipes.”
“There were definitely humans involved, there’s no doubt about it,” said San Pascual Stables’ Barn Manager Jette Davis. “It was a horrific accident that totally went haywire or it was foul play. We’re not going to give up until we find out what happened. A horse doesn’t cut off its own halter and throw it into the ravine.”
Davis said a security guard has been hired to walk the premises overnight and night lights have been installed at the stables.
“Kitkat” was a racehorse before her owner acquired her five years ago. “I was using her for pleasure riding,” explained the owner. “We’d take small jumps, go on trail rides and just have fun.”
The South Pasadena Police Department is conducting an investigation “and they will probably put all these pieces together better than I can,” she said, noting that the police originally found no signs of foul play, “but a lot of people have been calling the South Pasadena Police Station to find out what happened. They (police) said they were overwhelmed by the number of calls (last Friday) and they reopened the investigation. They’re seriously looking into it.”