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  1. #1
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    Default The "forever home" hypocrisy

    Like a lot of you, I follow Craigslist and other sites for horse ads. More often than not, there's some variation on the phrase "forever home a must" -- and that's often attached to the description of a 20+ trooper who's given his whole life to his current family.

    In other words, "I'm not going to give my old horse a forever home, but I expect you to."

    Beyond the idea that an older or less-sound horse that's served you for years deserves better, don't the sellers realize that the other circumstances that may have prompted this sale -- job loss, illness, etc. -- could just as easily befall the buyer? Then what? Another "forever home" hand-off?


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  2. #2
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    Well, I've never participated in the horse resale business. I do understand that most people do not treat their horses as they do their dogs and cats. (I do know some people who get dogs and cats and then later give them away, but not like horse people sell their horses.)

    All my horses are permanent members of the family, like my dogs and cats.

    But for someone to advertise a horse to be sold or given away to a "forever home," well that is being blind to reality. Old and lame horses don't often get that "forever home." And broodmares who can no longer get in foal, well, more castoffs from the horse business.


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  3. #3
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    Default

    do as I say, not as I do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett


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  4. #4
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    I'm grateful for those people who aren't forever homes - because I have not owned the dams of any of my horses and been there when they were born, so I am grateful someone was willing to sell them to me.

    I have sold some horses, and have attempted to make those sales be to someone who will be a perfect fit and keep them forever. I've actually been pretty darned successful with it, too! Both were situations where the horse couldn't go farther with me but was an amazing caretaker for kids, and they were for the oldest kid in a large family - so got passed down for multiple children, at times had 5 little kids piled up in a row bareback, etc.

    Expecting that everyone *else* must keep a horse forever is totally unrealistic, though, and I hope to never be in a situation where I have to sell a horse again. My mom's horse would be for sale or lease if we happened upon a good fit for her, but it would be tough to convince me to sell rather than free lease - she took care of my mom on the trail, and I am totally willing to pay to support her the rest of her life; she's fun to play with even if I'm not going anywhere in my riding her, and she doesn't care if she doesn't get worked for a while as long as she gets her feed and space to walk around with fences keeping other horses from her space.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed


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  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayTbred View Post
    Like a lot of you, I follow Craigslist and other sites for horse ads. More often than not, there's some variation on the phrase "forever home a must" -- and that's often attached to the description of a 20+ trooper who's given his whole life to his current family.

    In other words, "I'm not going to give my old horse a forever home, but I expect you to."

    Beyond the idea that an older or less-sound horse that's served you for years deserves better, don't the sellers realize that the other circumstances that may have prompted this sale -- job loss, illness, etc. -- could just as easily befall the buyer? Then what? Another "forever home" hand-off?
    This, exactly. What sort of delusion are they living in??
    "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Jan. 2, 2009
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    Most people won't even give their human children a "forever home". We expect them to eventually leave, go, make their own way, creat their own home, ect. So why do they think that I will give a forever home to their old faithful horse that they no longer have use for. And, NO, don't try to re-home your kids on me!!!


    4 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7

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    I think some of it is just rhetorical one-upmanship.

    Even five years ago, most of these "forever home" ads would have been "good home a must."

    But the horses-as-pets idea has gained ground, and sellers needed a way to stand out from others in their emotional appeal to buyers, and some started saying "forever home" instead of "good home."

    And then it kind of snowballed.

    So I'm not sure how many of the ads are delusional and really want a "forever" home and how many are just keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to ad language. The same thing has happened with things like "flashy" and "good mover" and "good conformation" and "potential for X" -- they're just things you say when you have a horse for sale. They don't have to be true, they just have to be in the ad.

    I suspect a lot of the "forever homes" sellers would in fact sell to the first person to show up with cash, no questions asked. Or minimal questions asked.

    I suspect most of them are not deluded and don't think their horse is going to a "forever" home. But they might be hoping to scare off the more obvious dealers, and if ramping up the emotional wording a bit sucks in a bleeding heart buyer -- all the better.


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  8. #8
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    There is only one "forever" home: a hole in the ground.

    The "forever home" is less hypocrisy than myth and wishful thinking.

    People need to grow up and realize that circumstances change. Don't encourage infantile belief in mythical beings and places.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    14 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Dec. 8, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halt Near X View Post
    I think some of it is just rhetorical one-upmanship.
    I'm not sure how many of the ads are delusional and really want a "forever" home and how many are just keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to ad language.
    Great point. And it ties into another often-used phrase, "no time." As in, "she's a great mare but she needs a job and I have no time ..."

