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I want to start a Horse Rescue

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  • #21
    With your background, you might do a lot more good for animals if you get involved with a legitimate shelter in your area.


    • #22
      This might sound off coming from the person who wrote the book on starting a rescue (How to Start and Run a Rescue), but I recommend against more people starting rescues. UNLESS you are in an area that does not have one.

      There are several reasons. One is that you need to be prepared to make big sacrifices of time, money and your private life if you want to run a rescue.

      There's not start up funds out there - so either you need to find backers before you start, or you need to be willing to front the money yourself.

      Even if you do not house all the horses yourself, you will be on-call 24/7/365. You must be prepared to miss family gatherings, cancel plans, even miss Christmas and Thanksgiving. You won't have days off.

      Each rescue in an area is competing for the same dollars, the same adopters, the same volunteers. When an area is flooded with rescues, people get confused. I've had people call me and yell because we didn't call them back, approve them for adoption, take their horse in, etc. And come to find out it wasn't us - it was one of the myriad other rescues in Texas and they're just confused as to who it is. Law enforcement confuses all the rescues as well. It makes for irritating and frustrating experiences.

      If you are set on starting a rescue yourself, ask yourself why? Are there no good rescues in your area? If so, how will you be different? Do you want to be 'in charge'? (If so, think about what that REALLY involves - lots of heartache and burn out and frustration). Or is it because you want to focus on something the rescues in your area don't do?

      If there are rescues in the area, check them out. If there's a good rescue, volunteer. Believe me, if you came to me and wanted to volunteer, you would find yourself with as much work as you wanted. And it would all help the rescue help more horses...

      There's a lot to think about when starting a rescue. It is heartbreaking... but then there are the days when it is wonderful and awe-inspiring. It truly is a way of life. It needs to be your calling or vocation... and you need to know that it WILL take over your life!
      Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

      Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


      • #23
        Rather than starting a rescue, I would start a low cost euthanasia sevice. No overhead, as vets can be contracted out in advance, and you would know what the costs are and how much is available to spend. But it woud provide a needed service. But you also couldn't steal/hide much from your nonprofit like CBER used to give the impression that they did..


        • #24
          After the Finish Line

          Learn by doing...Volunteer at a horse rescue to understand the day to day responsibilities of the horses. I did this for 4 years. You will most likely use this experience as a guide and then find a way that works better for you. Decide if you will be an all breed rescue or a breed specific rescue based on the needs in your area. I have devoted the last 10 years to Thoroughbred ex-racehorse and broodmare rescue.

          Running a non-profit = running a business. Your responsibilities also include the marketing, management and finances of the rescue. Running a rescue is an on-going commitment extending into the evening and weekends. I lost respect for the rescue that told me they were volunteers and do it when they had time.

          I wanted to increase my commitment to the Thoroughbreds but didn't want to start a rescue. In October 2007 I started a funding non-profit called After the Finish Line that awards monthly emergency funds and yearly grants to qualified rescue organizations to save, care for and rehabilitate their ex-racehorses and broodmares. I found the rescues lacked the knowledge, funds and time to fundraise as they are hands on with their horses on a daily basis.

          If it were so easy everyone would be doing it. Contact me if you have any questions.

          Dawn Mellen, President/Founder
          After the Finish Line®
          10153 Riverside Drive, Suite 397
          Toluca Lake, CA 91602


          • #25
            Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
            Rather than starting a rescue, I would start a low cost euthanasia sevice. No overhead, as vets can be contracted out in advance, and you would know what the costs are and how much is available to spend. But it woud provide a needed service.
            I have often thought this would be a great idea.

            I think a lot of hard case horses end up at auctions because their owners simply cannot afford to put them down. Last time we had to put a horse down here it costed over $400. between the euthanasia and the disposal service. Some horseowners cannot afford this, and taking them to an auction is only a trailer ride away.

            This is really a good idea.


            • #26
              Originally posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
              I have often thought this would be a great idea.
              I agree. We've been called before by counties and asked if we can help with funds to euthanize horses who need to be put down but have owners who cannot afford it. Sometimes we have the funds, often we don't. I would love to see someone focusing on this. It is a huge need.
              Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

              Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


              • #27
                Well, you're already a step ahead of a lot of backyard "rescues." You're educated and can spell... Cross "Marketing Training" off your to-do list.

