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  1. #1
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    Default Castleton Ranch Rescue, Lancaster, CA: Legit?

    My momma, bless her heart, got a fancy mailer asking her for a donation from these guys:

    http://www.castletonranchhorserescue.com/

    They say they are a 501 (c)3, but the link on their website leads to a generic IRS page regarding non-profits.

    Any of you rescue types or people in Southern/Central CA know about Castleton Ranch Rescue?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  2. #2
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Default

    Personally the fancy mailers put me off.

    If she wants a good place to give money to, TIER is in Cali if I remember right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  3. #3
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    Just Outside of Dallas - California to be exact
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    Default

    MVP, Tried to send you a PM but your inbox is full. Sent an email instead. They are located in Valley Center, CA according to Guidestar.
    Be kind to the animals for they are the True Innocents!
    True Innocents Equine Rescue: www.tierrescue.org
    Join us on Facebook!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2005
    Location
    Central California Mountains
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    Default

    I live about 40 minutes from Lancaster and have for the past 15 years. Never heard of this "rescue" (not that that means anything). Looking at their website, they don't seem to adopt out any horses ... so you'd be paying for them to keep their horses. I did a google search and some facebook links came up. When I clicked on them, it went to MY wall. When I did a search for them in FB, nothing came up.

    I agree with the above - lots of other good legit rescues in the Antelope Valley/Tehachapi area if that's the area you're looking for: TIER, United Pegasus Foundation and Life Savers (all of which I do know and have visited) are good ones!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    Default

    I got a letter from them too. I'm curious as to how they got my address. The letter was ridiculous and sounded like a 13 year old wrote it. I tossed it out.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2012
    Location
    North Texas
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    Default

    I read another thread here not too long ago about them. It was dead.

    Basically, they want money. And they pay more money buying your address information from tack catalogs and sending out spam mail(with first class return envelopes!) than they do putting into their horses care....

    General consensus: stay away!
    Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by s65horsey View Post
    I got a letter from them too. I'm curious as to how they got my address. The letter was ridiculous and sounded like a 13 year old wrote it. I tossed it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tehzebra View Post
    I read another thread here not too long ago about them. It was dead.

    Basically, they want money. And they pay more money buying your address information from tack catalogs and sending out spam mail(with first class return envelopes!) than they do putting into their horses care....
    Yup. A long time ago, I got my horse-deprived mommy a subscription to Western Horseman as a gift. I think this rescue bought that mailing list. That's all we can think of.

    I did tell her about the potential problems with "rescues," and said that I could easily check Castleton Ranch out for her through the magic of COTH.

    I forgot that you guys could recommend good rescues, too. I'll ask her if she'd like to donate to one from the "on the up and up" list since she's in the mood.

    Thanks so much.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  8. #8

    Default

    Lisa Thomas, who is the only person actually listed as a contact, claims to have 82 horses to support. Apparently not one is adoptable, since no adoptable horses are listed, as kewplace pointed out. However, they do have a nice online store where you can purchase things for them. They would like cash, checks, a small tractor, corrals, any kind of feed, and grooming supplies. Uh huh.

    "*Please note that the "purchase" is a donation which we will use to physically purchase the product of your choice. Nothing will be shipped to your address." I bet not!

    Brooke: "since retiring from racing due a bowed tendon. I will never be able to be ridden due to my injury, so I will be a permanent resident here. I am very sweet and get very excited at meal times as before my food arrives I love to run around squeaking."

    A bowed tendon is not a death sentence, and I never heard a horse squeak. And if this "bowed tendon" keeps this mare from ever being ridden, how is it that she can "run around"?

    And it's wonderful that the donors to this place paid for them to have check ligament surgey on a horse that was born there. And apparently now they do nothing with this horse, since he's also supported by donations.

