Wow, this thread blew up pretty quickly! That's good ;) what I wanted was a discussion, not everyone telling me that I was right.
I'll try to answer everyone as thoroughly as possible. After all the point of this thread wasn't just to 'educate' you, but me as well. I do realize that I am only one focal point in many when it comes to this type of situation so I am definitely willing to discuss and think about anything that you guys say, just as I'm hoping you all are willing to do!
I'll first start out by making myself just a bit clearer about the funding on Kenzie, the filly in question. I appologize for not being clear in the beginning. The rescue in and of itself has put about an average amount of money into her (my view of 'average' anyways, I don't KNOW the actual stats) and I think that runs up to about $1,200. That has included an initial veterinary visit from their veterinarian, fecal, a blood panel, her first farrier visit, feed, and 1/3 of the veterinary bills. They were actually willing to put her down, as you might have read if you are following Kenzie's thread. Being that BEFORE the EHV though, she had a fairly good prognosis (light trail or all around horse, perhaps light competing) we as fosters did not feel like she needed to be put down quite yet. The rest of the money spent has been 'eaten' by the farm where I work simply because we did not want to give up quite so easily. So technically, about $4,700 of the dollars were unnecessary and of our own accord. The rescue did not fund any of her veterinary treatment as a EHV case, and is merely paying her 'upkeep' bills right now of feed, farrier work, etc. This was agreed upon for any and all fosters brought into our farm.
Should we have put Kenzie down when she was diagnosed with EHV? Perhaps. We don't have a guarentee that she will be sound at all when all is said and done, and she very likely be put down if we can't find her a home within a year or two of her being rehabilitated as fully as possible. However, it hardly seemed fair in our eyes to judge her productivity as a healthy adult while she is still battling a life threatening virus. A much better assessment can be made with some good food in her and her pressure sores, swelling from lying down constantly, and feet healed. Do remember that the fact that she can barely trot is very likely due to the fact that she came to us with four feet full of thrush, a still-healing shoulder (mostly aesthetic. No muscle was damaged by the actual tear thankfully!), and stocked up legs from lying down so much. She is also very, very malnourished which likely plays a part in her lethargy.
I do realize that it could be just the opposite as well though. Maybe she WON'T be anything more than a pasture sound hay-eater and maybe we won't be able to 'fix' her. At that point as fosters we would very likely stop funding her extra veterinary care and allow her to be adopted her out as just a buddy or be put to sleep. But she will at least have been given a chance.
I do agree that some rescues do go overboard when it comes to throwing money into certain cases. I'm sure that the rescue in question is guilty of this just as much as any other rescue is. But aren't many (not all) horse owners 'guilty' of the same thing? Chiropractic work, acupuncture, surgeries to remove or repair once-fatal injuries, months and months of stall rest, extremely expensive, special diets...they are all doing the same thing with their animals. It isn't necessarily a bad thing since it IS their horse and their money, but it COULD be considered a 'waste' of money on a possibly-useless horse. But often doing those things do help the horse recover to become useful animals again.
I think what we loose sight of fairly easily is the fact that we seem to think that it is horse rescue's 'duty' to heal and poop out as many useful horses as possible, as fast as possible, while spending as little as possible. Much like a factory. And while that would be nice, and absolutely optimal, it isn't quite how things always work. A horse that only needs to be 'rehabilitated' for a little sprain that was going to cost it it's life, or that has been a little bit too spoiled or overfed will definitely bring more PROFIT, but should rescues REALLY be about more profit? IMO that wouldn't make them a rescue, it would make them a horse broker. A horse with small issues like that can just as easily be rehabilitated by an experienced horse person who went to the auction looking for a sorry case, as a few of you mentioned.
I think I'm loosing my train of thought here and going off on tangents xD I appologize. I'll try to get back on subject again.
A few of you mentioned rescues that do not give papers with their horses. I DO agree that doing so is rediculous, because it DOES limit the horse's marketability and usability later on. And we all know that just because a horse has no papers doesn't mean people won't breed them O_o since apparently the latest trend is to add a 'little of this and a little of that' to make some fancy heinz 57 horse that is 'great at everything!' ha. Anyways, I don't believe that our rescue 'confinscates' those, but I do think we ask a higher price for them just to 'weed out' the back yard breeders as best we can. I don't condone any rescue that does refuse to give out papers though, just to be clear.
As for some of the sorry creatures that you guys have mentioned, including the belgian with that horrific looking leg (I almost didn't believe the picture! O.o) and the 27 year old with the three colic surgeries, I do think that the rescues were in the wrong trying to save those animals. I absolutely see it differently though, when you have a potentially very nice horse that has undergone some trauma. They're sort of diamonds in the rough. Kenzie was given only 'normal' treatment for her EHV which included anti-inflamatories, banamine, IV fluids, and an antibiotic for secondary infection, and if she had required any sort of surgery or such, would probably not be here today. We actually had the option of having her stay at the equine clinic in a sling to keep her body from 'quitting on us' but we refused because we didn't believe that we should go quite that extreme with her. If she died with what we were able to offer her, she did. But if she had the will to live and the ability to pull through even after being down for almost a week, then you'd better believe we were going to let her do just that. And she did. She's not 100% yet, and maybe she won't get to 100%, but she is on the road to recovery and acting very much like athe unhandled, curious yearling that she is- whether that a good or bad thing xD
She's a lovely filly but as attached as I am to her, I can see the point of view that many of you hold in saying that theres a lot of risk attached to her, and all of this could possibly be for naught. That being said, you can decide for yourself whether what we did was right or wrong. There isnt any 'for sure' answer, I don't think, because none of us can tell the future. Only time will tell whether our efforts will be worth it.
As for rescue's being more objective and better at discernment when it comes to which horses to save and which to euthenize, that IS definitely a big problem. However, when every one that sees it that way rallies AGAINST the rescues and allows the rescues to continue functioning the way that they are, that doesn't really solve anything either. I truely believe that if more horsemen such as those of you who are bringing this up started to influence rescues (not necessarily as sponsors, fosters, adoptors, etc- but even just as voices that need to be heard) we could change things for the better. Its one thing to just talk about how bad something is but not want to take steps to change it- its another to go out there and try to change it. If enough people try, something is bound to happen right? That goes for many of the problems that rescues have, not just as far as discernment goes. Budgeting, attaching strings to horses, adopting out, etc...all of those things definitely need reformed. But they can't be reformed if no one gives options on how to reform them! The more we leave rescues out 'on their own' the more they're going to act like silly teenagers (no offense to myself ofourse! LOL) and do rash, poorly planned out things. They need people to tell them how to better themselves, and where they're screwing up!
I'm trying to remember if theres anything I haven't answered. If there is, feel free to bring it up again. I'm not purposely ignoring anything. I also don't mind being called out on faulty reasoning, as I'm sure that I had at least some in this post. I don't claim to know everything or be the best debater in the world! :)
DesertHorse- something like you said would definitely be optimal. Of course in cases like our little filly though, she still would have died a terrible death, but I do realize that not every horse can be saved. At least with that kind of solution, more horses would be adopted out so more could be brought in.
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
Last edited by Endiku; 01-16-2013 at 01:38 PM.