Finally — something horrifically newsworthy in the already troubled sport of harness racing.
MADAM, YOU CUT ME TO THE QUICK — AND THEN SOME.
Written exclusively for TheDamienZone.com by David-Damien Mattia <—click on his name and read about him. He’s very smart.
Have you ever heard of a woman named Monica Thors?
Odds are that you have not because she belongs to the widely UNKNOWN and equally UNKNOWING harness racing community wherein she is now looked upon as the most evil horse abuser on the face of the earth.
It’s pretty hard to be the worst horse abuser in harness racing. It’s like trying to be a Sumo wrestler with the world’s jiggliest man-boobs. Sure, harness racing has plenty of bad apples but for the most part the average harness racehorse seems to be a happy camper who is tended to by kind and caring people.
Let’s start by explaining that HARNESS RACING — for the uninitiated – is the kind of horse racing where they have “wheels” and “buggies” and drivers instead of saddles and jockeys.
Yes, I know that I am vastly (and intentionally) over-simplifying any and all descriptions of this kind of horse racing because no matter how intricate and specific I make my description, pretty much no one will know what the hell I am talking about anyway.
I don’t feel like explaining anything more than to say that Monica Thors is a woman who is connected to horses in several ways.
THIS IS WHAT SEEMS TO HAVE HAPPENED.
Beginning about three years ago, the buzz in and around the world of the trotting and pacing horses, was that one Monica Thors – a very well known personality in racing circles – was keeping a stable of horses who could not walk. They could not walk because Monica had allegedly cut off their hooves with a dremel tool.
Should I end the story there?
STOP RIGHT HERE FOR A MOMENT AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH IF YOU DECIDE TO GO ON.
Okay — so you are a thinking and rational human being, right? And, because you are a thinking and rational being, you are immediately aware of the fact that perhaps this woman has a mental problem and she is in need of serious mental help, right? If your first reaction is to run over to New Jersey USA and cut off Monica’s feet, you are not qualified to read this blog.
You are, however, highly qualified to enter into the world of the often misguided animal rights activist and into harness racing period. Many of the highly volatile and eye-for-an-eye seekers of animal justice are all too often unable to grasp the fact that some animals suffer and die when the human being who collects them might have some kind of mental problem.
Remember my rule: You are there to help the animal and not to crucify the abuser — especially if the allegations of abuse lead you to someone who doesn’t seem to be aware of what others are saying or thinking or rumoring or the 800 pound hoofless horse in the room.
OKAY, SO THIS IS WHAT SEEMS TO HAVE HAPPENED.
Dremel, dremel, toil and trouble.
It was rumored that Ms. Thors was keeping a very tidy stable of horses who had no hooves because Monica Thors had cut them off. So there you go. Let’s try to be calm about this.
It has been alleged that Ms. Thors used a grinder or paring knife or an electric dremel to file those hoofs into nothingness in an effort to cure laminitis — a serious hoof disease that she is alleged to have intentionally caused. Sounds pretty crazy so far, doesn’t it?
And — partially because of Ms. Thors’ alleged penchant for whittling away the time and the feet — some of the horses either died, or could not stand, or were held aloft by a sling which hung from the ceiling until they perished or were put down by lethal injection. Whatever the case may be, at least three of the horses died while in the strange care of Monica Thors. But horses die all the time for all kinds of reasons. Why did these die?
Information about how some of the horses met their death is currently not very clear and we can only hope that they were humanely destroyed, and that the accusations being hurled at Monica Thors are either not true, or they are greatly exaggerated.
Whichever the case — and if any of this is true — it’s safe to assume that the dead horses are far better off than the living if Chronic Laminitis was, or is indeed, the problem.
The horses in question — and nobody really knows how many are or were involved in this mayhem — were said to be suffered from a serious disease process of the foot called Laminitis — or in layman’s terms, they were “foundered.”
I’ll save you all the long, boring medical explanations, but sufficed to say that a horse with laminitis or “founder” is in serious trouble and usually in excruciating pain because their feet are falling off. I know that is a very unscientific explanation, but basically that’s the gist of it, and one can easily imagine the pain involved with having a foot (hoof) fall off.
With laminitis or founder, the horse’s coffin bone – the bone deep within the walls of the hoof – begins to rotate downwards due to the inflammation within the vascular structure of the hoof. Gradually, as the coffin bone rotates and the inflammation worsens, the hoof begins to fall off and usually the horse dies. This might be why they call it a coffin bone. It’s the closest bone to the ground and it is perhaps the most common fatal illness that plagues horses.
