I know a lot of ppl who go out of their way to offer help that don't realize they are being taken advantage of. Willing participation from a 3rd party doesn't make what the horse owner is doing right.
And I don't see any reason why boarding your horse long distance is a problem if you are getting updates, especially if someone else who boards there is willing to "keep an eye" on the horses upkeep. As far as "not being visited" I think we are truly being full of ourselves if we think that. Baring very few exceptions (and those exeptions wouldn't end up being throw aways) most of our horses wouldn't cry too many tears if they were offered a life of leisure, and the peaceful company of other horses, and didn't have our mugs in their faces everyday. Besides, even pasture horses are grained everyday. They would still have plenty of daily human contact. I also have heard a lot of anomosity at B.O.'s. I've boarded at 3 places in my life, and all 3 places treated my horse like their own. At my current stable, one of the ladies only comes around once a month, the B.O. gives her just as many scratches and treats as she does my horse. Find a place that boards horses for love, not profit, and you will never have a sleepless night.
Okay, a couple problems or oversimplifying statements from above post:
I do not agree with the above statement that a retired horse stays happy as a retired horse. This is a sweeping generalization taht I too believed for a long time. My old guy was not the hardest working soul while competing and when injuried finally got what I had always joked he wanted, retirement. He has been retired for the past three years and now is suddenly unhappy with it. He is back out of it and working and a completely different horse. He wants to jump so bad that he jumped a shadow the other day. Retirement was depressing him and his status in the herd is the lowest it has ever been. Other reason too I am sure but am seeing an increase attitude since he has come out of retirement.
In your area pasture board may have graining but this is not a guarantee in my area. Plus you are lucky to get field board for around 2o0 here with no extras or 300 with the extras. Stall boarding is average 500.00 but many places 600 and up.
Having been a barn manager I can tell you it isn't that simple or easy to find barn managers that care as much as the ones you have found. If they were I wouldn't have had the majority of boarders that I had. They had to leave a place unhappy for them to start looking for a new one. I know quite a few bm that it is more about the bottomline than extra scratches and kisses. I would NEVER send my horse, if I still owned him, anywhere were I can't visit regularly. Too many horror stories from being absentee owners about their discoveries.
But I do agree with your sentiment and my old guy is a keeper. I will probably lease him once he is fully in work for someone to enjoy bopping around on but I am a control freak and no horse I own is out of my eye sight.
But I do not think I am any better than anyone else for the decisions I have made. There will always be people who do not make the best decisions for those around them and the only silver lining is there will hopefully always be others who will take on the neglected soul.
This line of thinking is a slippery slope on all selling and showing. What is okay for us to do and what isn't? Who is to judge that? Why should they get to be the judge?
I find it easier to live my life the best I can and let others to worry about their's.
Dawglover - I have to tell you - it hurts too much. I look at my horses out on pasture or in cool clean stalls and think about what I saw and it wakes me up at 3 AM. I don't want to discourage others from getting involved for fear they won't be able to emotionally handle the conditions they'll see. When we say grace at night before dinner, I add a special thank you to those (Marli, Kelly, Onthebit2000 and more) that go in, heedless of conditions, to save these poor souls. I asked Marli how she picked who to save - she told me "the ones that aren't too far gone to make eye contact..." Think of your horses...
I'm with Alysheba on this one, and have just the one 20 y/o +9 ringbone TB to show for it. Had to give up my showing career, because I, too, can only afford one horse at a time.
I *could* afford two if I were able to do what others have done and put him on pasture board, but he has issues with full time pasture (won't lie down outside, too nervous, and he NEEDS to lie down). So he stays with me where I can dote on him and ensure his special needs (which are many, and will only increase over time) are taken care of.
Trying to be strictly fair to Groom&Taxi, s/he doesn't sound like s/he has a vast amount of horse experience. Have you considered whether there are other options for your mare, such as a change to another discipline? Have you had full veterinary workups and sought opinions from more than one vet? Have you tried putting this mare on the COTH Giveaways forum?
Crying "poor" is not an excuse, nor is "my child needs to move up the levels". Your child NEEDS to learn responsibility, and it sounds as if you do as well.
I do agree with others, Groom & Taxi, that you are setting a precedent in your daughter's mind of lack of responsibility. When it gets to be YOUR retirement time, she will probably treat you the same way you are teaching her to treat her horse. B/c you have taught her that a life is expendable.
Before you dump this horse at an auction barn, ask yourself, please, if that's how YOU want to be treated when you retire.
