Previously, I blogged about Rescues and their choices in who they pick for horses. Now, I'm going to rant & rave just a touch about the homes they select as "acceptable adopters".
I have been reading blog after blog, Facebook entry after Facebook entry. All these rescues, begging for someone to volunteer to adopt a horse/dog/cat/goat, all so they can find a better home than slaughter/euthanasia. They're touching, really. Some of them, it looks like the horse is young, slightly underfed, and eager to get a bit of human attention.
So I started looking at the rescue websites. Okay, I was nearly obsessing over them, you can ask my close friends. I was looking at the listings, thinking, 'Oh that one has a cute kind eye' or, 'Wow, she's pretty!' My clicker mouse then wandered to their adoption processes, forms, applications, paperwork.
Shocker, dude. These rescues, and I've seen a few of them, keep their horses in little paddocks, or over packed pastures. They eat well, but very little or none of that eating is natural grass (there's none left). Most are getting decent vet care. Is it top of the line? Nope. Some will hand walk a colicy horse for 6-8 hours or "just watch 'em" rather than haul to or call out the vet.
The requirements to adopt from these places astound me. Certain kind of netting fence (no barb wire, no hot wire, please). Run-in shed of three walls minimum, but 12x12 individual stalls preferred. Vet reference, friend reference, and unannounced visits to make sure you're doing exactly what you said you'd do with little Fluffy Pony P.
Ouch. My fence is 2-strand hot wire (never had a run through, thank you very much), with two sides of the (multi-sided, odd shaped) property barb wire. Why? Because the neighbors outside of those wires own cattle, that are completely ignorant of hot wire. They own the posts, they own the fencing. I don't see them too appreciative if I go sticking wire atop it, cutting out brush to keep it "hot", accidentally tearing apart their weak 5-strand in the process (the cows think it's tough, and I won't show them otherwise). One of my stalls is solid plywood and aluminum walls - 24/7 in out access (Harley!). The other, across the lane, is pipe welded fence, but walled with tarps, only to keep the rain & cold out (Romeo), still 24/7 in out access. The third little pasture plot I've got fenced off has shady trees, but no shelter.
Automatically disqualified. What a shocker. I kept reading more ads for folks trying to rehome out "good horses that just need love". I look at the conditions they're kept in, many without shelter, weak fence that a herd battle could tear down, entirely too many equines crammed into little dry lots. How on earth does this make my pasture any less acceptable? Even in the drought we're in, I still have grass. My horses are fat&sassy (I recently put Harley and Romeo on diets, cutting off Mo's hay and he's down to 0.5scoop of 12/8; Harley is on 1scoop 12/8, hay about once a day, sometimes twice.. and I cut his Cool Calories out). Yeah, we had to go on DIETS in a DROUGHT at my house. Not one horse has come to my house fat&sassy, but they all end up that way. That's not by accident, either.
I'm frustrated, and a little bit disgusted. What made them so high and mighty to determine that only the perfect homes are good enough? Is it truly better that the horses be stuffed into little dry lots with uncertain budgets and subsequent feed? Or would my little third lot, fencelined with Harley and my side yard, trees for shade and shelter, cows' fence barrier for about three fence-posts' worth, really be better?