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Disclaimer

The reason I don't have adoptables on my webpage is that:


1. This site is designed for people to find out about the breed. Therefore, the pictures shown here are horses that have been adopted and are enjoying second careers as recreational horses. They show what you can do with your OTT Standardbred. Since there is so much mis-information about the breed and its limitations, we wanted to show newcomers what the breed was capable of.

2. The site is not meant to be updated on a daily basis, and that is what it would take to keep an "adoptables" list current. I don't have the time or the money to do that.

3. The horses are not physically near me. I live approximately four hours away from the racetrack in Sacramento.

4. This is not a business or an organization -- it's just me and my computer -- and I don't profit from the sale of horses.

The people in Northern California who are buying the horses off the track and re-conditioning them and selling them are not making any profit off the horses. There just isn't any money in this kind of work.

In a perfect world we would go to the racetrack every day, take pictures and post them, with descriptions, and all throwaway horses would go to recreational homes. It would be nice. Its just not practical. But then, in a perfect world there would not be a need to do this.

If anyone is willing to do this service, we will gladly add a link to their site.

The reason horses cost what the do in Northern California.


The reasons behind pricing on rescue horses:

The horses are bought off the track at a price that is at or above what can be gotten from the killers. Some trainers don't care what happens to their horses when they can no longer race. They just want rid of them and they don't want to be out-of-pocket. If the killers are paying $800 a horse, that's what the rescuers have to pay.

The cost of a horse includes what the rescuer has to put into the horse --transport, feeding, vetting, stabling. Even if you haul the horse yourself, it costs to run your truck and trailer; even if you grow your own feed, it costs to buy the seed, plant it, fertilize it, harvest it, and store it. If you do your own vetting, it costs for supplies and you still need to call the vet occasionally.

If you buy a horse from a trainer and can't pick him up immediately, you pay whatever the track charges for stalls.

If you rescue 10 horses and only 5 sell, those 5 have to cover the expenses of the 10.

You can figure out the math on a horse:

To the buying price, add what it costs to ship him to your place. Maybe $20 if you do it yourself; up to $300 if you hire out.
You get the vet to check out your new acquisition: $60 if the vet's already at your ranch doing something else.
You worm him and get his feet trimmed: $35 (sometimes you can get a deal on trimming at $25).

Then you start feeding him: figured by adding shipping and storing expenses to the price of a bale of hay (say $10 for the bale, plus another 2 or 3 for expenses) times the number of days one bale will last for one horse, maybe 5.
Now, if this horse stays at your place for 30 days, and you paid $800 for him, his cost is already $987.

Are you still with me?

Say you rescue 5 horses. Three you can sell, two are too lame to sell.

Each horse costs $89 a month minimum ($72 for hay; $17 for worming and trimming). That's $445 for the 5 horses for each additional month. That doesn't count grain and supplements, additional vet bills and medication, water, electricity, the hired help you need to scoop poop and help out mending fencing, cleaning, maybe some grooming ($10 a hour, 6 days a week -- usually a minimum of 4 hrs a day or $240 a week), and your own time.

Now, you (ideally) turn over your 5 horses in a month. 3 are sold; 2 are given away.
$987 x 5 = $4935 to buy them, treat them, get them home and fed. You sell 3 horses at $1500 ea. and give away the other two. You are paid $4500 for the three.

Now if you are already running a horse-related business, you pay taxes on the horse sales. -- maybe $500 total, which means you really make $4000 and your expenses are $4935. You're out of pocket almost $1000 already.

But, you say, rescue is not a business for these people! You're right. Their "business" is breeding, training, racing horses. The government, however, doesn't distinguish between buying horses for your business and buying horses because they're going to die. UNLESS you are a non-profit organization such as can be found back east. Even people who rescue horses should not be going broke doing it.

The horses need to pay for themselves if you are not a non-profit organization getting funds from outside. No one in Northern California is working that way.

Now, occasionally you'll get a free horse that a trainer is compassionate enough to want to find a home for, and will part with the horse without getting his money back on it. And, some people in the rescue business can cajole or threaten or somehow get horses a lot cheaper, or have other sources of income that balance out the expenses. Standardbreds back east, because they are so plentiful and undesireable, are much cheaper. Also, hay prices are cheaper back east. People see horses going for $500 and think they're being ripped off here in California, but it is a whole different market.

Another point is that any reputable seller, whether of rescue horses or others, will not sell under kill price. Period. There are too many scam artists (often with crying, begging children) in California.

What I have found in working in this area, is that when some people see "rescue" they think they're going to get a great bargain. They want a sound, bombproof 10 yr old gelding, for free or very little money. Of course, he should be trained to saddle so these people can just hop on him and ride him on the trails! These same people feel very righteous and brag on how they "rescued" this horse! It just doesn't happen that way.

Most of the horses at the track are not loved. This is a kind breed and they withstand a lot, and usually have good manners, but they are not pets, they are not treated as pets -- they are there to do a job. Period. Nobody seeks them out and strokes them and gives them carrots when they're not working. They are fed, exercized and raced. Some aren't even groomed except on race day.

The horses that go to rescuers in Northern California are all from the track. The agreement with the trainers is that they (the rescuers) can have first crack at buying the horse before he goes on the killer's truck. But they have to be there, or be available right then to pick up the horse. Rescue works a lot differently than your average horse sale. There is no advertising and keeping the horse for the time it takes to sell him. He goes one way or the other right away. Stalls are expensive and no one wants to pay for space for a horse who is not performing. Period.

I hope this has helped you understand a little better how rescue works.


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