How often does someone offer you a free horse? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 07:28 PM
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Three out of the four horses I've owned have been free. I get offered free horses frequently, as do many of my friends. Usually a free horse is not up to date on vaccines, dental work, worming, hoof care, and doesn't usually have blankets that are in good shape, so there are often quite a few expenses necessary right away.
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post #22 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 07:49 PM
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The truth is, the purchase price is, unless it is way above average, always going to be a very small part of what you end up paying for a horse.
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post #23 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 08:44 PM
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Hamlet was free. He's an ex track pony (taking race horses to the gates) and came to the barn for training and rehoming. My wife loved him, BO did the numbers (give him to us for free and charge us for boarding, or sell him) and here we are. He's healthy, a bit neurotic, and overall adorable and cooperative. I'm glad we have him.
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post #24 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Sue, I don't see any free race horses here tho - they generally dont go for less than the price doggers will give them. My standy's owner/trainer went on about ensuring she went to a good home, but still wouldn't drop below abattoir price.
Some are like that, but most WA hobby harness trainers I can't even visit without them trying to show me a horse they would give me for free if only it would avoid that fate... having said that, they know the standard I set for horse care, and most are selective enough not to want to offer any re-homes to beginners, because we all know what happens 90% of the time in those cases... and rightly say they would rather send a horse to the abattoir than an uncertain future in the hands of underskilled people.

The four horses I have here are adoptions from family members in the harness racing industry, who were overbreeding themselves (to my lasting chagrin), and would have had no chance of re-homing them elsewhere (three of them were late-cut stallions, two of those initially very aggressive and antisocial with horses and humans - they're great now, but they free-range in a social group here - the other was losing teeth and condition). They're great horses, but generally speaking, people with the skills to rehabilitate animals with social issues are few and far between. I couldn't ask for a better riding horse than Sunsmart for me personally - he's on a par with my late Arabian mare - and Julian too (half-brother through sire) looks to have wonderful saddle potential, and I'm starting his re-education, albeit slowly, because I already have a horse to ride and my plate is so full with everything else as well. The other two are well and truly retired, at 24 (with track injuries) and 34.

A friend of mine works with OTTBs and wherever she goes, people are trying to throw free horses at her. She's not as determined as I am to say no, so at one point ended up with half a dozen ex-racers, which got rather expensive and stressful. Most of them were very nice animals and sound, but if horse-riding is a recreation for you rather than a paying job, then I don't know anyone who can properly ride and train half a dozen horses at once, single-handed. It then ceases to be something wonderful you do for a hobby, and starts to produce stress and guilt and financial issues because it's simply too much. And that's a trap I am determined never to be caught in.

While people are overbreeding, and working horses too fast too young etc, there are always going to be a lot of horses for whom the only realistic end is the dog food auction. It makes me mad and sad, but there's nothing I can do - if that's what people choose to do, that's what happens. And sad as it is, an abattoir is actually not the worst possible outcome for a horse...
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post #25 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 10:26 PM
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There you go - just ONE search for WA, on Gumtree this morning - one of several outlets which are constantly offering free horses:

...and many, many more are word of mouth through trainers, veterinarians etc. The last time I was offered two free horses (hobby riding retrained OTTBs) was this week, when we adopted two additional donkeys. Again, I politely said I have enough horses and declined to look.

There are also a few dedicated re-homing societies which retrain ex-track horses and ex-rescues, and re-home them at basement prices, but are very selective in their prospective new owner criteria (thank goodness).

A few re-homing experiences I know of:

Sunsmart's dam (whom we retired at our place and who died last year) was free-leased, in-foal to a top-class imported stallion (whom my family were standing at stud for his owner, who had become paralysed in a car crash), to a friend of my father's who decided he wanted to breed a foal or two. A couple of hours after he picked her up, my father got a phone call: The mare was injured, did he want her back? The ignoramus had simply offloaded her into a large cow paddock, no other horses in sight, barbed wire fences all around. The mare came off the float, was turned loose, panicked (naturally), and flat-tack gallopped - straight into a barbed-wire fence, in which she became entangled. She had severe cuts to her face and legs and was so stressed she miscarried her foal. My father transported her back and the veterinarian patched her up again. It took her months to be back to normal, and she carried the scars for life.

