Friday, January 28, 2011

Meet Whisper

Meet Whisper
She arrived from Tampa at 2 am Friday ( 1/28/11) morning, The weatherman said it would be 35 degrees but when I went out to the barn to meet the transporter, frost covered the ground. She had a nice cozy box stall for the 8 hours ride but when the door opened and she stepped out, she started to tremble. It was from the cold and from the new environment. A new barn, no familiar people or horse friends she has know for a long time. She was frightened. Her eyes were wide as we walked into the half lit barn. We put her in a stall and I throw a blanket on her right away. I gave her a a quarter bale of hay to keep her warm during the night and hopefully, get her relaxed in her new 'home'.
Her racing name is Whisper of Light. She is very sweet and quiet. She's easy to handle and is getting used to the rescue farm and all the critters. She is used to being around Thoroughbred horses, not dogs, goats, sheep, miniature horses, dwarf horses...what kind of place is this? Whisper has had only one owner and one trainer in her career. She is retiring from racing sound and ready for an awesome life as a dressage prospect or a very pretty trail horse. She did train for two years in dressage in between racing years. She is a 16.0 hh gray mare turning eight this year. She has never been lame. She gets along with other mares but has never been out with geldings. She is kind but needs an experienced rider. She has no vices or bad habits. She is curious and would love to learn some ground work and horse games to play with her human.
She needs a new home and a new personal human. She is waiting for that special someone to be best friends.

Not Slaughtering Horses is Financially Smart for USA

Please crosspost .

Not slaughtering horses is financially smart.
Keeping these horses alive keeps these horses contributing to the commercial horse industry.

When hay is bought, when vets treat, when trainers train, when facilities are repaired, when tack and medications are purchased, all of this is adding TO the economy, whereas slaughter takes away.

It's better for the commercial horse industry to keep these horses alive with their owners in this economy than it is to let them to be forced into giving them up and to let killers haul them to Canada or Mexico to "dispose" of them, or to build a new slaughterhouse in the US.
Terry W.