                Now make sure you have all your teeth, you shower on a daily basis and your children wear shoes and something other than a diaper when they're outside and you've got it made. LOL!


                • #28
                  What LLDM & cowgirljenn said.

                  Is there really no place in 50 miles of where you live that is reputable? Really?

                  Unless there is nothing like a reputable rescue within a significant distance of you, pick a good one and help them fund themselves for a while.

                  It doesn't strike me as efficient to have a dozen struggling places in an area when for the same $$ (and less overhead) one could have 3 or 4.
                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                  • #29
                    If you build it, will they come?

                    Yeah, count me in for supporting a low-cost euthanasia clinic. I think responsible horse owners would come forward preferring this option to the auction house. It would be an interesting poll to put up somewhere with the right "help me get rid of this horse now! I'm broke/at my wit's end" type traffic.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #30
                      It is good to see support for the low cost euthanasia clinics. There are several groups who have done this (hard to do on a consistent basis due to lack of $$), and several more who would like to. But this is another instance where you sometimes come smack up against public opinion: there are many who feel this is inappropriate for a rescue to do.
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                      • #31
                        Dont'cha just love it when an OP comes on with a somewhat controversial topic and then isn't heard from again? Makes me question the true intentions...


                        • #32
                          Well, might be, but it's not a really controversial one. A question with many right answers maybe...but not like all the othe hot topics where, when you through out the bait, the fireworks commence...


                          • #33
                            Thanks so much for all of the responses. I really like what so many of you said. Maybe I can find a rescue that is close to me. I guess I just don't know any......Maybe I am googling the wrong key words? Everyone here I ask know of retirement places but not rescues. So, I think it's a great idea to put my talents to good use and strengthen my knowledge even more by helping a local rescue. I totally agree with the low cost euthanasia clinics.....I would rather see one be put down when it's not in pain then have it suffer and starve to death or worse. Maybe if I were to get involved with a local rescue that is something I could help them with. So now the question is, tell me where the local rescues are to me. I am in the Richmond Virginia area. Thanks again.


                            • #34
                              I haven't read the entire thread, however, here's my two cents, backed up by the fact that I've been volunteering with a local MD rescue for well over a year by now.

                              If you think the rescue will be self-supporting, think again. The rescue I volunteer with only recently got to the position (after going for five years) where they aren't in the red. This is with no paid staff (the owner works a full time job to allow her to do this) and being supported primarily by a lesson program, donations, and adoption fees.

                              The horses take up all of her free time. It's like keeping your horse at home and having to go out every single day to take care of it, even if you'd rather be in bed on icky cold and rainy days. Except multiply that by a dozen or two horses and remember that several of them probably have special needs (dietary, physical, mental) that you also have to deal with.

                              All of the horses need time put into them beyond just being kept and fed. All need to be handled often, taught to lead and tie, pick up their feet and hold them nicely for the farrier, to ride or drive. Luckily, they have the skills to do most of this training themselves but if you don't, you'll have to find someone to do it for you. Horses that are just warehoused and not taught anything are going to be even MORE difficult to rehome than horses that have been trained.

                              You must be certain you can say "no". You canNOT save every horse. It's sad, but true. This means the rescue I volunteer with sticks to a certain 'type' of horse to rescue and typically gets them from auctions and animal control facilities and rarely takes owner surrenders though they get many MANY people asking to take a horse off someone's hands when that person decides they don't want to or can't handle having the horse anymore, for whatever reason.

                              This also means you have to be open to the idea of euthanizing a horse. Some simply aren't adoptable. Some have such huge health problems they're even more of a money pit than healthy horses and you have to weigh quality of life against keeping the horse around for just one more day.

                              And if you think the farrier/feed/vet bill is a lot for just one horse, try multiples.

                              And don't forget you have to be good with people because all kinds of people are going to show up to try out your horses. They may come back multiple times and dither over a horse. They may say they're an accomplished rider and then show up and not know how to halter one properly. They may be annoying but would still provide a good home and you would have to understand that. It's a bit like selling a horse (and there's lots of stories on here about crazy buyers) except you do it ALL THE TIME and you can't just sell the horse and forget about it. You should be doing home checks, you should be doing reference checks, you should be checking up on the horse after it's adopted out and making sure things are still going well.