Because she was a young mare and retired from racing and breeding, I spent a summer re-educating her to saddle, and we tried to see if re-homing to riding homes would result in better luck for her. Again, it was on a contracted free-lease basis, so that people wouldn't dump her or send her for slaughter, and so she could be taken back if the way she was kept fell below the standards outlined on the agreement. She went to nice people, but they weren't high in skills. It didn't matter very much, because all these kids wanted to do was ride her around in their own paddock, over low jumps etc, and they did this OK. Above all, they wanted a pet, and to brush her and feed her carrots, to which she was very amenable. Also, she loved children - and the couple of times we follow-up visited, everything was really good, the mare was happy, the kids were happy. We stopped checking.

A year later, we could no longer find the people who had the horse. They had moved and left no forwarding address (so much for the lease agreement!). Another year later, we had a phonecall from a concerned citizen: They had found a STB mare starving in a paddock and eventually traced back her breeder and last official owner (my father) through the brand and the Harness Racing Association. They had our mare in their care, had fed her back up again, and were trying to re-home her, and thought perhaps the prior connections would want to know, since no ownership transfer had been recorded - did we want her back? But there was also someone interested who seemed good, they said. My father agreed to give the new people a trial.

The agistment centre the mare went to ensured good physical care, feeding and turnout - that was not the problem. The problem was the starry-eyed, inexperienced pre-teen who was all "My Little Pony" and knew next to nothing about riding. Her mother said she would get lessons on the mare. In the arena things went fine - all she did was walk the mare around, at that point.

Before we left, I impressed on this girl that she should never, ever try to ride this mare outside of the arena without getting to walk-trot-canter-reliable halt-basic jump standard in the arena, as she was a hot horse except in the arena, and needed a confident and capable rider on a trail outing. I also warned her that she must ride in an experienced group of riders when she first started trails. This mare was very herd-bound and liable to panic when riding her alone on trails. (I could do it in training, but I knew very well that the average person would end up in a train wreck if they tried it - the mare was lastingly nervous away from other horses, and always looking to run back home if you didn't watch her like a hawk, and distract her, and keep her busy.) I impressed on the young lady that this was an ex-racehorse, very very fast, and that unless she wanted to ride a race-speed bolt, she should carefully follow the advice I had given her.

About a month later, a phonecall (and you can guess, I'm sure): The mare was "dangerous" and would we take her back please. We made no comment, and picked up the mare. I asked the girl what had happened as we loaded the mare up. Of course, she'd ridden her outside the arena down a bush trail on her own, gotten a couple of hundred metres down the road, then the mare had panicked, turned around and bolted home. There is no telling some people. This is an example of dangerous humans who will not take advice or realise their own limitiations - not a dangerous horse. Experienced people could ride her just fine, and we had warned the starry-eyed girl that she needed to be much more skilled before even thinking about doing such a thing. I wryly commented on the trip home that people like that needed rocking horses, not real live prey animals with the DNA for racing.

That was the last time this mare was tried elsewhere. She then stood in a sand yard for many years before my husband and I adopted her and her full brother to run in our little herd, after my Arabian mare died. We adopted them because they were both sweethearts and because I'd known them since birth and helped to educate them - and because we needed another horse in case old Romeo suddenly died - which would have left Sunsmart without company of his own kind.

I could go on and on with stories like this from other people. I briefly want to mention, for its sheer prize idiocy, the story of a Partbred Arabian gelding free leased to a teenage girl interested in endurance riding. I still remember the letter she wrote me when I was 17: "He keeps limping, and we couldn't work out why, so we decided it was just a habit." ...and kept riding him lame, "training for endurance".

A bullet is far kinder than some people.

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post #26 of 45 Old 10-28-2018, 11:19 PM
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You'll keep getting offered the "free" horse. It will end up being the most expensive horse you ever own. A free horse was how I got into Arabians in the first place. She was a super kind, fun little mare but oh man, she came with some baggage in the form of vet bills needed to set her right. I don't regret it, but if I had been paying for her, I'd have done a PPE and probably ended up passing for all her various reasons.

