Thursday, December 9, 2010

New "Rescues"

It is coming to my attention that many lesson stables are now starting "rescues." They are finding that their unride-able, worn out school horses are no longer marketable. If they cannot be ridden, they are not being accepted at auctions.

The closing of the slaughter houses and the unwanted publicity this raised caused you know what to hit the proverbial fan. Many stables just used to send to auction their unwanted horses. Many were being abandoned at the auctions when they did not sell. The auction owners don't want them either. Contrary to popular belief not all used up horses are suitable for human consumption. Though some horses end up in slaughter houses, the ride is long and the payoff is probably not worth it for most slaughter buyers unless they live close to the Canadian or Mexican border.

Maybe, I hope, this is a good thing. Horses that should be responsibly cared for for life, now will be. These ones have probably taught hundreds of people to ride - we owe them!

I predicted last year that the unwanted horse problem would be sorted out within two years. Little did I guess it would take this direction. All I can say is bravo!

My only concern is the term "rescue." These are not "rescues." These places are stables that are now being forced to do the proper thing for these horses who have been their slaves for years.

It is okay to establish themselves as non-profit, but they should be called "sanctuaries" or "retirement" facilities. None of their horses are rescues. They can still raise funds, acquire donations, etc., but these facilities are not in the trenches. They are not bringing horses back from deathly situations. They are not housing horses with emotional problems or dangerous behaviors which would condemn them to death. They are not otherwise taking in ancient horses whose beloved family members have died. They are not taking in the ones that are totally broken in mind, body, and spirit. Those of us who are, are "rescues." These others are only doing as they should. And that's okay. It's about time. Amen.

But though this is as it should be - and at last honorable - these farms have their own money. They are working facilities that can and should continue the care of these horses. Most of these people own their own farms. But don't be swayed by their fancy facades.

Those of us who are really and truly "rescues" actually don't have money. We depend on your support. We have been picking up the pieces of the equine industry for years. Our facilities are full of broken, throw-away horses, some of whom we have housed, cared for, and loved for years.

Many of us, like Eye of the Storm, have to make due with rented facilities, never knowing if the place will be sold out from under us tomorrow. We live in constant concern of where we will get the money for our next hay delivery. We need you, we need your help for our horses, many of whom would have died years ago if they didn't come to Eye of the Storm and other rescues like ours.

For example, Czardis is 28 years old. She has been with us for 10 years. She is completely broken, she is fading before our eyes. But though she is now frail and tottering she has had 10 years of love, care, rest, and good friends that she otherwise would not have had. When her day comes to join her angel we will still be here for her. We will surround her with love and we will hold her until she closes her beautiful eyes for the last time.

That is what we do. To those who have been supporting us all these years I thank you from my heart. Please don't forget us - we still need you and we love you.


Mr Lonely said...

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Anonymous said...

Yes, there are farms starting rescues that hadn't in the past but I disagree with your perception that these farms have money and that the horses they have are somehow not as worthy of being in a situation termed a rescue. I look at it as 'cleaning up your own backyard.' There are so many rescues out there and on Facebook that are rescuing horses from other states when we have our own problems in our own backyard. I would hesitate to judge what horses make up this population that the lesson horse barns are calling rescue horses. Keep in mind that for some reason people think that lesson horse barns have money and for this reason, people abandon horses on them on occasion either by sending the horse there for sale and never returning or by not paying their board and abandoning the horse. What are the barns to do? They don't get a surrender fee either! I understand what you are trying to say but I would just be cautious in sending any negative messages about anything that anyone is doing to help ANY horse that could potentially end up at auction for ANY reason. These horses are just months away from being the horses that you see as being the TRUE rescue horses. Why not save them BEFORE they need the intense medical care or BEFORE they are tossed around through bad situations. The lesson barns should be applauded for stepping up rather than sending their problems on to others. There is no definition of a rescue that says that the horses need to be on their death bed.
I respect all that you do for horses in need. It's an incredible sacrifice and a lot of work! Let's make sure that everyone is given credit where credit is due.

Anonymous said...

If all potential clients at riding/boarding/show barns asked, "What do you do with your horses after they can no longer be ridden?" and only patronized businesses that ARE responsible, then maybe other businesses that use up and throw away horses would be more responsible, or hopefully go out of business. This is just like the racing industries that use horses until they no longer make money or break down, then dump them. True horse lovers should be careful consumers!

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