On August 27th I drove past a herd of 60 young horses bound for slaughter in Mexico. All of the horses were temporarily grazing on pasture land in order to gain weight and value, and were scheduled for transport to Mexico for sale and slaughter on September 8th. My thought was, “if I can encourage just one person to purchase and adopt one of these horses, I would be happy.” I wrote an email that eventually circulated around the country. The following day, Aug 28th, the first of 60 horses was spared from Mexican slaughter by a woman in Evergreen, Colorado. In less than five days we were able to raise enough money in donations from around the country to purchase and also save from slaughter all 60 of these horses temporarily living on a ranch outside of Crested Butte, Colorado. The ranch owner is not the owner of these horses. An outside party is the owner of these horses.
It is with great thanks to this local rancher that these horses are allowed to have a second chance at life. The next step was to find property on which all the horses could live until placed in a permanent home. We had secured a 300 acre pasture which would temporarily hold the horses, but this arrangement did not work out. This was just made known to us on the evening of Tuesday Sept. 6th, so we are now again looking for temporary pasture for these horses. This pasture cannot have contact with other horses at this time, and a reasonable amount of monthly payment for leasing this property may be possible.
The most critical part of the rescue has been accomplished. The entire herd has been purchased through your generous donations. This is only the beginning, however, of a new start for these horses – their second chance. Taking possession of a herd of 60 horses is a large undertaking that requires considerable time, energy and financial support. The journey has only just begun for these lucky horses, and there are many ongoing efforts and expenses that these horses will demand in the future.
Most importantly, helping to place these angels in lasting, safe and comfortable homes is the purpose of the passion. We now have to place the horses with new owners. To date, 18 horses have found permanent homes, and 5 more owner prospects are in conversation with us!!
* Also, since we are now again in dire need of finding temporary pasture, please pass this message along. Inform anyone you know that may be able to either provide the pasture itself or refer someone who does.
The NEXT monumental piece of the rescue is the food, medical attention and care these horses will need as we continue to find them permanent homes. The cost of hay this year is high due to the drought in the San Luis Valley, Texas and Oklahoma. We must assume we could be caring for most of the horses through the cold winter in Gunnison County. We expect to need $25,000 worth of hay for the horses throughout the winter. This is an expense that is required to keep them alive and healthy. Initial medical expenses are expected to be approximately $5,000 for vaccinations, parasite control medications, lab testing and basic care. This is the cost of the supplies and medicine only, and no person is receiving any type of financial compensation for their time. We expect continued medical expenses. In addition, nutritional supplements and special individual care will be needed for the youngest and weakest.
The nationwide donations and sponsorships must continue in order to carry out the rescue mission. Your donation of compassion and time invested in seeking and searching for a home for them will complete this story. A fairy tale with a happy ending.
Your donations are tax deductible. Colorado Horsecare Foodbank (www.horsefoodbank.org) is a 501c3 organization which has generously provided, on a one time basis, use of their donation site to collect funds for these horses. A separate relief fund has been set up specifically for the Crested Butte horses through their “Black Tie” donation site. Once all of the horses have been adopted, all remaining funds will go directly to the Colorado Horsecare Foodbank.
Again, no individual person helping with this relief is or will be claiming any financial compensation for their time and efforts involved. There are no administrative costs. We have been blessed with volunteers willing to donate time and skills such as fund raising, equine veterinary services, legal advice, horsemanship skills, and administrative skills. Over 1,200 hours have already been logged and devoted to saving these majestic horses.
Lastly, the effort took on a life of its own. A powerful force driven by people who love horses. Your kindness and desire to keep it moving is profound and appreciated. You gave. It worked. 60 young colts and fillys have been gifted with your generosity – however it manifested itself along the way.
This story has fueled the momentum of many to pursue current equine issues at a national level in Washington, D.C. The state of the unwanted horse is now an epidemic in this country. While our primary focus for the time being is to save these horses lucky enough to have ended up in our valley, the overall goal of this mission is to address the situation of the unwanted horse. The Unwanted Horse Coalition is a national organization created by the American Horse Council (AHC) and supported by many respected professional organizations such as the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care and disposition of these horses. We realize that there are approximately 140,000 unwanted horses in the US. Many are horses just like in this lucky herd, many are in rescue facilities that are overwhelmed, and many are living in our backyards. The problem is multi-factorial. We intend to become seriously involved with the AHC and the UHC as soon as all of the CB horses are placed.
Please use this link for online donations to the Crested Butte Horse Relief Fund: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/online_sales/nonprofit_donation.cfm?id=2628 Visit our sponsor’s web site:
www.horsefoodbank.org ·On the site you will find the “black tie” donation option which will allow us to collect funds.