Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is Horse Rescue Depressing?

Several days ago, a new visitor to Traveller’s Rest commented that she was relieved to visit a rescue facility that wasn’t completely depressing. That was not the first time we heard someone express that sentiment, even though it is not always worded the same way. While we are thrilled to hear that visitors feel TREES’ horses are happy and well-cared for, it is disheartening to hear that equine shelters as a whole have reputations as unhappy places.

Why do so many people hold that opinion? Rescue facilities should be places of celebration. Celebrate that the horses in residence are safe from whatever circumstances put them at risk. Celebrate that they no longer suffer starvation, pain from untreated illness or injury, or anxiety due to isolation or excessive confinement. Celebrate that the resident horses are returning to good health and regaining confidence.

Granted, there may always be a horse or two that seems unhappy or insecure at a shelter or sanctuary. Horses that have recently arrived at a shelter have every right to be unhappy. They may be ill or injured. They may be malnourished. They may have lived for years in a small dark stall and are overwhelmed by the outside world.

That part of their lives, however, is all in the past once they reach safe haven. Don’t dwell on the past. Focus on the future. A horse’s recovery is often measured in small increments. Take note of the smallest changes. We cannot push recovering horses into more than they can handle, physically or emotionally, at the time. Progress is progress and each horse will recover at his own pace.

Don’t look at rescued horses as “poor things.” Instead, let them know how special they are and that The Good Life has arrived. Most horses are very sensitive to their caregivers’ moods. If you are anxious, the horse may be anxious. If you are relaxed, the horse is more likely to relax. A relaxed, secure horse will recover far more quickly than one that is unsure or afraid. “Listen” to the horse, note the small changes, and appreciate the trust a formerly mistreated animal may offer.

Celebrate the rescue. Celebrate the sanctuary. Celebrate the horses’ futures. And whether you are a rescuer, a rescue supporter, or a rescue volunteer, celebrate your part in those futures.

(“Geezers Rule!”)

1 comment:

horse rescue said...

Horses are a sort of animal which needs proper care. Few horse owners are either dispassionate or not capable of providing care for their horses either physically or economically. So they live them negligently. Horse rescue agencies are working hard trying to save as many of these animals as they can, and are struggling to raise funds to provide food and care for them.