There are some effective treatments –medically and mechanically — and sometimes the process of foundering stops on its own, but once the foundering has begun, the damage is mostly irreparable. Many foundered horses have to be put down in spite of dedicated and lengthy medical intervention. Others live long happy lives with a hoof that looks kind of weird.
Remember Barbaro? He broke his leg in the Belmont Stakes a few years ago and the break was surgically repaired to some extent. During his “recovery” for that break, Barbaro foundered in the opposite hoof because basically that’s what can happen. It’s a COMPLICATION, and it’s quite likely that the foundered hoof and not the actual broken bone is what ultimately led to the horse being put down.
A horse “founders” or gets laminitis for several known reasons and a myriad of unknown reasons. The actual mechanism for why this happens to some horses and not to others is not fully understood.
What is understood, however, is that a human being can intentionally cause a horse to founder, and this seems to be what Ms Thors is being accused of doing. The questions are, “Why would she do this?” and “Did she really do this?”
One easy way to make a horse founder is to feed it too much and to then deprive it of exercise. This is what Monica Thors has been accused of doing by a group of people who have been keeping an eye on Ms. Thors ever since the rumors of abuse started.
When you have a barn full of horses who can’t walk, people start to notice.
One can also make a horse founder by being a really bad blacksmith. Ms. Thors has been accused of that too. She’s been accused of a lot of things.
Allegedly, and according to people who have Monica Thors in their cross hairs, Ms. Thors either intentionally or stupidly overfed her horses to the point where their obesity eventually led to founder or laminitis. In other words, she has been accused of doing crazy things that cause her horses to founder and then she stepped in as the super hero who tried to save them — but she failed — or so they say.
Monica claims that the horses foundered because she used a shoe-glue that caused a bad reaction. That’s a very real possibility but there’s just a little too much foundering going on at Chez Monica.
For some unknown and alleged reason, she took the foundered horses and tried to heal them by using a dremel tool to carve away the damaged hooves. Yes, this is an accepted, life-saving or life-prolonging technique that is sometimes used by skilled blacksmiths and veterinarians.
I know for a fact that Monica Thors is not a veterinarian, but I am not an authority on who or who is not an expert blacksmith.
According to the buzz on Facebook and social networking places where everyone is in an uproar, Monica has imagined herself to be a lot of things but being a skilled blacksmith is beyond the scope of anyone’s wildest imagination. The sad truth is that no one is a great healer of laminitis — not yet anyway.
To me, this whole thing looks an awful lot like horse racing’s version of Baron Von Munchhausen.
Perhaps she causes the illness in order to put together all the elements of a great disaster and then she casts herself as the hero in that disaster. It’s very possible, but we’ll leave that for the experts to determine.
It all boils down to the basic fact that Monica Thors has been accused of somehow causing her horses to founder and then coming to their rescue with either her own cures, or established treatments — neither of which seem to be working.
That seems to be the general idea of what’s going on in in the strange world of Monica Thors. Pretty crazy, eh?
Please allow me to again state that we are, after all, civilized beings and what I am describing does not sound like the behavior of a normal person. There is something not right — right? Good.
As long as we understand each other and we also understand the very basic fact that Ms. Thors could possibly be unwell, we can continue like mature adults and not say things like, “Somebody should cut off her feet!” or “She should die with her body hanging on a sling like her poor horses!”
Yes, believe it or not, a lot of people in the harness racing business and in animal rescue and on Facebook — the final frontier for every moron on the face of the earth — have said some really nasty things about Monica.
It’s disturbingly strange how some well-intentioned horse rescuers and horse’s rights advocates or plain old animal lovers often fail to address the real issue and prefer instead to spout out hateful words. How does that help any horse in trouble? It doesn’t.
Anyway, all torches and pitchforks aside, we do not know the full story. Perhaps we never will.
EDITOR’S NOTE: One social networking site brags that over 8,000 people have signed on to help them in their quest to get the horses taken away from Monica. The trouble is that half of these “supporters” are only helping by wishing death and destruction and torture on the woman. Perhaps the 8,000 should each donate $2.00 and just shut up.
According to sources, Monica Thors — an immigrant from Sweden — arrived on the harness racing scene over 30 years ago and fashioned herself as a high-end horsewoman and equine photographer. She seemed nice enough and very highly professional. She even got herself married to one of harness racing’s most famous drivers.
