WHAT YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU NO LONGER CAN AFFORD TO KEEP YOUR HORSE
1. Don’t panic by waiting so long that the proverbial horse manure has hit the fan. Plan ahead and prepare for this emergency so it isn’t such a big one.
2. Don’t automatically assume you can dump your horse at the local horse rescue. They are overloaded, undercapitalized and understaffed. Your horse has a much better chance through private placement if you commit to do the work.
3. Take photos and write a biography. Be honest about good and bad points. Make a statement about what type of owner would be a best fit. Post the notice at your local feed store, supermarket, anywhere that accepts such advertising. If you don’t know how to create a flyer, ask your friends and relatives. Someone is good at this in your circle of contacts.
4. Create an email and send it out to everyone you know, horseperson or not, and ask them to send it out to everyone they know. Include horse rescues and sanctuaries on your email list as they have a wide list of contacts, too. Make sure you include your veterinarian on your list of potential contacts to spread the work. Again, if you can’t do this, turn to one of your computer-savvy contacts. If you are not, you are in the minority. Most people nowadays know how.
5. Contact the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance (CUHA) about help in getting the word out that you are in need. One of their missions is to mitigate these situations. Their contact info is: 1805 S. Bellair Street, Suite 400, Denver CO 80222. Tel: (303) 744-8296. www.counwantedhorse.org. At Rocky Mtn. Horse Expo, they are unveiling their Equidopt web page where people seeking horses to adopt can search their database whose input comes largely from the rescue community in Colorado. If you are a rescue, this is where to put your horses' bios and photos.
6. If you find an adopter, check out the horse’s new home, interview the prospective owner. In other words, do due diligence so you are not just dumping your horse but ensuring a good chance of his future.
7. Contact the Colorado Horse Hay Food Bank. They offer interim and long-term assistance in supplying hay to strapped owners. Contact them through their web site at www.horsefoodbank.org. If you live outside Colorado, you can search the Internet with the keywords “horse hay bank” and come up with a similar organization near you.
8. Watch out for impostors and poseurs who tell you they are going to find a good home for your horses, especially if it is a string you are trying to place, as they are usually killer buyers waiting to haul the horses to Mexico and Canada for a bloody and inhumane death. This is why due diligence is so important.
9. As your local horse rescue for assistance in finding an adopter. They have contacts most people don’t and can help spread the word. They are NOT your first line of defense!
10. If your horse is 30 plus years old, untrained and a backyard pasture ornament, chances are you won’t find a home for him. Failure to thrive on his part means euthanasia is a humane option. Starvation and neglect are not options.
11. If your horse has potential as a companion or a riding/sports partner, do everything you can to give him a chance at a future life.
12. Colorado Horse Rescue has recently implemented a program where they will provide $250 in hay money for strapped horse owners. Information is available at their web site at www.chr.org.