Rescue. Rehabilitate. Retrain. REHOME.
Since 2003, the White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue has come to the aid of Appaloosas and other at-risk horses. We rescue them, bring them into the best condition possible, correct any behavioral issues, and then find them caring and permanent homes. But over the last few years, this last service has become increasingly difficult.
Where we once took in a horse or two at a time, the number of animals needing immediate assistance has skyrocketed and we are now being asked to take in groups at a time. Within the last three years, Virginia has seen three large-scale seizures or surrenders that have required extensive resources and the participation of multiple rescues. At the same time, competent, capable homes are diminishing in number. As “Baby Boomers” age, many of the most experienced horse owners are unwilling to take on more horses because they no longer ride, and they may also be facing their own health and financial challenges. Their considerable knowledge is being lost. Meanwhile new horse owners are becoming fewer, as the economic realities of the past decade have discouraged horse ownership. There are also fewer emerging trainers, as this is no longer being seen as a promising career path, despite its critical importance . Given this unfortunate convergence, as the poet Yeats once wrote, “the centre cannot hold.”
So what is the answer? We believe it is two-fold. First, we believe that horse owners must face squarely their responsibility for horses they may have owned for decades. If they surrender older or unsound horse that have no real market value, those horses can go anywhere- from Craigslist, to auctions, to neglectful situations, to slaughter buyers, or to hoarders. That is the point we are making in publishing “Mr. Bowersox,” who served as a real life example of this downward spiral. Unless you have absolutely no other choice, please reconsider this decision. Second, we must address the current shortage of safe havens. To that end, we are reaching out to knowledgeable horse owners and pleading with you to consider opening your barn doors just a little wider, as an act of mercy and compassion. Are you a Boomer who doesn’t ride anymore? Great! There are plenty of older horses who simply need a roof and a meal, and we are betting that you have gained a lot of experience over the years. You may be the very best person to help an older guy finish his life in dignity. Are you a younger person with training skill? Fantastic! The foundation you provide for a deserving youngster will change his life forever. If you think you are up to the job, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
It is our goal to provide every single horse with a loving and permanent home. This is what one looks like. Our most sincere congratulations to Michael Rossner and Dr. Caroline Rossner (Southside Veterinary Services) on the newest member of their family, Blitzen (good-looking bay dude on left).