Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What You Should Consider When Rescuing a Horse from an Auction Lot

The Second Race from time to time assists with the purchase of auction/feed lot horses. These are horses that could be destined for slaughter to Canada or Mexico for European plates if they are not purchased. Our mission is to work directly with owner, trainers, and breeders at the race tracks, but with constant pleas and pictures that are hard to resist, we have assisted in the rescue of 12 horses to date via our designated 'Quarter Pole Fund'. Our latest assistance was to "Dan" a grey gelding orchestrated by Kara V. in New York. To learn more about this particular program go to http://www.thesecondrace.com/quarterpolefund.htm
Photo by Patti Walker

Here is a post we received and thought it was worth sharing from Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, that monitors an auction lot on the East Coast.

Bringing Home a "Direct from the Feed Lot" Horseby Helping Hearts Equine Rescue on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 6:20am

Please, be aware that horse ownership is not something to be taken lightly. Especially taking on the responsibility of a direct-from-the-pen-rescue-horse. We strongly recommend quarantine, as these horses have been exposed to a number of pathogens during a stressful time. Liken it to sending a child to school for the first time. They ALL get sick from other children's germs. Illness and vet bills is a fact of life when purchasing a Feed Lot horse. Horsekeeping expenses vary from region to region, but all experienced horsepersons will tell you that the purchase price is the cheapest part of horse purchase/ownership. With a direct-rescue, expect those up-front expenses to be higher than the norm.

I always get a little mental- twitch when I see a post offering to take in a horse if the bail, etc. are raised for it. I'm hoping that the person is aware of the EXPENSE and COMMITMENT of taking in a horse, and can afford it, especially with a directly-rescued horse. Sadly, lately, a few situations hve come to light of horses that need rescuing from their rescuers. When this sort of thing happens, terribly-- the horses suffer and the whole rescue-effort is looked upon with suspicion--accusations and mis-trust quickly follow behind that.

Please note that we do our best to post accurate info on each horse, but each horse spends less than 2 minutes being run thru the sale-ring, often the actual time is even less than that. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of info about the horses temperament, soundness or training, as our notes are based on what is announced about each horse and our observations in a very short window of time--we are looking at dozens of horses every week in a very short period of time. The majority of these horses are WONDERFUL, and just need a bit of time to settle in. A few though, will need some work, may have been mis-represented by their sellers in regard to training and temperment. And sadly too, there have been a few cases of horses being much more "up" when they arrived at their new homes than they were in the ring. (sadly, some sellers "medicate" horses they offer for sale--If I think a horse at the sale may have been tranquilized, I mention it, I don't want anyone getting hurt). A question to ask yourself: Are you competent/confident to work thru these issues; or have the resources to work with a professional to assist in teaching your horse to be a solid citizen for you. Just because he's a low-priced rescue doesn't mean he's not worth the cost of professional assistance or training. (Sadly, I've heard that. "He was only $300, I'm not paying a trainer to work with him! It's not worth it!" -- makes me want to smack them)

Be realistic and be patient. I receive contact several times a week from Camelot-Feed-Lot-Purchasers whose horsers 'aren't working out'. I've helped network and rehome a good number of them. I've taken in a few who wound up being fine, the problem never materializing here. In a couple of recent situations where I was networking the horse, I later got calls back saying "never mind", that the issue resolved. The horse settled in, and became (1) less dominant in the pasture, (2), stopped banging at feeding time; (3) ground manners improved, etc. Horses are very social animals, they need structure, they need to know/understand where they stand in the social hierarchy. In the cases of social hierarchy/aggression in turnout----they've often had to protect themselves thru a series of pens and trailers packed wtih strange horses jockeying for position; In the case of bad-manners/aggression at feeding time, starved horses need to realize that they will be fed--every day--every time -- when that happens, they often become less anxious at feeding time and stop banging, screaming, kicking, lunging at the stall door, etc. But it takes time, sometimes weeks or months.

If you are unsure about purchasing an 'unknown quantity" from the sale list, please do consider adopting a horse that's been pulled by a rescue. Rescues get them in, QT them, vet them, evaluate them for training and temperament, often put training into them and the adoption contracts give you a safety net, should the horse NOT work out. Adopting from a rescue allows the rescue the resources to save another and repeat the process. YES, the adoption fee is more than the pull fee, but it is LESS than what YOU would spend to get a horse out of the Pen and up to that point.

This post is not meant to discourage the purchase of a Feed Lot horse, but is meant to make sure our prospective rescuers go into their labor-of-love with their eyes open.

Thank You.

Lisa (HHER)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Zenyatta Going for 18 & What She Means to Girls....

photo used by permission.
As the eve of the Clement Hirsch race at Del Mar approaches and the excitement builds for win number 18 for Zenyatta. We wanted to re-run our post regarding Zenyatta and the lessons that can be learned for young girls from Zenyatta. Original post November 2009.

Zenyatta crossed the finish line on Saturday in the Breeders Cup Classic to a roar of emotion shared by all in attendance. Whether it was tears of joy, amazement or knowing you were witnessing history in the making, all around me and throughout the stands, the win was felt in unison.
As the blush of the win wore off on late Sunday afternoon, I remembered something that I had read previously about Zenyatta. As a yearling, she was purchased for $ 60,000 the bloodstock agent who purchased her said he felt he had possibly made a mistake and was bidding on the wrong horse as he couldn't believe she had slipped through the cracks and he had been able to successfully purchase her at the low price.
The reason why she was only $ 60,000? She had a skin disease that made her less attractive or desirable even though she had "vetted" out well. On the surface she was passed over for other yearlings, who looked better. This got me to thinking about young girls who are passed over every day and have labels put upon them at a young age. These labels can hamper their development for the rest of their lives. So many young ladies today are diamonds in the rough, and I wish society embraced them as girls in transition, not airbrushed creations in magazines.
Now of course, Zenyatta didn't buy into any labels or even know she was dismissed for something superficial, nor did she know that she was bigger than the rest of the yearlings in the sales barn. Zenyatta didn't know that her bones were bigger, and that she would need time to grow into herself to bloom into the stunning mare she would become. But her handlers did. Zenyatta was able to start her first race at the age of three instead of the current trend of two. She was given the time to grow into herself. Patience was given to allow her to become the filly she should be to compete at the highest level. Not rushing her to become a precocious sparkler, but a full blown fourth of July fireworks display.
Girls need the same thing, the time to grow, be nurtured by those around them that care for their well being and to not be forced or rushed into being something that someone else wants them to be. Girls need to accept their bodies and its bounty (and its limitations) without pressure. A beautiful swan can just be under the ugly duckling exterior, love and time will expose both.
Zenyatta is a winner, nothing can take that away. Girls are winners too, my hope is in watching Zenyatta crossing the finish line, that the same girls with their "Zenyatta Rocks" posters last Saturday looked in the mirror that night and said "I rock too".

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