Today the Jockey Club announced a new, free online service to help Thoroughbreds find new homes when their racing careers are over. The Thoroughbred Connect program allows people who are interested in helping a particular horse to attach their contact information to that horse’s electronic records. If that horse is in need of assistance or a home in the future, the horse’s owner can log in and request the contact information.
Thoroughbred owners and racing fans: the Jockey Club has provided you with an easy way to help ensure that the horses you love end up in a good place when their racing days are done. PLEASE take advantage of it.
This story just made my day. Jacie Cupertino, a student at Cazenovia College in NY, is about to complete her thesis, titled Rescue Me! A Collective Resource for Equine Rescue Facilities to Enhance Their Business Operations.
The project focuses on public perception of equine rescue facilities, and how rescues can become more successful with simple changes that:
- enhance their perceived legitimacy
- increase the public’s willingness to donate resources, and
- improve the quality of the facility’s operations.
I think this approach is sheer brilliance on Jacie’s part, and I can’t wait to read her thesis when it’s published next month!
As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of the keys to solving the unwanted horse problem is to educate the public. South Dakota State University (SDSU) has begun doing exactly that by offering a course called “Equine Issues and Leadership,” which examines the issues facing the equine industry.
The first semester’s students focused on the unwanted horse problem and presented their findings at the 2011 Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, SD. (Details of the presentation can be found here.)
Kudos to SDSU, Professor Rebecca Bott, and all the students involved! I’d love to see a class like this implemented at every college and university that offers courses in equine studies or agriculture.
A Google search on horse rescue news currently turns up page after page of stories about rescues gone bad, fake rescue organizations stealing money from well-meaning donors, and starved/neglected horses with nowhere to go.
These stories are incredibly disheartening– not just because of the suffering of the horses involved, but because they damage the credibility of all horse rescue efforts, making an already difficult task even more difficult.
As I was attempting to write up a post to cover the current issues and propose ways to prevent them in the future, I was thrilled to discover that someone else has already said it better than I could. Dr. Sheila Lyons wrote a lovely article last week for Dressage Daily, titled Equine Rescue Under Fire – How to Make Things Better.
Please read it when you have a chance. I’ve covered some of her points here before, but they’re worth covering again. Others are new to me, and I’ll be discussing them in detail here soon.
As I’ve mentioned, the economic downturn has had a devastating effect on the horse industry, causing thousands of horses to be abandoned when their owners can no longer afford them. This story is further proof of that.
After his ranch was foreclosed on in November, a Quarter Horse breeder in Montana apparently left all of his horses (as many as 700) on the property and disappeared. The malnourished horses have been without adequate food and water since then.
The Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) has efforts underway to airlift hay to the horses. As you can imagine, it takes tremendous resources to feed so many horses, so NILE is currently accepting donations of hay, transportation assistance (for donated hay), and money (to purchase hay and rent equipment). If you can help, please contact NILE:
Mail: NILE Foundation, PO Box 1981, Billings, MT 59103
Kudos to the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign for helping homeless horses in a way I’d never thought of. This group provides free vaccines for horses in rescues and retirement facilities.
Facilities must follow the AAEP Care Guidelines For Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities and have “not-for-profit” 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to qualify.
There are hundreds of horse rescue organizations in the United States, so odds are good that there’s at least one near you. Most rescues depend heavily on donations (of money, feed, tack, etc.) and volunteers. Whether you can spare a $20 donation, a few bales of hay, or a couple of hours per week cleaning stalls, you can help save a horse.
I’ve compiled a huge list of horse rescue organizations, and I’ve broken them down by state below. (more…)
ReRun, Inc. Thoroughbred rescue is about to launch their latest Moneigh art auction on eBay.
Moneighs are paintings created by famous racehorses, using their noses, hooves and even paintbrushes. Equine artists featured in this auction include Curlin, AP Indy, Big Brown and more. The proceeds help fund ReRun’s efforts to help ex-racehorses find a second career.
The auction runs Nov. 28 – Dec. 5. Watch ReRun’s homepage for details and links!
Just as with dogs and cats, the overbreeding and accidental breeding of horses has helped created a situation where the supply far exceeds the demand. This over-abundance of horses has far-reaching consequences– none of them positive, for horses or the people who love them.
The obvious long-term solution is to breed fewer horses. That’s where Operation Gelding comes in. Sponsored by the Unwanted Horse Coalition, Operation Gelding provides funds to groups and organizations who hold low-cost gelding clinics to castrate local horses. So far, clinics have been scheduled or completed in 16 states. (more…)
Over the years, I’ve seen many rescues and individuals go to incredible lengths to save horses. While I admire the love and dedication behind them, I often feel that such efforts are misplaced and counter-productive. A quick, quiet death is sometimes the best gift we can give to an animal.
It’s often also the only one that makes sense.
I won’t fault any individual for spending his or her own money to try to save a beloved animal, assuming the animal doesn’t suffer long-term, and assuming that spending that money doesn’t endanger any other members of the household. But rescues are different. Nearly all rescues are working with very limited resources, many of them donated. The sad reality of the current horse market is that spending thousands of dollars trying to save one critically ill or injured horse means that several healthy but unlucky horses lose their second chance at a good life. And often, even the ill/injured horse in question has very little chance at what most people would consider a GOOD, comfortable, enjoyable life. (more…)