KINGMAN – Suzy Taylor faced plenty of challenges as a boxer, and being a two-time world champion, she had plenty of success.
But on Oct. 24, the Palmdale, Calif., resident didn’t have a fighting chance while hauling rescue horses from Texas to California. A big rig plowed into the back of her livestock trailer while heading west on Interstate 40 at milepost 45, wrecking both her Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup and 26-foot livestock trailer.
“I have broken ribs and my jaw has been really sore … I’m just sore,” said Taylor 48, who was treated at Kingman Regional Medical Center. Of nine animals aboard, two were killed: A full-size roping horse that she planned to give to a high school student, and a little white donkey.
“My truck and trailer got totaled in the accident,” said Taylor, who was in Las Vegas on Tuesday. She said she is trying to purchase another truck, then head to her home to pick up another trailer she has so she can finish the job.
The surviving animals are being cared for by Wright Veterinary Services and Manzanita Animal Hospital in Kingman.
“Once a month I make a trip to Texas, and I buy horses and donkeys out of the kill pens,” said Taylor, who in her day-to-day business owns a company that manufactures popcorn treats.
She said she was planning on arriving the night of Oct. 24 in California, dropping her load off, sleeping, then heading back to Texas because she has 17 more animals to save.
“Getting hit in the horse trailer is every transporters’ or every rescuers’ nightmare,” said Taylor.
And it was a nightmare.
“Those truckers haul ass,” said Taylor, who said she was going around 60 miles per hour with her flashers on when the big rig rear-ended the truck and trailer around 6:15 p.m. She guesses the big rig driver was going 85 to 90 mph.
One of her horses was left standing in the interstate, and her truck was about 100 yards away, she said. She finally got to the horse as vehicles were whizzing by.
There was eventually a complete closure of Interstate 40 at milepost 45, according to the Arizona Highway Patrol.
“The sun was just starting to go down and it was pouring down rain. It was raining to the point where my windshield wipers were like, not enough to keep the rain off my windshield,” recalls Taylor.
Taylor said slaughtering horses and donkeys was outlawed in the United States, but she said people found a loophole, taking the animals across the border to Mexico.
“There are exceptional, beautiful animals that are being killed for meat,” Taylor said. “They’re not intended for human consumption. The way they kill the horses is brutal.”
Taylor has insurance, but as she said, that won’t help her today or tomorrow. But she’s still got the determination to keep going.
Taylor, who trained in Las Vegas under Floyd Mayweather Sr. in her boxing days, once broke the nose and jaw of an “American Gladiator” in 1997 and fought Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali, where Taylor lost her belt in a fight she swears was rigged.
“I used to fight on Fox Sports and ESPN all the time in the late 90s and early 2000s,” said Taylor.
“Rescuing is a lot more of a battle than boxing ever was. It’s still a really good adrenaline rush. There’s a lot of drama. It’s just a different kind of fight,” she said.
For those who want to help Taylor with rising veterinarian bills, two accounts have been set up. A GoFundMe account is at https://www.gofundme.com/2wem6pw and the other is available at https://www.freeanimaldoctor.org/projects/suzy-taylor-horses/.