rescue v. retirement???
so as a rescue we get a ton of requests to help with horses in all situations and walks of life. however i tend to have issue with the people who contact us b/c they can't afford two horses, and simply can't justify their older, unrideable horse's expenses when they have a younger, healthy horse to show, and ask us for help in placing the older horse because they deserve a good retirement/to live out their days. what are your thoughts on this? where does the responsibility lie? i'd really like to use this thread as a topic of discussion to get input from other horsepeople on this topic as i know it can be a sensitive one. please share!
At least they care enough to contact you. They could easily just send them to an auction and be done with it.
I have to ad that horses are expensive to keep. If you have land than why not. But for those that board I dont see that as being an option. Especially after seeing some threads on board costs.
I see both sides of this. On the one hand, they knew when they were buying the horse that eventually it wouldn't be rideable anymore. However, like Crimson pointed out, these owners could more easily be irresponsible and send them to auction, post "free to good home" ads and give the horse to the person who shows up with a trailer, or (I've actually seen someone suggest this) just let the horse loose in a horse park.
Although it doesn't seem like it, consulting with you is the most responsible route.
While I agree with Crimsonhorse01, I also think the true responsibility lies on their shoulders. When you get a horse, you are fully responsible for that animal. You either give it to someone else, or care for it until death.
That said, it must also be acknowledged that economic times are tough.
Personally, I'd sell the younger horse. I know that horse can much more easily get a good, loving home than can the older, unrideable one.
I don't see anything wrong with help. As long as they don't dump a horse on you to feed and care. But if you come across someone looking for such horse and you don't have anything like that in your rescue then why not to match both sides together?
Some people look for older horses for number of reasons - safety, quiet, or just love old horses. So it's win-win situation for both sides.
However I really hate ads like one I saw at the auction last time next to the nice quiet horse (God, THAT one drove me completly nuts): "Older (18 or 20 yo) qh, was used extensively in begginer/intermediate lessons, due to health issues can't be used in lessons anymore, sold As Is". Plus some other BS. I think THAT horse certainly DESERVED a nice retirement... Argh....
Rescues are not dumping grounds for people who want to get rid of an animal that has gotten too old, is crazy, requires expensive medication, or is lame.
Rescues need to remind people that they're NOT free retirement facilities, and if the owners can't find a home for their unwanted critter, what makes them think rescues have some sort of magic power to do so?
If you can't afford your horse or just don't want to, and it's not sane, sound, and rideable, do us all a favor and put down the poor brute. Waiving off what is ultimately YOUR responsibility makes you look like a moronic assbucket.
This topic really frosts my tuna. These are the same folks who will blather on and on about 'no slaughter for the pwetty horsies', but won't hesitate to foist off poor old Sparkplug onto a rescue and convince themselves that they're saints for not selling the beast at auction.
Put on your big girl/boy panties and take some responsibility for your own animals! Don't expect someone else to be willing to take on your problem, especially if that facility is already full to bursting with unadoptable critters.
Sorry, I'll get off on a tirade about this if I'm left to my own devices. People like that are the lowest of the low, in my mind.
It would frustrate me. I know that horses are expensive to keep, etc, etc. But..... You knew that when you bought it. And you knew it probably would live to be 25 yrs old or so and maybe not be rideable when it's older. So to just get rid of it when it's no longer useful seems kind of callous to me.
We bought our horses almost 30 years ago. There have been some very tough times in those intervening years. When we had to sell one. We sold the youngest one, the one we'd had the shortest time, and who had the best chance of getting a good home. And that was like 1-2 years after we'd gotten them.
I waited a long time before I finally bought my personal horse because it was a big decision for me. I was committing to owning and caring for a horse for a long time and probably past the point where I could really ride it. Sure something bad might happen and I may be forced to sell, but that's a lot different from choosing to sell an old horse to keep the younger one.
I don't compete, so maybe that's the difference, but again it's pretty callous to get rid of an animal after years of competing with it because you can't ride it anymore. Frankly if I couldn't afford to keep the old mare anymore, I'd shoot her. In my mind it's a hell of a lot kinder and more resposible than giving her to a rescue. Especially when there are horses that actually need rescuing.
i have to agree with speed racer here. why is it that the rescue should foot the bill for an unrideable horse so that the private owner can continue to show their fancy younger show horse?
who's responsibility is it when a horse is no longer rideable? i think we are all in agreement that shipping the horse to auction is bad, but when/how is it acceptable for that horse to go to a rescue? it's no easier for a rescue to place an unrideable senior than it is for a private home, and right now in this economy, we're having a hard time placing RIDEABLE horses.
my question is this - if you feel that your older retired horse deserves to live out his days in peace even though he can't be ridden, who's responsibility is it to pay for that? yours or the rescues? and while if we/you can find a pasture companion home for that horse, then it's a win-win, yes, who is responsible for the cost and care of the horse until that home is found? the individual or the rescue?
finally, we get a lot of these - we can't afford two horses and one is no longer useful. if no one takes her we will be forced to (choose one - there are difference points for different people) a) euth the horse, b ) send the horse to auction c) don't know what to do as we can't afford both....
there seems to be a stigma that when a horse is no longer "useful" but still sound/relatively healthy, that they should be able to live out their days (i agree) and if you still want to show, it's perfectly acceptable to expect a rescue to foot your "no longer rideable" horse's retirement bill. i guess i just don't see animals as disposabe, and sure, if someone were willing to take in a retiree i'd consider it, but i just can't imagine having to euth a healthy 20-something year old b/c showing was more important and i couldn't afford two horses. is it me, or do others share the opinion that you should not get a second horse unless you are able to care for them both throughout the duration of their lives?
what exactly do YOU feel is your responsibility to the animals you own with regards to when they live beyond their rideable/showable days?
1. to pulling a horse from a bad situation such as auction/slaughter/broker/abandoned horse, etc.
2. helping to feed and/or care for horses already at the rescue that have been pulled from bad situations such as the above?
3. towards a retired horse surrendered by its owners for being undrideable so that they could afford their younger, healthier horse and show him?
i'm curious to hear the replies...
CJ, I don't think we're ultimately responsible for an animal from birth to death, but I do think responsibility for an unrideable or otherwise non-usable horse falls squarely on the owner's shoulders.
If they can't or won't provide retirement for the animal, then they need to put it down. If that's too repugnant a thought, then maybe they shouldn't have bought/taken the horse in the first place.
I have an unrideable horse. I got him when he was 19 y/o. He was rideable when I got him, but I found out that he has arthritic hocks which make it painful for him to be ridden, so I retired him. He just turned 23 this year, and I'll keep him until he dies.
I have the property and finances to be able to keep a 'useless' horse. I understand that not everyone does, but that still doesn't make it right for them to try and foist the animal off onto someone else.
This whole 'pie in the sky' ideal that somehow giving it to a rescue means that the horse will find a forever home and live happily ever after, is nothing more than a fairy tale people tell themselves.
If you're not prepared to make the ultimate decision on an animal that has little to no chance of finding a good home, then maybe the only horses you should own are Breyers.
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