I am talking about people who are well able to care for the horse but..just..don't..want it anymore. Maybe they want a different horse or don't want a horse at all. Big difference.
I don't know how many times I've seen threads where someone is saying 'my present horse doesn't suit me but I've had no buyers interested and I want to get blahblahblah horse but can't pay board on two." Some people will pop up and answer "donate him to a rescue".
Nope, doesn't make a lick of sense to me.
I raise my hand here and say "This is me."
I upgraded a very thin, terribly cared for registered mare as a possible show prospect. Brought her home, took care of her teeth and feet, got her current on her shots, gave her some much needed love and attention, and put her weight back on. Taught her showmanship, got her backed, and respectful on the ground.
But, it became apparent she wasn't going to make a show prospect for my level of competition. Quick legged, very reactive, and a difficult girl. The horse market sucks. No buyers interested in her. I gave her away - with papers - and didn't feel badly about it. Didn't give her to a rescue, exactly. Gave her to a local guy who doesn't buy, doesn't sell - just finds possible matches between those wanting to get out of a horse they aren't willing to feed and care for and those wanting a prospect that they can spend their time and money on. She is now with a young couple who want a show prospect o show on a local level.
I got out of her monthly costs and got myself a new, much more promising filly. Horses are expensive. Why keep a horse you don't want? Why are you judging people for moving them on? I don't board... have five acres. Could I afford to care for her? Sure - but why would I? I have my mare Whiskey, our pony George, and now a new prospect. Suits me fine.
And the local rescues would love to take a horse that they can bring in for free that are current on everything, healthy, sound, and can be turned around quickly for a small profit. Truth is, most horses in rescues are there because they have a problem, be it mental or physical - old mares never broke to ride - horses that have been ridden badly and picked up dangerous habits like bolting and rearing - or soundness issues. These are horses that were once disposed of through slaughter... now the owners don't want to pay for the euthanasia/disposal fees and dump them in a field and the rescues take them in and go broke.