It only takes a quick scan of facebook, craiglist, or other numerous sites to find the same sob story over and over.
"I rescued him but I can no longer afford to continue his care/rehab."
These posts are a dime a dozen and it is easy to get caught up in the moment and head out to hitch up the trailer.
But are you really prepared for what rehabbing a rescue horse may actually involve?
Here are a few things to consider:
Can you reasonably isolate the rescue horse from the rest of the herd (no nose to nose contact) for several weeks to prevent the spread of infectious diseases to your own herd.
If the horse is a stallion are you able to afford to geld, and have the space to keep him completely separate from any mares for 1-2 months there after.
Are you financially able to fully vet out a rescue horse and do so for several months or even years? What if they have a expensive condition to treat such as EPM? Are you prepared to pay for treatment or euthanasia? Expensive farrier care or other specialized treatment?
Are you financially prepared for if the rescue horse hurts himself under your care or causes severe injury to another member of your herd?
Can you commit to training (DIY or with a professional) said rescue horse for yourself or for potential adopters once they are rehabbed?
Do you have the knowledge and skill set to properly and safely handle a horse with a questionable background?
Do you have the space (at home, money for board, etc) to care for rescue long term?
Are you in a position in your life where you have the time (energy and ability) to handle the added work of a rescue animal?
Please note I am not against individuals rescuing and rehabbing horses. I am against individuals getting in over their heads, endangering themselves and other animals, and rescued horses not receiving the proper care, treatment, and training to truly overcome their neglect.
If you would like to rescue but are not prepared to go at it alone consider supporting a legitimate rescue.
Horse lovers can support reputable rescue organizations with monetary donations, sponsoring specific animals, fostering, adopting, volunteering, to even helping with office work and the running of rescue, raising awareness for the group, etc. All you need to do is contact a organization offer what what you can.
Remember that rescuing responsibly means realistically only taking on what you can do alone, and supporting existing reputable rescue organizations with the stuff that you can't.