Declaring a horse as Rescued - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Declaring a horse as Rescued

This is a public forum and is read by many. All too often we hear someone declaring that she rescued a horse. A horse's condition is often a matter of opinion or a horse hanging it's head low as it snoozes is interpreted as being depressed. If I'd sold a horse and someone made such a declaration of rescuing it on a public form I can promise you there'd be H*** to pay. These statements are often made by those who don't have a lot of experience.

Another term that is freely bandied about is Abuse. What these rescuers need to learn is how quickly a horse can read them. If the rescuer thinks it has to love on poor Precious, to help it that is so wrong. Precious is thinking "I've got me a live one and I'll show her who's boss. Hmm what shall I do first? I know, I'll spook and just about run her over. That's a good way to get left alone. And while I'm enjoying my grass, she can tell everyone how I was abused."

One more thing. There are no auctions solely for slaughter. They are auctions open to the public where anyone who registers can bid. It is much easier for potential buyers to look at 25 horses in the course of a day, than spend a fortune in gas and a lot of time running all over the country looking at horses. Yes, the horse brokers will be there. And yes, they are brokers which means they buy and sell. Even if you know the broker has picked up a horse, he is approachable and is willing to sell the horse privately if he can make a profit.

So please, think carefully before making these statements. They could come back on you.
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post #2 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 12:18 PM
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This is so true. Back 3-4 years ago I was rather naive about horses still and made the mistake of calling my miniature horse filly a rescue. She'd been fed, had her hooves trimmed (though not well at all...haha), had hay, saw other definitely not actually neglected or abused in any way. Yes she'd be handled roughly, but had never been truly beaten. She had a terrible personality and I tried to blame it on her 'neglect.' I soon learned though, that this was simply her personality and that she actually did require a very dictator-like relationship with a human because otherwise her 225 lb self would walk ALL over you!

And then, last year, I met REAL neglect in my filly Kenzie. She was at half the weight she should have been, 12.2hh and 14 months old, thrushy, covered in lice and rainrot, cut up, sick, and left alone without a single bite of hay or sip of water. THAT was neglect. It took a very long time for her to recover physically from all of the trauma she had been through. Then she was abused, by purposeful malice when someone nearly sliced off her ear and posted a warning note in her pen. She is what real abuse and neglect looks like.

But even so, you know what? The best thing I did for her is treat her like a NORMAL horse when it came to training! She wasn't halter or lead line broke at all when she came to me, but the moment she could walk she began to learn. Even when I was tending her hanging ear, I expected her to behave. I didn't let her push me around, didn't let her spook at nothing, didn't let her grab grass because she was starving and didn't let her act like an idiot around people she "might be afraid of." And you know what? She turned out 100% normal with NO fears of humans, ropes, knives, small spaces, trailers....nothing. I don't know what she went through before she came to me but I did know what she'd have from then on so I never gave her an excuse to act up!

You will know when you see real neglect. No, not all horses live in ideal conditions. Most don't get trimmed every 4 weeks, chiropractors, or saddle fitters. But none of this is abuse. It is simply a lack of education on our part to horse owners across the world!

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post #3 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 12:28 PM
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"Rescued" is only an important word if you sign a contract. I did that when I "Adopted" my QH, "Buster Brown" from a legitimate Horse Rescue, and the contract demands that I return the horse to them if I no longer want him. I am not allowed to sell him.
You have good points, but I don't really care what someone calls the efforts gone through to get their horse, if they care for and train their horse.
You are right. Many starved/beaten horses were left to starve bc someone thought they could exert control if the animal was weakened. After good feeding the monster comes out of the barn again.
I think all comes down to BEWARE, new horse owners. Most of the horses EASILY AVAILABLE out there are somebody else's problem horse...which you just bought, so it's YOUR problem.
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post #4 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 12:33 PM
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A horse's condition can fairly easily be quantified by one of the condition scoring charts which takes away the point of it being simply someone's opinion and helps to make things clear to everyone.

As to happens, but one person's use of a crop or spurs is good horsemanship while to another it is abuse. Again I have no problem with the word but often it will need clarifying.

In the Uk many animals do go for slaughter from an auction, but are often shipped alive for meat to the continent which is depressing. I have absolutely no problem with horses going to slaughter though (not shipped) as it is not the worst thing that can happen to a horse. Personally I think there are so many horses for sale at low prices that it is unlikely I would every rescue one from slaughter, but I have rescued one from malnutrition.
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post #5 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Here's an example of "abuse. A friend bo't a 3 yr old from a noted trainer. Got the horse home and locked him up. The stall was huge but no window so he was isolated from the rest of the world. Horses hear things we don't and he became nervous with his living situation. Hubby decided to get on first (not a rider but a blowhard), she literally held the colt's head and, to say the least it didn't go well. Now he was a dangerous horse. I paid a visit to see the new colt and again he was closed up in the dark. As I approached him she kept telling me how dangerous he was which I ignored. I told her he wasn't dangerous, just that he was young and afraid of his unnatural living situation. So my opinion of him was very different from hers. He reacted to my confidence and sought my company while he moved away from her because of all her negative energy. I suspect she was about two sentences shy of telling me the trainer must have been abusive.
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post #6 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 07:52 PM
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I agree with you. I get a little irritated when people say their horse is afraid of something or behaves badly and they say "oh, this horse must have been abused!" I know plenty of horses that have spooked or behaved aggressively and have never known the meaning of the words "abuse" or "neglect". A horse can just as easily behave like that from spoiling or because they're smart enough to know that they can get away with with their current owner.

