Readers of this blog know I am a big supporter of horse rescue, all horses, but in particular standardbreds. For those looking for a pleasure horse or even a show horse, there's nothing better than a bomb proof standardbred. The big question is where to get them?
There are several ways to get horses. If you have the ability, the ideal place is at a horse auction where you can get a horse at the cheapest cost and possibly keep the horse from shipping to slaughter. Of course, a horse auction is not the best place for a novice as you need to deal with issues such as quarantine and evaluating a horse in an auction setting. If you have a friend who has the knowledge and ability to help you deal with these issues, by all means please do. Otherwise, donate to rescues which will go to these auctions and pull these horses and go look for your pleasure horse elsewhere.
The best place to get a horse in my opinion is to adopt a horse from a legitimate rescue. A legitimate rescue will require you to submit to a background check to see you truly are able to care for a horse and they will help you select a horse which fits your ability and requirements. If for some reason something goes wrong with the adoption, you can return the horse to the rescue where it will be safe until re-homed. You will likely pay a relatively small fee to adopt a horse, basically to allow these rescues to continue to operate. In many ways, it is like getting a dog/cat from a shelter.
Then there are broker owned horses. These are groups who will work with brokers (kill buyers) to find horses new homes. Personally, I don't care for this method. Yes, you may be saving a horse but you are doing so by rewarding a person who buys a horse just to resell it at a handsome profit by preying on the emotions of good natured individuals. The urge to save a horse can be strong and I imagine if you are willing to let someone profit by dealing in unwanted horses, then this option is an acceptable avenue for you. Some of these groups may be legitimate, but be aware some of these groups are 'less than honorable'. Before going this route, you may wish to read The Ethics of Horse Rescue (This blog is independent of mine and as such I take no responsibility for its content.). If you look to the right side of my blog, you will see some of the most recent blog entries from Ethics of Horse Rescue listed.
Whichever way you choose to go about getting a horse, be educated and due your due diligence. It may be the difference between having a rewarding experience with your new horse or heartache.