Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rescue me from the rescuers!

Lately, it seems that everybody is a rescue! The government is happily handing out 501(c)(3) designations to folks who do nothing more than smack a killer buyer's horses up on the web (with a substantial upcharge to profit them, of course!) and then scream all over message boards that "the truck is coming." Of course, if you point out that the horses would have a better chance of finding a home if they were selling at market price and not $800 for a 20 year old with navicular and one eye, you are soundly trashed as someone "who wants to see horses die."

*insert massive eye rolling*

Furthermore, half the farm web sites you see advertise themselves as "rescuers" even though everything they are doing is opposed to what rescue is about. Here's my take on what a real rescue does:

1. Takes in horses who are neglected, abused, or headed for slaughter
2. Does ALL the vet their own expense
3. Does ALL the farrier work including remedial work and special their own expense. Does not spend more time begging for $$ on message boards than caring for horses. GodDAMN, those Friends of Barbaro have created a whole batch of monsters, it's ridiculous.
4. Once the horse is ready, evaluates its training level and honestly advertises it based upon that evaluation.
5. If the horse is unhandled/untrained, provides training before adopting the horse out so that the horse may have a better chance at a happy future.
6. Does not adopt out without an in-person site check, reference check including vet/farrier, and legally binding contract forbidding resale and requiring a standard of care that is to be maintained.
7. Conducts follow-up visits at reasonable intervals to ensure care is being maintained.
8. Never takes in more horses than it can care for and keep everything up to date on.
9. Maintains its own premises in the same condition it expects from its adopters - i.e. clean stalls, safe fencing, no hazards in the pasture. Does not whine about having soooo many horses and not enough help and make excuses for their own place being a shithole.
10. Never disposes of a horse it has failed to place via a dealer or auction. Is unafraid to euthanize a horse who is crippled and suffering, or who is so mentally unpredictable that its chances of finding a safe home are close to zero.

Those are my minimum standards for real equine rescue. Anything else, in my never-humble-opinion, is just a variation of horse dealing with a warm & fuzzy marketing spin because that helps sales.

I want to say that I'm NOT opposed to a rescuer also having a breeding operation...if they are breeding responsibly. You know my rules: conformation + disposition + performance record. And obviously that you have a base of knowledge to know the bloodlines of what you're breeding, what nicks with what, what genetic diseases must be avoided, etc. I DON'T believe that just because a mare has been rescued, that immediately should disqualify her from further use as a broodmare. I've seen some hella nice TB mares rescued - just because they were owned by an asshole who sent them to a sale when they came up open doesn't magically make them non-breeding-quality.

However, a lot of so called "rescues" are also doing a whole lot of irresponsible breeding and that's what we're going to talk about today.

The site I was alerted to today starts off with a big diatribe about the difference between animal welfare and animal rights. Because, you know, we MUST differentiate ourselves from those horrible skeery animal rights people who do dangerous things like...protest. This main page contains so many falsehoods about the animal rights movement that I would not even know where to start, but that's not the point of the blog, so I'll skip past that. It is the Equine Sale page that caught the eye of my alert reader. Their words in bold, mine in blue.

DUE to DROUGHT Hay prices are tripled this year for us. To put that into perspective last year our hay bill was $3,000 this year it will be almost $10,000. There simply is not enough money for this. ALL these horses listed here must find homes before winter. Nothing like planning ahead! I simply do not understand how people can live in blissful ignorance of the fact that hay, like gasoline, CAN and DOES increase in price, often without much warning. By the way, here's how you come up with $7000 extra over the course of one winter: both you and the missus get off your dead butts and go work at a minimum wage job Saturday and Sunday. Even if you are dumb as a post, they will take you at Taco Bell. Voila, $7000 extra over the winter! It is not the world's problem that you don't have money to feed what you created. It's your problem.

All foals are pastured raised with no little or handling.

Well, of course. Because God forbid you get off your dead asses and go handle them. Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Asshat? I've tamed plenty of babies in the pasture. You go out there, and you mess with them, and you scratch their little butts, and you pick up their little feet, and you groom them, and you put breakaway halters on them. You can do this without ever once taking them out of the pasture. That way, when it is time to wean and sell them, someone will actually want them. This is how you avoid having to sell them for...

Any foal listed here $400 or best offer.

Except this one. This homely-headed critter is a "Thoroshire" and they want $2500 for it. Did I mention they have a Shire stallion and an APHA stallion? I'm not even sure what all they have for mares, although you can kind of put the story together from the rest of the sale page. Yes, it's another 31 Flavors of Horses - one of my readers said we should call them BRB's (Baskin Robbins Breeder). It's for breeders who have a half-dozen or more different breeds of horses in their program, with absolutely no focus or logic to be found. I love it, I think I'm going to start using it.

