OSER…A New Kind of Equine Rescue
By Marilyn E. Short

Osborne Stables Equine Rescue, Inc. is not like many over zealous horse rescues…the horses at the OSER are not being rehabilitated for adoption, the horses will be kept at OSER for their entire life.

This unique rescue was founded by Bill and Claudette Osborne, and dedicated to memory of Bill's Parents, two of the worlds greatest animal lovers. OSER's mission is to rescue

 and/or assist in the rescue of abused, abandoned, injured or unwanted horses, and to provide them with the care they deserve.

"Many times," said Claudette, "we assist horses in need by talking with their owners to see how we can help. We have also had people call to "give" us their horse or horses because they can no longer care for them either financially or physically. There are also those that want to get rid of their perfectly healthy horse because they found out owning a horse isn't like they thought it would be. We don't foster or adopt horses out."

Each year, thousands of horses are slaughtered. In 2005, according to USDA records 91,757 horses were killed in the U.S. alone for human consumption in foreign countries. In addition, many thousands of live horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.
Breeding for the sake of breeding has added to the problem of too many horses in relationship to the availability of people qualified to provide a proper home. According to Pat Parelli, 90% of first time horse buyers get rid of the horse during the first year of ownership. The State of Texas estimates cost of horse ownership in Texas for a single horse is $4,500 per year and this does not include the amount of time involved in horse ownership. (This figure was before the drought and the current high price of hay).

Recently a new concern has developed - abuse for profit. Over the past few years many horses have come into the U.S. from the Canadian Premarin farms that have been cut from the PMU program or must downsize due to the decrease in demand for Premarin. Premarin was the #1 hormone-replacement drug in the world. If the horses are not sold, they are sent to slaughter.

Because of the above problems, the Osbornes created Osborne Stables Equine Rescue, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 Not for Profit Corporation and began to take in horses. OSER formed an advisory committee with horse professions and people who love horses and have their best interests in mind. The Advisory committee's main purpose is to share their experiences and assist with the organization and operation in areas where they can contribute. The current Advisory Committee consists of Claudette Osborne, Bill Osborne, Michael F. Martin, DVM (Retama Equine Hospital), Brooke Hildreth, Becky McColley, Dana Parrish, Cathryn Friske Lanphler, H.R. (Bubba) Lanphler, and Marian Snyder, EA (Master Tax Advisor).

When a horse arrives at OSER they get prompt and full medical treatment and evaluation at Retama Equine Hospital. Retama also does twice a year farm calls for shots, teeth floating, and general health checks and the farrier does their hooves every 5 weeks...all important to maintaining a healthy horse. With medical, feed, hay and supplements and there is a large financial obligation.

All initial funding for OSER was provided by Bill and Claudette Osborne. Future funding will come from individual donations, corporate donation/sponsors, Playday and Training Shows, Trail Rides, Riding Lessons and Natural Horsemanship Clinics, Seminars along with other fund raising events.

In June, OSER hosted two sessions of their Natural Horsemanship Horse Day Camp for ages 6-12 and 13-17. The day campers learned about safety around horses, communication, care of the horse, equipment and its care and to gain confidence around horses and to just have fun. All proceeds of the camps went to the care of the OSER horses.

OSER provides general equine knowledge through training sessions such as round pen training, ground manners, nutritional seminars, trailer loading, trailer maintenance and proper tack and saddle fitting to name a few.

At this time OSER currently have 30 horses in residence. Eleven horses they call their own and 19 horses have come from owners or abusive situations.

Cheyenne was born with a parrot mouth (over bite) and the breeder could not show or breed Cheyenne. Parrot mouth does tend to be hereditary, and reputable breeders won't include parrot-mouthed horses in their breeding programs. OSER uses Cheyenne to teach about teeth.

Sundance is an Appaloosa that was abandoned by his/her owner with signs of abuse. He had scars down the back of both hind legs and 2 scars over the hose at the noseband area. You couldn't touch the top of his head or under his chin. He also has back problems and will never be ridden.

Callaghan is a Thoroughbred born with deformed tendons and ligaments in his front legs. He walked on his pasterns and his owner ordered him to be removed from the mare only a few days after he was born. Instead of being destroyed, surgery was performed and he is doing well.

Chester is a Foundation Quarter Horse who went through several trainers making him very aggressive. More than one trainer recommended he be destroyed and his last owner abandoned him. Lisa Bockholt and Ken McKnab cracked the shell on this one and left him with the ability to learn without as much fear. Today Chester can be ridden and is like a totally different horse and extremely intelligent.

Li'l Texas Rose, aka Tess is a Quarter Horse that came to OSER because her owner decided to get out of the horse business and donated her to OSER as a 4-year-old unbroke horse.

