Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Facing Foreclosure or a Forced Move--- Don't Leave Your Horse Behind

Cashasgoodasmoney was not left behind, but adopted out by The Second Race, and is used as a model only for this article.

Times are tough for most. This is not a news story, all or most of us have had to scale back, cut back and down size. For some, it's been even harder than making some adjustments in finances or spending, and they have lost their homes. If you or someone you know is facing a similar fate and a forced moved, please do right by all your animals/pets and make a provision for them; including your horses.

When you brought home your horse, you made a commitment to keep him or her with you, through thick or thin. And your horse in return has made that same commitment to you. Your horse has loved you through the ups and downs of life.

So if you have to move or vacate your home or farm your horse (and other animals in residence) will not survive if abandoned or set loose.

How do you help yourself and your horse(s) through this difficult time? Make a Plan. If you are in trouble and facing foreclosure, start as early as possible to look for a new place to live where you can keep your horse. Not all areas are zoned for equines, so you may have to spend some time finding a place. It's better to make sound decisions in difficult times, if you allow some pre-planning and not emotional decisions with respect to your animals.

Find a Horse friendly place in your town or surrounding area by checking at your boarding stable, feed store, friends and associates, local phone book, or on line. Google is your friend. Speak up, let those you trust know of your situation. People in general want to help. Now more than ever, I believe there are people who understand your situation and we collectively have a better sense of community. Pride will not help you when you are forced on your last day to move and you haven't made any provisions for your horse friend.

If you can't take your horse with you, find them a safe place to stay on a temporary basis. When choosing a temporary place to house your horse, consider asking your veterinarian or farrier for references. They travel throughout your city, county and may know someone that can help. Ask your local boarding facilities if they will set a payment plan with you for boarding costs, while you relocate. Its easier to find a place to keep your male horse if he is not intact, so consider castrating him as soon as possible. There are low cost gelding services/vouchers in many states that can help with the cost. Look for breed specific associations to help you. The Second Race, will help too. Consider contacting us at thesecondrace@gmail.com to network on your behalf to adopt out your off the track ex-race horse, or those bred to race.

The networking of Facebook and other social media has exploded in the past year, and there may be a Facebook group that can help. Always check references, do your research and don't just hand over your horse to anyone without knowing to the best of your ability who that person is. Especially if you haven't met them previously and only know them online. For smaller animals there is a group of real estate agents that have formed an online resource with lists of rescues that will take in your pet; perhaps those that deal with farms, ranches have a similar list. Contact your local real estate representatives.

A word of caution in advertising your horse for "Free" on Craigslist. Kill buyers and those that broker horses to auction lots, comb through free listings. Don't hand over your horse to the first person that shows up with a trailer. Investigate who the person is. If they are legitimate, they will understand. Don't be surprised if you advertise your horse is free, that concerned strangers will contact you to offer you another resort to place your horse. There are just as many people watching the Craigslist offerings, to protect your horse.

If you can't find a temporary home, contact rescue groups. There are literally thousands of rescue/sanctuaries throughout the United States. Again Google is your friend. When searching, look for rescue organizations where you can surrender ownership of your horse (and other animals) which do not euthanize adoptable animals. This will provide you with peace of mind, during a difficult time. Some organizations will house your horse for a short time (perhaps 60 days) before the group takes ownership of your animal, allowing you an opportunity to be reunited with your equine friend. If you do not reclaim your pet in the prescribed time, you horse may be up for adoption and you forfeit the ability to re-home him. Always ask about your options when contacting a rescue. Visit the temporary home in advance of your placement. Go a couple times, perhaps unannounced to see if there is consistency in the care of the animals already on the property. Make sure the person is not hoarding animals. Go with your instincts, again much easier to do when you have some time to prepare.

If there is no other recourse you may have to consider putting your beloved horse down. This is a decision that is fraught with emotion and can only be decided by you the pet's owner. However, the decision to lovingly let your animal pass as opposed to starving or being abandoned to an unknown fate, honors the commitment you made and the unconditional love the pet has shown you. There are low cost euthanasia clinics throughout the United States and it may take some hunting around to find an option. The Unwanted Horse Coalition is a proponent of this choice and may have some resources available to explore.

Ultimately, your pet and horse depend on you. You may not have chosen your fate, lost your job on purpose, or knew that our country would go through the worse recession in history when you brought your pet into your life, but he or she is here now and going through whatever you are.

Making the best decisions for you and your horse will help to ensure that your friend is safe. By following these simple suggestions, you and your family will have a better future.

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