Thursday, September 16, 2010

But he isn't skinny?

Ok guys, lots of emails asking about Smutty's story and more pictures so here goes. No, he is not skinny or sickly but he still needed help. He was left behind at a boarding stable and nobody else wanted this big of a project so, here he is getting  a restart at life   Smutty is a result of too much RFDTV DIY NH and probably some real rough handling too. Wiggle the rope, he backs up.  A neat trick but someone over did it because  he also backs up when you try to pet him, pick his hooves, or try to mount. If backup racing ever takes off Smutty will be the Triple Crown Winner. So even though he is a pretty and healthy horse, he is still a horse that needs rehab to find a new home Sometimes just fixing the bodies is easier than fixing the minds . But he has a great attitude and tries so hard.
He is getting better every day , he just needs to unlearn a few things and get a lot more forward and confident.
He is about 9 years old and a smidge over15.3 He is very very quiet , easy to handle, calm and very gentle  just scared but he is starting to relax a lot more already so we are off to a good start. He does have some old scars on his neck and shoulder areas and is in really bad need of some farrier care , his hooves are a wreck right now, so the first thing we are working on is getting him to pick up his feet - without racing backwards.He is wearing a bridle in the pics but it was because the only halter that actually fits him was missing when I took the pictures . He is a big boned guy and 'average" horse size didn't fit. Quest was too tiny for average halters and Smutty was too big - Tractor Supply is starting to really love me, but these are both such nice horses that are well worth the trip .

Monday, September 13, 2010

The quest for Quest

I don't think Aurora and I have ever been on a short drive together and Saturday was not going to be the exception. We got up super early to go pick up Quest . She was being housed at the feedlot in Fallon, Nevada. A rescue had a man buy her and a few others at the auction but her potential adopter backed out and the rescue's rig was out of commision. Sooo the next thing you know we are on a 4 1/2 hour drive to Fallon. Remarkably for the first time on a drive together we did not have any car problems or get lost. We stopped in Boomtown for lunch . The only thing in Boomtown was Denny's. We got a huge kick out of the menu . The menu is divided into sections; hand held food or fork and knife. I'm not sure what the average IQ  is of the regular Denny lunch clientele but I'm guessing there must have been a reason they had to put that on the menu.  They also served something called "Basket of Puppies" which was a little creepy. Glad to find out they were mini pancakes. How ironic that they dumb down the menu to explain how to eat your food but then think mini pancakes isn't clever enough.
Really glad we stopped there though, when we did because there was major construction right outside of Reno for miles that really slowed us down
Hmmm. knife &fork or hand held lunch?
Spaghetti is not a hand held food item, who knew?
After lunch we got into Fallon and drove out to the feedlot. It looked like just any ordinary little ranch and Quest was the only horse there. She was very sweet and friendly and walked right into the trailer. So back on the road we went and managed to hit more construction going the other direction as well.  It just wouldn't be a road trip with Aurora without major delays somehow.
We finally made it back and all went well . Quest will be in quarantine for a while because auctions and feedlots hold a lot of animals and its a good chance she may have picked up a few bugs along the way. She is super sweet and very mellow. I know Arabians get a bad rep for being snorting spook machines but this girl is so very calm, and easy going. We went for a walk , past dogs, flapping flags and a few birds flew out at us and she did not even care She is registered and we do have her papers. Her registered name is Bey Street Blaze .  She is even cuter in person than she was in her pictures and I hope I did her justice. Its hard to take a picture of her because she wants to be right next to you. Not crowding just friendly.
I don't have a halter small enough for her tiny face so I had to use the one she had on when we picked her up.After she is vet checked and ready for work we are going to send her to All Terrain Training to see if she is going to be the calm trail buddywe think she will be. We decided that each horse will have it's own training blog so the potential adopter has a good idea of if the horse will be a good match .

On the way over to Fallon , Aurora had asked me to explain a little about feedlot saves and how they work . I am not trying to start the slaughter / anti slaughter debate I just don't see the logic and would rather see people do more productive things with donations.

While Quest was bought at an auction not from the feedlot itself, there are other groups that say they are against slaughter but  who are actually paying kill buyers money for horses . The kill buyer does not just quit his job, he  just uses that money to buy more horses. The same number of horses go to slaughter , just different ones. I know people who are very anti- slaughter and they get so frustrated at these types of saves. Sure it's high drama and tear jerking to some people, particulary people who are against slaughter , it's counter productive, a waste of donations , explotive to the horses and emotional backmail  to the donors.  ,. I think, and this is just my opinion, but I think it's a bit like the Denny's menu and people are treating donors  like they are so dumb that they don't think behind the sad horsey pictures to where the money is going. You would not buy drugs from a dealer and think you are stopping drug abuse or buy blood diamonds in an effort to stop that trade.
Why would you bankroll a kill buyer if you want to stop slaughter?
. Or is it just an effort to save the one in the picture regardless of how many others take it's place . Nobody seems to be able to answer that question yet and I am tired of trying to figure out the logic
BITS would rather help a horse before the situation is so desperate the horse ends up neglected or sold at auction  and  when nobody is rewarded financially for failing the horse.
It might not be as exciting but we know this is the right thing for the horses and adopters.
Off the soapbox about that subject


The other problem with helping a horse from just a picture is that you don't get to know very much about the horse. With Quest we don't know her history and she could be pregnant or have medical issues so we will get her checked out and before she is adopted out we are going to talk to the vet about having her marbled . Marbling  is not always foolproof but it is the only option we have at the time to try to keep horses from getting pregnant.  If she turns out to be an amazing show horse that should be bred things may change but considering the number of amazing horses selling cheap and not so amazing horses being given away  , there does not seem to be a rush to make more horses just yet.

