I hear that some people think rescuing horses is some kind of glamorous lifestyle… and while I’m sure many of my fellow cowgirls and I can rock mud, sweat and dirt like no other I assure you rescuing is not all that glamorous.
I’ve also heard people think there is some kind of get rich quick secret to rescuing… and if anyone finds one let me know! Lol Because I know I would have more money if I DIDN’T rescue horses and that’s the truth! I rescue horses to be poor haha!
Rescuing isn’t for everyone to understand. It’s not easy or for the faint of heart. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. You have to love it so greatly that you give of yourself until there is nothing left to give and then give some more.
It’s responsibility, it’s caring for lives that have been placed in your hands. It’s feeding in the cold, the rain, sleeping in the barn, and putting their needs before your own always. Simply because their lives depend on you.
It’s commitment of time and money. When all the help has deminished and the shiny new urgency of the horse has faded, when the emails, volunteers and donations have run out. It’s you and a pile of work or bills.
Rescuing is a roller coaster of emotion filled with a passion and love. It’s also crazy, sad, exciting, rewarding and miraculous all at the same time. It’s betting on yourself to make things happen and making your ideas come to life, to make these forgotten souls lives a little better! It is finding a strength inside yourself you didn’t knew existed. It’s always learning about horses and from horses! The rewards always outweigh the things you may think your giving up.
So while I choose not to be some superficial social standard of wealth. I am rich… I am richer than my wildest dreams in love. From the horses, my family and friends who support me and lift me up along my path when I feel to weak to continue. They have given me all I need. It is there in the simplicity of something such as the glittering love of a horse and knowing that you made a difference, that I find what I’m looking for and that is enough for me.
Nothing erks me more than seeing fly by night charities pop up here and there. Asking for donations left and right and not being a 501c3. I recently saw a “new charity” pop up on the horse boards, a group claiming to take donations and then give those donations to other actual charities. When taking others money through you to then give to another charity being a 501c3 is the only way to go in my opinion. Without that The “donations” are considered the collectors personal income and is taxable not to mention the “donations” are not (as she claims) tax deductible. And to top it off I personally wouldn’t want my donation taxed at all, it should all go to the charity. Which is THE POINT OF BECOMING A CHARITY IN THE FIRST PLACE… Whew I feel better.
While I don’t doubt this person had good intentions, good intentions sometimes just don’t cut it. I then asked, do you have your 501c3? The response was basically, other people do it so I can too. Unfortunately, for them and you, it’s still very much frowned upon. I tried to share my knowledge of the 501c3 process to her. I was attacked like, how dare I ask her, she event went as far as saying, “I wish you would delete your comments.”
And I’m sure that would make her happy but the public can and does ask that very question quite often, and it is their right. However, I won’t delete my comments because people need to know who they are donating to. Her answer was NO they did not have a 501c3 but she claimed she was a registered charity with Texas and she would continue organizing fundraisers, of which you can be fined for mind you. I tried to enlighten her saying she needs to be careful with her wording and use the word gift instead of donation to avoid issue. And also to not write people’s “donations” were tax deductible because they are not unless you are a full blown 501c3 or are in the process of becoming one… but what do I know right. My suggestions fell on deaf ears I’m sure of because of the defensive catty responses I received.
So much for trying to help. If running a charity was that easy everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve seen this. I did our 501c3 and personally funded our rescue efforts until we became one. Of course I feel everyone else should play by the rules also. The IRS doesn’t make exceptions for anyone.
Don’t let an unscrupulous charity take advantage of your goodwill. Find a charity with a proven track record of success with dealing with the type of issues at hand. Avoid fly-by-night charities created specifically to deal with any new crisis. Even well-meaning new organizations will not have the infrastructure and knowledge of the region to efficiently maximize your gift. If you do feel compelled to give to a new charity, be sure to get proof that the group is in fact a registered public charity with 501 (c) (3) status.
As for these overnight charities I really do wish them all the best. I once had a dream of doing good and made that dream a reality! There can never be enough good in the world but do it the right way. Bring a 501c3 is something you have to work for and you appreciate when you have. Those of us who have it do not take kindly to when others fabricate the charity status. I play by the rules and things are hard enough but I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do otherwise.
Going to auctions, saving horses from different horrible situations somehow, replays quite the same in my head. I see their faces, how they almost instinctively know we have come to save them. They reach out with what strength they have left and briefly touch a soft nose to us as if saying “please take me.” You may hear a half hearted nicker as you pass their stall or just watch them stand there in a blank space of sheer miserable survival.
Often times you see the before and after photos and stories of successful transformations. I see the honest, scared soul moments before they get saved all throughout their time with us. There is a rawness of vulnerability in looking at each other in such a place. And there we stand human and horse looking back at each other. Us pretending to be brave for them, and them standing there a silent defeated being living on hope alone.
And I think many times no one stops to consider how the animal is not so much feeling but also thinking. The emotional toll of what being starved to death will take on any soul. How scary it must be, to be dumped away from everything you know to be familiar. Even scarier to not know where your going. To have no previous training and then suddenly need to be perfect… or else. The confusion and hunger run together in their minds all while still needing to listen and work. Then the void of nothingness, the waiting, still no food… no water… more… waiting… for days. Weeks. Month’s no one has come… maybe tomorrow…
And they hope, they shut down, cling to whatever they can to get by. It takes some time for the very worst cases to emotionally come back. The horses starved to death will stand in their stalls with empty, blank eyes for weeks before they decide to let the walls down.
Rescuing horses isn’t about the pictures, the success stories, the bigger story to get noticed. It’s about being able to pull a lost soul out of the depths of their own personal hell. Rehab their whole body, heart and mind. It’s hours upon hours of neverending work for absolutely no personal gain whatsoever. Other than knowing you’ve made a difference to that one horse.
“The very purpose of our lives is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about our future but we exist in the hope of something better.” ~Dalia Lama