And ACTION……………….. Mark and I had to get up early so we could get breakfast and walk to the meeting that was about 5 or 6 blocks away. I must say it was a nice walk and the weather was good, not too hot and not raining. I guess one good thing is we did not have to row a boat to the meeting as the downtown was not the part that was under water. I was more than just a little nervous about what kind of reception we might get since I train Saddlebreds, so Mark and I sat in the back of the room near the door. I must say everyone was very friendly, and the man who was heading up the Homes for Horses Coalition (employee of HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States) was very interested in how we got along with the breed association (ASHA). He seemed very happy when I told him that we have been lucky to work with not only the ASHA, but we have worked with the UPHA, the AHHS and the Morgan association. It became very clear to me that I was the only horse trainer there. There was a little talk of slaughter, but the focus was not on that issue, so the meeting quickly went to the real reason for the meeting; dealing with the horses that have been rescued and also helping people in times of need, feed their horses. There were several topics about haybanks and how they were step up, castration clinics and euthanization clinics. I found it very interesting to learn some breeds need to reduce the number of horses bred while the Saddlebred is seeing very little growth from year to year in the number of mares bred. While the Quarter Horses and TBs seem to breed way more horses that there are uses for, which makes for a lot of horses bound to slaughter, most of the Saddlebred horses that seem to be going to slaughter are older Amish horses. I am not saying young ASB’s do not go to slaughter, but a larger number seem to be going when they get older. The other rescues had a large number of younger horses and we seem to have a larger number of older horses.
One thing that Saddlebred Rescue will be doing in the future is working on being accredited with the newly-formed GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries). The ASPCA and other funding groups say that in the near future, that is going to be one of the main ways they will choose who gets most of the funding available. I was please to find out that what we are working on now will help us get accredited (we hope). They are hoping that this will not only weed out bad programs but also help the good ones be better in the paper work department. I will ask Mark to write on this more when he has time. I was surprised at the number of rescues that had a saddlebred or two and they also seemed surprised at how smart and friendly these horses were. I say, WELL DUH!!! That is what the Saddlebred lovers have been saying for years.
I always thought we had a bunch of horses at SBR but let me tell you there were about four big rescues that keep about 100-150 horses all the time. OMG!! The odd part is, we place more rescues yearly than these places did. Everyone had ideas that were different and they seemed to work for them so the whole experience was a very positive one. Oh, and before I forget, the Lobbyist that works for HSUS used to ride and show Saddlebreds at Patty Milligan Stables. Small world wouldn’t you say? Christine (that is the Lobbyist’s name) was shocked that I knew Patty Milligan and that is because the Saddlebred show world is a small world.
I think my talk went very well and I definitely had different ideas than the other rescues, the one thing I did talk about was, do not be negative about the trainers and breed associations when you are talking about the rescue horses. The kinder you are, the more these groups will be wanting to help you. Again maybe Mark can fill you in on my part as I was talking and not listening to my speech. Here is a fun fact about the meeting, I got to meet none other than the Fugly Horse creator and blogger. I am glad that SBR is on her good list. I have to say that she says a lot of what I am thinking and would love to say, but Mark tells me I should not say.
We had two days of meetings and the only thing I did not like was the VEGAN LUNCH. If I had to eat what we raised and killed I would be a Vegan, but for now I choose to believe that the food we get comes from a grocery store not a farm. I am sure Mark and I would like to go back to the Homes for Horse Coalition next year.
I will write about our trip home later.
I wish I liked Vegan food.
I wish everything would go as well as it did today, EVERYDAY.
I am THANKFUL that Pat placed a bunch of Treasures this week and we can go get new horses tomorrow.