Monday, June 18, 2012

Horse Rescue Facility Minimum Requirements

As promised, the following is a run-down of horse care requirements we feel a facility must fulfill to be called a "horse rescue".    Should you be considering a rescue for placing a horse, adopting a horse, or donating your time and money, you can use this list as a guide.
  • If a person wishes to take in horses, he/she should have adequate space.  To simple crowd horses onto small lots is not "rescuing" them, but is subjecting them to stress and is at best unsafe.  We feel there should be no more than four horses per acre.  County codes vary, but a horse rescue should at least be in accordance with the county code in which it is located.
  • The property on which horses are kept should provide pasture for grazing and/or free-choice hay.  This hay should be clean and mold-free. Horses are grazers and need to have hay or grass available at all times to avoid stress and colic.
  • Salt and minerals should be available free-choice or added to the horses' feed.  Horses require minerals to live and in Florida's heat and humidity,  these requirements are higher.
  • Horses should be fed regularly with adequate concentrates, according to their particular needs.  Some horses do fine with just hay, but old or debilitated horses require feed.   
  • Clean, abundant water should be available to the horses at all times.  If there are several horses in one paddock, there should be multiple water containers.  Older, weaker horses are often driven off by stronger horses.
  • There should be shade or shelter on each paddock or pasture.  Some county codes  require run-in sheds if there are no trees.  The Florida summer sun is brutal and often rescued horses are weak and debilitated.  The provision for shelter in the summer months is essential.
  • Safe fencing with no barbed wire or broken boards for paddocks and pastures is another essential requirement for horse safety.  If you've ever seen a wire injury on a horse's leg you'll know it is absolutely necessary and just plain common sense to prevent these injuries.  Besides, escaped horses can cause harm not only to themselves but to motorists.
  • There should be adequate help to care for the horses.  Horses should be checked by a human daily to make sure there are no problems that go unaddressed.
  • Horses should have their teeth floated on a regular schedule.  Many behavioral and health problems are the result of poor dental condition.
  • There should be a regular vaccine and worming schedule.
  • There should be a regular farrier service schedule.
  • There should be rehabilitation efforts made for horses with training and behavioral problems so they can be placed for adoption.
  • There should be efforts made to find suitable adoption/foster care homes to place horses  These new homes should be checked out before the horses are relocated. 
  • Horses adopted out or sent to foster homes should be checked on regularly to make sure they are being cared for.
  • Facilities calling themselves "horse rescues" should not be "horse traders".  Adoption fees can be collected to offset expenses.  Besides, offering horses "for sale" would render the render the "non-profit" status of a horse rescue invalid. 
  • Facilities calling themselves "horse rescues" should not sell the horses they rescue to "killers". Duh-uh.
Feel free to comment on areas of horse care and safety you feel are important.

1 comment:

Let us hear from you. Your comments are welcome!