So, on that note, I wanted to share a little bit of insight on the cost of running a horse rescue and how the adoption fees only cover part of the story. I have done my best to break down our basic costs in order to help people to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to run a horse rescue and why your support is so important, and so valued.
Beyond that, you have to add in other care, such as hoof trims and chiropractic - for those who need it. Hoof trims are $30 via our farrier(s) and occur every 4-6 weeks, so you can average $20-$25 a month per horse for pedicures, which brings the cost to care for one rescue to $130 a month. If a horse needs a chiropractic adjustment, or additional feed/supplements (such as a few of our seniors), the cost continues to increase to approximately $150 a month up to $200 a month - if that month includes a chiropractic adjustment at $50 a pop, which, I will say, is at wonderfully discounted rate from our lovely Lyz.
And as a note, we pay for a lot of our horses as we buy them at auction and the stockyard. The average meat price for these horses range from $150 to $400 each, depending on their condition.
To create a further understanding of rescue costs (and horse care costs) in general, I am going to use our adoptable Summer as an example. Summer has been with us since January 23, 2013, which is almost exactly two months. So, using the data from above, we can approximate that we have spend $300 on hay and senior feed for her (senior pellets cost more) for the last two months, as well as $60 for two hoof trims and $50 for a chiropractic adjustment. This puts her total care to date at $410 approximately. Her adoption fee is $300. This negates a rescue profit of -$100.
Let's look secondly at Bandit. We have not had Bandit for too long yet, but we bought him at auction. I believe we paid just over $200 for him. He has been here for a week so far, which means his feed has cost approx $30, so we are $230 into his care. His adoption fee is by donation.
Then of course, lest we forget, if there is a need for additional vet care, such as the $240 we just spent to get Whisper's teeth looked after - we did get donations for this though and now you can start to understand why those donations are so important and why we sincerely appreciate the support. Her care for the last 10 days on top of the teeth however, has cost roughly $30 in feed, $30 in a hoof trim, plus the teeth, which is a total of $300 for her care to date.
As another note, we also spend roughly $300 a month for general costs including minor property repairs and gas for the truck and trailer when it comes to hauling horses into the rescue, to new homes or shuffling them between our properties and foster homes.
Based on the above numbers, we can estimate our costs for the care of our nine rescue horses (Summer, Sunset, Frankie, Chip, Douggie, Whisper, Snuggles, Prince and Bandit) for March so far to equal $1,000 for hay, grain and bedding (including senior feed), $225 for hoof trims, $50 for Summer's chiropractic session, $240 for Whisper's teeth and $300 for maintenance.
This leads to expenses of just over $1,800 for the month of March.
And I am sure someone will ask, so just to clarify, none of us get paid for what we do here. It is strictly volunteer-based, even for the rescue operator.
So now you understand why donations of cash, grain or hay are so very important to our operation. The costs do go down marginally (and I stress that word) in the summer when some of our adoptables are on pasture and require less hay, but all the other costs still remain.
Many people have made suggestions, such as to raise the adoptions fees, and yes we could, but in a market that is already over-saturated with horses and our goal of finding them new homes as quickly as possible in order to save more, negates that solution.
I just want to clarify that this post isn't meant to be negative by any means! It is a post I have been meaning to do for some time to help people understand what really goes into the care of these horses behind the scenes.
If you want to contribute to the rescue, you can check out our How to Help page or contact us if you have questions or a fundraising idea! We welcome suggestions :)