Well, this was a lot longer post than I had intended. I wanted to tell you guys about the other horse we have in as well. He is a BIG STOUT  smutty  buckskin  that is going to need a name because I keep calling him Smutty and that's just not right. Here is a sneak peek of "Smutty"

The End-pun intended

As always your support is most appreciated and we could really use some for these guys and a few other horses that need help. Any donation amount helps  and goes right back into the horses and programs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is the hardest part !

Most of the emails we get are asking for information on when the next clinic is, but lately we have had quite a few emails and calls about horses and owners that need help.
 When we first started we had been concentrating on getting  the clinics going and have not had the time to do fundraising. Something I dread doing but seems to be needed if we want to reach more horses.
 We will continue to have proactive programs like the clinics  , but we still want to be able to help horses that are already in trouble or will be shortly.
 I pay for BITS horse's care out of my own pocket and the adoption fees go to help pay for help for other horses we take in or are not ours but need help. So far we have not had to ask for any help caring for our own horses.
 The clinics pay for themselves and only require our time and gas money as a donation.
 After last month we have $304 left from adoption fees and your donations to help any horses that need it. Remember we are only a few months old now.
Eventually we would like to see BITS be able to be much more self sufficent with plans to add a lot more programs , but it may be a few years for us to grow and we do have to prove that we are public supported to stay non profit.
Here is the part I hate to have to do but
 We would really appreciate your help so we can help the people who have contacted us.
Here are the situations and if you want to help only a particular one you can state that. We consider everyone part of the BITS team and your support is what keeps us going so your input is appreciated . .If anyone is interested in fostering or adopting please send us an email.  I should add that foster care can't be reiumbursed but it is deductible.
Here are the horses and owner's situations. We may not be able to help them all and people may feel like some of these horses should be left alone or the owner's should give them up. The problem is there really is not a lot of options for horses with issues or medical problems and the owner's are  good horsepeople that are just trying to do what they feel is best first. It's not easy for most people to ask for money from strangers and the owner's have offered to help donate their time and services  in return I said I would ask for help for the horses so I am. .
The first two are not owned but need a new owner

There is a 3 year old bay filly who was adopted by a rescue , but the new owner backed out so she is at a feedlot. Regardless of how you feel about slaughter it's just not a good place for a horse so young . She has 90 days training and is sound.and I'm told very sweeet.  She is already paid for so we only need gas money, our time is free or course. PS she is gorgeous and a registered Arabian

Late 20's bay QH gelding. The young lady emailed asking if we could help . She was a camp counselor and brought the horse home with her but is heading to college and can't take him. The horse has been a summer camp horse for years and packed elk in the winter. The original owner no longer wanted him this winter because he didn't think he could pack elk anymore.

Two ends of the spectrum a young horse that didn't get much of a chance and an older horse who probably deserved to be Sainted for being a rental his whole life

The next group are owned already and can stay in their homes if the owner's can just get through a temporary rough patch with a little help.

A pony that was adopted out by a rescue at the end of winter and the owner realized when the de worming didn't help the coat shed that the pony is probably suffering from Cushings   . She did not plan on having a pony with so many medical problems so quickly and could use a hand getting him treatment and medication. She does not need to rehome him and he is a perfect pony for her daughter but just needs a little help. Returning it to a rescue that didn't catch it in the first place is probably not a great idea either.

A mare that was hurt badly because she was flipped on concrete by a new buyer trying to force a horse into a two horse trailer. The horse got left behind at a property by the buyer and seller . The new owner is paying for chiropractic care and vet treatments but the horse also needs dental care badly and they are asking for help.

Three older horses that need soaked pellets to eat. The owner doesn't feel they need to be put down  but is having trouble with the extra expenses right now.

Also Shiloh Horse Foundation has hit a rough patch as well and have a few horses that need training and adoption. If you are looking for a project please check them out.

So there we have the list
I know some people will say they should just get rid of the horses  but
 Rescues are crowded and can't take them in.
Adopting out horses with issues is hard
BITS is too new to take them all in.
I could ask my day -job boss for a raise but that seems unlikely.
So are options are to walk away or we, all 300 or so of us on FB,  can all pitch in a few dollars  to help the owner's keep their horses and help the first two get a second chance with a new owner.
As horsemen we need to keep our  community strong , and we should help each other and be grateful we are not the people asking for help this time, but  that if we ever were in the same position that someone would be there to help us.

