November’s Featured Rescue!
When we started writing this blog, there were a few things we hoped to do. Create a place where we could rant about the things in the horse world that bug us, connect with interesting people from around the world, learn more about different aspects of the equine industry and, hopefully, use it as a means to do some good.
On that note, we’re introducing a new feature. Every month, we’ll be conducting a short email interview with an equine rescue which we’ll post with a brief profile and links to their website.
Our first rescue is Cowgirl Spirit Rescue Drill Team.
Q1 What advice would you give to first time horse owners?
Two big things: A horse is not a pet, and there’s no such thing as a free horse! Horses are livestock, not pets, and have very specialized (and often expensive) needs in terms of space, nutrition, handling, and medical care. It’s important to understand how to deal with ALL of these needs before taking on the responsibility of horse ownership, which is a big step up from riding. You may know how to get on and steer a horse, but do you know about selenium supplements? Bot knives? Rain rot? Do you have a fly control plan for your horse property? What type(s) of dewormer are you going to use and when? Who’s your farrier and why did you pick that person? There are a LOT of things you need to know beyond purchase price and horse color! A good horse adoption application (like ours:
http://csrdt.org/documents/CSRDT_Adoption_Application.pdf) will ask a lot of relevant questions that you should be able to answer readily before considering buying a horse.
I would highly recommend taking riding lessons and helping out at a barn (or horse rescue!) for several months to a year to gain some solid horse skills before taking the leap to ownership. At the very least, make sure you have a trusted horse trainer (and/or helpful horse rescue group–one advantage of adopting!) on hand to help out when you encounter a situation you can’t handle on your own.
Keep in mind that if horse purchase price is a concern to you, horse ownership costs will also be a concern. Of course you shouldn’t pay thousands of dollars over your budget, but if you can’t afford to pay a few hundred dollars for a horse, you will probably have trouble affording several hundred (or thousand, in the event of major veterinary bills) dollars each month to feed, house, and care for that horse on an ongoing basis. Just check out any horse sales board to see how many people are unloading horses at low prices because they can’t afford the maintenance costs. This is how many horses end up at auctions, where they need to be saved by rescues like us.
Some great resources are Pat Parelli’s videos, Cherry Hill’s horsekeeping books, Jane Savoie’s tips, the Fugly horse blog http://fuglyblog.com/, the rec.equestrian newsgroup, Snarky Rider Blog (of course ;)) and so many more–and of course your local horse rescue, trusted trainer, or vet! Read as much as you can and hang out around as many horse people as you can and you can’t help but start to learn a lot!
Q2 What type of music do you think your horses prefer? Country, because they’re country animals, or something totally different?
I think it depends on the horse! I learned to listen to country music from years of riding Quarter Horses, but I suspect some Warmbloods might prefer classical. And ponies probably polka, or maybe do the twist.
Q3 What’s a favorite horse rescue story you’d like to share?
Most of my favorite stories involve people working with the rescues falling in love with the rescue horses and adopting them before they even get advertised to the public! It’s both a benefit and a danger (to your pocketbook, at least) of working with a rescue organization that you may start to accumulate rescue horses of your own. 🙂
Q4 If you could ride Pegasus or a Unicorn, which would you choose and why?
A unicorn would be great, but it’s hard to say no to flying. I think the ultimate would be a Pegacorn (unicorn with wings).
Q5 What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in horse rescue?
Be prepared to encounter lots of difficult situations, and be astonished by the quality of horses that people will give up. You’ll develop a healthy respect for the hard work and responsibility involved in horse ownership, as you’ll be dealing directly with the results of people being irresponsible horse owners–the horses that end up at auction or rescue, needing homes. Also, be prepared to want to adopt every horse you come across–but to be responsible enough to know you can’t help every single horse.
As far as getting started, there’s no time like the present! Find a rescue (like ours!) where you can volunteer, then learn as much as you can from trusted resources recommended by your fellow rescue members. You will never know all there is to know about horses and you should never stop learning!
To learn more about the Cowgirl Spirit Rescue Drill Team, check out their website here!