The years went by and Monica Thors continued to do whatever it was that she imagined she could do. You have to admire her work ethic. She set out to be the most famous trotting horse photographer in the world and she kind of succeeded.
Monica Thors did indeed photograph dozens and dozens of harness racing champions and she was internationally known for her work at the Meadowlands Racetrack — the leading harness racing track in North America.
Monica Thors even tried her hands at being a harness racing driver, but that’s a hard nut to crack for a woman in harness racing and that career went nowhere — but at least she tried.
Seems like Ms Thors has tried everything.
Heck, she’s even making a movie called “I AM A HARNESS RACEHORSE” –
So now , on top of everything else, she is a producer-writer-creator – cinematographer – director and publicist. The movie even has its own trailer. You can go over and watch it on YouTube. Naturally there is no actual “movie” but there is a trailer. A lot of producers make movies that way and it’s a good way to get your foot in the door — if you still have one.
While Ms. Thors’ movie is in the pre-production and fundraising stages, she is has embarked on other ventures.
Her most recent incidental sideline, as I previously stated, is working as a blacksmith who specializes in fixing her foundered horses. The trouble here is that a blacksmith’s job is essentially an art or a highly skilled sort of craftsmanship. You cannot simply hang up a shingle and proclaim yourself to be a blacksmith. You’ll get found out real quick — so to speak.
You know how some people always tell kids that they can be anything they want to be? Well — that’s not really true.
The other troubling aspect to Monica’s burgeoning career as a laminitis expert is — and I repeat — that she is accused of making the horses founder in the first place because she feeds them too much.
Some people love their animals so much that they feed them like food-shoveling grandmas. Ever see a fat happy dog? Sure you have. The trouble is that fat dogs don’t languish and founder — they just die prematurely from regular-fatty-food-diseases.
Ms. Thors had to hone her skills as blacksmith — or at least work on her horses as one — after the services of a masterful one were needed.
Allegedly, Monica Thors has declared herself to be an expert in so many things, but her endless expertise and her alleged affliction with some kind of Munchhausen by proxy disorder, or some variant of it, has gotten out of hand — and that’s where this all began and where it remains today.
Remember how we spoke earlier about laminitis and founder? Well, aside from a veterinarian, a highly trained blacksmith is usually a foundered horse’s only true friend. No foundered horse can find the road to recovery without a blacksmith who is trained to repair the foundered hoof or hooves in painstakingly slow stages.
Part of the process involves gradually removing pieces of the foot and allowing them to grow back. It’s like repairing a quilt one small square at a time. It can take months or years for a foundered horse to be returned to good health.
Ms. Thors, it has been stated in various social media, does not seem to understand this, and because she has anointed herself as an expert in so many fields of endeavor, her barn somehow morphed into a horse hospital when she reinvented herself as a blacksmith who specializes in curing horses who have foundered.
LET ME EXPLAIN THE MESS
A horse’s hoof is essentially a big hunk of toenail. It’s dead tissue and every now and then it needs to be trimmed and shod. This does not hurt the horse and it’s an essential part of competent and healthy horse care. A horses hoof grows like a toenail — and you have to trim your toenails, right?
Deep within that big toenail of a hoof you will find living tissue — nerves — blood vessels — tendons — bone — and all the things you would find anywhere else in any living creature. Rarely, a blacksmith might trim or pare a horse’s hoof just a teeny bit too much and he nicks the living part of the foot.
When a blacksmith accidentally does this, it is said that he has “quicked” the horse. His knife has gone a little too deep and the horse feels a quick flicker of pain and there might be a spot of bright red blood — like a pin prick on your finger. The horse may flinch a little or look back at the blacksmith as if to say, “Hey, watch what you’re doing there, buddy.”
This is where we get the expression, “You cut me to the quick.”
Ordinary folks say it to mean that they have felt an unexpected twinge of pain or harm inflicted upon them.
A horse who has been “quicked” is in no danger and the problem resolves itself quickly. Horses get quicked all the time, and a horse who has never been quicked has probably never been trimmed or shod and lives as a wild horse in Wyoming or something.
Again, trimming and shoeing a horse in captivity is part of basic care of the animal. If you don’t take care of a horse’s feet, you are not only neglecting the animal, you are gradually crippling it. Don’t worry for now about what happens to those unkempt horses in the wild who seem to do just fine without any hoof care. That’s not the issue here.
