Everyone knows more than me.

Lesson #1 in horse rescue: Everyone knows more than me (or you), and even those who know very little aren't afraid to tell you you're a moron. This page is about the lessons I've learned along the way.

"You're wasting your time and money. There's no way you can save all unwanted horses."

WATCH ME.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Broken Down Old Nag

I worked in television news for about 15 years, so I'm painfully familiar with the notion of age making someone disposal. I recently worked at a place where I was targeted for disposal because I was, in some people's estimation, too old to be effective. I was on the tail end of the "target demographic," which was constantly rubbed in my old, wrinkled, too-old-to-live face. If I were a horse, I would have been sent to Mexico for slaughter; but I have thumbs and a voice, so I fight for myself.

I’m always disheartened by the number of older horses I see on kill lots in my quest to save horses from slaughter. Most of them are “dead broke,” with sweet dispositions and unshakable work ethics. They’re easy to catch, practically halter and saddle themselves, and loyal to the core. Their only shortcoming is that they outlived their usefulness to some owner that, frankly, didn’t deserve them.

I’m also disheartened to see the number of “ISO” posts from people looking for a kid-safe horse that’s easy to catch and halter, “no kick, no buck, no bite,” with sweet dispositions and unshakable work ethics. Time and again, I see prospective owners searching for a horse with an elderly soul, in a 6-year-old body. For $600 or less.

I also see tons of posts from prospective owners that some might consider “long in the tooth” - folks who wouldn't make it to a first interview in many jobs.

When a person in their 50s buys an 8-year-old horse that saddles itself, brings you coffee in the morning and gives you a nightly Shiatsu massage, what happens when the owner is too old to ride, and their horse is in that now-undesirable zone of 15 to 20? What happens if, God forbid, the owner drops dead of a heart attack (it happens) and the family is left with a hard-to-market 15-year-old horse?

The mature horse is the answer. Think logically about the number (age) you’ve assigned to your dream horse. As with most humans, is it "just a number"? Or can you fairly assess the horse’s abilities and overall health? If you’re buying a horse for a growing child – a child whose body, preferences, skills and interests will be totally different in four or five years – you’re probably looking at two different horses. Today you want a horse that won’t bolt for the barn or go nuts over a candy wrapper; but when your child is more experienced, and ready to run and jump and zig and zag, you’re going to be looking for a new horse. Any horse that’s spent four or five years at a beginner’s speed is probably not suddenly going to kick it in to high gear and become a spry racehorse.

If you’re an older person looking for a pleasure horse, do you really need a young horse, and do you have a plan for that horse when your needs change? The elderly horse is the perfect option because he’s “been there, done that.” He’s not going to spook at a Walmart bag and drag his rider through the woods. He’s not going to freak out if things don’t go his way. He’s steady, reliable, calm, trustworthy, and devoted to his rider’s safety.

A young beginner isn’t realistically going to be breaking land-speed records; and an older rider doesn’t need a horse that’s going to last longer than them. With proper care, a horse can live well into its 30s. Trim its hooves, float its teeth, feed it properly, groom it and provide regular exercise, and an older horse can give you years of happy memories


The oldest horse on record was 62

"Old Billy," an English barge stallion, died at the ripe old age of 62 in 1822.
Full Menu

Shayne was the world's oldest horse in 2013

According to the Daily Mail, Shayne was the oldest living horse when he died at the age of 51 in 2013. He was humanely euthanized after staff at his boarding facility found him unable to get up.

Have I become a tree hugger?

Headline

I've never been a table pounder. I believe in Live and Let Live. Acceptance is the key to my own serenity, so I accept others for their beliefs and values, and I hope others accept me for mine. I don't picket or protest. I don't argue or take a stand - not because I don't have strength or courage, but because there aren't a lot of hills I care enough to die on. I try not to judge others because I've only walked a mile in my own shoes. I've long believed we're going to be surprised when we get to heaven to see all the people we (in our imperfect judgment) would never have let in.

So why am I so passionate about horse rescue? Have I become one of those 'tree hugger, granola-munching hippies" who value animals above humans? It may appear so if you follow me on social media.

In a world where everyone is offended by everything, and two paragraphs in to this blog, someone is already wadded up and angry, let me clarify that "tree hugger" is not my term. I don't judge environmentalists or conservationists or animal rights-ists or any other "ist". To each his or her (or whatever) own. If you're one who is easily offended or who has a difficult time understanding sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor, this page is probably not for you.

I'm passionate about horses because, as I mentioned in the blog above, I've been disposable in my life. At the exact moment I began noticing kill pen broker pages on Facebook, I was going through professional turmoil in which someone had deemed me "beyond my useful life," and I was almost as hopeless as these horses stuffed in trailers bound for slaughterhouse hell. Rather than lay down in a fetal position and wait for the bolt to the brain, I answered God's call to do something. I took my old, washed-up, useless butt and used the skills I'd gained in television news to help God's creatures.

...

They're so unique...

Like humans, horses have their own distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies. Below are just some of my observations about the horses we've saved so far. 

Juno

Juno had a sweet, old soul that you could see in his eyes. He came to us nearly starved to death, so he naturally had trust issues. He and I developed a deep bond where he could just look at me and know what I wanted.

Gladys

I named her after Gladys Kravitz - the nosy neighbor on the 1970s TV show, Bewitched. She wanted to be in the middle of everything, but she didn't want you to know she was there. She was like a stealthy whisper when she snuck up behind me to see what I was doing.

Caesar

Oh my goodness, I'm going to have a hard time letting this one go! Caesar is HILARIOUS! I named him "Caesar" because he's so much like a monkey (Planet of the Apes) in the tricks he pulls. I can ask him to pick up a bucket and he'll hold it in his teeth and drop it in front of me. He can open any gate and unlatch his lead from his halter!

Winston

There is not another horse on the planet like Winston. The world is his oyster and we're just blessed to exist in it. He does what you want, when you want it, but somehow lets you know it's only because he wants it, too. Winston loves love.  He can't help it, but he's the teacher's pet.

Elvis

"If we could do all of this feeding and work and stuff without you actually touching me, that'd be great," pretty much sums it up for Elvis. He was obviously mistreated in another life, and he came to us with a pretty severe case of EPM, so he's just now getting to where he can enjoy being a horse. 

Rook

"I love you I love you I love you I love you....FOOOOOOD!!!" That's Rook in a nutshell. He's the ultimate pocket pony, always in your face and in your pockets, searching for treats. He's by far the most affectionate horse we've saved; but he'll kill a brother for some tasty morsels. That's just a fact.

Sometimes we get serious...

Swingin' D is committed to rooting out filth in the rescue industry

Run by a former award-winning investigative journalist and police detective, Swingin' D investigates and seeks prosecution in cases of equine abuse, neglect and fraud. Following are some of the dirtier lessons we've learned about the seedy side of horse rescue.

Hungry For More?

Mark this page as a favorite so you can keep up with Swingin' D's lessons learned!

Contact Us

info@swingindhorserescue.com

(918) 887-1024

Coweta, OK 74429