I've rescue horses and then I've taken horses in from not so great situations. There is a difference. Dillon who was bought out of a meat pen, starved half to death, full of ticks, worms and very malnourished was a rescue. Bonnie was bought from a less than perfect home where they didn't deworm her or care for her right, but she was not in danger of losing her life. She was not a rescue. Dillon was.
I rescued my first horse. I truly believe I did. He was in a home where food was always available. When I say that I mean that the feed room always had hay and grain. The owners however, were teenaged boys that fed when the thought about it. Their first horse was a really pretty arab that died of colic. It probably rolled and suffered for days. They never noticed it was sick.
They would feed on a monday, put the horses in the stalls, give them hay and grain and then if they remembered they would let them out maybe on wednsday or Thursdsay. In the meantime, they had no water and were in a stall with no windows. The horses were so hungry they ate all of the bark off the trees. When the creek ran dry in the summer, they went without water.
I remember going over there once while the boys sat on the deck and shot the horses with a beebee gun. They loved watching them buck. They used to get mad when the horses would do something wrong, they'd kick them or hit them, whatever. My horse had a scab on his wither, bloody and pussy from a poor fitting saddle. He also had a place on his face that would swell up and you'd have to pick the scab to let the puss drain.
I paid $500 for that horse. I think I saved him. He was three years old and several hundred pounds under weight. One mistake I did make though was to use his abuse as an excuse. I would never hit him. I bet I have smacked him, twice in in the twenty three years I've had him (I mean really smacked). He is a rearer so I have used every method in the book to try to cure that issue and I've been called abusive by many people on forums for giving ideas on how to treat a rearer. At 26 he still rears. I have a horse that is disrespectful to others and has poor manners because I used the he was abused excuse for...well, forever. I don't really use it anymore, now I just tell people he's a spoiled brat, which he is. But he's my spoiled brat. And I feel like I saved him. The rest of mine... eh, they might not have been cared for the way I would have cared for them, definitely two of them were treated alot rougher then I would have treated them, although I will say, both have impeccable ground manners... but abused... nah.