The Truth about Horse Rescue

I want to address the problem of unwanted, neglected and abused horses and overfull rescues.

If you have horses, you know how large a problem this is, but unless you done some rescue or put your name out there as someone willing to help, you REALLY can't know how huge a problem this is becoming.

Also, you know it is poised to only get much worse.

What is the answer? What can we do and encourage others to do?

Talk to backyard breeders who just "want a little colt/filly" about how that one foal impacts over-population. Talk to them about the real cost of a foal when you consider training for years on end to have a horse that actually has a purpose and ask them to consider how you can adopt a horse already undersaddle from a rescue for free or for very little money.

Our rescues need to change how they are handling the horses they take in and try to save. I speak on this out of a bit of experience. As long as rescues sink the majority of their funds into saving very elderly, severely injured and very unsound horses and holding multiple pasture pet horses that can never hope to have much chance at a home, the horses that just need some weight, a bit of training or a bit of care to be suitable to a home will never have a real chance.

I wish ALL horses could be saved. I wish that none had to face the terror of a trailer trek to a slaughter factory anywhere. I wish all could be rehabilitated or retired to a life of pasture ornaments for life if they could not be.

I am not recommending we stop saving a horse that has almost no chance of survival. I am saying that by saving that horse, the real answer might be to save this type of horse by ending his pain and giving him peace. I learned this with our rescue, Phoenix. She should have been put down when we brought her in. With the money that was put into her care, I could have saved 3-4 horses that really had a chance and could have went on to find good homes. There are 3 or 4 horses out there that will not make it BECAUSE I had to sink so much into saving a hopeless case. Those 3 or 4 will never be pulled from craigslist or a kill pen because I could not bring them in with my hopeless case here.

Few organizations can sustain permanent equine resident after permanent equine resident coming in and never leaving. Is that fair to all the horses that could be adopted that must be turned away because they are full of horses that can never be adopted?

I do not know where the line should be drawn. I know that must lie with each rescuer, but I think tough choices are ahead for rescues, and I think a tough choice will have to be made, and the successful rescues will probably have to make a hard call to humanely put down horses with little chance in order to really save those with hope.

The funds that these type of horses require would allow so many more horses with more minor issues to receive enough food, vet care and training to become horses with something to offer potential adopters.

A horse is an extravagantly expensive pet. Most folks need their horse to serve a bit of a purpose, as hard as that is the accept, it is understandable.

Sadly, the public outpouring of donations always comes to the cases that should usually be put down, and that is where the public needs to be made aware that even a horse with fairly okay feet, a body score of 4 and green broke needs funds to get him to the point a great family is going to be an easy find for him. Let us give those horses a chance! Let us make the humane choice for those that have a slime chance because honestly, that is a great and loving kindness for them, too.

I understand this is all something few people want to hear. I am writing it, and yet, I do not want to hear it.


  1. You have joined the group I started 'dancing on thin ice'. It's nice to know that I am not the only one who has these thoughts. I, too, have taken in a neglect case only to loose him to unresolveable (is that even a word?) issues. At least I know for the last year of his life he was fed, loved and pampered. No one wants to hear me lament on how the horses that have no future might be better off being helped, gently, into the great pasture in the sky. I don't have any of the answers. I just keep asking the same questions and relating the same information you have posted about and many just shake their heads at me, wondering where I am coming from.

    Limited amount of resources do not equal every horse needs to live forever.

    Hang in there. Help the ones that you can. Give pieces of your heart to the ones that you can't. Love them all.


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