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Anybody here ever adopted a rescue?

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  • Anybody here ever adopted a rescue?

    Quite unexpectedly, I have come across a 6 year old TB mare in a local rescue. I have never adopted a horse from rescue before. Honestly, I've never given it any serious thought. But this is quite a nice mare in that she's nice-moving, sound, and quiet. She's going well on the flat, and has popped over a few little jumps without concern. She was pulled from a kill pen, but they know who she is from her tattoo.

    On one hand, it seems a bit crazy. Like, what am I hoping for here? Is she going to be the next Snowman? Am I Harry De Leyer? Um, no. But it'd be amazing if she could be a decent low-level hunter for local shows. Having those "job skills" would give her a place in the world. I would feel really good about myself if that was the outcome. I have been volunteering in dog rescue for years and nothing is more rewarding.

    FYI, I would do a PPE on her as with any other horse.

    Another interesting fact is that the rescue has a buy-back clause. If the horse isn't working out, they'll buy her back. Maybe not the full monetary amount, but she's dirt cheap anyways.

    Has anybody ever adopted a horse through rescue before? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?


  • #2
    Keep in mind that at least 85% of horses that end up In rescues have issues that made selling them on the private market difficult or impossible. The most benign issues are training holes or a period of starvation during which horse was surrendered or seized by AC.

    That's not saying don't do it. Just do your due diligence to find the reasons before you buy the horse. Might be something you can live with. Might not.

    I hang out at the low end of nice horses so I see lots of horses that have come from actual rescues, or fallen through the cracks unbroke late Gelded backyard bred horses, need an upgrade, lots of OTTB and OTSB and even my own horse, a nice Paint, came out of auction as a 2 year old because she was so obnoxious to handle.

    As far as dealing with the rescue if they are a legit nonprofit then there will likely be better practices.

    If this is a private person running a "rescue" that is really a low end horse dealer all bets are off. You need to research the reputation of your particular rescue. Some of them are outright con jobs run by dishonest psychopaths. Buyer be warned.

    Someone on another COTH thread said they research the seller as much as the actual horse and this has never failed them. This was one of the older long term pros who has had a lot of project horses. Very good advice.
    ​​​​

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
      As far as dealing with the rescue if they are a legit nonprofit then there will likely be better practices.

      If this is a private person running a "rescue" that is really a low end horse dealer all bets are off. You need to research the reputation of your particular rescue. Some of them are outright con jobs run by dishonest psychopaths. Buyer be warned.


      ​​​​
      Oh gosh yes. This is an established 501C3. Private "rescuers" are normally just well-meaning whack jobs (judging from my experience in dog rescue).

      Comment


      • #4
        Make sure that you actually "own" the horse. Get a signed receipt of the sale. Horses are considered "chattel", they are bought and sold, and leased, children are adopted. "Adopted" horses are often actually on lease. That means, if you put all the work and expense into developing the horse into a valuable competition horse, you can't sell it, and still don't own it. If the "adopted" horse is one that is never going to develop into a competitive superstar, this doesn't matter as much. As a kid's horse, a "husband" horse, a pleasure riding or trail riding horse, a companion horse, the value or potential value is not an issue.
        www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

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        • #5
          Get a copy of the contract and read it. Make sure you sign what you think you are signing and seller has the right to sell and you will assume full ownership with no strings.

          Your PPE is probably not going to go beyond basic with a dirt cheap horse but the ones who went through long periods of neglect while still maturing can suffer life long effects. If the vet is going to be there anyway, pulling blood might not be a bad idea. Look for Lyme and other things rescues inherit with neglected horses from low end auctions and can’t afford to go looking for.

          See if you can’t get the backstory on this horse too. The whole, overused, “kill pen’ story with the truck waiting, even if that is the whole truth, doesnt tell you much about how she got there and there can be reasons she ended up at a low end auction you might not care to deal with. Chief among them chronic unsoundness that will reveal itself once the horse is put in regular work. Might cost more then the horse but basic x rays is not a bad idea and, even if just flexions, need to be willing to say no thanks

          Think one of the issues with rescue horses is the emotion the story that comes with the horse creates. Rescue might just be telling what they were told and some embellish things a bit. There is substantial risk. Bottom line, horse came out of a low end auction and might have been through more then just one.

