I also say consulting with you is the most reasonable route. Most people just dump their horses at auction or put them up on craigslist. But the responsibility falls with the owner for upkeep...I'd personally want my donations to go toward feed/care/etc.. of horses already present. Do the best you can for those you can. We can't rescue all the horses in the world but at least we can make a difference to a few. But if every rescue took in every single "useless" older horse that the owners just no longer wanted to keep around, then there'd be no room for the animals that truly need rescuing. If you can afford to and have the space and money, great, by all means help give these old souls a chance. But that is just not the reality for a lot of places.
IMO, the fate of an older horse should unfortunately lie solely with the owner. You (hopefully) buy a horse knowing it could live upwards of two decades and might not be rideable in the end...but sadly some people do not want to make the full-life commitment when they could be putting their resources toward younger, useful animals.
There are always older horses "free to good home" on the 'List. With a variety of problems. Would make a good companion horse! Severely arthritic in the knees but a child could learn on him! Oh here, take this crippled grey-faced 25 yo molly mule off our hands...she's sweet as can be and spent the best years of her life packing us around, but she's just taking up space right now so....
I understand things comes up, but personally I do not think it is very...decent? to the older animal to just try to off it in this economy and hope for the best. Our rescues around here are overtaxed as it is...very, very few people have the room/finances to "rescue" an older horse, rideable or not, on top of their other animals.
Even if there was a rescue geared solely toward taking in older unwanted animals, they'd still be overflowing and imho, the operators of this rescue better have deep wallets to make sure these seniors got the proper care they deserved.
In conclusion...things comes up, or some people don't see why they should continue to pay for the upkeep of an animal that is no longer useful to them. Not everybody has the ability/willingness to euthanise themselves and the majority of the oldies find their way to the auction yard. Not an ideal situation, and it is a touchy subject for me personally, but sadly that's the way it is right now.
If I lost the ability to care for my older horse I would seek to euthanise him rather than make a few quick bucks off him at the auction or try to dump him on craigslist. If I could ensure a good retirement home, then great...but unrealistic. I'd owe it to him to ensure he passed as peacefully as possible. I know, not the ideal situation for everybody, but that is my personal commitment.
Last edited by Cheshire; 03-26-2010 at 02:48 PM.