    If this phrase appeared only occasionally, that would be believable, but over and over? They have no time to halter-break, teach manners, start backing, groom (given many of the photos), etc. I'm apt to believe they have "no time" for a horse that bucks, rears, bolts, etc.


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  10. #10
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    Nov. 15, 2005
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayTbred View Post
    Great point. And it ties into another often-used phrase, "no time." As in, "she's a great mare but she needs a job and I have no time ..."

    If this phrase appeared only occasionally, that would be believable, but over and over? They have no time to halter-break, teach manners, start backing, groom (given many of the photos), etc. I'm apt to believe they have "no time" for a horse that bucks, rears, bolts, etc.
    LOVE your OP and the above as well.
    I see that with dog ads alot and it's a real head scratcher.
    I had the worlds smartest, most dastardly Beagle ever. EVER.
    And with 2 sessions of 15 minute walk/training sessions a day he was very easily made into a less dastardly dog. And he was my first dog.

    Same with horses. It doesn't take HOURS to train them.
    In total it's hours, sure, but if you break it down to 20 minute sessions,... well, how someone can't have time for that is beyond me.

    Often they claim they don't have that time, but then want $$$ for that 2 year old rearing, striking colt with elf feet or the anti-social MixedBreedDuJour... because 'we paid $$$ for him a year ago. And you can have his crate and his leash.' Head*desk
    You know a year ago when he could be lead and his feet handled/was a blank slate puppy who didn't eat people and other small pets.

    ETA that the forever home is not a complete myth, there are those of us dumb enough to leave our ambitions behind [or smart enough? to know that the road to the Olympics is permanently under construction to us and will never be our path, perhaps]... who stick with our oldsters even after their ride-ability is a distant memory.
    Yes I bought him from someone, and I am thankful she sold him.
    Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

    http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Every time I read "good home a must" or something similar, I wonder how many buyers drive up and state that they are a terrible home??

    Even what most would consider horrible situations for horses are probably thought of as fine by their owners.

    So what is the point of adding "good home a must" to an ad? Do the sellers think that it somehow keeps their horse out of bad homes/situations?


    8 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Oct. 25, 2012
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    Default

    A far more realistic, attainable and intelligent outlook would be, "SUITABLE HOME A MUST." Suitable for THAT horse, under the present circumstances. That way your 29-year old doesn't get sold for barrel racing, or your OTTB for a brand-new rider, or your pistol-hot Prelim eventer for a timid adult trail rider.

    This is one problem I have with many "rescue" charities--they're just hoarding operations, stockpiling horses who could have a REAL home if not for their absurdly unrealistic requirements. The largest one closest to us specifies, among other things, that an adopted horse MUST have 24/7 turnout (which almost no one in our state has), and may never be shown. Really? It would harm him to go to a 4-H show with a little girl, or a local crossrail schooling show? This stuff is just plain STUPID and it makes me see red!

    The operative thing is to SELL them to someone who will use them appropriately.


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  13. #13
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    Oct. 26, 2010
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    **Back on my 'puter, so am goneriding24 now...**

    A while back I did a horse blog and was asking this very question. Several people said they asked that to weed out less desirable buyers, that was the only reason. All of them said they didn't think it was really possible but wanted it out there questions would be asked.

    I let my Sammy go to a new home and asked that if he didn't fit in or things got bad for them, call me first and he can come back. They said they would but I'm not sure I can force them to honor it, even with a contract. IDK.
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    There is only one "forever" home: a hole in the ground.

    The "forever home" is less hypocrisy than myth and wishful thinking.

    People need to grow up and realize that circumstances change. Don't encourage infantile belief in mythical beings and places.

    G.
    True enough. But if you care enough, often you CAN be that person with regard to your horse, i.e., that "forever home" at least in terms of responsibility. I sold my first horse to a Pony Clubber. After a year, it apparently didn't work out (They didn't tell me, but I found out). I told a friend who had liked the horse, and they purchased it from the dealer to whom it had been sent at about half what I was paid for it, and my friend had the horse until it died.

    My second horse I sold to a breeder, and she lived out her life as a broodmare. I visited her periodically.

    My third horse I had 11 years, gave to that first friend when he was 20, and she had him until he died at 28. He was rideable the entire time and served mostly as her trail horse.

    My fourth horse I had to retire (severe arthritis, stifle) at age 22. Even when I was laid off, I managed to support him in retirement and the horse I had purchase to replace him, temp work, unemployment, savings: I managed. At at 24, I had to euthanize him due to cancer.