                              Are you prepared to take a horse back if it doesn't work out?

                              It's a LOT of work, and sure it's rewarding, but for someone unprepared, it can just end in a lot of heartache. I'd STRONGLY recommend at the very very LEAST volunteering for a while at a good rescue before even putting things into motion for one of your own.

                              Better yet, there's a lady affiliated with our rescue who wants to start one (like you) but knows she can't, so she fosters several horses for us and puts training on them and helps to network to find them homes. Makes her sort of an annex site for the main site. Try something like that before you plunge all the way in.

                              And figure out a niche to fill. Maybe a particular breed rescue or a certain type of horse. There's already several TB-only or mostly-TB rescues in the area, maybe go for something else (or work with the existing rescues).

                              Oh, and you'll have to get used to asking people for money and help. Or shelling out lots of your own money (you've got savings, I hope) to run the rescue. Most of them you can really never hope to get beyond self-supporting (so don't think you'll be making lots of money. Ever.).
                              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Katie0104 View Post
                                Thanks so much for all of the responses. I really like what so many of you said. Maybe I can find a rescue that is close to me. I guess I just don't know any......Maybe I am googling the wrong key words? Everyone here I ask know of retirement places but not rescues. So, I think it's a great idea to put my talents to good use and strengthen my knowledge even more by helping a local rescue. I totally agree with the low cost euthanasia clinics.....I would rather see one be put down when it's not in pain then have it suffer and starve to death or worse. Maybe if I were to get involved with a local rescue that is something I could help them with. So now the question is, tell me where the local rescues are to me. I am in the Richmond Virginia area. Thanks again.
                                US Equine Rescue League - Richmond, VA


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by gieriscm View Post
                                  ^ Absolutely! And I just sent you a detailed PM (Private Message) with details and some contact info.

                                  The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



                                  • #37
                                    Joe at TBFriends wrote this yesterday. I am copying it because it may disappear tomorrow if he updates his blog. Food for thought!

                                    Sunday, January 24th... A real problem, you know? Horses are complicated. They come with individual issues. This is not all white fencing and birds singing. This is not roses in May. There is a reason, now more than ever, why a horse is rescued. You have to be on your toes. With horses, a good chance you are always wrong.

                                    You cannot suddenly go on the internet and announce to the world you are now a rescue ranch. You cannot begin accepting horses, with no clue how to care for them. No clue about issues. No clue about feeding.

                                    Two individuals, at two different locations, decided this horse rescue business is exactly what they wanted. I have no doubt their intentions, in the beginning anyway, were sincere. But they never said no to a phone call. Even searched for free horses on the internet.

                                    These were not horses on their way to slaughter in [/FONT][FONT=Verdana]Mexico[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]. These were just horses who needed a new place to live. All fine and dandy, if you have the money. All fine and dandy, if you know how to care for each issue.

                                    But the horses began dying. Slow starvations. Blood infections. Equine flu. Weather related casualties.

                                    And so this past week, in some of the worst weather you can imagine, we accepted horses from these two places. The total is not important. So far 4 have died. Right here in our yard. Came off the trailer, starving and dehydrated.

                                    The man who drives the dead truck is nice enough. But this past week he has been here far too many times.

                                    Oh, by the way. In less than two months, one of those so called rescue ranches collected more than 70 horses.

                                    Think about it. That is more than 70 previous owners.

                                    We are not the only ranch to help. There are two other groups doing their best for these horses

                                    I was not going to write about this. Thought WTF, do my own thing, hope for better weather, and look forward to Tbkids.

                                    But both Friday and Saturday there were phone calls. Nice young ladies, asking how they can be like Tbfriends? Asking for advice in starting up their own rescue ranches.

                                    At the end of each conversation, both nice young ladies had lost their enthusiasm. I told the girls to study equine issues. This is not something you can do on weekends. One neglected horse needs around the clock attention.

                                    Do not become a rescue, only to have someone else rescue you. Seems kind of silly. Not fair to horses. And all your promises to previous owners go right down the toilet.



                                    • #38
                                      FalseImpression that's EXACTLT what I was just about to copy and paste! You beat me.

                                      To the OP, good luck. It is often a heartbreaking and thankless line of work. Please do your homework first.
                                      Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by gieriscm View Post
                                        I was just about to say the same!!
                                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues