Rescue and Reality

American philosopher Loren Eiseley’s famous essay “The Star Thrower” has been retold countless times since being published in 1969. It illustrates the small gestures people make that profoundly influence the lives of other species, as demonstrated by Eiseley’s ‘thrower,’ who lofts beached starfish back into the sea. This same metaphor plays out daily in the growing equine rescue industry that responds to the ‘unwanted horse’ dilemma. Research cites financial hardship as the primary reason horses are relinquished to rescue organizations. Owners’ loss of interest in their horse or the intended use, and animals’ age, injury, or acquired conflict behaviours also contribute to the burgeoning numbers that enter the rescue stream. Nic de Brauwere, head of Welfare and Behaviour at the renowned Redwings Horse Sanctuary in the United Kingdom, identifies the neglected horse as being without basic care such as feeding and deworming, and with issues resulting from insufficient farriery and vet…

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