What Can You Do? (Horse Abuse?)
Awhile back I posted asking how to help a new family at the DIY barn where my friend and I ride. They had never owned a horse and bought a 4yo for their young teenager. Didn't have a clue. The horse was sweet, but took advantage.
Various people tried to show them how to lunge, volunteered some very informal and unofficial coaching. Child is nice, mom is nice. Clueless, but asked for help and accepted it.
I hadn't been to the barn in a few weeks because of the heat and related health issues. I went this afternoon, and heard a horror story.
Child's dad brought child out. Child started free-lunging horse in the round pen, running at her with the lunge whip, actually hitting her with it. Dad is egging child on, "Show her who's boss." Terrified and confused horse tries to climb out of the round pen. Can't get out, so turns on child. Dad has no idea child is in mortal danger.
i wasn't there, so I don't know how they got horse out to arena tacked up, but dad got on horse and started beating her. Meanwhile, a boarder who actually knows what he's doing put his own horse in round pen, free-lunged him properly, took him to arena, mounted, rode. Child's dad at least paid attention (boarder did not say anything to dad) but got really really mad because he realized he was being taught a lesson.
A few days later, nice mom brings child to barn. Light rain. Child mounts up bareback and heads out on the trail alone. Doesn't come back, doesn't come back, mom getting scared. What had happened? Child got bucked off, broke arm.
Now they can't even catch horse when they go out to pasture with a bucket of feed. Horse won't let them anywhere near.
I sat listening to the story, so angry at the whole mess, so sorry for poor horse (and poor child who just wanted a horse). I wished my friend or I could do a part-lease on horse, or at least try to make friends with horse. But I'm no expert and not used to dealing with horses who have been frightened.
But I just want to do something. Or I want something to be done.
But what? The horse may be ruined already (and was a nice homebred backyard horse before), and the child may have lost a wonderful companion and friend through ignorance and a very stupid dad.