I wonder if it's the same rescue down the street from me doing the same thing... -.-'
I run a rescue, well more of a sanctuary, and to be honest it infuriates me to see people like that. Our rescue is a small, local place, we started with the hope of rehabbing and rehoming, we have a few 'permanent fosters' out in the world, but the majority of the horses we ended up with are 'lifers'. They are at the end of their line and for one reason or another can't be rehomed (from unsound, to blind, to neurological). In any other situation they would have been euthanized, but here we let them 'live it out'. We rely on public donations, grants, and volunteer help. But our horses appreciate it all. The woman who runs it all is 63 years old! She is there every day without fail, cleaning all the stalls, turning in and out all the horses, feed, water, fixing things around the barn. I'm there multiple times a week, I used to go every day until I realized I really needed a paying job too xD Both of us are full time volunteers, neither gets paid, we live off our own income, the horses off the donations. We have phases throughout the year of volunteers, kids and adults, some stay - some go. We're kinda run down, but the horses are happy, healthy (to the best of their ability) and safe.
There are people around who claim to be rescues, lesson barns who dub their retired horses 'rescues' in order to get money to support them. There are 'rescues' who are actually more like horse traders, going to auctions and buying horses cheap, sending them to fosters who train them all nice and sell the horses for top dollar. Ever know a rescue horse to sell for $20,000? I know one -.-''. I was infuriated by people like this for a very long time. People who trade horses under the label of 'rescue' so people can feel righteous about buying the horse and tell all their buddies 'my horse is a rescue'.
But then one day it clicked with me. While these people may be scammers, they may be bleeding money out of people, or not really caring about the horses, but whether intentionally or not the horses are getting a second chance. Horses are being taken from auctions and given another shot at finding a home. Horses who would have been euthanized or auctioned when lesson programs can no longer use them can now be supported and allowed to live out their retirement. Whether the intentions are right or not, the horses are being helped. And while it's hard for me to bite my tongue and not yell at people who are 'using the system', the horses are being given another chance and that makes me tolerate this.
I'm assuming you're in the US, I'm not sure the laws in all the states, but I believe you need to have 501c3 status to legally fundraise. Most actual rescues have it, if this woman has it and you care deeply enough you ought to see about challenging her status, especially if she's supporting non-rescues with that money.
There's a new law I heard about, I don't know all the details. But it specifies that horses can only be officially classified as 'rescues' if rescued within the state or maybe country? But it's to force people to 'act locally' rather than buying up the nicest horse from another country and calling it a 'rescue'. Being as there's no clear guidelines as to what makes a horse a rescue it's tough to enforce any laws.
Some people may only call a crippled or diseased horse with a sob story an 'actual' rescue, while others may say 'any horse headed to slaughter', while others may say 'any horse no one else wants'. It's hard to say, but if she's operating outside of the law I hope you do something, people like that are what ruin it for actual rescues.
*steps off her soap box* ^^' sorry