BITS is seeing a real  need to have a fund set up specifically to help horses that need it like Holly or Thirsty and others we helped in the past. We can do more with your help and remember you have every option to designate what your donation is for and we will always try to post the situation so if you disagree with helping we will respect that and not apply your donation towards it.
Thank you for your past and future kindnesses for the horses.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rain in August?

This August was definitely full of surprises and extremes. The hot summer weather suddenly turned  cold and rainy.
Just when the last available horse was adopted  , we suddenly had several horses that we were asked to help out with and while we were trying to figure out which one of those to take in first, because they were not urgent situations, suddenly we had  horses that were in urgent need.
Never say to yourself or anyone else "Wow, I'm actually out of project  horses." It is an invitation for it to start raining horses.
It had been pretty quiet for a while when  suddenly we  had to plan a euthanasia clinic as quickly as possible. The clinic was the last day of August. While we were glad we could help the horses and owners  it's not a happy event by any means.  Now we need to get back to planning the clinics for Sept and October and get back to trying to sort out which horses to help first. Again -I say first because they are not urgent situations and again any urgent situations will take top priority

Ill post another blog with the information and pictures I have if anyone would like to foster  or in some of these cases adopt directly from the rescues that are asking us to help.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What to post?

We have been going over what to post about the euthanasia clinic today.
Of course the first thing is to thank the amazing and kind donors and volunteers and of course Dr Gillen all of you are truly compassionate.  

We don't want to post pictures of the horses because it feels wrong to exploit what happened and disrespectful to the horses and their owners.
It was an emotionally draining day for several reasons and we don't want to pass those feelings on to anyone but we do feel obligated to report what took place.
We did take a few pictures but we were more wrapped up in taking care of the horses than documenting the day.  It is not easy for horse lovers to do this Nobody wants to do this. Some of us used our vacation days or rearranged our schedules it isn't easy but it is something we feel strongly about, are glad we can offer to help end suffering for the horse and owner and want to be sure is handled correctly.

It was decided to just state the facts of what happened without trying to stir anyone up emotionally.

The vet made it very clear he was NOT going to put down any horses out of convenience to the owners or to the rescues, only horses that truly need relief from incurable conditions. Which is our stand as well. This clinic is to end suffering only not resolve financial issues.

5 horses were evaluated by the vet this morning. There was a stall and trailer ready in hopes that a particular horse was going to be fine even if just a pasture pet, but it turned out she was the worst off of the group. This was a real disappointment to hear. She had advanced arthritis causing lameness pain and an inability to balance. It was very obvious when she moved and after the vet tested her and evaluated her it was very clear this horse was not healthy and ride-able as we were told.

These were the guidelines from the AAEP and actual questions from our application
Guidelines for Recommending Euthanasia – The following criteria should be considered in evaluating the immediate necessity for intentional euthanasia of the horse to avoid and terminate incurable and excessive suffering:

1. Is the medical condition chronic and incurable?
2. Does the immediate medical condition have a hopeless prognosis for life?
3. Is the horse a hazard to itself or its handlers?
4. Will the horse require continuous medication for the relief of pain for the remainder of its life?
5. Will the medical condition result in a lifetime of continued individual confinement?

Each horse that was accepted and put to sleep met the AAEP guidelines and and the vet's own strict guidelines. Each horse was treated kindly, fussed over and everything was done so calmly that each horse passed on without any issues. They did just appear to go to sleep peacefully and although incredibly hard for everyone there , including the vet, you did sense the relief as each passed. The vet report will be attached below. 

The following codes and laws are also something we want people to understand as there is talk of rescues putting down animals needlessly.  We pledge that euthanasia is only done as last resort , under recommendation of a vet and with kindess and respect to the owner and horses.

California Civil Code
1834.4. (a) It is the policy of the state that no adoptable animal
should be euthanized if it can be adopted into a suitable home.
Adoptable animals include only those animals eight weeks of age or
older that, at or subsequent to the time the animal is impounded or
otherwise taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a
behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health or safety
risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet,
and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or
hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal
or that is likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the
(b) It is the policy of the state that no treatable animal should
be euthanized. A treatable animal shall include any animal that is
not adoptable but that could become adoptable with reasonable
efforts. This subdivision, by itself, shall not be the basis of
liability for damages regarCalifornia euthanasia laws.
Business and Profession Code, Section 4827(d), and in the California Code of Regulations, Section 2039.

“(d) Administering sodium phenobarbital for euthanasia of sick, injured, homeless, or unwanted domestic pets or animals without the presence of a veterinarian when the person is an employee of an animal control shelter and its agencies or humane society and has received proper training in the administration of sodium phenobarbital for these purposes.”

BITS volunteers and board members do not perform euthanasia they are done by a licensed vet at each clinic to be sure the animal is given a proper medical evaluation.We appreciate the vets who understand the need and volunteer their time We would prefer to rehabilitate , retrain and re-home a horse but we also have to do what is right for the animal and in some cases all we can do is spoil them for a few days and relieve their pain.