The greatest way to help a rescue organization is to adopt a horse, if you can't adopt then foster, if you can't foster then please donate. The greatest need for horse rescue organizations is public support. On the average, we spend between $1,500 and $2,000 on every horse that enters our gates before it is ready to adopt. Some horses may remain with us for a year or two while going through physical and emotional rehabilitation.
It’s hard to explain why you need to have a fundraiser so you can have a fundraiser, but the old adage is true even in horse rescue – it takes money to make money. Fundraising is difficult. We know, because our inability to do it has landed us in this situation. There are people and organizations that do it well – grant writers, crowd funding sites, professional fundraisers, etc. - and needed money can be raised by asking for their help. They, like so many others, don’t work for free. Some require money up front – we avoid those – but all keep a percentage of what they raise. However, a percentage of something beats all of nothing, right? Other types of fundraising require money up front. If you want to sell t-shirts you have to buy them first. If you want to send out a regular mail piece to try and generate donations you have to pay the printing and postage costs ahead of time, not after the money comes in. If you want to host an event you have to pay for the food and other up front expenses. All of these things might result in a net gain to the rescue, but without the money up front none of them can be accomplished. People give us lots of great ideas but keep in mind we are working 9 to 12 hour days on adoption applications, training/riding/getting the horses ready for adoption, bathing, tending to a swollen leg, sunburns, rain rot, you name it, maintaining pastures, equipment, web site and all the other previous reasons we mentioned earlier. We were very grateful for the recent Ford’s Well Trail ride that netted over $2,000 but just our vet bills totaled over $3,000 since February. So, you get the picture. We have never ending expenses and our job at the barn is never done.
People give us lots of great ideas but keep in mind we are working 9 to 12 hour days on adoption applications, training/riding/getting the horses ready for adoption, bathing, tending to a swollen leg, sunburns, rain rot, you name it, maintaining pastures, equipment, web site and all the other previous reasons we mentioned earlier.
We saved the best for last, because no rescue with our size and scope can survive without help. Volunteers are great and ours are the best we could hope to have, but they can only do so much. Employees are the lifeblood of any service organization, and the more you have, the more service you can provide. We have one employee who helps in regular horse care and initial training and riding, and a part timer who cleans and spreads manure for us in the mornings. We operate our sanctuary at Muleshoe Ranch in Carroll County with volunteers who help keep the seven horses and one donkey fed, but not much else. We have room for more Sanctuary horses, but we can’t pay for an employee to care for them and our volunteers can’t give us any more time. At Twelve Oaks we can only move a horse through rehabilitation and initial training as fast as we can get to them, so our capacity for additional rescue is limited until we can get a horse ready to move to professional training. Additional employees will allow us to expand our rescue and sanctuary capacity in Carroll County, and will enable us to achieve a quicker turnover rate from our Twelve Oaks by simply allowing us to work more horses every day.
One more thing…no one in the Billingsley family has ever taken a dime from Mississippi Horses. We don’t consider ourselves employees of the rescue organization despite the seven days a week schedule that we work. Anyone who thinks we’re in this for a profit has never rescued a horse.