Sunday, April 13, 2014

Many Ways to Save a Life

I made a mistake a couple weeks ago.

You see, I am still considering bringing home a sturdy, long-legged equine to take
This once-loved thoroughbred is in an auction feedlot.
foxhunting.  And in poking around horse sale sites, I noticed that a nearby rescue had several beautiful standardbred mares on its adoption pages, so I sent a tentative inquiry.

What unfolded next made me regret my decision to contact a rescue, and it was a deja-vu experience, a mistake I have made in the past.  

As some of you know, all rescues set stipulations to adoption, and they should. They need to be sure the animal is going to a good home that can actually provide food, water, shelter, vet care and so on.  I get that, and I respect it.

But many horse rescues go beyond that, adding requirements that the horse never be sold, bred, raced, used in a lesson program, housed in a stall smaller than 10 X 12, have water at every second of every day, and that the rescue be given annual vet check reports for the rest of the horse's life.

That's where I stop and turn around.  I don't want someone else to own my horse.  I do provide an extremely good home, and do everything I need to be sure the horses here are well cared for.  However, I don't want to be limited in my use of the horse.  I have sold horses in the past when they turned out not to be the right ones for me.  I may want to give lessons at some point.  And I do want the freedom to do so.  I don't want to be held accountable by a rescue for the next 20 years.

The fact is, there are plenty of good horses out there that need a home.  Cruise Craigslist or stop at an auction, and you'll see hundreds, thousands if you look long enough.  And you'll be able to find one every bit as nice and deserving as those in the rescue, but that haven't landed in a nice home yet, making them even needier, and more in danger, than those in a rescue.

For instance, take a look at this page (link here) and be assured that these horses will be killed, probably in a way that is terrifying at a minimum, and processed for human or animal consumption, unless they find homes.  Tell me if that doesn't want to make you hook up your trailer and take a trip to Camelot Auction in New Jersey.

Or take a look at any of the 50,000 mustangs held in pens by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  The BLM is an organization that has a short-term contract on mustangs.  
Mustangs in a BLM holding facility.

 Or heck, you don't have to go all the way to Camelot Auction or out west to the BLM.  Go to Unadilla every other Friday and beat the meat-buyers on an auction horse you like.

Some rescues, like the BLM, require that the adopter report out on the horse's care for one to three years, and that I can certainly live with.  I think that is a reasonable deal: The rescue finds the horse, evaluates its suitability, ensures its good health and finds a new home.  The new owner provides a good home and proves it for a few years.  Then the horse becomes the new owner"s, free and clear, no strings attached.

But, for some reason, when I sent my note to this local rescue, I forgot that I have all these objections, and I do regret that I pressed "send."  The reason I regret it is because 1.) They did have a beautiful mare, suitable for my purpose and 2.) They worked really hard to get me to reconsider working with them, once I told them "no," and so I 3.) Felt like a big, fat meanie.

Don't misunderstand.  I respect rescues, and those who don't mind those stipulations should definitely consider getting their next horse at a rescue who does set those rules.  Just not I.

But I did send off a decent donation to the particular one I had contacted, as penance.

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