Friends of Horses: Finding Value in Horse Life

Most people think of cats and dogs when thinking about shelters and rescues, but horses need to be rescued too. Bill Stiffler saw this, and always being a horse lover, Stiffler decided to dedicate his life to rescuing those in need. Thus, in 2001, the non-profit organization ‘Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption’ (FOHRAA) was born.

Stiffler, who was previously a part of the race horse business, saw horses sold to “killer buyers,” who then sell the horses to slaughterhouses. He started buying the slaughter-bound horses; however, instead of competing against these killer buyers, he decided to buy from them and then work with the horses. After successfully rescuing the horses, he would train and shelter them.

Livestock and horses go through mistreatment such as starvation, physical abuse, and neglect. The people who abuse horses in these ways often feel the need to show power and feel superior over other living beings. The killer buyers only see horses as property and, thus, profit, rather than as animals who have feelings too.

With the opposite mentality, Stiffler does even more than just saving horses from their horrific fate at a slaughterhouse. He serves as an equine advocate and raises awareness for horses’ rights, addressing the issue of the overpopulation of unwanted horses. Stiffler has saved over 400 horses throughout his time, but why is there such an issue in the first place of overabundance of horses? Overbreeding by jockey clubs and for other horse competitions is a possibility, while another could be the cost of raising a horse. Food, veterinary costs, boarding, and maintenance are just the beginning of the high expenses that come from owning horses. Many do not truly understand the responsibilities and expenses that come hand-in-hand with owning a horse and must face the consequences when they do not have the money.

Seeing the care and love that these horses get under Stiffler’s care gives me a renewed hope for humanity. These horses have room to roam, frolick, and undergo a more fulfilling path, possibly as therapy horses. Generally they just have a good life ahead of them.

I look forward to the day when the fate of animals is not so horrific. As our society continues to progress, I believe that more people see the truth. Stiffler and his non-profit lead the way, showing that even one person caring can lead to a big difference.

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