Please pass on!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 10:30PM
(Please share with every horse person you know!)
December, 2010By Allen Warren – Horse Harbor Foundation, Inc.Poulsbo, Washington
IN COLLABORATION WITH THE FOLLOWING LEADING EQUINE RESCUE SANCTUARY OPERATORS FROM ACROSS THE UNITED STATES: Jerry Finch, Habitat for Horses, Texas; Hilary Wood, Front Range Equine Rescue, Colorado; Grace Belcuore, California Equine Retirement Foundation, California; Teresa Paradis, Live & Let Live Farm, New Hampshire; Katie Merwick, Second Chance Ranch, Washington, and Melanie Higdon, Hidden Springs Equine Rescue, Florida.
According to its proponents, if the slaughter of America's displaced horses in Canada and Mexico were to be halted tomorrow, there would be approximately 100,000 needing to be dealt with each year by alternative means which they claim do not exist today.
Those that would continue the practice of disposing of these companion animals, never bred or raised to be part of the food chain, and that totals only about 1% of the total U.S. population of horses each year, argue that equine slaughter for human consumption abroad is the only economical way to handle what they call the "unwanted" horse problem.
The purpose of this paper is to prove that not only does an alternative already exist, but that it can be quickly expanded to accommodate America's not unwanted but displaced horses if the commercial equine industry will stop using slaughter as a dumping ground for its byproduct and participate in providing for the true welfare of the animals upon which its businesses are based.
Elimination of horse slaughter would also remove the present incentive for bad equine husbandry and therefore reduce the number of displaced horses in itself by the simple laws of supply and demand, and also serve to improve the quality of all breeds.
That total of 100,000 horses sounds overwhelming until broken down by the number in the pipeline at any one point in time, and that is the factor that makes the alternative viable.
One hundred thousand horses annually translates to 8,333 per month. Divide this number by the 48 contiguous states these horses are found in and the average is only 174 per month per state. Broken down even further into the weekly cycle of livestock auctions and the number of horses that actually must be dealt with at any one point in time is on average only about 40 per week in each state.
The ultimate solution for homeless horses is to reduce this number dramatically through more responsible breeding practices, a massive public education effort to make both current and potential owners aware of their lifelong responsibility to companion animals that can live 30 years and other measures. However, a viable interim alternative for re-homing displaced horses does exist today if the commercial equine industry and the horse rescue sanctuary community join forces instead of battling over this issue.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs that all over the country equine rescuers are being forced to bid against kill buyers to save horses, using financial resources that could better be used for expanding and caring for those in their sanctuaries and foster home networks. These are supported almost entirely by charity with virtually no help from the $102 billion a year industry from which the problem stems.
Proponents of equine slaughter claim that the nation's horse rescue sanctuary resource is inadequate to handle displaced and neglected horses and many are even trying to revive equine slaughter in the United States based on this premise.
The fact is that leading equine rescue sanctuary operators across the country have developed innovative new programs since the recession began in 2008 to save more horses than ever displaced by the economy. This places them in a unique position today to immediately play a major role in re-homing and caring for the country’s displaced horse population at this time, thus eliminating the perceived need for equine slaughter while long term measures are implemented to reduce the numbers needing re-homing in the future.
Another myth being perpetuated at the moment by those who do or would profit from equine slaughter is that the nation's equine sanctuary resource is at capacity due to the current economy and therefore there is no place for homeless horses to go other than slaughter. The simple fact is that rescue sanctuaries are and always have been at capacity. When a space opens up either to adoption or loss of a horse due to natural death or euthanasia brought about for medical reasons, another immediately takes it place. That is the way they have always operated.
Programs such as in-place rescue, in which dedicated but financially challenged horse owners are provided direct aid to keep their animals in safe homes, have prevented thousands from being neglected or displaced already and these efforts are being expanded. The innovative Oregon Hay Bank program, created and operated by horse rescuers, has kept 800 horses in their current homes since January 2009 in that state alone.
A recent survey by the National Equine Resource Network revealed that about 20 per cent of all rescue sanctuaries responding have similar feeding programs in place in their areas of operation across the country, effectively doubling and tripling their actual resident capacity since every horse that doesn't need to be rescued provides a space for one that does.
Further, the population of horses in sanctuaries is in constant flux, with openings occurring on a regular basis. A recent study by the University of California Davis indicates that four out every five horses that are taken in by rescue sanctuaries are then adopted out to new private owners, creating a constant stream of openings for more needing re-homing.
A national pilot program, funded by a private donor, is already in place this winter in which 1,000 horses are targeted for in-place rescue with aid to qualified owners ranging from hay and feed, farrier and vet services and even facility repair when safety or containment are a factor. A total of $200,000 has been provided to selected rescue sanctuaries around the country for this equine crisis intervention program, and that translates to an investment of only $200 per horse on average to keep these horses in their current homes and out of the displaced population.
All America's horse rescue community needs to provide a viable alternative to slaughter is the financial support of the equine industry itself, and a simple way to provide this is to add a long-term care and re-homing surcharge to the fee for every horse being registered in the country each year.
The various U.S. breed registries add approximately 500,000 horses to their rolls each year, and a surcharge of $25 (Which could be viewed as a one-time long-term care insurance premium for these animals) would provide $12,500,000 annually toward making sure they never suffer the horrors of the slaughter house. And this would cost the registries nothing because the cost is passed along to the end consumer, the horse owner.
Since all breed registries have in their mission statements that they are dedicated to the welfare of their horses, this is a much more moral and ethical way to honor those commitments and would unquestionably resonate well with their ultimate constituency, individual horse owners themselves. If the funds being used for lobbying by the major breed organizations today to keep slaughter are redirected to re-homing and long term care when necessary instead, it would add millions more to this effort.