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post #27 of 45 Old 10-29-2018, 07:40 AM
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I just got offered my first - which is funny as I only read your thread today. Apparently I'm made of money so my friend "friend" told her "friend" that I would easily be able to take on their horse and GAVE THEM MY NUMBER! I have been spammed horse pictures now... and no. I wont be taking it. I got enough on my plate.
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post #28 of 45 Old 10-29-2018, 09:57 AM
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My daughter was offered, and accepted one, last year. It was a child of divorce horse. They split, she no longer wanted the horse, asked someone if they could keep her on their place - and skipped town. Attempts to contact her resulted in nadda. She'd make promises to come get, never show, etc. The horse was considered abandoned after I think six months? So the land owners told my daughter: Come get her. We need her gone.

Daughter turned around and gave her to the friend of hers who worked with Trigger early on, a kid who while a great kid with a more submissive or nervous horse like Trigger, but didn't get along so well with this new one. She was RANK and she scared him.

I think they ended up getting a handle on her and she made him a good horse after it was all said and done, but at first they were oil and water.
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post #29 of 45 Old 10-29-2018, 02:46 PM
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My current horse, my 5yr old OTTB was free. Kinda funny, I wasn't even LOOKING for a horse at the time. It sorta just fell into my lap.

To anyone else, she wouldn't have been free, her ad was nowhere near 'free'. Lol.
But my old BO wanted her to go to a good home. She knew me, trusted me, etc.
Her racing owners boarded her at the place & they paid all expenses for her, but they lived about 2hrs away so couldn't always get out there. They wanted her to go to a good home also.

I was riding a horse at a rescue, but I was frustrated because I knew he would never become 'mine'. Long story, but I was kinda feeling blah at the time!

I wasn't sure at first, I obviously had to go see her & check her out, see if we even click, etc.

So, I went out, and instantly we clicked. But, I knew I had to see her a few more times, ride her, etc.
I realized...OK, this horse needs a LOT of groundwork.

I questioned it at first, I was I really wanna go through with this? Can I handle all the groundwork she will need (she never really had any, they would just ride her).
ALSO she had terrible, TERRRRIBLE ground manners...she was a piece of work, LOL.

But, I just fell for her! So I ended up getting her. I met her racing owners, they were super nice people, & I occasionally send them updates. :)

I am very glad I got her, because she is totally me in horse-form & I am her person.

I've done a ton of work with her & she has made a 360, her ground manners are so much better & she is just all-around turning out to be an amazing mare. <3

It depends on the situation. Some people give away horses that have serious issues, or they just like to flip horses, etc.

I mean, I'm not gonna lie - her ad said 'KID-FRIENDLY LESSON HORSE!'...& she was nowhere near that, still isn't, but people do lie on ads. So you have to be careful.
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post #30 of 45 Old 10-29-2018, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by LoriF View Post
You know whether you are ready for another horse or not. Free horses are not a once in a lifetime occurrence. Wait until you are ready.

It's amazing how true this is. Once you put the word out, especially if you're willing to take a retiree, you realize how small and efficient the "horse community" is. I brought my two horses home from boarding this summer, and realized quickly that the older mare couldn't handle being left alone when the younger one was being ridden. I talked to people locally to find a retired mare who needed a change of scenery, but it was actually from posting about it right here that I ended up finding her. @phantomhorse13 , who does endurance riding, happened to be at a ride in my area, and randomly overheard a couple of local ladies talking about someone who had a mare she was looking to free lease/retire- and it just happened to be the breed I love (Morgan), so she got the woman's phone number, passed it to me, I took my husband to visit the mare to be sure he could handle her, and then a month later she came to stay. While she is technically still owned by her original owner, for all intents and purposes, she's mine. I make all the care decisions, but since the owner is close and interested, we stay in touch pretty regularly. If tragedy struck, her owner would be involved in decision making. It's all been very amiable and a good retirement story to counteract all the horror stories you read about with free leases!
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