However, I will admit that I am one of those that has called my horse a "rescue", though I do not do this because of assumptions based on her behavior. I did not rescue her myself but I purchased her from a woman who only had her for 4 months. She bought the horse with the sole intent of nursing her back to health and rehoming her, and everything I say was told to me, as witnessed by her second owner.

Ursula did not even have a name. She was bred and owned by a man who was being forced to sell his herd to avoid facing cruelty charges. She was the result of an accidental breeding from parents that were likely unregistered. She was emaciated and living in a mud lot. I was told her first owner would ear twitch her and drag her around by her ear instead of putting a halter on her, which I believe. I've never seen a horse react so violently to hands near her ears, and she was super difficult to halter.

The prepurchase veterinary exam I had done confirmed a history of neglect. She has scar tissue on her hip, likely from an old puncture wound that went untreated, and has scarring on the underside of her neck, likely from running into a wire fence (words straight from the veterinarian's mouth). And there's no way this horse could be thin if she's being fed. She gets fat just looking at hay and I don't feed her grain.

Though I don't think she was ever beaten senseless. I think any behavioral issues Urs has are from careless, rough handling, that any horse with a less sensitive personality would have handled without too much issue, and the fact that she was green and didn't have much handling at all to begin with. If a horse is not used to being handled, they're going to be a bit wary, abuse or no. The only behavior I encountered with her that I fully blame on her first owner would be her ear shyness.

Honestly, I don't think her first owner would recognize her if I talked about her or posted her on this forum. Draft crosses with her build and markings are common in that area, and he doesn't know her current name.

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post #7 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 08:39 PM
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I hate the word rescue. Never use it. I'm working with three auction horses right now. The only I 'saved' them from is the possibility of a na´ve, 'gotta rescue them all' type person. All three horses were handled well, a healthy weight, and a decent ride. I did think that at first, that one had been beaten, but now I am inclined to believe that it was just a little roughing up at the auction house, seeing as he very quickly got over his nervousness around humans, and was obviously very well cared for not long ago.

The only horses I call rescues come from a rescue. (Often, horses need to be rescued from the rescue, as they attempt to do too much.) I only consider those rescues to be 'true' rescues if the horse was truly starved, or beaten very badly. I call horses from auctions auction horses. Real simple, especially when I say it nice and sloowww.

I agree with Endiku, that the best way to approach training is *GASP* the same to a regular horse! Some things might take longer to learn, depending on the horse, but that goes for every horse. The only difference is in health- taking care of desperately overgrown hooves, malnutrition, extreme weight loss, etc. Training is training.
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post #8 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 08:49 PM
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Sometimes you definitely CAN call a horse a rescue with a clear conscience. If you pick up a horse with a body condition of a two/ten and bring them back to a five, then that's a pretty clear sign If you post a picture of a horse with acid burns on his face, then it's pretty clear that this fellow has been through some rough times.

A lot of other times, it's not so clear. I used to board at a barn owned by a trainer whose methods I would consider borderline abusive. They were often times extreme and unnecessary, IMO. I took lessons from another trainer there, and the owner never sat on my horse during the entire duration of our stay. I just wasn't gonna let that happen... but I'm not a person to disagree with disciplining a horse if it needs to happen. I'm not afraid to pop a horse, but the whip isn't my go-to weapon. It IS hers. However, if I acquired a horse from he then I wouldn't go posting about how he was abused or a rescue. Too much could go wrong from that.

Unfortunately, this kind of training abuse is SO subjective and you do need to be careful what you say. It's not as easy as seeing an emaciated horse and calling animal control. Calling some abusive without proof can get you into big trouble, especially on a public forum. You can post a picture of your recently acquired horse, say that he is an abused rescue that you are retraining. The former owner may stumble across the forum and have words to say about the issue. If you don't have your proof, then you need to watch what you say.
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post #9 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 08:54 PM
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That's true. I definitely believe there are plenty of rescue-worthy horses out there, but the term is misused and overused a lot, so I avoid it as much as possible!

"But I can tell you this: When you get to square ten, all of square one will be in it." RayHunt
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post #10 of 46 Old 03-04-2014, 09:06 PM
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But some times they truly are "rescues" I myself have rescued two one gelding left in pasture when his owners abandoned him after sticking foreign objects in him rear...and causing him to not trust people and not let you behind him.. and the other is my very underweight thoroughbred that was left to fend for herself..
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