The following programs are not theoretical, but have already been developed and implemented by the country's equine rescue community, and if expanded by funding from the industry, can eliminate the perceived need to send our horses off to slaughter for human consumption abroad in a relatively short period of time.
1. The creation of state and regional managed reserves to hold large numbers of horses safely until they can be absorbed back into the system. HSUS has already established two of these as a model and the cost for quartering and properly caring for each horse is miniscule compared to those on smaller sanctuaries. These can be established and operated by existing rescue organizations in each state working cooperatively and sharing the facility. Since much of America's farm and ranch land lies fallow at this time and many states have provisions for taking those dedicated to animal sanctuaries off the tax rolls, land owners will have the incentive to donate the use of these on long-term lease arrangements, thus minimizing the cost of establishing them.
2. Selected expansion of existing sanctuary capacity for rescues that establish business plans allowing them to accommodate and care for additional horses in their operations if more facility space is provided. Already many leading sanctuary operators around the country have expanded their rescue herds to deal with the crisis caused by the economy, and many more could if provided with the necessary funds to do so. Simply stated, if sanctuaries are at capacity, make them larger so they can accept more horses.
3. Expand existing and develop new sponsored foster home networks in which rescued horses are placed and supported with private individuals who have the facility and desire to keep horses, but are financially unable to. Interestingly, the economy has created more candidates for this than ever before as owners have had to give up their own horses, but still have the facility to provide a home for those owned by nonprofit sanctuaries. The largest pure equine sanctuary in the country today has the majority of its rescued horses placed in foster homes in three states and many others have these on a smaller scale, so the experience and expertise for helping other sanctuary operators develop them quickly is already in place. The cost for keeping a horse in a foster home is a fraction of that for one quartered on a sanctuary itself since there is no fixed overhead expense.
4. Expand the concept of in-place rescue to keep more horses with dedicated and committed owners in their current homes with temporary financial or feeding assistance. Currently there is a nationwide pilot program in place, privately funded, in which a small number of selected nonprofit sanctuaries provide local horse owners who qualify with financial assistance for feeding, minor vet procedures, farrier work and other equine needs if they agree to a sustainability plan to keep their horses. This is considered a hand up, not a hand out and the goal of this program is to keep 1,000 horses in their current homes this winter. The investment to do this average only $200 per horse and this program can be rapidly expanded nationwide since the mechanics are already in place. Still another established program is emergency feeding assistance efforts being carried out throughout the country. The Oregon Hay Bank was mentioned earlier and there are many smaller ones operated by rescue sanctuaries themselves. With funding from the equine industry these efforts can be expanded immediately and directly benefit its end consumer, the private horse owner.
5. The creation of state and regional training centers and networks, in which younger, healthier horses, which represent most of those going to slaughter today, can receive the training they need to lead productive lives and therefore be much more eligible for adoption to new homes. This can be based on the existing T.R.O.T.T. program for off-the-track Thoroughbreds which has been successfully implemented in California and the various mustang training competitions designed to make wild horses more adoptable. Again, there is nothing to invent in a program such as this, there are models already in place. Although some rescue sanctuary operators have the ability to train the younger, healthier horses being saved today, having this availability for those who do not would make many more of the horses in their herds adoptable, thus creating openings for more displaced horses. Also placing rescued horses in centers or with private trainers in these networks would provide temporary quartering for them, further alleviating the strain on the sanctuaries themselves.
6. A relatively new development in equine rescue, a growing network of sanctuary operators who work together to place horses they cannot accept themselves, has saved literally thousands of horses in the past two years. An informal regional group of only 11 in the Pacific Northwest has been able to place over 400 by posting horses needing new homes and sharing information. The establishment this year of the National Equine Resource Network provides a vehicle for not only creating and formalizing a national placement network, but also can be a resource for effectively distributing funding from the industry as envisioned in this paper. Currently there are two individuals who post horses daily needing re-homing that are listed directly or on various websites, and their records more than anything else belie the claim that only unwanted horses go to slaughter. The owners posting the vast majority of these horses have found themselves unable to keep them due to unemployment and other reasons created by the economy and are desperate to find them new homes to avoid slaughter for their beloved animals.
There is an almost immediate and viable alternative to the continued slaughter of America's displaced and homeless horses. It will require the country's commercial equine industry and horse rescue sanctuary operators to join forces, with rescuers taking on the task of implementing the programs described above and others, and the industry accepting financial responsibility for its byproduct. It's first and foremost about the welfare of the horses. There can be no debate that the plan offered here is much more humane than slaughter in terms of their welfare. Public sentiment is overwhelmingly against equine slaughter. Every true horseman, no matter what their position on the issue today, would like to see it end. In one way or another, it will either through legislation banning it or economic conditions such as the new regulations imposed on horse meat in Europe decimating the market. Now is the perfect time to act proactively and find a solution that works for all concerned, especially for our horses.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thunder in the Sky!

