"Friends" Dump Bad Horsekeeping on Us Over the Holidays -- What Would You DO?
Some people we know (not exactly "friends) asked me if I would check in on their horses while they go away over the holidays. While I was hesitant to take on this responsibility, I was assured there was nothing really to do. Just go by and make sure no one has fallen, gotten injured or sick -- and if you see anything wrong, please call the vet. They have a round bale and plenty of water.
I foolishly agreed, thinking "how hard can this be?"
A blizzard hit the day they planned to leave, but they did manage to get out, and wanted to us to check on their horses that evening. Blithely, I obliged.
Here is what I found:
Three horses locked into a small "dry lot" (mud lot), on a hill, full of huge rocks and tree stumps. No shelter. None.
Water trough almost empty and frozen solid. Water spigot (from house) frozen solid. Hoses running from house to water trough also frozen solid.
Trough heater unplugged, but connected to a home-made "extension cord" which is just romex wire with a plug attached on each end, strewn across the yard.
Their two cattle dogs on the loose, constantly terrorizing and tormenting the three horses in the "dry lot." For fun.
I have hauled water from my farm to theirs, grabbed one of my suitable outdoor-rated extension cords, refilled the trough, replugged the heater. Carried a crop the whole time -- not for the horses, but to beat off the dogs! I also pulled three boards and countless other "junk" out of the water trough.
My boots (like the horses' hooves) are mud up beyond my ankles. Tomorrow it's supposed to get back down below freezing ... and I am still on the hook until the 27th!
Needless to say, I will never agree to this again. I am so angry I could spit. Those horses are very nice, but they are being constantly tormented. And going in with them is very dangerous because they get spooked by the dogs, they buck and kick and run ... then they slip and slide on the muddy hillside.
I am honestly shocked at this situation. This woman is constantly talking about how much she "loves" her horses and appears to be quite knowledgeable ... she freely gives me "advice" on what I should be doing with my own (which I have always ignored, but usually let people talk if they want to).
What would you do in this situation? I plan to continue to give the horses the best care I can until their owners return -- but do I say anything when they get back, or just politely decline to ever "drop by and check" on their horses again?