Monday, July 24, 2017

No Room for Maintenance

I read a Facebook post from a nationally known horse rescue. I am sure it was one person's individual view from the horse rescue but it really hit home (for more ways than one).

This rescue, and I have followed their efforts throughout the nation for years, said that rescues in general are dying. What?!?! With the kill pen programs exploding, the rescues are finding it more and more difficult to find donors and are thus closing their doors. I am not here to argue about the kill pen programs. I see pros and cons for it but that's not what I'm here to discuss.

As the nationally known rescue said (I'm paraphrasing from what I remember reading so take it with a grain of salt). The horses in rescue are vetted, evaluated, and if necessary retrained for a particular endeavor. These horses have time put into them so you know what you are getting.

People "donate" their horses to rescue when they cannot find the means to continue their care, etc. rather than dumping them at auction. But in doing so, you get their history and a bit more knowledge of that horse. So when adopting from a rescue, you get information, a trained horse, and you are helping them to help another horse, opening a spot for a deserving horse to be vetted, evaluated, and retrained. These horses aren't expensive when you come down to how much is put into them. The kill pen horses have many unknowns. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. They simply are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes they had terrible owners who simply didn't care and dumped them. Others had caring owners but were left with no other options as no one would take them and the rescues are full (not meant to be a slam).

People want the thrill of a save. They want to know that they made a difference and saved a life. But what happens afterwards? What happens about the years to follow? Sure the save is amazing, but what about the after care? The save is the cheap part.

And this is where my rant comes in. If this nationally known rescue is saying rescues are dying, then what about the Sanctuaries? They too are drying up. Not because there isnt' a need but because there's no funding. Sure you make the save and the horse goes somewhere, but what happens when it gets old, dump it at a Sanctuary. Sure but how are the Sanctuaries going to fund the horse? What I mean to say is.. if rescues are struggling to bring in funding to care for the viable horses that everyone is crying for, then what about the Sanctuaries that focus solely on those that can no longer be "viable" riding partners or that can only BE a pasture puff or may be viable as a riding partner but has only a year or two left in them?

No one wants to donate to maintenance. There's no thrill of the save paying for the care of an old horse. There's no urgency, no dramatic saves, no heart strings involved with day-to-day care of the old. They get shoved into the corner and into the same out of sight/out of mind mentality.

So what's going to happen? I don't know. I can't dispute the kill pen programs. Lives are being saved. I'm not directly involved with rescue as in, 'the truck is coming" sort of thing. I'm here to give an old horse a good home for however many days/years they have left. It's not glamorous, and there's no thrill of the save. It's aches and pains. It's cloudy eyes and messy eating. It's mush for suppers and pain meds to relief. It's not glamorous.

But if a nationally known rescue says they are struggling, what of the Sanctuaries? I feel like I should be doing more but I feel as though the hours are ticking away faster than I can work.

So what does a Sanctuary do to promote the old and encourage respect for the elderly? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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