Anyway, there is an old expression that has been used by horsemen for centuries: NO FOOT, NO HORSE.
Monica’s staunch detractors imply that she has cut to the quick and then some because many of her horses have foundered. I will not show you pictures of what she has supposedly done to horse’s hooves — you can look that up all by yourselves. It’s gruesome — but it’s sorta-kinda supposed to look gruesome. There is nothing pretty about laminitis — and it can happen to any horse at any time.
Yes, it is true — it’s gross. Sometimes a highly skilled blacksmith can trim out dead hooves as part of the treatment for laminitis, and it does indeed look pretty gruesome, but in Ms. Thors’ case, and in the opinion of a lot of people who want her shut down, she doesn’t know what the hell she is doing.
I also believe that the reason for all of this madness lies deep within the fact that — and I repeat — there must be something mentally unwell going on here.
Maybe Monica’s horse’s are gravely ill and Monica is not coping well with all of this sickness around her. It’s nearly impossible to believe that she is intentionally cruel. This woman loves horses. I think there is another element to this story. It’s very sad for her and sadder still for her horses.
I am not a psychiatrist and I am not qualified to make any medical diagnosis of any illness, but it should be patently clear to anyone with an ounce of common sense that this woman needs some kind of help . Mental help? Medical help? Veterinary help? Financial help? Something needs to be HELPED. Something is very unnatural or very poor here.
HERE’S THE THING
There is a movement afoot – so to speak – to have the NJ SPCA haul away any and all of the horses Ms. Thors has left. Supposedly her family or friends will come and get her whatever help she needs.
The trouble is that it’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to force someone into a shrink’s office, and it’s hard to prove — in this case — that Monica is intentionally abusing her horses. Strange as it seems, there are some people, albeit very few, who believe that Monica is sincerely trying to HELP seriously sick horses.
You have to totally prove these touchy things, and you have to do it in a court of law — and it’s a very difficult thing to do.
The horses – plus 21 cats and a goat – belong to Monica and as far as helping these creatures go, the NJ SPCA seems to be dragging their heels — just like some of Monica’s horses.
Listen — Allow me to repeat this. It’s not easy to take away someone’s pets and it’s nearly impossible to get someone put in a mental health facility or to even have a clinician examine them without their consent. If she ran down the street with a machete, yeah, she’d get kicked into the nuthouse, but you can’t just haul someone away to the psychiatric ward simply because that someone seems to be a little loopy.
Ms. Thors is a highly intelligent woman and she puts forth a very authoritative and knowledgeable persona. People are easily charmed by her.
Hey, maybe she’s just hit a really rough patch? Maybe her FundMe campaign is not only a cry for money, it’s a cry for another kind of help too.
My belief is that the lynch mob that wants to see her drawn and quartered, are much too angrily unaware of legislative laws and the laws of logic. They are not helping any animals with their vitriol.
The folks in charge of fixing the Monica situation are doing good work, but they are attracting a lot of crazy people in the process.
That’s what happens when well-meaning people try to save baby seals and panda bears and horses with no feet. They attract attention, and with that attention you draw in the real crazies.
The world is filled with crazy people waiting for their big moment. Halloween just isn’t cutting it anymore in New Jersey. The state already has already had to add a Zombie Walk Day in the seaside city of Asbury Park to accommodate all the phantoms and gut-munching ghouls who aren’t content to be human for 364 days a year.
But seriously, the sick horses can be put out of their misery in an instant, but what happens then to Ms. Thors? You don’t just show up at someone’s barn with a net and a straight jacket and casually toss that someone into the loony bin. That’s not how it’s done.
If you think it’s easy to get someone into a nuthouse, you’re the nutty one. This isn’t a Laurel and Hardy movie.
I truly believe that if Ms. Thors were to arrive at her barn, in the state that I believe she is in, and finds her horses taken away or euthanized, she could easily snap.
Wouldn’t you snap if this was your love and devotion and your reason for living and you were already on the edge? It could be really nasty — like postal worker nasty. You have to be mindful of things like that when you engage in this kind of endeavor.
Thankfully, Monica Thors has never, to my knowledge, shown to be violent or volatile, but how far can a person push themselves and then allow themselves to be pushed by others?
Be careful what you wish for, folks. You think this is ugly now? Wait until you see what might happen next. Every great act has an even greater encore, and this is one I don’t want to see.
Written exclusively for TheDamienZone.com by Dave Mattia <—click on his name and read about him. He’s very smart.