What really bothers us about these broker owned productions is that innocent people’s wallets are being robbed and their hearts are being broken. Many of these horses are sick or debilitated in some way, or will get sick as a result of the auction/feedlot experience and may not survive.
Things to strongly consider if you think you just have to save a broker/feedlot owned horse and bring it home:
- Do you have a large enough savings account that you can devote to vet costs in the event that the horse you “adopt” comes to you with EPM, Navicular Disease, a metabolic disorder (Cushing’s and related diseases), cancer or some other serious or fatal condition?
- You must quarantine these horses from other horses. They have been exposed to all kinds of contagious disease and a large percentage of them will contract strangles. It’s painful for the horse and painful to watch, and sometimes it becomes fatal. Quarantine will further drive your costs for this horse up.
- Do you have the emotional wherewithal to euthanize the horse when it arrives at your barn or weeks/months after you’ve spent time, money and love trying to save the horse if it turns out that is what is best for the horse?
- If the horse is unable to be ridden, either due to a physical condition or mental scarring, will you be happy to keep the horse as a pasture pet? Many of these horses are drugged for their evaluations and what you get is not what you “saw” or what was described.
We’ve read the disclaimers from some of these programs (some don’t even bother to post a disclaimer) and shuddered when we read this one:
“We are not perfect…we sometimes make mistakes…we don’t always catch something wrong at the beginning that might be caught later.” (this is where it gets really good) “We are busy trying to save lives whether it be healthy horses, sick horses, crippled or lame horses, young or old.”
Read that as admission that they don’t care what they are selling you. They want to sell horses so both they and Andio can get their cut. And remember, sick, crippled, and lame horses are prohibited from shipping to slaughter. And while certainly some of them do, they are not going to bring the good “hanging weight” the plants and kill buyers want to maximize their investments in slaughter horses.
So you think you just have to donate a small amount of “bail” to a broker owned horse? Sure it leaves you with the warm and fuzzies as you drift off to sleep. I helped save a horse! Yippee for Me!
So often we see people offering to take these BO horses, as long as someone else will pay the purchase price (which includes the broker and the “rescue’s” cut), the overpriced Coggins, quarantine and transport fees. Always ask yourself how an individual who can’t manage these fees is going to manage to pay for food, farrier, vetting, etc. Horses are cheap to acquire, but expensive to maintain.
The truth of the matter is that often these horses are being taken by flippers and hoarders. Look at the names of the women who step up and take horse after horse. They often aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s a great opportunity to try to flip free horses and make some cash! Or, they are creating their own herd whose future is very much in question with the medical disorder that is hoarding. And how often do we see these same horses that were “bailed” on Craigslist, an equine sales site or worse yet, back in the auction pipeline?
We would be remiss not to note there are some wonderful people out there taking horses, training them and giving them a positive future. To them we give great kudos. Unfortunately, those people are likely the exception and not the rule.
So, if you just have to purchase or donate to a BO horse, hopefully you have a good heart, robust pocketbook and very strong stomach. Things can turn ugly very quickly for both you and the horse, particularly for the horse if the assistance you offer simply sends the horse to the next person who plans to exploit it.