About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Horse rescue or a licence to print money?????

When I decided to rescue a horse I thought I was a reasonably discerning person and not easily duped.I researched the possible options and was drawn to the Lusitano horses plight in Portugal. I know I could have made it much easier for myself and rescued a horse here in the UK, but my choice, my prerogative. After identifying a rescue operation on the Silver coast, I looked at their web site and spoke to someone who had already "adopted" a horse from there it seemed on the up, but still that wasn't enough. I wasn't totally sure enough to go ahead and support this group so I went out with a friend to visit the centre. Now at this point I think I want to ask you what would you look for, if you went to a rescue organisation to reassure yourself everything was bone fide.I think I was looking to meet the people involved and see how they came across in the flesh, so to speak. See if the need was genuine and there were horses that needed rescuing. That donations were being well used and facilities were adequate for the care of the horses. Well I arrived in a foreign country and was welcomed and shown round and asked questions and allowed to see everything. However the problems started when I saw that perhaps there were not enough people to look after the number of horses, the quality of food and bedding was not great and daily routines were haphazard. However as well as seeing the two premises where the rescue horses were kept we were taken to see other horses as yet not rescued, in even worse conditions.Small groups of horses kept in woods or on small patches of ground with very little grass.Old, young, some terribly emaciated, some mares with youngsters at foot, some tethered out of reach of water, all incredibly sad. We were accompanied on this tour by a local man referred to as the "meatman" he was responsible for collecting and keeping these horses in these conditions and showed them off to us in case we wanted them, for a good price. Finally we were taken to a building with stone stalls and a small coral, it was utterly miserable.
    Its at this point my emotions took over and any concerns regarding shortcomings in the care of the horses in rescue were explained away because of the pressure to rescue more horses like the ones we could see anything was better than this? right? So how did it work, the horses would stay with the "meatman" until someone came along to pay the "bail" money to get the horse out of there and into rescue, somewhere in the region of 400 to 500 Euros. That would not be quite enough though because whoever paid the bail money would also have to pay livery and all related expenses, before they were fit to travel to this persons home. This is what "adoption" entailed.If they were not rescued they would go for slaughter. Some had been in those stalls for months getting thinner and thinner. The rescue premises were full, but they would put themselves out to take any horse that was bailed out by a supporter. If necessary they would be placed in local livery where they had good relations with other likeminded horse lovers, at the going rate of course. At the same time we were told how they needed money for a watering system, for feed, because they didn't have enough, for the rent of premises, for horses treatment, for everything basically. Pretty good business model, dont' you think? But of course it was temporary when things were more stable etc etc etc...... So if the operation had been well run and horses were very well looked after and everything going well, where would be the motivation, to help. How well would their fundraising go how many heartstrings could they pull. This is the beginning of a long story an experience that has had a profound effect on me. Where there is suffering people are easy to rally to help, unfortunately both the vulnerable creatures suffering and the people with kind hearts are ripe for exploitation. The question for me is how can you tell the difference between a genuinely run rescue operation and a money making project?


  1. Hi
    I have been there and seen some of wha you have seen. <i also offered people or volunteers to stay for free in my place less than 5 km away. I never heard anything. I also collected things, rugs and other things in Sweden to give to them but never got one thank you. So I didn´t go any further, Today I am happy I didn´t proceed with any more cooperation.

  2. Thank you for your response Ase,I think you did the right thing, the more I think I concluded, the difference between an effective rescue and the alternative is the willingness to grow a sound foundation. To be sustainable there is a need to be collaborative no heroes just steady work and contribution of knowledge and effort.


Hi I am really interested in your comments so let me know what you think and I will get back to you if you want me to. Thanks for reading
Alison xx