Wayward Ponies' Home is a permanent sanctuary for 14 of the 138,000 horses that go unwanted in the US each year. We rescued one horse from slaughter in 1998 and currently support six horses and eight ponies, mostly on the fading strength of one schoolteacher's salary. We keep them fed, groomed, wormed, trimmed, vaccinated and otherwise vetted. When weather and our strength permit, we build up our muscles trudging up and down their 3-acre turnout, attempting to keep their droppings in one pile til it can be removed. Some people go to the gym; we move manure!
If you are a horseperson, you know the work and the expense involved in keeping these guys from slaughter, abuse or neglect. (If not, see "How We Operate.") We all know that the price of fuel has driven the cost of everything, especially hay, sky-high. We're getting too old to keep walking such a high financial tightrope, so we have formed this nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation in hopes that we don't go bankrupt caring for Sarah Beth, Zoe, Zinah, Rita, Thomas, Paul, Rachel, Bonny, Lena, Juno, Melissa, Robert, Gabriel and Michael.
Here's how you can help stem the tragic tide of unwanted horses:
*Don't breed your horse unless you already have a good, permanent home lined up for the baby, perhaps your own.
*Make sure your horse is well-trained in case you are not able to keep him. A useless, unmanageable or dangerous horse is more likely to go to auction to be sold by the pound.
*Don't buy from volume breeders. They go for quantity, and do a lot of culling. You wouldn't believe how many babies they send to slaughter or to uncertain futures. Don't support them!
*Don't support horse sports that break horses down, especially sports that encourage competition by horses whose skeletal systems are not yet up to the rigors of the contest.
*Make a commitment to nurture the horse you have as long as he/she enjoys being alive; then have him or her put to sleep humanely.
*Make provision for your horse if you know you will not be able to keep him.
*Become informed on existing and pending legislation regarding horse slaughter, and support measures that would result in the lesser of the existing evils. Sometimes well-intentioned but flawed laws backfire when applied in the larger world of greed and indifference.
*Work within your breed organization to promote policies that will result in fewer unwanted horses. Work against incentives for increased breeding. Fewer horses mean higher value anyway.
*Adopt one unwanted horse to keep yours company. If every horse owner in America did this, far fewer horses would go to slaughter. If you can't do that, then...
*Help sponsor our horses or ponies or any equine at a good, reputable sanctuary. (See "Donate!")