“Race horses are intelligent, used to exercise and retire as early as 2 years old, so we find them a second career,” says Nancy Koch, executive director of CANTER USA. The nonprofit’s 13 U.S. affiliates work with 20 racetracks across the country. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of volunteers. No one here receives a salary.” Collectively, they have placed more than 23,000 horses nationally since 1997.
Wild Horse Rescue
Caring Homes Sought for Aging and Abandoned Horses by Sandra Murphy
n estimated 9 million horses in the U.S. are used for racing, show, informal competitions, breeding, recreation, work and other activities. Many need a new home when they start to slow down physically or when an owner’s finances become tight. Horses need space to run, require hoof care and when injured or ill, may require costly procedures.
Domestic Horse Rescue
“We foster 50 horses right now,” says Jennifer Taylor Williams, Ph.D., president of the Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, in College Station, Texas, which has placed about 800 horses in the last decade. “We could have 10 times that many if we had more foster homes and space. There’s often a waiting list. We help law enforcement, animal control, and shelters with horses found through neglect or abuse cases.” Starved and too weak to stand, Tumbleweed was an emergency case when she arrived at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch clinic on a sled. Having since regained her health, including gaining 200 38
pounds to reach the appropriate weight for her age and size, she illustrates the benefits of the facility’s status as one of the country’s leaders in providing equine rescue and rehabilitation. The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racers (CANTER USA) serves as an online matchmaker for racing horses. Volunteers take photos at tracks, obtain the horse’s bio from the owner or trainer and post them to attract potential new owners. Along with the healthy horses, the 3,000 ill or injured horses cared for by the alliance have been retrained, rehabbed and re-homed to participate in polo, show jumping, cart pulling and rodeos.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management calculates the appropriate management level (AML) for the number of wild horses. Excess numbers are captured and offered for adoption or sale. In December 2015, 47,000 horses were waiting in holding facilities at an annual cost of $49 million. The AML projects removal of an additional 31,000 horses from Western lands. As an example, although local wild species predate the park’s existence, horses in Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park are labeled “trespass livestock”, and subject to removal. Return to Freedom, a nonprofit wild horse rescue in Lompoc, California, recognizes the tightly bonded nature of these herd groups. Its American Wild Horse Sanctuary is the first to focus on entire family bands, providing a safe haven for about 200 horses and burros. The Wild Horse Rescue Center, in Mims, Florida, rescues, rehabilitates and finds homes for mustangs and burros, usually housing 30 horses at a time. With many needing medical care upon arrival, expenditures average $3,000 their first year and $1,700 annually once they’re healthy. Although the goal is adoption, equine fans also can sponsor a horse by donating $5 a day or purchasing a painting done by a horse. The center also provides public educational forums. Sponsored by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The average lifespan of a horse is 30 years. It should have two acres of land for grazing. The minimum annual cost for basic food and veterinarian services is $2,000, not including equipment and boarding, which can be more expensive in urban areas and in or near racing meccas like Kentucky or Florida. Rescues budget $300 a month per horse.
Healthy Living Magazine