          Have you had an experienced and neutral person watch her go WTC both ways and jump? For sure have the PPE vet start by watching her being worked...could save you money and heartache.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NancyM View Post
            Make sure that you actually "own" the horse. Get a signed receipt of the sale. Horses are considered "chattel", they are bought and sold, and leased, children are adopted. "Adopted" horses are often actually on lease. That means, if you put all the work and expense into developing the horse into a valuable competition horse, you can't sell it, and still don't own it. If the "adopted" horse is one that is never going to develop into a competitive superstar, this doesn't matter as much. As a kid's horse, a "husband" horse, a pleasure riding or trail riding horse, a companion horse, the value or potential value is not an issue.

            This! You may own the horse when it comes to care, training, and vet bills, but if you want to pass it along at some point then it has to go back to the rescue where they'll adopt it out again. That wouldn't be a problem for me, except I think I can do a much better job of adopting out my horses than a rescue that runs lots of horses through can.

            I did it once and won't be repeating that particular mistake.

            Comment


            • #7
              Make sure it's actually a sale and not a lease contract (i.e. you can never sell the horse, only return it back to the rescue). Get a PPE like you would any horse and make sure you don't get too invested emotionally to be able to walk away depending on what it turns up. I have rescued many horses through the years, many had problems, some did not. Some had problems I could live with, others I couldn't but I ended up putting them in a better position to have a full life with someone who could put up with whatever their issues were. Just go in cautiously. A free (or cheap) horse is just as if not more expensive to take care of than an expensive one.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've done it twice and it has worked out well both times. Both were young, untrained ponies who were victims of neglect. Neither had any physical or behavioral problems other than being afraid of people at first. A lot of horses end up at rescues because they've somehow fallen through the cracks, not necessarily because there's something wrong with them.

                I would definitely check out the ownership situation at the rescue you're looking at. In my case, this rescue will adopt you the horse, and after two years, you may apply for total ownership of the horse (which I'm pretty sure they always grant as long as your care and facility have been good enough for those two years). So if I wanted to get rid of either pony within the first two years, I'd just have to turn them back over to the rescue, but now, I am free to sell them unencumbered if I wish.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Two of my horses came from a rescue, and one other was a pony the rescue knew about and suggested I buy because he was 22 and retired, but seemed to really need a job. We didn't do a PPE on any of them. The reasons the two at the rescue ended up where they did were pretty obvious. One had muscle damage in her rear legs, and the other had behavioral issues. Both the horses from the rescue ended up being a very good fit, and the 22 year old pony they suggested I buy was the love of my life. They all stayed with us deep into old age until death; two are buried at my Colorado horse property and one is buried where I boarded after moving to South Carolina. The last one just died a year ago, well into his 30s.

                  The mare with muscle damage did best when ridden lightly, which was exactly what my husband wanted to do with her. The pony with behavioral issues remained a problem when ridden, but he ended up with great ground manners after a lot of work and was a fantastic driving pony. The elderly pony I bought was pretty crazy, but I knew what I was in for when I bought a Hackney, and we had a lot of adventures driving together.

                  When I moved from Colorado, I tried to track the rescue down to let them know how well it had all turned out. It was 15 years since I'd last had contact with them, and I could not find them.

                  Rebecca

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Momateur View Post
                    Quite unexpectedly, I have come across a 6 year old TB mare in a local rescue. I have never adopted a horse from rescue before. Honestly, I've never given it any serious thought. But this is quite a nice mare in that she's nice-moving, sound, and quiet. She's going well on the flat, and has popped over a few little jumps without concern. She was pulled from a kill pen, but they know who she is from her tattoo.

                    On one hand, it seems a bit crazy. Like, what am I hoping for here? Is she going to be the next Snowman? Am I Harry De Leyer? Um, no. But it'd be amazing if she could be a decent low-level hunter for local shows. Having those "job skills" would give her a place in the world. I would feel really good about myself if that was the outcome. I have been volunteering in dog rescue for years and nothing is more rewarding.

                    FYI, I would do a PPE on her as with any other horse.

                    Another interesting fact is that the rescue has a buy-back clause. If the horse isn't working out, they'll buy her back. Maybe not the full monetary amount, but she's dirt cheap anyways.

                    Has anybody ever adopted a horse through rescue before? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
                    In this case, the fact that she goes so well is actually a red flag to me. A horse like this would sell in a heart beat for $2000 or $3000 to a lesson program, a project horse trainer, a teen looking for a budget jumper, and with a bit of work could sell for $5000.

                    If she really did go to the auction and sell for about $500 to the meat buyers, why did the owners choose to do this and settle for such a low price? There's a pragmatism about people who send horses to auction. If they could get $1000 selling the horse to the kid down the street, then they wouldn't send her to auction and only pocket $500.

                    So the question is, was makes this young attractive and apparently reasonably well broke, well bred, horse of no value on the open market? There is a slim chance that it's just that her humans failed her, but much more likely there is something that's a deal breaker in terms of soundness or behavior.

                    Unbroke adult or very young rescue or auction horses are more likely to be sound, and being unloaded because the owners don't have the resources to keep and train the horse (like my Paint). Very old well broke rescue horses can be a treasure if their age-related issues are manageable, because maybe no one would buy a 25 year old saint, but they will take them as a rescue and enjoy their last years.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not necessarily pertaining to the OP, but why are there so MANY "rescues" now who all buy horses "off the meat truck at the last minute"? How many of these are actually enabling backyard breeders who produce worthless foals which then hang around unhandled and uncared for until they are shipped off to auction? If there is a market for these horses, that market will continue to be supplied.
                      Wouldn't it be better to buy from legit breeders and sellers? I know so many inexperienced first time horse owners who have bought terrible problems of one sort or another from "rescues" and it makes me really upset for owner AND horse! In this area, these usless horses are often blamed on the Mennonites, and while some may be, I think that is often just an attention getter.
                      Sorry- I will get off my soap box now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        @Momateur, I have a "rescue" mare who was found on a feedlot along with a gelding who was her twin. She is very fancy and showing and winning in dressage. They went unsold at an auction as babies and a kill buyer ended up with them. I think there are some regional differences in what you may find on a feedlot. In the Pacific Northwest, where my mare was found, lots of Andalusians are being used in breeding and many purebreds and crosses end up going through auctions, where killer buyers pick them up cheap. They then sell them from the feedlot for a little more than the auction price. I have seen some super nice horses come from a feedlot.

                        Some interesting breeding is going on at local reservations too, and many of those horses end up being dumped. In other parts of the country, I'm sure many TBs who didn't make it at the track end up being dumped. Many of them are nice horses. I also think there is a big difference between a "rescue" and a kill pen (feedlot). Most of the rescues around here take the saddest horses and do not resell them.

                        Of course, it is buyer beware and it takes some knowledge and experience to pick a good horse from a herd at a rescue or kill pen. Most of the people who have responded to you to emphasize this. You can easily research rescues to find out if they are scammers or legit.

                        My sister just this week "saved' a beautiful Tennessee Walker mare from a feedlot. She also has a sweet gaited pony she found in Texas. He was also headed for slaughter. Whether the stories of them "being shipped at 5:00 tomorrow" are true I don't really know. I also know some kill buyers direct ship lots of horses that never make it to a feedlot or are offered for rescue. I will say feedlot sellers certainly know how to manipulate emotional horse lovers!

                        One thing common here is some feedlot owners are taking nice riding horses (with papers) to resell and those horses were never intended to go to slaughter. There are also lots of pregnant mares and young horses dumped by breeders who let things get out of control. Many are purebred, usually quarter horses or paints.

                        I wish you good luck and encourage you to do whatever due diligence you can to make sure this horse is a good match. After spending and losing money on some well-bred horses that ended up having problems, I am thrilled my little throw-away mare has turned out to be so nice. I hope you find a gem, too!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How long has she been of the track? With her JC name and tattoo folks on COTH may be able to tell you a good deal about her.

                          Good luck to both you and the mare.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OP, any updates?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There are all kinds of rescues, and I'd find out something about how the rescue operates, as well as what their contract is like. The rescues that *don't* do the "saved from kill buyer auction", but instead do mostly law enforcement seizures for abuse and/or neglect (most are for neglect), can end up with horses of *any* kind including some quite nice horses. A lot of time the neglect (read: starvation) problems comes from a change in the owner's circumstances that the owner didn't face up to, such as job loss, old age, death and inheritance by non-horsey kin, hoarding (more common than people realize), etc. And some just irresponsible, uncaring people.

                              Nice horses can end up in rescue for reasons that have to do with human crazy, rather than horse crazy. And human misfortune, with the horse as an innocent victim.

                              A lot of problem horses in rescue are very fixable with work and time. Most of the problems are due to owners who didn't know what they were doing, not lunatic horses (which are rare).

                              Because most rescues have a buy-back clause if the horse doesn't work out, the rescue is motivated to make a good match with an adopter. That doesn't mean things always work out, but they do try. Also, the adopter gets the recent vet, training, feed, etc. records, which isn't always the case with a Craigslist horse.

                              Some rescue contracts do allow an owner to "sell" the horse on, so long as the next buyer also signs the rescue contract. In these cases the rescue intends to be a soft landing if things go wrong for a horse once again. The rescue doesn't really want the horse to come back on their dime, unless the horse basically needs another rescue.

                              The contract may allow the adopter to set a selling price and keep the proceeds, so long as the next owner also signs the rescue contract and is agreeable to its terms. Which may be simply cooperating with un-intrusive inspections for a couple of years, and sending photos & news back to the rescue once a year.

                              Rescues should inspect new adopters at least twice a year for the first two or three years, to be sure the horse is doing well and everything is working out. Some of the rescues don't continue inspecting after that, but they do want yearly updates on the horse's welfare, and to know if anything adverse occurs or if it dies. If you think about it, it wouldn't be much of a rescue if they didn't keep up with the horses they rescued.

                              The point of a rescue is to be a safe landing for a horse, not just a transition point back into an unknown future. But the best-run rescues don't want to alienate potential adopters. They know that statistically horses do go through a series of owners in their lifetime. And they need horses to go to well-qualified, caring adopters, so they can rescue more horses.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yes , my name sake, was rescued from a junk yard along with his mother. His mother died very shortly due ito premature labor with the baby she was carrying. He was then orphaned and raised by the woman that I purchased him from four years ago. He has chronic health issues that is well managed and is my cling bot. He has serious abandonment issues and was and is quite attached to me and my daughter. It is quite a commitment with him and quite frankly I could never part with the stinka even after quite a wreck we had the past winter. Rescue horses have a emotional scar that has to be acknowledged and validated. It was always on my bucket list to adopt a rescue and low and behold it has worked out for my family. I do send pictures at least a couple of times a year to his former owner and she always offers to make sure he can go back to her and her children if there is ever a life change for my family. I am very lucky in this respect and please check your contract with the rescue to include the return or selling option. Good luck.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You adopt children; you buy or lease animals.

                                  That said, I've purchased out of unfavorable conditions between nine and fifteen horses over the years, depending on how you define "unfavorable conditions." Never asked other people for money to do it, either. With some work and feed we were able to sell most of them for a profit (however small).

                                  Horses go to auction for a LOT of reasons and it's a place where you CAN find "diamonds in the rough." But you have to know what a "rough diamond" actually looks like or your just buying chunks of rock hoping they might be diamonds. Scribbler's warning is well found but sometimes good deals show up where least expected.

                                  Auctions, and "rescues," are places where the buyer must be particularly aware.

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                    You adopt children; you buy or lease animals.

                                    That said, I've purchased out of unfavorable conditions between nine and fifteen horses over the years, depending on how you define "unfavorable conditions." Never asked other people for money to do it, either. With some work and feed we were able to sell most of them for a profit (however small).

                                    Horses go to auction for a LOT of reasons and it's a place where you CAN find "diamonds in the rough." But you have to know what a "rough diamond" actually looks like or your just buying chunks of rock hoping they might be diamonds. Scribbler's warning is well found but sometimes good deals show up where least expected.

                                    Auctions, and "rescues," are places where the buyer must be particularly aware.

                                    G.
                                    General remarks to all, based on apparent assumptions in this post that may be common these days ...

                                    I hope people are clear -- formal, organized "rescues" (with adopter contracts) do not necessarily mean "auction". There are large rescue organizations that do not buy from auction.

                                    I very much hope people don't associate "rescue" and rescue organization with auctions. That's a fallacy that has developed through several large so-called 'auction rescue' businesses that are just that, businesses, and use the *idea* of rescue as marketing. They are for-profit and not true charities, not 501(c)3 orgs, and their intent is to make money. Most of the horses they market are not going to slaughter, even if they are trying to imply that that is the case.

                                    Also, buying directly from auction is not necessarily "rescue" either, even if killbuyers are in attendance. Won't get into that complicated explanation here, it's been dissected more than once on COTH. But while some auction horses are at risk, a great many are not going to slaughter.

                                    A rescue organization that is sourcing horses from law enforcement seizures and owner surrenders has nothing to do with 'auction'. That is the only kind of rescue organization I could ever recommend, based on a good deal of research over the last few years. If the rescue org is sourcing horses from auction, I would steer clear.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The OP says in the first post that the horse was "pulled from a kill pen" and that she appears well broke. That sets me wondering what sent her to auction in the first place.

                                      ​​​​​

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                        The OP says in the first post that the horse was "pulled from a kill pen" and that she appears well broke. That sets me wondering what sent her to auction in the first place.

                                        ​​​​​
                                        Divorce, loss of job, family emergency, or other life misfortunes.

                                        Or the horse is perfect until it sees a red pickup and then it goes absolutely feral.

                                        You just don't know.

                                        As to the connections between rescues and auctions, maybe so and maybe not. Scoundrels will always find a way to separate the gullible from their "chump change."

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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