The Unwanted Horse Coalition?s 2009 Unwanted Horse Survey found that the problem of unwanted horses is not only perceived to be increasing significantly, but its detrimental effects are also being noticed and felt across the country. Whatever its causes, how the horse community deals with these horses promises to be a challenge in the future.
Unwanted horses can be old or young, sick or healthy, purebred or grade, highly trained or not even halter broke. They are unwanted for just as many varying reasons ? the horse may have become sick, injured, old, outgrown, dangerous, a burden or simply too expensive to care for.
No one knows for sure how many unwanted horses exist in the United States, but we do know that the number? exceeds the resources available to accommodate them. The estimated cost of providing basic care for a horse ranges from $1,800-$2,400 annually. Currently, there are not enough volunteers, funding or placement opportunities for all the unwanted horses. In a 2009 survey conducted by the Unwanted Horse Coalition, 63 percent of equine rescue/retirement facilities reported that they were at near or full capacity, and on average, turn away 38 percent of the horses brought to them.
Unfortunately, some of these horses fall into the neglected category, but with care, they can once again become usable and productive, and would do well in different situations if given the opportunity.
If you rehabilitate such a horse, in addition to the physical changes, you might also notice personality changes as the horse gains confidence and good health.
Expert advice is always as close as your local equine veterinarian. Your veterinarian should see the horse soon after it arrives in order to develop a health care plan. Through nutrition, farrier care and veterinary attention, a once-neglected horse can have the life that every horse deserves.