It was a shock to read on the Standardbred Canada website that Bill McBeth has died. Bill was one of the most interesting people I ever dealt with during my tenure at Standardbred Canada and he thought enough of me to phone a few times after I moved to the Island.
Bill was a real cowboy. He came from somewhere in the United States, Montana, I think, and although I never met him in person, I envisioned him as tall and lanky, gruff like his telephone voice. He ran a feedlot for slaughter horses and told me there were thousands on the lot at one time. The thought of horses being killed for human or pet food really bothered me, especially the huge numbers involved, but it was always a little more palatable knowing that Bill was looking out for them, even if it was one horse at a time. If a stock horse or a racehorse came through the lot that looked like it shouldn't be there, Bill would find a home for it. As a last resort, he'd add it to his own band of saved horses. He grieved to see the herds of powerful and majestic Belgian horses being bred strictly for flying to Japan for human consumption. I don't know how he did his job but there are a lot of horses lucky that he did.
Bill was never of the internet generation but he loved to talk on the phone. Like all my email friends that I've never met, he touched my life through those long phone calls. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will miss you, old friend. Ride free.