Sometimes we think everyone thinks like we do and unfortunately they don't. I am a pretty honest person so I assume others are honest too. I wouldn't stand and bold face lie to someone, but in the horse business, there are a lot of BSers. There are people we ALL know who probably have horses and shouldn't. I know that sounds crappy but some people just get them without the means to care for them. The free horse is NEVER free, sometimes it's the most expensive one in the long run.
When I was a little girl I dreamed about having a horse, I really believed with all my heart that I could get a horse and it could live in the house with me. I thought all I needed was to get the horse, and everything would fall in place. Well flash forward 20 years and now I understand that the horse isn't the big deal, it's the maintenance of the horse & all the gear you need to even ride the horse. It is the MASSIVE responsibility of having something totally dependant on you for it's life. Some people still think like I did when I was a child, get the horse first, and all will be fine. The rule is you have to have extra money in your budget, maybe it already exists, or maybe you have to make some cuts on other stuff you want to do without so you can enjoy the horse and provide for it. Most of the time it all boils down to money.
Right now I know of some people who can't afford 1 horse, and they have 10...they are always picking up these "free" horses. Their horses suffer the consequences and it is so sad. Of all those "newbie" lessons we learn along the way of horse ownership the hardest ones are the ones that end up with the horse suffering from our human errors...and especially when the suffering ends like it did for my sister. It is irepairable...there is nothing she can do at all to make it better. I wanted to post this thread because I hoped it would shed some light on the fact that people can lie, and they can be far different than what they appear. Once the horse leaves your custody and it goes on to the new home, well it is out of your control. I think it is far better to sell the horse for a fair amount than to give it away. A person who pays for an animal is more likely to care for it. "Free" things are often thought of as less wothy and they attract people who can't afford a horse in the first place. That isn't to say everytime, but sometimes it is true. There are people who search out free horses and then BS their way into getting them with talk of living out their years on some glorious farm. And yes they even use thier children to get them. Just be aware that your animal could be going someplace deplorable if taken by the wrong person, and I don't think anyone wants to drive by and see something they love starving to death and eating it's barn.
There have been studies done that show that "free" animals are often the ones most neglected when they are adopted by new people. Free kittens, puppies, and other small animals are even taken to be used as food for snakes and other reptiles. I say it is always best to place some sort of moey in the equation no matter what the animal is...not for a profit to yourself...just to make sure the people TRULY want the animal and value it's life.