Dude Horses need a retirement home - any takers? THEY ARE HOME w/ pix! (post 39)
I got a call from a local Dude Ranch I know. The concerned female ranch hand said that her boss is getting anxious to cut back their numbers before winter, and that some of their horses are headed to the auction "as soon as the owner gets time to drive them down".
My husband was in the area the following day and stopped by. He met the owner of the ranch. He talked with him about slaughter and the risk at the auction. The most recent auction prices are staggering- horses are all selling on the pound (for meat), with prices as low as 0.04 cents a pound, going to a average of 0.25 cents a pound. Check it out for yourself- http://www.claauction.com/ under the drop down bar from Livestock/Hay under horses and hogs. Those are the prices per pound. Keep in mind, the auction usually only posts the highest selling horses on their website. Therefore, the highest selling horses on October 22, 2008 were $35.60- $408 (the seller then pays the auction house a 20% commission). The ranch owner says he knows the kill buyer, but that these were such good horses "that they should get homes". Should, but probably won't.
These horses have all gotten then, and the ranch says they are all due for hoof trims, deworming, teeth floats, etc. They just started feeding hay- ONE FLAKE of alfalfa a day. My husband gave them recommendations for feeding (including beet pulp... inexpensive and great at putting on weight).
The first horse is named Silver. He was probably registered and well bred, but his papers are long gone. Silver has been thin for weeks, and is described as "an amazing horse who deserves a good home". You can clearly see his ribs under his shaggy winter coat (it's pretty chill up in the mountains where he is), and you can easily palpate his spine and hips. He is about 19 years old grey gelding. He has been on the dude string for 6 years. Before that he was a cutting horse and team penner. He's the horse the dude ranch puts the little kids on. He has had 3 shoes on for quite some time now ("a few months"), and he's obviously seen better days. He has bite marks all over him, a dull coat, and a big worm belly. These pictures don't show how such a well broke horse should end up. The owner of the ranch insisted showing how well broke Silver is. He (about 220# of him) jumped on Silver bareback with a halter and leadrope, and Silver was very responsive. My husband opted not to get on Silver's skinny back
Silver: http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/q...e/S6302537.jpg With some TLC, imagine how bright and wonderful he will look? http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/q...e/S6302539.jpg
The second horse is Red. he's about 15-16 years old. He is a red roan which has been at the ranch all summer. He is very attached to the ranch's Percheron's, and goes nuts when he can not see them. The ranch hand (pretty novice) worked for him for three days before he developed a severe saddle sore on his withers (a combination of being thin and in ill fitting saddle). The wrangler said he started riding well, and had very very smooth gaits. They rode him in a hackamore, because they said he went better that way (I'll make a bet he has some sharp points in his mouth, which means he'll ride better and gain weight after a dental float).
Red: http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/q...e/S6302542.jpg Can you look any more pitiful? http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/q...e/S6302543.jpg
Well at least he has ok looking feet: http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/q...e/S6302540.jpg
The third horse is named Indie. (No pictures) He is a leopard appaloosa which is about 9 years old. He is a good horse, but a little more spirit than what they can use on the hack line. The wrangler believes he was born on the ranch.
After my husband visited this ranch, he was very disappointed. There horses were the bread and butter of the ranch's operations, but the ranch refused to take proper care of them, or promise the horses a good home when their service was done. If it was not for the kind wrangler who contacted me, their fate would surely be slaughter.
The owner of the ranch was originally asking $800/horse. He has "come down" to $500 for Silver. I just spoke with the wrangler, and gave her the current prices at the auction. I urged them to consider selling the horses for less to a good home, rather than send the horses to the sale. I am waiting to hear back on their decision. If we can not afford their purchase price, we can try to buy the horses at the sale. We know that Charly Carter loves to outbid us and purposely run up the price on horses we are trying to help, and that the auctioneer , in the past, has deliberately ignored our bids. There is always a risk we will not be able to purchase the horse's at the auction.
My husband said he would like to take Silver to our farm. He said he really connected with the horse, and he saw the sadness in that horse's eye. (Ok, ok, we both have Sucker tattooed on our forehead).
That's where we need help. We would need sponsors to help cover Silver's expenses. He'll need to be trailered to our farm (our volunteer's truck can not make it up that mountain with a horse safely). He'll need a vet check, including a good dental float. He'll need some beet pulp, senior feed, and lots of hay. We'll fix his feet with three shoes, and see if he can go barefoot during his rehabilitation. In three months (give the fact it's already quite cold here), he *should* be feeling wonderful. We would need sponsors to help cover his feet costs for these three months. When Silver is feeling better, we'll try him out under saddle and find him the perfect home. We have a waiting list of amazing homes looking for a quiet, dead broke, healthy gelding. There is a fundraising thread on ABR, if anyone would like to help. Silver's purchase price, vet care, farrier care, dental care, and feed costs for his rehab (est, 3 months) are estimated $1345 + shipping. All donations are tax deductible.
We absolutely can not take all 3 horses. I am hoping someone else will know of someone looking for a nice winter project. We would love to place Red and Indie directly from the dude ranch into a new home. These old dude ranch horses usually make wonderful lesson horses and trail horses. Keep in mind they have stayed sound riding in the steep Rockies with limited farrier care. Time is of the essence for every one of these horses. Silver and Red are in the most immediate danger, per the wrangler I spoke with. Remember, we are very close to Interstate 25, 70, and 80, so transport costs are often fairly affordable.
We have created a sister organization, Larimer County Horse Rescue (www.larimercountyhorserescue.org under construction). This has allowed us to expand our mission statement to help horses of all breeds. LCHR hopes to be a resource where owners, who have fallen on hard times, can turn to for advice and assistance placing their horses. There should be some rapid expansion of LCHR in the upcoming weeks.