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief
How about turning this thread in a more positive direction and discussing HOW and WHERE appropriate retirement options ARE? WHERE are great boarding placed for under $200 month that would be great for a retiree. HOW do you vet out retirement farms and ensure your horse is cared for? I for one would love to see a thread of links to retirement farms where COTH members have retired their horses. I know there's one in PA called Ryers but I know very little about it.
This thread struck a chord with me because it's a particular pet peeve of mine when people cast off their injured or lame horses. I have a mare with chronic lameness issues who I was forced to retire at 14. It took a few years for me to be able to afford to buy another horse and if owning a second horse meant I couldn't provide a wonderful retirement for my mare, I never would have bought the second. Sure, I missed having my own horse to ride but I took lessons and I leased, and I learned a lot riding lots of different horses. We don't HAVE to own horses. There are other options out there.
My mare was a cast off. I got bamboozled when I bought her. It was my own fault for not being more educated at the time. But even though she has cost me a small fortune, I am so glad I bought her and not someone who would have just dumped her. Someone on this thread referred to their unrideable horse as "useless" and that's something I find very offensive. I may not be able to ride my mare, but useless is the last word I would use to describe her. She went from being a riding/show horse to more of a pet and that doesn't mean I love her any less or owe her any less. God forbid I could no longer afford to keep her, I would humanely euthanize her than risk her winding up in a feedlot somewhere. She deserves so much better than that.
It sickens me to think about all the horses who worked so hard for their owners and through no fault of their own have gotten hurt and wind up at auction or cast off in a field somewhere. Before anyone buys a horse I think they need to think long and hard about what they would do if their horse became chronically lame or otherwise unrideable. To me owning a horse is a commitment we make for the life of the horse and if you aren't willing to make that commitment maybe it would be a good idea to explore other options.
To answer VXF111, when I realized I needed to retire my mare I started with my vet to see if he by chance knew anywhere that accepted retirees and he said one of his former clients who took excellent care of her horses relocated up north and was accepting retirees. He couldn't say enough good things about her and after meeting her and seeing her facility, I knew she would take wonderful care of my mare. I got really lucky because board is reasonable, the facility is small, and she truly loves my mare as if she were her own.
If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I'd put shoes on my cats.
That particular horse was for their young daughter. Not everyone is made of money, and affording 1 horse plus a child is a big expense. Do you think it's fair for the daughter not to be able to excel in her riding because of this horse?
I understand the horse is for the daughter, and believe me, I'm not made of money. *s* (But I do empathize and understand the expenses of equine rehab.) As soon as the catastrophic injury occured, the writing was on the wall -- this will take time. If the daughter is unwilling to commit that time, well, that really illustrates the OP's point, right? Why this whole thread was started? (And I gotta ask, are there no other options besides riding out there?)
I completely agree with the OP. The saddest ones to me are the "oldies" who have served their owners for so many years, and now that they are elderly and no longer "useful," they become expendable. I have seen so many ads for "elderly horse - free to good home, can no longer be ridden."
Kudos to those who have put their riding/showing plans on hold in order to care for/provide for a lame or elderly equine friend. It isn't all about riding.
When people take in horses to show, train, and/or re-sell they have specific intentions on doing so. My family is well off, yes i will admit it and we can afford to keep and care for our 9 horses and ponies if they are injured, hurt or sick. We can also afford to retire and keep anything that comes here. we arevery lucky we can afford this as our horses and ponies that we buy become a part of our family. Many people cannot afford to keep a horse that is injured, and or get sick and canno longer be used for the dicipline in which the owner would like to compete at. All of us here would love to be able to keep our best friends and be able to afford another horse in which we can ride everyday and still continue to show and what not. When horses, especially competetition horses, get injured...the people that can only afford that one horse can no longer ride...they must sell that one horse or find it a new, more fitting home before they can continue on doing what they are doing. Not everyone can afford to hold onto 5 or so horses throughout their lifetime because they are old, sick, or injured. I know that evryone here that posts horses in the giveaways forumn are doing it under the best intentions of their horse and they would like tofind them a nice, loving home in which they can have a good life. Its no different than selling a horse. Frankly we recently sold our first horse in about 8 years. A 3 yr old large pony hunter prospect. Our only reason for selling her is I am aging out of the ponies and it was pointless to keep her and let her sit in my back yard and do nothing. W esold her dirt cheap since we only wanted what we put into her through vet bills etc. I guess you could sort of call it a giveaway. the pony is now in full training in a hunter/jumper barn on Long Island with a wonderful, loving family with a 13 yr old girl. Another pony we had was purchased for my brother. he gave up riding for motocross and the pony was then shown by me...he now has alifelong permanent home with a wealthy stock broker's family. Not everyone can afford to hold onto every horse they have. if they can finda nice, lovinghome for it...let them...people are not going to give up their entire riding career becauise that one horse can no longer do the job it wa sintended to do. Let it go live out its life on a farm where other people can have the chance to love it for something other than a riding horse. I would like you to think about the whole picture before posting something like this. I know a ton of people who giveaway 0older show ponies, and lesson horses and find them just as nice of home...without ever making a cent. I dont think the issue here is about giving away a broken down animal because it cant do its job, i think its more about the homes tthese horses find.