Thunder came from a South Metro Animal Control. He was unclaimed. I don't know much about his past except he was in need of a home. When animal control called, we answered, "Yes, we will take him." We don't ask if the horse is old, or young or injured or lame. Sometimes we find out when we get there and wish we would have asked more questions. Not that we would have said 'No' but we would have been more prepared.
We don't know it the horse can walk, will trailer load, or it bike, kicks or strikes! We do find out though!
We were introduced to the no name horse we named Thunder and was told he rides good and he's 12 years old. Thunder was really malnourished, sweet, easy to trailer load and happy to leave the little lot he was in at animal control. When we got to the farm, he was happy to see other horses, too. He whinnied and looked around.
Our vet said Thunder was between 25 and 30 years old. I never had one person interested in adopting Thunder. Guess older, hard keeper horses aren't too popular. At the rescue farm though, Thunder was a favorite with many volunteers.
I moved Thunder to a nice grassy pasture with a barn. I also brought another older gelding as a companion to Thunder. I have two other horses out there as well so all four had plenty of grass to graze happily. I had to move one of the horses. You know the saying three is a crowd, it's true even in the horse world. A friend of mine needed a companion for her lovely mare so I brought Thunder over. They got along instantly.
At 10:30 Sunday evening, I had a call that Thunder wouldn't eat. He was down and wouldn't get up. When I arrived he was up and walking slowly. There was a foul odor, like a dead animal, coming from him somewhere. I checked the back end where I found some dried running manure then he dropped a fresh load of manure and it was solid, and smelled like regular manure. It must be coming from the front end. I looked for a bad tooth, swelling, blood. I did find some nasal discharge. The vet thought it may be a bad tooth so we made arrangements to meet in the morning so we could xray his mouth. Monday morning the odor was gone and now it looked like Thunder had choke and needed veterinary help to clear it up. Dr Duval put a tube down his throat and added water time and time again as pieces of grain, what looked like wood and chewed up magnolia leaves washed out. About 2 hours later it was cleared up and Thunder felt much better. I brought him back to the rescue farm so he could be on antibiotics and heal his throat since the tube created trauma in that very tender esophagus. Thunder ate a mashed senior feed, had a warm stall but no hay for a few days. He seemed to like the attention everyone gave him too.
Tuesday morning Thunder seemed lethargic. The foul smell came and went then came back again. He hung his head and wouldn't eat. I decided to let him walk around the barn. All the horses were in because of the rain so he had a choice to visit any horse he chose. He chose to stand at the gate with his head down all day. He was offered food, given love and comforted but it didn't change him. Dr Duval added two more medications to his regime. I added Equine Drench to keep his going while he was not eating.
I found him staggering around his stall this morning. I let him out and he headed back to stand with his head down at the gate. Then he laid down. I ran back to the house to get my phone and call the vet. When I got back to the barn, a few minutes later, he had died. The foul odor was back. Maybe something internal was going on. It may have been going on for a long time. Thunder was a hard keeper, it may have been because of an internal illness, maybe cancer. Thunder's body is buried now, but his spirit is running in the sky. Listen for him during the rain storms, you will hear him and remember him. Then smile. We were lucky Thunder came into our rescue, our lives, and our hearts. Rest in Peace Thunder but when it rains, kick up your heels and we'll think of you again when we hear that Thunder in the sky.

Monday, January 24, 2011

'No Good' Horses at Auctions

Go to a horse auction and you will see only old, crippled, lame , sick horses that need to be slaughtered.

That's what the Pro-Slaughter people say. It certainly is not true. We have proof over and over that is not true.
Here is an example of a horse we purchased for $50.00 (fifty dollars!) at the TN horse auction a few weeks ago. This Quarter Horse type gelding, Chief, is about 5 years old. He was a little underweight but it gaining nicely. He could easily have been in the kill pen sent to Mexico to be slaughtered for human consumption a few days after the auction. Chief was lucky a SaveTheHorses volunteer was there to save him. What's even better is, he has already been adopted but a young Cowboy, Lex, who loves him dearly. This 'no good' horse is actually quite good and perfect for a child with limited horse experience to ride off into the sunset. They will enjoy many years together because all the volunteers and supporters at care about the welfare of horses.

When someone says horse slaughter is necessary and tells you about the 'no good' horses at the auctions, you speak up for the horses and tell them about Chief. I know Lex and his family will be forever grateful we saved Chief. We are grateful they saw his beauty and ability and opened their hearts to him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reining Horses? No, Raining Horses!

Raining cats and dogs is a phrase we all heard but don't take literally. Today, my phone rang with so many horses in need, I feel like it is raining horses, literally.

Timber in the picture, is a 16 hand, 6 year old Thoroughbred mare. Timber was bred to run. She raced but was injured. The owner had paid for surgery to remove the bone chips from her knee hoping she would be able to race again. She seemed sound but not sound enough to race. The owner tried breeding Timber but she didn't get pregnant. She is in need of a safe home. She is a great pasture companion and gets along with other horses. She needs a home ASAP. She is located near Tampa, FL.

