For the past six weeks, Gentle Spirit Horses has worked hard to fundraise to secure the offspring of a previously adopted mare who was consigned to the Buckeye Morgan Horse Auction in Ohio. The good news is we secured her and she's now in foster in Michigan, settling in, has a pending home, and is doing great! The bad news is we are about $900 short in our fundraising efforts to pay back the Board member who loaned the purchase money to secure her to GSH.
Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue & Sanctuary is a registered non-profit corporation in the state of South Dakota. We have submitted our 501(c)(3) paperwork and if approved, donations will be considered tax deductible retroactive to early January of 2014. In the winter of 2010, we made the transition from a private family rescue to an incorporated public rescue when contacted to help rehome a herd of Morgans from a person who could no longer care for them all. All in all, 41 registered and registerable Morgans found homes. Some of the mares were pregnant, with 6 more foals born the spring of 2011.
Callie is one of those foals. Her dam went to a fabulous home who brought her to health and took great care of her while Callie was born and up to weaning. He then found Callie a great home, with our blessing. The Morgans were placed under a Transfer of Ownership contract with first right of refusal, however the babies fell into a legal gray area and so Callie was able to be rehomed without our First Right of Refusal contract. We have since changed our policies and contract and do not use this format anymore, specifically because of this type of situation.
We were informed that Callie was consigned to the Buckeye Morgan Horse Auction in Ashland, Ohio this March. As a three year old, she is listed as "kid broke to drive and ride." This auction is a reputable auction, requires that the Morgans be registered, and we are very aware that she will be unlikely to go to a kill buyer.
The auction is also heavily attended the the Amish. Most Amish owned horses have a high risk of someday being brought back to auction - Sugarcreek or New Holland, for example - when they can no longer perform their jobs. A large amount of horses that go through those auctions end up in the auction pipeline and/or heading to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. While there is no guarantee that Callie will end up in this situation if she's purchased by an Amish home, we work hard to keep in touch with the horses we have placed and offer a lifetime safety net for them. We do not want to see her disappear into the Amish community.
We fundraised for her purchase price prior to auction. As a rule, our rescue does not focus on auctions as we prefer to educate and offer an alternative to owners before they get to that stage, and to help with neglect and abuse cases. We also do not typically pay for horses that are taken in to our rescue. However, we feel a moral obligation to follow up and do whatever it takes to keep the horses that have passed through our care. We knew going into it that this would potentially be a difficult fight, as obviously she's not accompanied by the high drama of a kill pen auction, and her immediate future wasn't as bleak as some. But we started our rescue to help horses and provide them a safety net. If we weren't willing to go the extra mile and stand by our promise for life, we would simply buy and sell horses without all the work involved in a rescue. That is simply not us, and we have to be able to sleep at night.
I have a new found respect for those who rescue from auction on a regular basis. We had a fabulous volunteer who drove to the site and bid for us, and brought Callie back. Meanwhile, back in South Dakota, we monitored the auction all day through the live feed from their website ... while at work, mind you, so our monitoring was touch and go. We were on edge all day and there were several horses that just broke our hearts - older mares who couldn't get bids above $200 until the auctioneer brought the stallion of their in utero foal out and reminded people they were buying the foal, the mare just came free; yearlings scared out of their wits, young horses trying their best but anxious - even with the auctioneer reminding people they are young and being good in such a high stress situation, they barely brought $700 or so; mares due to foal anyday driven through (I had more respect for the owners who led the mares that were due through), a mare and her two-day old foal ... it just went on and on. There were beautiful, beautiful horses. One of the horses who impressed me the most went for $6200 - a big, beautiful bay mare and her week old foal, who were both obviously sane and fabulous. Mama drove through, without being frantic about her baby, and baby stood quietly by the handler and just watched Mama work. Whoever bought them got a deal - such good horses.
Callie was last, and the only horse ridden through and not driven or led. At the end of the day perhaps contacting her consigner in advance worked against us, as she went for well above what the other 3 year olds who were driven through went for. Then again, she went out of order and we were not able to determine who we were bidding against, so we were forced to bid to win. At the end of the day we were able to say she was safe, and ultimately that's what matters.
I don't think I could personally handle rescuing from auctions on a regular basis. Picking and choosing is so hard. GSH strives hard to help people before auction is their only option, and we're more motivated than ever to continue to do that.
We've had a lot of great support, but now that she's safe and secure we need just a bit more to finish things off. We are grateful for her dam's adopter and the fabulous care he gave her as a foal and his attempts to find her a good home. It's absolutely not his fault that she ended up in this situation. We're also grateful for everyone who has shared her story out and contributed, and those who have asked the tough questions about this situation. Hopefully we've answered them well.
So, we're asking for a little more help. Can you help us raise the last $900 needed to finish off this campaign?
Please either paypal to email@example.com or use our Donate page on the site. We are a pending 501(c)(3) and if our application is approved, your donations will be tax-deductible. Due to the high fees associated with GoFundMe, we would rather not use their platform but we will continue to update the page there to keep all contributions public. Please let us know if you prefer to remain anonymous.
Thank you again to all who have supported us. Big things are coming for GSH, and we hope to continue to earn your trust and confidence.