When I started working with CANTER Mid Atlantic six years ago there were not many groups that were offering retraining as part of their rehoming mission. Now there are new groups popping up all the time and also groups that didn’t offer retraining that are now adding it to their program. I think that every group operates a bit differently which is what makes studying them all so interesting to me. I am easily fascinated by various aspects of all the different groups out there. It is so interesting and fun to reach all about them.
I would argue that New Vocations does the absolute best job of taking professional pictures out of any group. I follow them on facebook and their pictures always make me click on the ad to read more about the horse. http://www.horseadoption.com/ They know how to make a horse look their absolute best and they frame the picture perfectly. If you are looking how to make your horses stand out than they are the group you need to model!
One thing that has the ability to bring me to my knees is going to auctions and looking into the eyes of the horses that know their fate. Heck, I can’t even walk through my local SPCA without crying. I have so much respect for Midatlantic Horse Rescue- http://www.midatlantichorserescue.org/aboutus.htm who is willing to take on the role of buying the thoroughbreds from local auctions. They are local to me and I have bought horses from them in the past and will continue to do so. Bev is a straight shooter who does a good job assessing the horses.
I was introduced to this next group when I read a few complaints about their high prices for “rescue” horses. I actually never consider most thoroughbreds to be rescue horses so that always gets my hackles up. I was curious so instead of judging them based on the complaints I thought I should go learn more about them. http://www.secretariatcenter.org/ is a group based out of the Kentucky Horse Park. They have an excellent retraining program that I find very similar to our own program. You can learn a lot about a group just by watching their youtube videos to see what the training process is for each horse. Their channel is here- http://www.youtube.com/user/SecretariatCenter They spend quite a bit of time with groundwork, flatwork, introductory jumping, trail riding and xc schooling. The horses are very marketable based on their age, height, soundness, breeding and athletic ability so I do not find that they are overpriced. I find their horses to be well worth the value but I would say the same about our horses which people often say are overpriced 🙂
I was so impressed with their videos that I clicked all around the website and found their blog which I absolutely LOVE! A recent post came up in my facebook feed and I thought it was just beautiful. I often describe to people why I think what CANTER does with our horses is so very important but Suzanna knocked it out of the park with her description http://secretariatcenter.blogspot.com/2013/01/trust-process.html
All of which brings me back to where we started: the greatest challenge to reschooling a horse is to trust the process, no matter how long or short it takes. I have adopted horses out in as little as 24 hours. Others have been with me for over a year. The longer a horse stays, the more expenses it accrues, the more eyebrows are raised about the initial selection of the horse, the way it has been trained, the adopters I may have turned down because the fit wasn’t right. At such times it is so tempting to become a horse trader. Money for feed, horse shoes, or the water bill. Large numbers of horses adopted per month impresses our board and our donors. Why not let people find out on their own that the horse has vices, a lack of manners, or a hole in its knowledge? Why not keep our mouths shut when we see that the rider’s riding style or personality is going to cause relationship problems down the road? Why open ourselves to the very real dangers of liability by letting people ride our horses at all? Other adoption organizations don’t.
My best defense to all of this, is to trust the process. Each horse has needs that must be addressed. Each adopter does too. We are not dealing in commodities. We are dealing in souls, two and four legged. Our job here at the MMSC is to be of service to both, no matter what the temptations to cave in to money shortages or the status of high adoption rates. It has been my experience, that all will work out as it should be, in the time that it takes, if we have faith in the process.
Doesn’t that just say it all! I have never met anybody in their organization but just from reading their blog I know that I would feel very comfortable buying a horse from them.
After the Races is another group local to me- http://aftertheraces.org/
. I had been following them on facebook and they were at a local tack auction that we all went to. I stopped by their booth just to say hi and tell them that I like what they do. Not to mention I snapped up a rambo blanket they had for sale 🙂 They were all very nice and I have heard good things about them.
Each group operates so differently. Some only save horses from auctions, some work directly with tracks and others get horses privately donated. The pricing structure varies from group to group ranging from $1 to $10,000 for retrained horses that have been donated. Some groups do extensive retraining, some just a few rides and others don’t retrain at all. Many require extensive contracts which don’t allow for resale, some allow resale after a certain time frame and others support resellers. Many groups don’t allow you to ride the horses but some encourage several rides.
We can all debate the merits of which model works best but at the end of the day we all are working towards the same goal. Each of us involved in one of these organizations is doing whatever we can to rehome thoroughbreds in homes where they will be appreciated.