    I still have my present horse. Circumstances MAY change. I know his breeder would take him back, for starters, so that's one option should things get desperate. I think, though, that many people just don't make the effort. They could manage, but it's TOO MUCH effort to do so. Better to sell/give the horse to a supposed "forever home" without worrying too much about the details. Sigh.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    We have been fortunate that we have been able to keep track of almost every horse who we have sold. The ponies stayed within a few miles of our home, so we were able to visit them regularly. When there was a problem with frozen water for the one pony, I showed up with a heated bucket and solved that problem. When the pony's feet were overgrown, I offered to call them when my farrier was coming. When you sell to good people, they are usually happy to have you come and visit and help out with problems. I think responsible ownership includes trying to keep up with the ones you sell.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    There is only one "forever" home: a hole in the ground.

    The "forever home" is less hypocrisy than myth and wishful thinking.

    People need to grow up and realize that circumstances change. Don't encourage infantile belief in mythical beings and places.

    G.
    I agree with this.

    and if your home situation should change, the horse needs to sell or be given to someone better able to afford and give the care it needs - or as a last resort the hole in the ground.

    Being a forever home may not be in the best interest of the horse, not to mention the human family.

    People aren't forever, either.


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  17. #17
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    Aug. 26, 2008
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    I gave a decent horse away, under the promise that she would have a retirement home (forever) with the new person. Market value on this horse was not "free." She was sound, very rideable, experienced, pretty, great ground manners...but I lived in a very remote area, and knew she'd be happier with more turnout and lower expectations (I did Hunter lessons on her, and showed, I was fine with not placing...but she'd have preferred trails and rides at home.)

    18 months later the horse is advertised on local Craigslist for free-lease to anyone who would pay her board. The retirement home had "no time for her, and she was going to waste."

    Yup, the 16 year old draft horse you got FOR FREE under the express promise that you'd provide retirement for in a big grassy field..."going to waste."

    I immediately called and asked what it would take to buy the horse back, I missed her and regretted the sale. The woman charged me $4000 for a horse I had GIVEN HER. I paid it and picked her up as soon as humanly possible, and have never looked back. It is the one and only time I have "unfriended" someone on Facebook out of Pique. I feel kind of petty about that. Then I remember the $4000 that I really didn't have to spend at the time...I don't really feel petty anymore.

    Around the same time, my great former Chuckwagon TB was put back up for sale. This was a horse that my previous trainer had insisted I'd never be able to ride and should sell...conveniently to a potential client she had in the wings. This horse was placing in the Hunters, with me...and I honestly suck as a rider quite badly. If I could stay on his back, we got a ribbon. He's just a nice horse. The new owner lasted about 18 months as well, then listed him for sale as she'd "outgrown him." To be 100% fair here, I do not blame the owner. She agreed to sell him back to me at a very reasonable price, and did come to me when she listed the horse for sale. The coach had pulled the usual "you need a better horse to move up."

    I went to pick him up, and found out good old coach had actually BLISTERED HIM. All four legs now have big white-haired scars from her ministrations. He also lost all his topline, and I almost choked when I picked him up. When I sold him, he had a custom-fit saddle. It's still too big. It took months to get him fit again, I'm not even sure what they DID to him. I guess it makes sense though...the horse had competed well in the 3' Jumpers right when the person bought him...then never competed that high again. Back with me, once he was in marginal shape, I entered him in a 2'9" Jumper Indoor class, where he won second in a match-the-clock...and with more fitting up, he won a local Dressage schooling circuit Championship at Training Level with a nice beginner adult leasor, and he's back to jumping lessons with me. He's retired but he doesn't do well without work to stay fit/muscled...so the work is kept light and regular. I seriously can't understand what the previous trainer did. I don't get it. This horse is a TB, he was sold as a yearling at Keeneland and never raced. This horse pulled chuckwagons for seven years and retired without a wreck at age 11. He was ridden by a nice Dressage rider to get him prepped for sale and then I bought him...and you won't find a more down-to-business horse. He doesn't owe humans another thing. I never should have trusted anyone else with a horse this awesome.

    Lesson learned. Never selling a horse again. Ever. We live in a horsey area now, and as long as I'm alive and conscious, my horses stay with me. No exceptions.

