Friday, March 14, 2008
There ya go Skye. I'm showing off your fiance again! ;)
Rescues. -sighs- Where to begin.
Well I have personally "adopted" a few horses or "held onto" ones that wouldn't have faired to well in the horse market most likely. The above fellow is one. Ironically I ran into his perfect "forever home" when I was talking to Skye at a live show and mentioned I had this perfect "hubby horse" but he had bad heaves and allergies and my farm's open plain high wind was pretty hard on him physically. Skye and Steve adopted him and there he is above in his second parade. She's always sending me stories and awesome photos about him and keeps referring to him as "your horse did ... blah blah blah". No honey. He's yours now. Go rip up the adoption contract, ok? He kept tearing our fences down and frightening the mares & taunting the geldings. He's perfect for them (despite my teasing), or I should say THEY are perfect for him.
Quite a few folks know now about the adorable but rather unmarketable appy filly that got abandoned on my doorstep a last year too? I am pretty sure I talked a tad about it. This lil gal ?
Anyhow, well after many months (in which she grew a few inches and gained some muscle fortunately), I managed to finally get the past owner to sign over papers to me so she didn't face the fate of an unbroke, fiesty grade horse. I also was incredibly fortunate to stumble across an appaloosa loving trainer who thought it was a great sign of character when a horse charges at you and shows you her heels. Frankly there weren't too many people I would have let LEAD the filly let alone consider selling her to. I absolutely consider it "fate" or a small miracle. In a few weeks the delighted new owner called me to tell me she was already riding her around show grounds and getting her exposed to that life. The more important point here though was that for the 10 months of abandonment I found myself receiving some charity myself. The farrier who deliberately snuck in to trim her when I wasn't around so that he wouldn't have to turn down my money. Some folks who tossed me a large bill to help offset her spring vet costs. It was actually a bit mortifying since I put myself in the position of choosing not to exercise the stabler's lien rights the state of CT allows on abandoned horses. I have seen fellow barn managers go through it and the fate of horses who have behavior or physical issues tends to follow the plotline of Anna Sewell's supporting horse character "Ginger". :(
In the past couple of years I have been offered more and more free horses.
In fact if anyone is in my region and is looking for free horses and has good horse-keeping skills perhaps I can point you in some directions right now.
Everyone hears that costs are going up. I'm not sure how publicized it is that many rescues are now overfull. And of course reports online of various rescues farms going belly up abound.
I haven't gotten a horse from a rescue. The above draft cross of Skye's (his name is "Flumpy"), came from an auction house. I saw him at the auction (wasn't there to buy of course). I tracked down the buyer the next day and tried him out. He had a pretty bad respiratory thing; and heaves was pretty likely right off the bat (at the time it was masked by a mild pneumonia though). Anyhow, the buyer (horse trader) knew he couldn't sell the horse for a profit when he gained weight/health so he offered him to me for the same price basically. Otherwise the plan was to send him back to the auction. Well. -sigh-. Clearly the horse, now coughing more, wasn't going to sell for much at the auction... I was pretty sure there was only a meat buyer competing for him the first time. So it just seemed a waste, as they say in Seabiscuit, to throw a perfectly good life away. Obviously Flumpy has proven he is quite capable of doing more than the average horse too if he gets his meds! :) Flumpy wasn't a totally altruistic horse either, I wanted a pony horse/trail horse at the time, and he was great on both accounts.
Flumpy & I had so many good times and horses like him have such a BIG place in this world imo. Right now it's killing me because I am seeing SO many more of these; perfectly good horses who's owners just cannot keep up with the costs that have pretty much doubled in the past 5 years. And they are just filling up the auction houses and rescues.
I don't think I've posted anywhere else about this yet but "Bosco" who inspired "El Embosco" was surrendered to a rescue this past year. They call it a voluntary surrender and require donations to do so. His mom couldn't afford the herd anymore after ending a 10year relationship that had been built around the farm. It's a big financial leap to make to pay for labor and hay and board when you previously had been in the business of making hay and providing those services. Especially for 3 horses. Bosco went to a local rescue where he was immediately adopted by a volunteer - I personally would have loved to adopt him too except that I just do not need another mouth to feed and horse to shoe. I took on the donkey because I can trim him myself with the guidance of my farrier... and he needs no food (air fern) basically. ;) No seriously, he came with Bosco's mom's last boarder who transferred over to my barn and who knows; the boarder may decide she needs the donkey to keep her horse company for the rest of his life. They are very closely bonded and the donkey ("Gleep") is really good for her OTTB's mind.
Anyhow, Bosco's mom donated all of her farm equipment and expensive helpful things like pipe pen panels and such. The rescue managed to find homes for all but 1 asap. That one? Lame. There are SO many unwanted lame horses out there right now.
There always were, but now it seems like a horse that has the slightest medical need (these are the older and yet wiser ones though mind you), these have no chance at homes anymore.
It is for this reason that I want to make the majority of my donations resins this year to local rescues I have somehow been involved with or know someone who has involvement with them where horses *I know* have found a second chance at life. Good horses that will eventually serve their owners well. Be it under saddle or as a good companion addition to their herd.
I had a long talk last night with the real Hazel's mom's owner. Hazel was a PMU baby who came from a farm somewhere out west in a lot of PMU babies. They went to somewhere in Virginia were local adopters went down and brought them to their farms to raise. We are going to find out if the rescue farms along the way still exist. Meanwhile though, with so many PMU contracts being canceled in 03-04 there are all these momma mares out of jobs that have found their way into folks homes. Not all of these folks are 501-3c official rescues and yet they are people with good hearts willing to keep horses forever that have "no purpose" (which essentially equates to "no chance"). It will be an interesting journey to see what's happened since Hazel made her childhood trip.
My sculpture "Hazel" was started when PMU foals were still being produced in high quantity for the industry, now there are some difficulties discerning who is breeding for drug contracts (as if that's a great thing - not!), and who is breeding for meat sales. It's really tough choosing rescues. Right now I am feeling it's important to support the cases I know are of dire need, regardless of what industry it's for (Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred, PMU, the old the tired or the hungry unwanted toss out privately owned). So we shall see I suppose.
I donated something like 15 resins last year to various hobby-show causes but this year I'd like to donate to the real horses who've inspired us.
Perhaps I can call it the "Flumpy, Lacey, Bosco, Hazel" fund. lol! -sighs- It's good to know of some happy endings and I'd like to see more personally. I'd like to see them close to home where right now I know of so much need around here.
Boy can I ramble when I ruminate.
ps add in.. if you are curious to see (or wanted to just outright donate too), here's Bosco (clearly not starving - actually obscenely obsese since I scultped my inspired by him sculpture.. because THAT is not too inspiring eh? lol!), and his rescue success story:
He never even went to the rescue farm itself. The benefit to my friend is that she always will have the comfort of knowing the rescue will take the horse back should the new owner not be able to keep him. Something my friend couldn't provide.
It's a tough choice for a horse owner to part with an animal. I can see why rescues are so popular when they DO follow up and make sure the owners are continuing to take care of the horses and will "always" have a home.
Again Skye. I can't promise that so you'd better keep taking care of Flumpy, m'K? Thanks! ;)