    Hoarders getting other people to pay for their hobby. Sad.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill View Post
    Lisa Thomas, who is the only person actually listed as a contact, claims to have 82 horses to support. Apparently not one is adoptable, since no adoptable horses are listed, as kewplace pointed out. However, they do have a nice online store where you can purchase things for them. They would like cash, checks, a small tractor, corrals, any kind of feed, and grooming supplies. Uh huh.

    "*Please note that the "purchase" is a donation which we will use to physically purchase the product of your choice. Nothing will be shipped to your address." I bet not!

    Brooke: "since retiring from racing due a bowed tendon. I will never be able to be ridden due to my injury, so I will be a permanent resident here. I am very sweet and get very excited at meal times as before my food arrives I love to run around squeaking."

    A bowed tendon is not a death sentence, and I never heard a horse squeak. And if this "bowed tendon" keeps this mare from ever being ridden, how is it that she can "run around"?

    And it's wonderful that the donors to this place paid for them to have check ligament surgey on a horse that was born there. And apparently now they do nothing with this horse, since he's also supported by donations.

    Hoarders getting other people to pay for their hobby. Sad.

    I am in the wrong line of business...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill View Post
    Brooke: "since retiring from racing due a bowed tendon. I will never be able to be ridden due to my injury, so I will be a permanent resident here. I am very sweet and get very excited at meal times as before my food arrives I love to run around squeaking."

    A bowed tendon is not a death sentence, and I never heard a horse squeak. And if this "bowed tendon" keeps this mare from ever being ridden, how is it that she can "run around"?...

    Hoarders getting other people to pay for their hobby. Sad.
    Yeah, well, my slacker gelding (my mother's first great grandson) can do this. The sucker can be gimpy but jump up and down and squeal if room service isn't quick enough.

    I have asked the woman why she won't just buy *him* a farm to retire on. And his yet-to-be-bought siblings can have a cushy landing-place too.

    No dice.

    I'll be sure to let her know that she would be funding someone else's farm that's just as illegitimate as mine.
    Last edited by mvp; May. 4, 2012 at 11:51 PM.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11

    Default

    I am just suspicious of anything these people say -- some bows aren't fixable and the horse won't stay sound, but I personally bought a mare that bowed on the track and she rides just fine (was sold to a dressage home). My problem with all these sob stories is I don't think they are trying very hard to do anything but rake in money.

    Edit: And a lot of it -- went to the other thread on this, and then went to guidestar and looked at the 990:

    Annual Revenue & Expenses

    Fiscal Year Starting: Jan 01, 2010
    Fiscal Year Ending: Dec 31, 2010

    Revenue

    Total Revenue

    $1,850,879

    Expenses

    Total Expenses

    $1,509,354

    What? Either they are one hell of a rescue, I don't understand how to read the 990, or they are making numbers up.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2005
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    Yes look at their 990s closely.

    They have 2 employees they pay, one of them is also the org. President, which isn't always suspicious. But the org. also pays her a lease on the farm, that has had some serious improvements made to it since they incorporated.
    Look at the names of their BOD- the Pres and one other BOD have the same last name. Not always bad, but not necessarily good either.

    They say they have 80+ horses, but only have pics of 34ish on their website, and no where can I find any info on adopting. Or success stories of horses they have adopted out. Curious.

    They blow thorough alot of $$ each year, which with horses can happen. But if you look at WHERE they spend it, most is on these mailers and stuff like that, and less of it is on the horses.

    It just seems off to me but then I am hyper-suspicious. I find it interesting that with the COTH community there's no one who has heard of them, or even worked with/for them.



  13. #13
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    How on earth do they afford/have the time to take care of that many horses, all of whom supposedly have "issues" that prevent them from being adopted out??? I cannot believe that out of all 82 or however many horses, none of them are suitable for adoption. Not all riding horses have to be hardcore show horses, as I hope we all know....I can't believe some of those horses wouldn't be fine for light riding or companionship. Part of a good rescues job is to vet its adopters & let its horses go so new ones can come in.

