Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Run, don't walk, away. Most rescues today do not sell their horses, they 'adopt' them, which means you NEVER OWN the horse outright. You are simply paying to have a lifetime lease on the animal which can very likely never be sold, bred or shown. Most will strip papers from the horses, if they have any, frequently there is a clause that states something to the effect, "if they ever see anything they don't like, they reserve the right to remove the horse" and what they don't like is not defined. You are money and time ahead to just go buy a horse in a bad situation.
If you really want to feel like you've rescued a horse, go to your local low end auction and buy the sorriest, skinniest animal there and bring it home and feed it and vet it and bring it back to health or put it down if it is too far gone. Then you'll have done some good.
MY DISCLAIMER: I am not a fan or supporter of organized "rescues" and have not been since they started buying horses at auction and claiming to have 'rescued them'. That is not the definition of rescue, they buy a horse just like anyone else. I've seen too many shady deals and practices with so called 'rescues' and will now take in horses in tough times or buy them at a sale but I won't contribute one penny to the closet hoarders who call themselves 'rescues'. There is no oversight, very few regulations (unless the 'rescue' is a 501c3 and even then they make very poor financial decisions) and almost never anyone to question their fiscal irresponsibility. I have been involved in rescue and rescuing from rescues for over 30 years and have become very disillusioned with most of the so called 'rescue organizations' that are currently out there.
Just want to throw in a defence for rescues here. Nothing personal against you Dreamcatcher, and I'm not discounting your opinion or experiences, it's just mine differ strongly.
I don't know how charities work in the US, but over in the UK they are heavily regulated, with all of their financials being available to view online via the government, and they are audited by an official at least once a year. That's not to say that there aren't dodgy rescues out there - there are, but I feel like tarring them all with the same brush can be damaging.
We honestly always had equine welfare at the centre of everything we did, which involved partnering with the police and the RSPCA in the legal seizing and prosecuting of welfare cases, never buying horses for the sake of it.
Whilst we did do what you disagree with - keeping ownership of the horses for life, the owner could do whatever they wished with them, within reason. They had a copy of the horse's passport (most horses didn't have breeding papers), and could travel, show, enjoy their horse however they wanted. I only remember in the time I worked there, two horses being removed from the home against the adopters wishes. Both had multiple chances to redeem themselves, but didn't. The first was keeping a young native pony on a field with the same grazing as a TB, and leading it to become obese. They saw no issue with the matter and refused to change the situation, so the pony was removed for fear of laminitis. The second was a horse that was adopted out as a companion on the basis that he was under no condition to be ridden, as he was only paddock sound. We then discovered he was being ridden on a regular basis, and when we spoke to them about it, we had abuse hurled at us. Safe to say, again the horse was removed.
We also used to provide the option of paying for treatment for the horse if it was going to be an extended or serious vet bill.
Whilst I advise all the caution in the world with adopting a rescue horse, it can be the most rewarding thing in the world. You just have to be aware of all the conditions of the adoption, and be aware that at the end of the day, just like any leasing situation from a private owner, they can remove the horse at their own prerogative.