Today’s honoree: LBL Equine Rescue.
LBL Equine Rescue is based in Silver Springs, Nevada, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is “To rescue, rehabilitate, and provide appropriate placement of horses rescued from feedlots selling to kill buyers for slaughter, as well as those abused and neglected elsewhere.” We spoke with founders Brittany and Linda to learn more about LBL Equine Rescue.
HN: How did you get started?
B: In 2013, we moved to Nevada, and before we brought our personal horses out, I decided I wanted a project. I had been warned that meat buyers went to a particular auction in Fallon, but I didn’t really believe it, so I just went out to look for a horse. I picked out a colt and I just fell in love. Unfortunately I didn’t really know the auction process, since I had never attended one — it threw me off-guard and it just went so fast. All of a sudden, the colt comes through, I’m waiting to hear the price, and all of a sudden, the auctioneer shouts “SOLD!” and he went to a kill buyer.
I went to that buyer and I offered to pay triple what she had paid; she looked at me and just said “no.” I realized that this really does happen, that good horses go to slaughter. I went right home and started researching how to start a rescue. It took us a year to really get organized, but only four months for the charity paperwork to go through.
L: We started pulling a board together quickly when we realized just how fast it could happen. Now we’re up to 25 horses!
HN: Where do the horses come from now — still from the auction?
L: We have it all! We work with animal control; we take in owner surrenders. We do still go to auction when we have the funding. We’re also now involved a little bit with wild mustangs; our local animal rescue team is sometimes called out if a mustang is injured. We help rehabilitate to ideally return that horse to the wild, but it’s not always possible.
Just as an example, we have a stallion on the property that’s way too tame to be released again — and he was like that when he came to us. People feed them; they don’t know any better, so all of a sudden these wild horses are coming up to you to be fed. We’ll work with the brand inspector with the stallion, and he’ll probably go to the prison program and be gelded and then trained. We did take in a mare and foal; the filly had gotten tangled in fence and ultimately had to be euthanized. The mare was successfully returned to the wild.
We have a few geriatric lifers, or injured horses who can’t be adopted out due to certain needs. We have a horse with Cushings and navicular — the chances of finding a home that want a horse like that are pretty slim.
HN: What’s your adoption process?
L: It’s a pretty rigid application. We do a home visit, and we retain the right to take the horse back if we don’t like what we see on a visit. We also reserve the right to stop by and see the horse at any time. We charge a $500 fee if the horse is bred, to try to discourage additional breeding — that’s the reason so many of these horses are here in the first place. Adopters can sell the horse, but the adoption contract continues to bind the buyer. We have had some great adoptions take place.
HN: How are you funded?
L: Beg and barter! No, in reality, we have certain donors who donate on a regular basis and sponsorship opportunities for individual horses. We do some events with local restaurants where a portion of sales on a certain night is donated to us; we’ll run a booth at events to raise awareness.
We also have a great group of volunteers who come out every Sunday for bigger chores; that’s also our visitor day so the public can come and see the horses. We have far more land available to expand, but the issue is paying for the fencing.
HN: What’s one thing you wish people knew about the work you’re doing?
L: People truly don’t understand the amount of money it takes to have a horse. You can buy the pony, yes, but then you have to pay for the feed, the farrier, the vet, the dentist. People make a lot of uneducated decisions about owning horses, and they need to grasp what it truly costs.
B: I think a lot of people pass judgment without truly knowing where we’re coming from. We had a big incident on our Facebook page involving an owner surrender; we made the decision for the vet to come out and look at a lameness that based on its appearance we felt was going to be a tricky abscess with the potential for infection, and it was in such a location that we did not feel our farrier would be able to help. This was based on our past experience with a horse who wound up with an infected coffin bone.
Some people called us out on calling the vet for “just an abscess.” But people will never understand what we’re doing and the decisions we’re making if they don’t come out and see for themselves.
L: It’s not any different for us between our own horses, who we still have, and our rescues. If a horse needs the vet, he will see the vet. The horses will always come before us.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.