how to ensure the person helping you re-home your horse is legit
this from an expert horse rescuer,Allie:
I wish we could nail all of the people stealing horses from our racetracks under false pretenses and selling them direct to slaughter for a measly 300$ in profit per horse with widespread articles, shares on Twitter and Facebook and photos of their faces. Unfortunately, we usually can't unless there is a public record of their absolutely soulless transgressions.
Thankfully in regards to a case that occupied a lot of my free time this past spring, someone pressed charges on this vile creature, Kelsey Lefevre, so her name could be publicized. Remember this face! Remember that for every horse you give away, no matter how pretty the girl who shows up is, no matter how sweet they seem, no matter if they have kids in tow, no matter if they say they are a grandmother looking for a horse for their grandchild--NO MATTER WHAT, you MUST check references and you must be prepared to listen to your gut and just say no if you feel uneasy. You are better off putting an animal down humanely before trusting that it will land on it's feet with someone who you do not trust. Checking references means asking people for their vet or practice name, and obtaining the phone number yourself after checking the validity of the identity of the person who wants to give your horse a home. It means calling and speaking to the vet and asking questions like "how long has X been a client? How many horses does X have? How would you rate X's fencing? Would you give her a horse of yours?". You may get answers that require you to read between the lines, but if you've existed with any success long enough to have horses, you certainly have a "gut instinct". Follow it! Your horses' life may depend on it.
We have heard every vile story in the book over the past 15 years.
We have had women who borrow disabled children from neighbors to obtain "therapy horses", only to sell them to New Holland or straight to slaughter.
We have had countless people show up asking for "4H horses". (I, for one, have never met a 4H'er looking for a horse)
We've heard the "camp horse" angle.
We've heard the sick daughter angle and her dying wish is a horse of her own.
We've heard the "we're really broke but will give him a great home!" angle.
We've just heard it all, and sometimes it's hard to remember that not everybody has. Please tell any person you know at the track, any person you know with horses, that these people are out there, and they are out there in droves. They WANT TO TAKE YOUR HORSES AND KILL THEM FOR A PROFIT. Remember that. Kelsey's head has been cut off, but three more will spring up in her place, and they will have t-shirts and coffee mugs, and brochures to convince you that their dimpled smile would NEVER let anything bad happen to your horses. They are liars and they are laughing every time they take a horse that you help load on their trailer so they can deliver it straight to it's very cruel death.
Want to protect your horses in the best way you can? Keep them for life. For lots of folks, they can't pull this off. But they can pull off developing a relationship with a verifiable, well-reputed Non-Profit working near you, setting aside money to care for your horse and donating it, and 1 year worth of expenses to that group.
No doubt that lots of folks knew exactly what Kelsey was up to. Those are the folks that were looking for a cheap, fast way to dump problem animals (problems because they simply existed and weren't fast enough) and wash their hands (and consciences!) of it. But, there were lots of folks who thought they were doing the right thing. They trusted a cute brunette who handed them a mug and a magnet touting her amazing skills in finding homes for horses, and those people are no doubt reeling from the fact that their animals--the animals who trusted them--are dead from a violent death. I cannot imagine their fury, because if it's anything like mine, they are physically ill and ready to kill.
"You are responsible forever, for those you have tamed"-- St. Exupery
Protect your animals, you are all they have.
Last edited by mbj; Jan. 17, 2012 at 01:12 PM.
Reason: copied comments by mistake
One thing people can do to be proactive about placing their horses in the right place is checking references. We have an ongoing list of people who have bought or been given horses we reschool off the track. However, we deal with one trainer and one breeder at tracks in one state, so it's easy to run a tight ship. We don't just cruise the backside looking for horses. The owners whose horses we take in know without a shadow of a doubt that we do right by their horses. They will never go to slaughter on our watch.
Owners - ASK ASK ASK and check behind whoever takes your horses!!!!!
Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
The Barkalicious Bakery
What I tried to say was it's more than references -- it's the kind of person they are, the people who live the life and walk the walk, beyond the talk. It's a hard thing, to find homes for horses that are not sound and probably won't have a useful life. It's a rare horse off the track that is sound and ready to go, and these sorts of homes are easy to find. It's the unsound ones I worry over every day.
One thing you can do is to charge at least $300 for your horse so there is no profit in the new owner shipping it to slaughter. However, I see a place for offering free horses, especially if you think the horse is going to a legit rescue who will give it layup time.
I have shipped horses to new homes with the intent of going home with them if I didn't feel all was right, but it's not always easy or possible to do your own shipping.
It's hard to be a 100% sure all the time. I guess it's best to keep your ear to the ground and also only work with people who go through track management to gain access to the backside if you're going to give your horse away. It may mean hanging on to him longer but it may also be the only way you can be sure your horse is going to a good place.
And I think S.E. Powell has a point--charge. Unless you DO have the time and resources to spend on tracking down references or you know who you're dealing with, don't just give a horse away. No one's going to pay $400 cash for a skinny TB when they can go to auction and pick up five fat stock breed crosses for the same money and make $200-300 each off them in Canada.
Also, honestly, be most suspicious of the person who promises the moon and seems like a nice person and talks through their hat. Especially if they're always around looking for more horses.
So agree with you, danceonice. Ugh, it is tough, no doubt. A friend of mine is the director of a therapeutic riding facility and was recently contacted by someone who wanted to "place her retired horses in loving homes." After a little digging, we found that the guy is a killer buyer.
Honestly, everyone is not a jerk but do be careful and do your due diligence.