    Anyone who thinks that a "forever home" exists is deluded. The only "forever home" that is real is the one you provide yourself. If you aren't willing to provide it, there is no reasonable expectation you should be placing on anyone else to do so.
    Last edited by rugbygirl; May. 23, 2013 at 01:13 PM.
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


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  18. #18
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    Just as iffy are the "I will give your horse a forever home". There are no guarantees in life and I don't know of anyone who can see the future.

    I've had to sell horses I didn't want to sell because of life changes. The best we can do is sell to "approved" homes and hope for the best.

    I also learned a long time ago not to look them up after I had sold them. It can lead to real heartbreak.
    "I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous


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  19. #19
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    Totally agree, I'm sick of the BS in ads about "forever home" and "He deserves someone who has more time to spend." (I'm actually sick of the whole "heart horse" thing too, but maybe I'm just feeling curmudgeonly today.)

    However, I would add that we are also deluded if we think we can state for a fact that unlike those CL slobs, we actually ARE providing a Forever Home. Unless they're listed in your will, and unless you've already got money protected in some kind of independent escrow account to cover the horses' expenses, all that most of us can legitimately say is that we "intend" to keep them forever and will do our best to make that happen.


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  20. #20
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    ^ agree there. I DO have the horses in my will, and a percentage of my life insurance payout is intended to go toward their care. The Executor of my will is ultimately in charge of this, I suppose, but a person can only do so much.

    I do not advertise myself as a "forever home."

    This is one reason the local animal shelter won't adopt a pet to me. I refuse to lie and agree to all of their stupid rules. If I have a kid one day who turns out to be allergic to a housepet, we're going to be moving that housepet along. All I can do is state the truth, about the animals I have owned...which TWO local Humane Societies have considered insufficient.

    Housepet ownership history:

    1 cat, bought by our family when I was 6 years old
    -countless vet visits over the years to repair damage from run-ins with local jackrabbits and other cats in the neighborhood
    -cat refused to stay indoors, no matter what, so we just let him be happy...he went outside and came home at night to sleep on my bed.
    -At age 7, I was introduced to the wide world of intestinal parasites, and took on the responsibility of deworming cat regularly, complete with calculating the dosage based on weight every 3 months. I was extremely conscientious, as the parasites led to BIIIIIIIG messes to clean up if cat did not get meds.
    -I developed allergies to cat, but they were controllable with medication...I took the medication. We'd need a pretty strong reason to let a member of our family go...like the imminent death of another member of the family.
    -cat lived to ripe old age and died of natural causes, and I still miss him. He was the best cat ever.

    1 dog, a bichon/shih tzu cross, bought when I was 12
    -Dog failed obedience school. Really, really didn't think listening was important. Learned "sit" for a treat, and "lay down" for a treat, but "come" was just not going to happen. "Roll over" was learned after 14 years of patient effort on my part, and she would ONLY do it for me, and ONLY for a favourite type of treat
    -Every family member had to chase dog at least once through the local slough when she darted out the door, as a result my little sister learned very young why the door needed to be latched, all the way, every time.
    -Dog required more exercise than anyone could have predicted...seemed to be afflicted with chronic hyperactivity. I took up jogging with her when I was 12.5 years old...which continued until she was old enough that she got tuckered out in the backyard. We were an extremely busy family...but "no time" was NOT an excuse for dog to miss out.
    -Dog was finally put down, after having been totally deaf for about 5 years, going blind, very afflicted with dementia, and rapidly losing muscle tone/ability to move around. She was 18 years old, and in the last checkup before her final vet visit, the veterinarian (same one for 18 years) commented on how amazing her teeth were, and what a healthy dog she was. She declined quickly...and making the choice was heartbreaking...but the right thing to do.
    -Dog was the best dog ever. Sure, there were faults, but even in her dementia-addled old age, she was THRILLED when we arrived at the door, had a great doggy grin, and never bit, growled at or otherwise intimidated anyone. Best dog ever.

    That is IT. When I was 22 I adopted two cats, and they live an indoor life of complete luxury. I have had to find places to take care of them several times over the years while I had to travel for business, or temporarily move to a place that didn't allow pets...but the idea of moving them to a new owner? Absolutely not. My life would have to be in danger before I'd consider it. This was NOT always easy, and since I got the cats, I also acquired a boyfriend who became my husband. He does not love cats, and we had to make some compromises. They are part of our family, husband accepts that, but it wasn't like it was easy.

    But no, I'm definitely not a "forever home"...I won't say that...I won't make that promise. No one can, and no adoption agency is right to expect it.

    Meanwhile, plenty of people lie to the Humane Society and within months of adoption their pets are for sale on Craig's List. I think the screening process might be faulty.
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


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