Chineray, aka Willie is a Thoroughbred. Willie lost his left eye at Retama Race Track when a horse in front of him kicked up a rock. The owner wanted him to have a home instead of destroying him.

Dakota Sioux, aka Dakota is a Belgian and Paint cross. Dakota came to OSER with a 4-month-old filly at her side from a Canadian Premarin rescue and was in foal again.
Sioux Sioux, aka Sioux is a Belgian and Paint cross. Sioux is Dakota's first foal.
Lakota Sioux, aka Lakota is a Belgian and Paint cross. Lakota is Dakota's second foal. .
Indian Princess, aka Princess is a Belgian and Paint cross. She is a Canadian Premarin rescue. .
Indian Spirit, aka Spirit is an Appaloosa and is also a Canadian Premarin rescue. .
Cherokee is an Appaloosa, a Canadian Premarin rescue. .
Majestic is a Percheron, came to OSER in foal and from a Canadian Premarin rescue. .
Majestic's Prince, aka Prince is the Percheron foal of Majestic born 1-month after arrival at OSER.

Cherokee's Sister, aka Sister is a registered Appaloosa who came to OSER from a Canadian Premarin rescue. Sister came to OSER with severe contractions to the rear tendons. With the assistance of Retama Equine Hospital and reconditioning advise from Cathryn Friske-Lanphler, the tendons are showing great improvement.

The Canadian horses were brought down from Canada to save them from being on a dinner plate in another country. Anne Van Dyke of Canexas makes periodic trips to Canada to save them from slaughter. Other horses are available for sale through Canexas; visit www.Canexas.com for pictures and more information.

Cloud Nine's Dancer, aka CD is a Tennessee Walking Horse. CD has experienced bouts of lameness for over a year. CD's owner chose to find a permanent home for him. With rehabilitation he is expected to go back to driving and riding. OSER is looking for a carriage and rigging for him as he has done weddings and special events.

"CD will be a great spokes horse for OSER," said Claudette.

Karanda is a Paint mare in foal and Luke a Morgan. Difficulties for a family forced the owners to find a permanent home for both horses so they donated them to the rescue. Thrush and hoof care were needed, alone with teeth floating and the removal of wolf teeth.

Melman, aka Mel is a 3-year-old Quarter Horse cross. Mel has arthritis in his stifle that looks like what you might see in a 30-year-old horse with hard miles on him. He will be ground trained and learn to stand quietly for the farrier, but will never be ridden due to his condition.

OSER has gone the extra mile in many cases. Legacy, an Appaloosa never made it to OSER, but the Osbornes tried to give her and her foal a chance at a good life. A trainer friend called the Osbornes at 11 pm one evening in route from Kingsville to Retama Equine Hospital. The vet in Kingsville told the owner of the horse and the trainer that the mare needed colic surgery. The trainer loaded up the horse and headed up to Retama for the surgery, but when the owners found out the cost of the surgery, they declined to go forward. OSER adopted Legacy in the middle of the night via fax so she could go into surgery. Legacy made it through the first surgery but complications caused the need for a second surgery, and at that time Legacy and her foal were lost.

OSER has assisted with investigations to help identify a horse's breed, color and body scoring. Investigators need help for breed identification and to assist in determining if the situation is severe enough for removal of the horses or if friends/neighbors can help friends in need versus calling in the authorities. In some instances the horse owners didn't know they were feeding improper amounts of hay and grain, and some didn't know that just because a field is green it doesn't mean the horses will eat the green weeds. OSER's goal is to help horses in need without going through the legal process - there are many ways to avoid that situation. People have called OSER for ideas to help horses they feel might be abused, neglected or abandoned. OSER has gone in before any investigators are involved to assist the horse owner with the hope that they may opt to find the horse a home before they are seized. Helping horses should not be a profit game.

OSER is in need of grant writers, website assistance, volunteers, donations or gift certificates for medical supplies. In the works is a fundraiser for non-horse people, which will benefit the rescue.

OSER is also collecting old used cell phones and ink cartridges to raise funds for the horses. A company restores the phones and they go to service men and battered women. The phones are paid by model and if they are not repairable they are disposed of in a safe way. The ink cartridges are restored and the rescue is paid $1.00 per empty cartridge. OSER could use some help in locating pick up locations for the phones and cartridges.

If you would like more information about Osborne Stables Equine Rescue, to see how you can help or if you'd like to attend some of their Natural Horsemanship clinics, you can call 210-827-3136. You can visit their website at www.OsborneStablesEquineRescue.org under construction or write to them at P.O. Box 206 / 5056 Highway 87 West, Sutherland Springs, TX 78161-0206.

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