So You're Just Compelled to Buy or Donate to a Broker/Feedlot Horse?

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.
  (*our disclaimer here – many horses are also drugged to run through auctions.)

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.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to you for writing such a well-thought-out and incisive article here about the broker horse programs out there. You are spot on with everything you said and some! I have been watching and speaking out against Christy Sheidy and her faux "rescue" Another Chance 4 Horses for more than two years now and I've seen plenty of what you mention above. One of my dear friends adopted an Appy gelding through AC4h which Christy said was 11 years old and a gentle beginner's mount.

    He was anything but. He actually was pegged by the vet at 22 years of age, and was NOT at all a "gentle beginner's horse". As a matter of fact, he was unpredictably dangerous around even the most experienced horse people and trainers, which my friend is (she's dealt successfully with difficult cases before). She said he'd be fine one moment, then blow up and strike out the next. She told me she had to be constantly on guard around him which was stressful for her and others, including her husband.

    She tried everything she could to exorcise his inner demons and for a while it seemed that she'd make progress with him, only for him to regress by four or five steps right back to square one. She never could have the kind of relationship with him that she has with her other horses; no matter how kind she was towards him, he could not comprehend or appreciate what she was doing for him and he would attack her out of the blue. Miraculously, she never was seriously hurt.

    The final straw came just before this past Christmas when he attacked both her husband and brother. Faced with the reality that he was never going to change, she had the vet come out and euthanize him. It was a heartbreaking decision for her to make; she loved this intractable horse--but it was the right one to make before someone got seriously hurt or killed.

    Just think, if that Appy gelding had actually gone to someone buying him for their child, what would have happened. A scenario too awful to contemplate--but the truly horrible thing about it is, Christy doesn't give a damn as long as she gets her bloody $$$. Too bad that horse didn't go after her. It would serve her right for all the cruelty, abuse and neglect that she and her associates have inflicted on the broker horses over the years!