I left the rescue in 2008 when they changed their euthanasia policy without telling the public about it. Days End euthanized many horses over the course of a few weeks. Most of the horses were said to have "medical problems" but there were no vet records to support DEFHR's claim. Two of the horses Mountain and Gatsby were euthanized for being "too old". This was a ridiculous statement because Days End literally had no idea how old these horses actually were. They said Mountain was 15, 18, 20, and 29 years old while I was volunteering there. They didn't know how old he was, they found him out in the wild on a mountain. It's impossible to know. He could've been 12 years old for all they know.
Anyway, when I heard they were going to be killed I worked hard to find these horses homes because Days End did not. Days End told me they would euthanize Mountain and Gatsby if they were not adopted within a specific time frame. If Days End REALLY wanted to find these horses a home, they could have. They have over a thousand contacts, but they did not get in touch with anyone to see if they wanted to adopt these horses. I emailed many rescues and got in touch with anyone I thought would be able to help because obviously Days End wasn't going to do it. I managed to find a very reputable rescue located in Iowa that was the 2nd longest running rescue in the United States. They had rescued more animals than Days End. The Iowa rescue said they would be more than happy to give Mountain and Gatsby a home- a permanent home where they would be retired in a safe environment. Days End flat out refused to send Mountain and Gatsby there because Iowa was "too far away" and they were afraid Mountain and Gatsby would be "too stressed". Instead of letting Mountain and Gatsby retire, Days End decided to kill them. Before Days End killed the old horses however, they put a description on their website about Mountain and Gatsby. The description I read of the two horses was probably the most disgusting thing I have ever read. It had nothing but negative comments about the horses saying they had physical problems (which they did not because there were no vet records), behavioral problems, fear issues, and they both needed "experienced handlers". Days End has or had a system in which they would label each horse with a colored tag on their halters. A red tag meant that the horse was very hard to handle, a yellow tag meant that the horse was somewhat hard to handle, and a green tag meant that the horse could be handled by anyone i.e. an easy horse to handle. Both Mountain and Gatsby had GREEN tags on their halters when I was volunteering there. It's a complete outrage that Days End would purposefully lie about these wonderful horses saying things about them that were obviously not true. Experienced handlers? I handled both Mountain and Gatsby when I was 10 years old. It's completely ridiculous. It's almost funny that Days End could lie so badly and still get away with it.
Mountain and Gatsby were not the only horses caught in a situation like this. There are many others like Java (who a staff member claimed had been improving for the farrier, yet a week later they euthanized her because she was "too dangerous") YaYa a 3 year old horse euthanized for being in "so much pain", (though I have known that horse for 2 years and she could gallop/buck/kick without showing any signs of discomfort), Maggie a 10 year old CHINCOTEAGUE pony killed for being too wild. How else is a Chincoteague pony supposed to be? Her story is a depressing one for sure. I put a link to her tribute video.
What I think is funny is that Days End euthanized YaYa, and a few others for being in "so much pain", when they really weren't, and they kept so many others alive who were actually experiencing REAL pain. Enya was a horse who could barely walk. She was in so much pain and was kept alive much longer than YaYa. I have a video of Enya literally limping across the indoor paddock at Days End. Her feet were always wrapped, she was always on stall rest, and she was always on bute. It's ridiculous they kept that poor horse alive in that much pain, and they killed YaYa (who was outside in a paddock not on stall rest) for the same reason.
The problem with Days End is that they are inconsistent with the horses and dishonest with their volunteers, donors, and the public. Like someone else stated, Days End only cares about the money and I believe that is correct. While volunteering at one of the Spring Carnival's Days End hosts, I witnessed horses being SEDATED in order to be used for pony rides. Horses that were too flighty or unpredictable were sedated then tacked up and led around a grass paddock with children on their backs. One of the horses they sedated for pony rides was the horse I adopted. She would've been fine to use for pony rides without sedation, so why Days End even drugged her is beyond me. In my opinion, if Days End had no horses capable of being used for pony rides, they shouldn't have had pony rides. Instead, they decide to drug the horses and exploit them in order to get more money. I have a picture of the sedated horses from the pony rides (for the record).
There are a lot of things I could say about Days End, and the majority of those things would probably be bad. I try not to think about Days End too much anymore because it just makes me really sad and depressed. It's definitely not a very happy place to be, unless you're completely oblivious to what is actually going on.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Volunteering, fostering and adopting
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
focus more on the horses, and less on the money. I would fire the current staff, and hire new staff that would take proper care of the horses and not use them to make profits. I would change the euthanasia policy back to what it used to be- only euthanizing horses for extreme medical or extreme behavioral issues. I would be open with the volunteers about all the decisions made by the rescue e.g. if a horse is put down there is a solid, reasonable, inarguable explanation as to why it was done.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?
Staff kept bossing me around, and made me re-muck stalls because they weren't good enough. It made me feel like I was wasting my time. Fire the staff and get some new people in there that are more friendly and caring.
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
It made me more knowledgeable with horses, but not much. It gave me a chance to find the amazing horse I have today, but other than that there was no effect on me.
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
Sometimes it made me happy because some parts were fun, other times it made me angry because the people were not friendly or horse knowledgeable. The things they did, the way they rode those horses was like nails scratching on a chalk board. The staff weren't or aren't horse savvy, so it makes me feel like I know more than they do.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the horses and the other volunteers.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
very sweet, generous and helpful to me.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
save so many horses and get so many adopted!
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?