    I'd be iffy, and I'd never donate to a rescue or any charitable organization I hadn't at the least visited, but hopefully volunteered for myself.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  14. #14
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    Jun. 22, 2007
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    There were several calendars "up for adoption" at a local church sale...I took the Castleton Ranch 2012 calendar to use in the barn. While looking through it, I did notice a few things...While there are horses pictured that supposedly suffered race related injuries, and cannot be used, there were some descriptions that made me go "hhhmmmm..."

    The Feb. geldings, Harry and Beau "were born at the ranch in 2009 after their mothers were rescued at feedlots while in foal....Both horses have a lovely nature and enjoy attention". Pictured are two nice looking geldings who...are doing nothing?

    There is also a baby "Zenyatta and her mother" pictured, she and her mom "especially enjoy being groomed and eating mare and foal grain."

    All backgrounds in the pictures show beautiful fencing, acreage, paddocks, etc. All the horses look great, nice and shiny and happy...but hopefully the younger ones are being trained to have A JOB, other than eating and sh*tting...



  15. #15

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    One of the geldings born on the farm is the one that had the check ligament surgery. Which is expensive, and I assume would be done because you want the horse to have a performance career. I know this, because I had it done on a horse.

    I don't think they are training any of them -- certainly all the ones on the website are lame or unusable, so they say.

    The slide show is pretty iffy -- "The Gallery" tab -- very poorly done, and I was doubting the descriptions matched the horses.

    I would love someone to do an expose on these guys. The only hard facts that I can see from the website are that they bought two mares in foal, and still have all of them, and have a few ex-racers with injuries, and a couple of old broodmares.

    I think the whole thing is a complete scam.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2012
    Location
    High Desert, SoCal
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    I live about 10 miles from Lancaster and I've never heard of them either. The two rescues in Antelope Valley that I'm familiar with are Lifesavers and Dude's Equine Rescue.
    Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
    Anonymous Bedouin legend



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Freda View Post
    Yes look at their 990s closely.

    They have 2 employees they pay, one of them is also the org. President, which isn't always suspicious. But the org. also pays her a lease on the farm, that has had some serious improvements made to it since they incorporated.
    Look at the names of their BOD- the Pres and one other BOD have the same last name. Not always bad, but not necessarily good either.
    So Lisa Thomas and some other Thomas get paid and as Prez and BOD and then lease part of the farm on behalf of the rescue? Who owns the farm?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    So Lisa Thomas and some other Thomas get paid and as Prez and BOD and then lease part of the farm on behalf of the rescue? Who owns the farm?
    This is all per the 990s, and off the top of my head as I have not looked at them recently...

    Only two people get paid, this Thomas woman and a secretary with a different name [though you know that could be a sister/daughter/cousin... or could be totally unrelated and legit.].

    Lisa T. is the Pres. of the org., and there is a male Thomas on the BOD, but unpaid. Again lots of places do this and it's not a conflict of interest, but we can all see how it could be a problem. Having a BOD is, in part, a way to have checks and balances and help keep the org. on course... except when you are all enabling one of the primaries, ya' know? And what better way to do that than to put on the BOD those you know will do things 'your way'?

    Per the 990 Thomas gets a $17,000 lease paid to her by the rescue for use of the facility she owns [I am guessing, why else would she get paid a lease on it?] and I assume resides at. And as I said many improvements were made to this facility back when they first incorporated, and they are claiming depreciation on many things as well... items that could be the rescues 'in name only' or could completely be the org.s. Obviously I could be completely wrong there, it could be totally legit. ie if the rescue leases the entire facility and/or perhaps they have other portions donated, or if $17K is a cheap lease for what it is and the rescue is getting a real bargain.

    It just has a funny 'smell', for all the reasons others have written- the info on the horses [where did you guys find all that I could find nothing on the horses other than the gallery], and the other stuff, it just seems off... but again it could be just because of lack of transparency. Which is the problem with not being transparent- you could be running a perfectly legitimate organization well within the 'lines' and without transparency, things get distorted and look off when they aren't.



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