Then there is

.. 3 year old grey Thoroughbred mare, just off the track and ready for a new career. Located in Tampa, FL. Sound and pretty.

2 Appaloosa mares, 1 baby mule, 1 miniature donkey and 1 quarter horse in desperate need.

That's 10 horses just today. I have alist of others from this week. A blind mare named Molly, a saddlebred gelding, oh so so many horses needing new homes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Have Catfish At The Rescue Farm

Catfish at the Horse Rescue?

This is not your ordinary Catfish. Our Catfish is a mule and he's a handsome mule at that. A good friend of mine, Belinda, was moving and taking her horses with her to Colorado. There wasn't room in the trailer for Catfish so we agreed to let him stay here until she could get back to pick him up, that was over a year ago.

The longer Catfish was here, the more I know he belonged here. He gets attention for many visitors and, as you can see by the photo, he gives attention to visitors. In this photo, Catfish was asking Judy to call Belinda, so he could talk to her about living here and not going all the way to Colorado. She agreed after Catfish told her about all the fun he was having!

He knew living on 22,000 (yes, twenty two thousand acres) would be fun but he may not see another human for days. Here at the rescue, he see people everyday. He gets into trouble,, causes chaos, has great horse friends and is very happy. After he was here two months, we decided he's a keeper. He's here to stay.

Stuart, a young Palomino gelding, and Catfish were playing the the ring together. Catfish didn't like the halter Stuart had he managed to take it off. One of the teens took a great short video of the amazing action ....

See the video here: Catfish

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who are You? Continued

So #423 at the Camelot auction waits his fate.

Our auction coordinator, Elizabeth, got going. She knows we want the horses other may not see the beauty in; the old, used, abused and ill. She started posting for donation as a last minute attempt to save this #423. One hundred, two hundred, thirty dollars, ten dollars, fifty dollars, it all kept adding up, big and small donations. We had to get enough to bail him out of his 'cell'.

Then we had to arrange for him to stay safe and fed while we arranged transport to his quarantine farm. Horses at auctions are stressed. They are vulnerable to get viruses, germs run a muck with so many horses together from different situations. Quarantining is important but it is another expense. Then transport from New Jersey to Georgia can be $2.00 a mile. Elizabeth worked on that next. Time, dates, what kind of trailer, a safe experienced transport company. It's all about rescue. There are many facets to it. It takes many people to save the horses and we saved #423.

Who are you #423? Now #423 is known as Rusty. He has a little girl who loves him. She sees his beauty. She spends time with him every day. Dakota and Rusty are soul mates. Dakota grooms him, kisses him and lays down next to him. Rusty has a happy ending because of people who care. People whose eyes see into the hearts and souls of horses.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Who Are You?

When a horse is sent to an auction, he doesn't have much to say. He is voiceless except to the other horses who may be confused or even terrified because of their uncertainty. This horse may have lived with a family for the past 10 years. He may have been treated kindly or maybe not but he usually had a routine and accepted it. He didn't have much choice. He depended on his owner. He had to. Now he was sent to an auction in NJ, called Camelot. This is not the castle in King Arthur's version. It is a place where horses can be sent to slaughter if purchased by the wrong person. Why? Was he too old to work any longer? To lame to ride? Too old? People at the auction saw him. They looked at his worn body, his teeth and his tired eyes. What did they see? When they asked, "Who are you?', all he could do was show them his sticky white tag on his hip # 423. That's all he was. No name, no story, no home.

No Sheep!

No Sheep! At least not yet. Hopefully, we can head out tomorrow and find and bring home this poor scared sheep.

We spent an hour and a half in the cold rain trying to corner the sheep. We even had a very well trained sheep herding dog. Actually, that's when we lost the sheep. We let the sheep see the dog and it disappeared. Some nice people who care about animals put out hay and straw for he sheep since it hangs around the back of their office. That's where we are heading permitting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How Ewe Doin?

We were alerted that a lone sheep is in an Industrial Park in Woodstock. Animal Control was called and came out on two different occasions. They didn't see a sheep, so they left.
Since we are experienced hands on rescuers, we went prepared. We had sheep feed, buckets, hay, alfalfa cubes, portable pens, a horse trailer, lead ropes and even an experienced sheep herding dog. Bobby, Michele, Rodeo, Karen, her wonderdog, Shasha, and I all hopped in the truck.

To be continued,,,,,,