I know everyone is doing the best they can. I know we can't save them all. But gosh darn it, I really appreciate the wrangler trying to do the right things for these horses. These are great horses, that deserve a chance. These horses live's our in our hands.... but unfortunately we do not have the resources to help them, without assistance.
I have 2 exams this week, and 2 next week (I'm in vet school). My good friend and northern Colorado resident Tori (Natrlhorse) is going to keep an eye on this thread for me, keeping a total of fund raised on our paypal account, and hopefully be able to answer any questions. I didn't these horses to go to slaughter because I was too busy to keep up with everything. Thanks, Tori, so much for helping with everything. We are ready to take him this weekend (as early as Friday) if we can find the assistance for Silver.
Thank you all, in advance, for your support.
Last edited by FatPalomino; Nov. 8, 2008 at 08:51 AM.
Oh hell. I mean heck, sorry. I have on the casual lookout for a giveaway first-horse for my next door neighbor. She is 11 and DYING to have a horse to love on, something safe enough for her to ride around our quiet neighborhood. Her family raises alpacas but has given the tentative OK if we can find a nice old safe-as-dirt horse for her, so Red or Silver might be just the guy. I know the horse would get great care (our vet lives right over the fence), but honestly I'm not sure if they would spring for the purchase price in this economy. Let me talk to them and see where they stand. I do have a mountain-safe truck and trailer and could transport.
where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?
This is Mikey, he was both a pack horse and then a dude horse for most of his life, you can see his brand in that picture. He then was a lesson horse when I bought him. He and I evented up to Training and he was almost always in the top 3 after dressage.
Mikey now helps me teach lessons, is a pony horse and a baby sitter for the young horses in training here. He is unflappable. And he is priceless. Mikey has a home for life with at our farm.
I think dude horses and pack horses have pretty much seen it all. I wish I was still in Colorado to help these horses, but because I'm not I wanted to show off what an older ex-pack/dude horse can do! I hope these guys find great homes, they deserve it!!!
Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
- George H. Morris
Thanks Little Valkyrie! I love this horse so much!
Mikey was about 13 when I got him. He is only 15'2 but I am 5'10 and I've never felt big on him. He is my little engine who could. I think he got this incredible work ethic from being on the pack and dude strings. Plus, he's tough, nothing phases him, he's calm, easy going, and although he had to learn things like cross ties (he straight tied great) and still hates a good mane pulling, these are things easily dealt with. Mikey is still happier working then sitting around. The pictures of him with a bay horse are from this summer, he's still going strong!
It just breaks my heart that these horses work very hard, in less then favorable conditions, for years. They make the ranches/owers a lot of money and then this. I wish I was closer and could do more.
Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
- George H. Morris
Dude, pack and lesson horses should be the ones at the top of the list for a good retirement, imho.
Those horses work harder and longer than any other type of horse in the horse industry as a whole.
Not only do they pack the general public (that is truly a pack job) but they usually work 4-8 hour days, 6 days a week. They are totally capable of this work in their prime years and no bashing a horse working that much.
However, at the end of a lifetime, they have put in more hours then any other horse.
They are not always perfect, they are not typically show prospects. For a family that wants a starter horse for a young child, they are second to none.
For all of this, I believe they deserve a special place in Heaven for what they do.
If I won the lottery I would have a pasture full of retired dude and lesson horses.
Another plug ofr the dude horses. When DH and I first started dating in Colorado, the
barn where I boarded my horse got in a dude string horse who had toted folks for 26 years
in the Estes Park area. The farm was concerned he wouldn't make it through another
winter and Colorado Horse Rescue took him, then contacted the farm where I boarded
and asked if they would like to try him for a lesson horse. So for a bit, he toted youngsters
around and then had a couple of seizures.
The vet couldn't determine why but suggested he not be used in lessons any longer.
The barn looked for a sponsor, and hubby said yes. We got a deeply discounted board
on him, the barn manager snuck in his wormings and trims and he had another good year.
Hubby loved to ride him and Tex was always ready to go. Tex also was turned out with
the prettiest TB mare who just adored him--it was so cute! Hubby took his lessons on
school horses but Tex was his hack around horse. We did have to put him down after a
year or so but Tex had a marvelous year and hubby still hasn't quite gotten over him.
This is so sad, having worked on a few dude ranches in CO back in college, the "dudes" as we called them were priceless. I wish I could take one of these guys for my little girl but we already have 2 and there is no way we could afford a third.....
I'd certainly take one if I wasn't so darned far away. Shipping to the east coast just isn't in my budget right now.
I go to a guest ranch every summer. It's actually a real working cattle ranch, where those of us that can really ride get to have a great time but they also accept guests with little to no experience around horses (it pays the bills)...they have a string of "dude" horses worth their weight in gold. Those beasts are tolerant of nearly anything and take care of their riders.
Ishi -- thanks for sharing those great photos of Mikey! He is gorgeous and indeed priceless.
I hope these boys find good homes soon. This is probably precisely the kind of next horse that I need, but when I look at myself honestly in the mirror I know that I am stretched to fulfill my responsibilties to the ones I have right now, and they must come first. Dang, I wish I had unlimited funds!
I'm part of the other multitude banned from ABR too, nice to meet you!
When he banned my friend Angela people were asking where she went so I posted that she was banned and where they could find her. So he banned me too, LOL. What a jerk! I wonder if he can find a helmet big enough for his head.
Originally Posted by I'm EBO
Margaret, I can send a tiny bit of money. Did I miss where it should be sent? CO TB rescue? (I'm one of the multitudes banned from ABR.)