Sunday, April 26, 2009

“Buy” Local!

The local newspaper recently ran a short article concerning the economy’s affect on horse owners. Like everyone else, horse owners are losing jobs, losing homes and spending savings intended for retirement. As a result more and more horses in Virginia are in need of new homes.

At the same time, many people now shop online for horses, as they do most everything else. We can view nation-wide classifieds, “visit” adoption programs in other states, and take advantage of bulletin boards and discussion forums.

However……..there are many hundreds of horses right here in Virginia with no place to go. Sound, healthy, trained horses are offered for sale at a fraction of the prices they would have commanded two years ago. Many are offered for free by owners desperate to find new homes when they can no longer afford feed or veterinary care. Equine rescue facilities and sanctuaries are operating at maximum capacity.

And yet, people still buy or adopt horses from other parts of the country and transport them to VA, making fewer homes available to those horses already in trouble in our own back yards. Granted, if you are looking for a high-level competition horse, you may have to go farther to find your mount, but the average horse owner should be able to find a new equine family member among Virginia’s ample horse population.

Here are a few resources to check out if you are thinking about adding another horse to your family (or if you hadn’t thought about it until now, but can care for a horse whose options are limited.) -- A classified site focused on Virginia’s horse community

Chronicle of the Horse forum – visit the “Giveaway’s” folder. COTH is based in Virginia, and many local people frequent the forums.

Virginia Equine Rescue discussion group -- archives are public, but you'll need to join to post.

Visit a local horse welfare organization. Even if they don’t have the horse you are looking for, most network with other facilities or keep lists of horses that need new homes but are still with their owners. If you can’t adopt, contribute in any way you can, whether financially or by volunteering, to support farms who focus on local horses:
Equine Rescue League - Loudoun County
White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue - Burkeville
Gingersnap Girls Equine Education and Rescue Foundation - Hamilton
Rugby Creek Animal Rescue - Mouth of Wilson
Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary! - Spotsylvania

Remember the Tourism Bureau's campaign of a few years ago? "Virginia Is For Horse Lovers." Its true. Virginia IS for Horse Lovers. Let's take care of Virginia's Horses.

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