Why Do Horse Rescues and Sanctuaries Exist?
August 18, 2016
Horse rescues and sanctuaries exist for many reasons – some reasons are unavoidable like owner health crisis, natural disasters, divorce or loss of employment to name only a few. For the reasons on this list, we will always need local rescues and sanctuaries to pick up the pieces of broken or disrupted lives. This next list unfortunately is the reason our rescues and sanctuaries are overwhelmed. It includes over and irresponsible breeding practices, horses outliving their ‘useful’ lives and early health issues and finally ‘we just don’t want them any more and we can’t sell them.’ Horse ownership is not a right but a privilege. Elitist as it may sound, it is a privilege that should only be enjoyed by those who can afford it. For those who cannot afford ownership, there are many responsible options to enjoy horses and have opportunities to ride besides ownership such as lessons on a lesson horse, partial leases and donating your time at your local rescue or sanctuary to name only a few.

For more options or information, please contact MontanaQuest Sanctuary and we will be happy to assist in connecting you with the best local horse experience for you. Irresponsible breeding produces thousands of unwanted horses every year. Like cats and dogs, we have to address the problem at he beginning, and not the end if we want to reduce these numbers. Irresponsible breeding incudes over-breeding, breeding substandard horses and backyard breeding. As a consumer, you can impact the horse industry by considering a few of the following ideas:
• Read this guide provided by the Humane Society of United States:

• If you are choosing to buy a young horse age 0-3, buy from a breeder.

• Choose a breeder who belongs to the Humane Society’s Responsible Breeders List (pdf download). These breeders are committed to the well being of the horses they have bred and sold as well as being committed to keeping them out of rescues and sanctuaries.

• Choose a breeder who only breeds a few babies a year and guarantees the quality and temperament of their horses.

• Choose a trainer before you buy a young horse to ensure you will one day get the mount you want.

• Make sure you have time. Horses are more time consuming than most pets.

• Maintain contact with the breeder you bought your horse from. Send an occasional photo, ask questions and take an annual tour to see what they are up to.

• This is a place to start – a piece of a bigger solution. Together we can greatly reduce the need for rescues and sanctuaries if we start at the beginning.
For questions or comments, please contact MontanaQuest.

Next topic – Pets or Livestock? A grey area for horses.
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Cathe Carruthers-Hartung bred Lusitanos for dressage and sport. In ten years she sold one horse which she bought back. She is no longer breeding horses. She has decided to commit her time to encourage breeders to breed responsibly and ensure that horses live quality lives with those who love them.