It’s really hard to stand quietly in line at Starbucks and listen to the couple ahead of me discuss the revenue of breeding their dog. I don’t understand why people breed any animal when it’s fairly widely known that the world has enough dogs, cats, and horses. Why would anyone ever consider breeding more?
These types of situations are very hard for me. I try to be normal when I really want to grab them on either sides of their shoulders and shake them violently while at the same time shouting the statistics of the millions of euthanized dogs each year. However, I don’t want to get arrested for assault, so I suppress my outburst by holding my breath instead. As my face becomes oxygen deprived and red, I wonder how I became such a freak when others around me seems oblivious to animal welfare concerns. I find myself holding my breath so much lately that I think my brain is suffering from oxygen deprivation.
Being an animal advocate really does make you slightly freakish at times. For example:
I can’t enjoy a litter of puppies without thinking: we have enough dogs in the world already.
I can’t compliment a friend’s beautiful purebred dog, without thinking they should have done the right thing and adopted a dog from a shelter. I contemplate unfriending on Facebook.
I can’t wear a silky dress with a fashionista Derby-hat to a Kentucky Derby party, without thinking that 70% of all Thoroughbreds got to slaughter, and that one in every 1000 horses that dashes out of a the starting box will have a fatal injured. Instead, I decline the invitation because I know I will likely asphyxiate from holding my breath all night.
I can’t go to a neighborhood horse show and watch parent’s celebrate a blue ribbon with their young child without thinking what will happen to their horse when the child discovers boys or goes off to college?
I can’t drop off my son at camp and drive past the camp stable without wondering if I will see those same horses at the New Holland Auction in early September OR watch his riding lessons without thinking what will happen to the kind-eyed lesson horse that I have trusted to safely teach my young child to ride? Will that riding instructor do the right thing when the horse is aged and unsound, or will he just shuttle the horse to closest auction?
I can’t be happy when a close friend arrives and proudly announces she spent $12,000 on her new horse without thinking she should be riding a rescued horse.
I understand that not everyone is a freak like me, but what I don’t understand is why more riders don’t take a chance with a rescue!
Why rescuing a horse is not more popular?
Because it’s truly awesome to share a life with a rescued animal; whether it’s a cat, dog, horse or donkey. That animal will give you purpose and drive you to show them that not all humans are awful and harmful. You will teach them that humans are kind and they will grow to trust you.
It is rewarding when you suddenly realize that months have gone by and your scared, emaciated little rescue horse has now become a healthy, confident and trusting addition to your barnyard. You don’t get that feeling when you write a big check for a horse that is exactly what you dreamed of. With a rescue horse, you write a small check, say many prayers and hope that you can build your dream horse together with a horse that others have discarded.
Not all rescues are worth saving, but the ones that are undoubtedly deliver an equestrian experience that exceeds your dream horse aspirations.