This, from the person who jumped in on one of the recent rescue threads and said "Oh, sure, I'll take one--now, who's going to haul it for me??" (referring to OP)
I don't agree at all with the idea that keeping a retiree can always be done on the cheap, and, heck, just get someone else to keep an eye on it for you, nothing to it. Isn't that just another version of passing the responsibility to someone else? There's more to responsibility for an animal than just supplying a minimal amount of money.
No, I don't participate in the rescue threads, nor do I take on other people's castoffs just because I have some pasture space; I have a very large 16 y.o. in my backyard who has a number of expensive-to-maintain conditions and a propensity for injuring himself in unique and difficult to treat ways, when he isn't busy puzzling the vets with some new, exotic (and expensive to treat) condition. Every time I so much as think the thought of putting him back to work, he finds yet another creative way to cost me more money and labor-intensive care. Yeah, sure--I'm going to pass him off to some cheap pasture boarding situation, and ask someone else to "keep an eye on him", nothing to it. No, he'll stay in my yard till it's time to plant him, but, meanwhile, I don't have any extra resources to take on someone else's castoff. But somehow, because I was able to enjoy the horse for the first 8 years I owned him, he isn't considered a "rescue".
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine
And I'm sorry that you and your spouse have chosen a financial path that makes you unable to care for more than one horse, like the poster below said, what would you do if you had to go to the vet??? Vet bills can be $500 easy! It sounds like you have already been down that road.
What message are you sending to your child by saying "When something you have committed to can't do the things it used to do, you get rid of it by dumping the problem on someone else, or killing it." Like I said, sounds like an everyday divorce in America, or how a lot of ppl treat their parents when they toss them into nursing homes.
A better message to send to your child is for you guys (and her) to do whatever it takes to make sure the animal gets the life it deserves. Like I said, get a damn paper route! And I will tell you what, possibly being a couple hundred dollars away from financial ruin is NO WAY to raise a child! It sounds to me like you couldn't afford to even get her a horse in the first place! Maybe you should think about piano lessons instead of a live animal that depends on you for its very existance.
By the way, your "auction" comment was a really bad idea, especially in light of the great lengths the posters on this board went to in the last week to save 4 wonderful horses from ppl like you.
Maybe if she can't sell the mare, she should just put her down? I think that's probably overkill in this case, as light-duty homes *can* be found (*IF* I got a third horse, it'd be something older and sound and slow who'd get ridden maybe once a month by friends on trail rides- and while we generally go a good distance, we also go SLOW.) if you're willing to take the hit. (I'd not pay over $500 for said theoretical third horse- if I was LOOKING for one like that, I might be willing to pay a bit more, but since I'm not and wouldn't be buying unless they fell into my lap... yeah.)
Comments from bitter, burnt out rescuers make ALL rescuers look bad. If this is truly how you feel about all people giving up animals.... you need to take a break from it. Seriously- I've been involved in dog and cat rescue for almost 10 years now, and I see this sort of attitude from folks pretty consistantly, who have been active for a long period of time in rescue and getting bogged down by the fact that you *can't* save them all.
I've thought about opening up retirement board here, as I could offer it VERY cheaply (Probabably right at $120 a month, including normal, non-corrective shoes or trims, unlimited hay, and good pasture) but I'm not really sure where to begin researching, I *know* I need to learn more about senior horse care, and I'm not sure I'm up for the emotional aspect of it. (Plus, I'm mildly worried about horses being abandoned here, etc.)
PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
I'm with Louise! There are many reasons why people can no longer keep a horse that is unrideable and as long as the horse is otherwise healthy I don't blame them for trying to give the horse as long as life is as humanely possible by offering it to someone else. There are folks who will take on an unrideable horse just because they feel it's the right thing to do and/or need a companion for their horse. Why is this wrong???? If they don't mind the horse is unrideable why should you, alysheba? Take care of your own and let others take care of theirs the best way they can.
The problem comes when that "free" home isn't a good or trustworthy one but that is a whole other thread.
Life is tough--it's a puppy kickin' world out there! People just try to do what they can with what they have. If they can find what they feel is a suitable place to take their horse more power to 'em. If a rescue can't take the horse I'm sure they will tell the owner; I'm sure more than one horse has been turned away by rescues--it's their call, not yours....
Who are you to judge and why do you even want to???? In a perfect world every one would put their horse down when it no longer fit into their plans. Personally I wouldn't want to live in a world like that.
That horse gave its all for you! Have a little respect and TAKE CARE OF IT! If you think $200 is too much to pay, give up smoking, happy hour, cable TV, buy a smaller house, a cheaper car or get a damn paper route!
THANK YOU for this post!!! I am also disgusted with the way people seek to make someone else take on their problems so they can wash their hands (and wallets) of the burden and sleep well at night.
"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." -Don Marquis **CEO of the TQ "Learn How To Ride or MOVE OVER!!" Clique**
This is a very tough subject. I tend to be a collector, but I can understand different sides of the issue. I have one old man at home that will always be with me. He was a jumper in his former life, and came to me still relatively sound, but his arthritis popped up shortly into his being with me. But I've known him forever and he's such a good boy, that's he's not going anywhere! He's now officially retired other then the occasional pony ride for my daughter and stroll around the neighborhood with me. He's put in a hard life for others so that they could feel the thrill of the jumper ring and he has deserved to be fat and happy!
There are times though when you simply cannot keep a horse. It's a simple fact. This year I had to give up a horse because I simply did not feel that he was safe to have around my daughter. I keep my horses at home because I cannot afford to board and I prefer self-care anyway. I sent this horse to a wonderful, experienced horse woman for remediation and to be sold. I'm hoping he finds a good home, but it will not be with me. I have tried to do the best for him that I can so that he doesn't end up in a bad situation, but it's a tough case.
I am also one that believes in euthanasia before many other options, especially if a horse us unsafe or unsaleable.
Some of the comments on this board have been pretty tough on people. We all have to do what's right for our family, being responsible for our animals (who are part of our family) should be a value that is taught, but who are we to tell others what our values should or should not be. Sometimes keeping an animals that is unsound is simply not an option, but there are many choices out there. I DO NOT have a problem with people trying to find a good home for their animals, that's how I have ended up with most of mine! Free to a good home or free leases that stayed permanent. Heck, the gelding I talked about first, the former jumper, was a wedding gift! A lame, old wedding gift!
THANK YOU for this post!!! I am also disgusted with the way people seek to make someone else take on their problems so they can wash their hands (and wallets) of the burden and sleep well at night.
You shouldn't be judging people. Not everyone can afford to keep an animal that no longer meets their needs. Many people don't make a lot of money, regardless of the reasons (lack of education, etc.) and absolutely cannot be burdened with an extra expense. Things happen, situations change - that's LIFE!!! We can't save the world. People who give up horses are not selfish. They are doing what's best for themselves AND the horse. I will agree though, that an auction isn't the best route, but that is not for me to judge either. I know your intentions are well-meaning, but this is a free country and people can do as they please, whether we like it or not.
We take in TB mares for retirement that are being "thrown away" by their owners. And I have a pasture full of 20+ TB mares at the moment. Its a soothing effect here, when you are having a bad day there is nothing like looking out the back window and seeing a pasture full of foals on one side and a pasture full of old, swaybacked, gimpy mares on the other. They are happy and it makes you feel like all is right in the world. Some mares stay here only a short while until I find a home with one of my friends who I know will take wonderful care of them.
I understand why some people cannot keep a horse once it becomes unsound for the sport for which it was purchased even if it was as a trail horse depending on the area in which you live it could be very expensive. I am lucky since we can do pasture board here for $175/month since we have the land/fencing/run-ins. But in some urban areas I know that this would be soo much more...in the winter we pay $3 for a bale of good hay...I have friends who pay $8-10 for the same quality. If a family buys a horse for their child and that horse becomes permanently lame I can understand that they cannot keep that horse and get a replacement for their little girl to ride too.
Its a tough call but I see both sides...but I admit sometimes I do get upset when I see horses that people are throwing away just because of age.