I never knew how many horses were sent to auction/slaughter because they were no longer useful. Volunteering at a rescue opened our eyes to the ways that people use, abuse and neglect these beautiful animals. From carnival ponies to horse and carriage rides, these horses are not allowed to be free, in most cases. Other rescued horses were saved from neglect - standing in dirty stalls leading to permanent leg damage, or poor nutrition leading to blindness. We've seen some very sad stories of horses that could not be saved from past abuse.
One happy story, however, is Rio! Rio is a gorgeous paint horse who is only about 3 years old. He could not be ridden, possibly due to an injury by his previous owner. Our friend and Rio's hero has taken him in and we were lucky enough to visit.
After giving Rio a bath, his favorite thing to do is roll in the dirt. :)
He is one of the lucky ones! Just remember to look into areas where these animals could be abused. Carriage horses and amusement park "rides" should be avoided and researched. Horses (and all animals!) should not have to be 'saved.'