When I rescue an animal, it is always a lifelong commitment. Many of the domestic animals that I rescue like (but not limited to);llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses,cows, dogs, cats and potbelly pigs...well I think that you get the idea. It is impossible for us to sanctuary all of them, we just dont have the funding. Not "if" but "when" I find the perfect home, I have to adopt the domestics and livestock out to good homes with the stipulation that they must sign our adoption agreement contract and if they ever become unwanted (or uncared for) they must be returned to our facility. Spread the word to who may be interested, I have dozens of llamas, sheep and goats that would love to get a long-term home by winter. I will beg in future blogs about those animals looking for homes.
We have had horses at our facility for over 20 years. I have driven big hitches of Clydesdales and was really into doing that until it almost bankrupted us. I sold off our carriages (and many of our horses) to get out of debt and raise the money to build the wildlife wing off of our barn. I have no regrets, I love saving animals, I found great homes for all of the horses I "sold".
There was one horse that I did regret selling. He is an old appaloosa gelding named Lucas. Lucas was a rescue but my 4 year old daughter Hannah looked at him like he was a 200 k dressage horse that was now "hers" from the moment he arrived back then. She loved that horse. She spent hours every day working with him, grooming him and riding him. Lucas loved the attention and loved her right back tenfold. When Lucas and Hannah showed up at the local horse shows, the other kids knew that they were going to place after them.....they were unbeatable. I loved beating the rich kids with their expensive horses with an old rescue I had saved. As Hannah got older, she became a great rider and started to get sick of old Lucas. Hannah got sick of old Lucas because he was too slow, didn't want to canter and she started bugging me for a new horse with some "life" in it. I eventually caved in and Hannah got a new horse, Lucas got sold and it seemed like a perfect match with her new horse Boomerrang. It bothered me to sell Lucas, it was like selling a member of the family but it was part of the agreement with Hannah to get a new horse. I really didnt think that she would ever go through with the sale of Lucas. Lucas had earned his stall by teaching my kids how to ride, by winning shows and by being the "bomb proof" horse that would never hurt the kids. I kept track of him, I often checked in with the owner and often stopped by to see how Lucas was doing, sometimes when no one was around. What seemed like a perfect retirement home at the time turned in to something that I hadn't visioned. I tried to get Lucas back, he had been sold without a contract (that will never happen again) and he disappeared off of my radar. I felt horrible, I felt like I had betrayed a good friend. I often wondered where he was or what horrible things were happening to him.
I love horses but I do not want 22 of them again. I am happy with the 7 that are in our barn. We have ole Jake, my first Clydesdale. Jake taught me how to drive. We have Zeus, a percheron being boarded with us from a great friend taht lives in NYC. We have King and Laddie, two ancient old Shires. They are full brothers, one year apart in age. They were hitchmates in a 6 horse show hitch. They are really starting to show their age, have lost most of their teeth and I need to make the tough decision to give them a dignified death and bury them together in the same hole. We also have Val, a TB that is being boarded with us. We have Watson, a rescued horse that will only allow one of our volunteers (Kayla) to ride him. I have more than enough horses at our facility. They are expensive to keep, time consuming, and 3-4 would be plenty to keep the smell of horses in my barn (I love the smell of horses). With that being said, I got an interesting phone call last night from the current owner of Lucas.
She has 5 horses, winter is coming, she needs to downsize and Lucas is looking for a home again. I wish that he was free to get back but this is one of the few "wrongs" that I have done to an animal and I am going to make right by it today. Lucas had a home. He will have a home again until the day that we bury him....sorry Lucas what I did to you, WELCOME BACK HOME. oh, by the way, our 8 year old Emma, that used to watch you standing on the fence in muck boots and a diaper is riding now....and she has already claimed you as her "new" horse. You have your work cut out for you.