Swingin’ D Horse Rescue has a policy of keeping our horses a minimum of 30 days before we post them for adoption. First and foremost, we want to make sure the horse is healthy, and free of any contagious ailment that might infect other horses. Secondly, it give us time to evaluate the horse so we can provide potential adopters with an honest picture of its temperament and skills.
In reality, 30 days is rarely enough to provide the type of intensive care these horses, many of which were saved from kill pens, need and deserve. Lack of care is why too many horses (in the tens of thousands) end up at foreign slaughterhouses every year.
“The surest way to ensure a horse goes to slaughter is to send it into the world before it’s ready.”
Some of the horses we receive from kill pens or from owner surrenders are in abhorrent shape. They’ve lost hundreds of pounds – either due to poor dental care or outright neglect. Many of them have respiratory infections, skin infections, sick hooves and other ailments that require daily care and an endless supply of money.
We’ve taken in babies too young and small to train; older horses so thin and sickly, they’re of little use to anyone; horses so lame, they can barely walk – let alone be ridden.
I often joke that I’m exceptionally good at taking in and rehabilitating critically ill or hopelessly spooky horses to the point they’re no longer recognizable; but I suck at letting them go.
The reason is simple. I know how much time and money it takes to get and keep some of these horses healthy. I know the effort and patience it takes to socialize and train hopeless horses. I know the unconditional love and acceptance these horses receive from our wonderful and generous volunteers. I can’t even think about letting them go until I know they’ll receive the same level of care – rain or shine, hot or cold, no matter how hard or expensive it gets – every day of their lives.
We’ve cleaned and dressed Ralphie’s tail every day for a year; and we’ll continue to do it until his hair grows back and he can protect it himself. We’ve spent hours caring for Anastasia’s feet – soaking and wrapping them, and cutting cushions to go in her boots. We’ve spent countless hours reassuring and socializing frightened horses; and we’ll continue to do so until they’re ready to face the world without us.
Swingin’ D Horse Rescue will continue to do whatever it takes – for however long it takes – to ensure the horses we save can live like regular horses, so that adopters don’t have a reason to give up on them.
These horses have been failed too many times by humans who didn’t have the patience, time, money or Give-a-Crap to give them the attention they deserved. If we can help it, humans will never fail them again.