The collection of bargain priced unhandled wild-as-a-march-hare foals includes:

APHA registerable(application will go with) any fees buyers responsiblity filly, probably homozygous..always produce paint color. Yes, becuase it's such a good idea to throw grade horses out into the world and HOPE that someone will spring for their papers. But hey, whether they do or not, she is "probably homozygous." So breed her!

colt(boy) out of a BLM titled mare and our APHA stud. he should mature about 14.3 own your own "Spirit" GAG. OK you bred a Pinto Mustang mix that's going to mature to that EVER so marketable height of 1 inch too big for a pony but too small for almost anybody else who wants to buy a horse, and your big marketing tool is to compare him to a cartoon? Let me guess, you're not gelding him before he leaves the property, are you?

CURLY momma (BLM titled curly mare) along with our apha stud has produces this gorgeous colt(boy) Of course, they've got curlies too...I'm just shocked, not. By the way, if you do not know a colt is a boy, you should not be buying one.

BLM titled gelding approx 4 yrs old about 15hh. was trained at the blm, to leadm pick up all four and load. He is very hard to catch. he has been pasture kept 2 years and should be considered wild again. Although he should learn very quickly as all the ground work was done $50 must go. Yoo-hoo, killer buyers! This one is on sale! You've got a nice profit margin going here, he looks like he's real good weight. If you can catch him of course. Maybe someone can rope him. Or chase him into a corral with a helicopter, that's probably how they got him the first time!

(Then they list a rather nice, broke gelding that, of course, they didn't breed. Then it continues.)

Our APHA stud is for sale open to ANY offer.

If he doesn't rip out his jugular on the lovely fence first!

Of course, this is yet another APHA stallion that doesn't have a single accomplishment of any type listed. In fact, his name doesn't even google, so odds are he's never produced anything of note either.

19 year old TB gelding, came with the house when I bought it. Oh great. He is a retired racer and had his legs pinfired at some point. Poor horse, he's just been hitting the bad luck lottery in life. He is very good natured and sweet. Due to drought he is a little thin now. He isn't thin due to the drought, you shitheap. They don't lose weight because it's DRY. He is thin because you are cheap fucks who won't feed him the way he needs. He's a TB not a goddamn Mustang. The previous owner was riding him in the pasture and says he is very calm and good natured as a riding horse. I have never tried riding him. For which I am sure he is insanely grateful. He needs a home. I am sure he can be ridden lightly by beginners, because the fellow who had this place was not a very exp horse person. make an offer. I just need him off the hay bill(pics coming soon) he is a chestnut color. Stop me before I drive to Missouri and pick up this poor horse. I have to be a responsible rescuer and accept that I cannot take on any more right now. *sigh*

Curly mare BLM titled about 14.3 hh 5yrs old. was halter trained at the BLM to lead, load and do all 4. She has been pasture kept here. Translation: We haven't done a thing with her, and sure hope she remembers all that training she got at the BLM! She isn't a spooky type horse, but we have not worked with her in about 2 yrs. Yeah, pretty much what I thought. She currently has a chestnut pinto foal(boy) selling seperately(pics soon). She should be bred back to our APHA for a pinto colored foal next year. You can't afford to feed what you've got now and you bred back WHY? Too lazy to bring the stud in from the field, perhaps?

also selling for a friend 2 TB mares..these are racebred mares extremely thin. he has had an even worse time with drought and lack of hay than I have. These are $300 each. firm if interested email for info
He will put them down rather than lower price, so please don't ask.
I don't even want to know what these two look like. I really wish I could somehow stop ignorant people from buying Thoroughbreds. They are not easy keepers. You can't just throw them out in the field. They often have a myriad of physical problems from the track and need expensive vet and farrier care. And the portion of equestrian society that cannot afford hay is usually the same portion that can't RIDE a Thoroughbred, anyway. Yet I see people pick them up because they think it is "cool" to have an ex-racehorse. Is it cool to have them starving in your backyard? Asshats and your asshat friend, GET OUT OF HORSES.

Hey, y'all - but the asshats have been licensed as a shelter by the State of Missouri, so they must be rescuers!

These people think they are rescuers because they buy at auctions and sell to riding homes, and because they foster dogs for the shelter, but the whole picture needs to fit to be a rescuer in my book. The irresponsible breeding of horses that have NO value, crappy facility with barbed wire fence, and dumping of a horse they haven't touched for $50 are SO FAR from what any reputable rescue would do as to be ridiculous.

The State of Missouri may have given you a 501(c)(3) but you failed the FHOTD test for rescuers...miserably. Quit trying to portray yourself as something you're not. Get off your dead lazy asses and go work with those foals.