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Rehoming the lame horse

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  • #41
    I think the OP is convinced, from her last post, so I'm not posting to 'pile on', as it were. (And I know no one else did either.)

    It's just that this is the thread where I feel compelled to chip in that in the last 3 days I have become aware of four warmbloods who are all very likely to end up on a truck to slaughter. All four are geldings, 10-16 years old, 16.1 to 16.3hh, sound for trails or flat work through third-level or Prix St Georges but not for jumping. And all four were professionally started and aimed toward higher level dressage ... meaning they were taught to be forward, and while they are well-schooled, they are NOT beginner rides. But would be fantastic for any intermediate junior or ammy that was willing to do a little maintenance.

    Four separate original owners and four different background stories. But - ALL FOUR WERE GIVEAWAYS by talented amateur riders who needed something else, and each horse was a bit too unsound for the purpose. The well-meaning, misguided owners found what they thought were safe pasture homes with appropriate quiet work.

    On the day that each of these four horses went to its free new home, their future looked cushy and comfortable. If nothing had changed, they would be living happily now with the new owners.

    But things did change. The owners ended up having to get out from each one in a short period of time. Two went to auction and then the killpen, and will probably ship to slaughter within days. The other two are about to go to auction, having been given away a second time to the pasture owner, who can't use them, sees horses as either financial assets or financial burdens, and who doesn't care what becomes of them as long as they are gone fast. For three of the horses, none of the owners who were given these horses reached out to the previous owners to take them back. Their fate was not what the original owners intended, not what they thought could happen. One owner did ask the previous owner, who basically said "he's your horse now".

    The road to oblivion, underfed and neglected in a dirt lot or on a truck to slaughter, is not an easy one for horses like these who have never lived rough. It usually means being in overcrowded pens where aggressive horses pick on and keep food from passive horses. Stable-kept, cared-for horses do poorly in these situations and may never adapt.

    I would give anything to have a bottomless wallet and be able to go pick up all four of these horses immediately. And bring them back to live out their lives safely, with or without work. Looking at the alternative, having a purpose is beside the point. But I can't keep afford to keep them myself for even a month, I've had no luck finding homes for them in a very short timeframe, and I can't even get them into over-burdened rescues.

    There are people who misguidedly use the words "convenience euthanasia" when no one is able to take responsibility and pay lifetime bills for an unsound or a marginally sound horse. Out here in the real world I call it a "safety euthanasia". It would be better than what these four horses are facing. All four could have closed out a comfortable good life that they understood, and never faced this prolonged nightmare of neglect, abuse, stress and suffering. But for each one, someone thought "giveaway" would be the perfect solution.

    P.S. If anyone can use a trail/LL sound-for-flat warmblood gelding, 10-16 years old, 16.1-16.3hh, professionally started, forward-minded and needs an intermediate rider, you will arrange shipping however far to you, prepared to retire this horse at any time for quite a few more years, please PM me instantly if not sooner. The clock is ticking.


    • #42
      I feel your pain. I have an 11 year old horse who started on the path to early retirement about 4 years ago and after a goodly sum of time, money and effort determining it was well and truly pain, he took full retirement about 2 1/2 years ago. His reaction to his pain is to unpredictably go full bronc. Last ditch measure, we threw every back/neck treatment in the book at him and he returned to 100% happy, sound wonderfulness overnight. And then the treatment wore off inside of 90 days and he was worse than ever. So not only is he on the dole, a cribber and probably going to be my first horse to make it to 30 (or beyond), the nature of his pain response means I could not ethically give him away for any reason or purpose short of to a veterinary university. Some human could get hurt and he most definitely would suffer.

      Today I have the means to support him*. If that ever changes, he will be euthanized. If something happens to me, he has a bequest that would support him about 3 years and comes with instructions that is OK, nay even expected to put him down as soon as reasonably possible.

      * As it turns out he is kind of good at this retiree job. I have another horse who goes away for trail rides, competitions, drives off the property and Lido does not care all that much. For years I have said he doesn't really care for people, or other horses for that matter. So you know, he DOES have a job now that I think of it!
      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


      • #43
        I have a horse that is rideable, and beautiful, and super mover, but with a number of care requirements -- needs that are sometimes tiresome and that probably look outlandish to others. I love this horse, have owned him from a baby. We're not a great match as riding partners, and I made a torturous decision to sell him.

        I felt sick the entire time he was for sale. There is no way to trust strangers to follow the care program you know works, you lose all control. Interested buyers made me fearful and guilty. When I took him off the market, it felt like an enormous burden was lifted. I may not make my goals, and I may annoy my horse, but it's an hour 3-4 times a week, and the rest of the time he is in my care, living a good life.

        You are in a similar position with your horse, really. Whatever you decide to do, my advice is to make a decision that affords you some control over this horse's fate. Personally, I feel euthanasia is a better option than leaving things to chance. We've all read Black Beauty, and nothing has changed.

        Best of luck. It's a tough spot and you are clearly agonizing.

        Absurdly improbable things are quite as liable to happen in real life as in weak literature. -- Ada Leverson


        • #44
          Your best options are: Keep, Lease to someone well known to you and very trustworthy, or Euthanize.

          I have a gelding who survived EPM and mostly recovered but not 100%. Very sound for trail riding, just wasn't going to make a performance horse. Leased him "for care" to a good friend for her therapy program. He stayed for 6 years, but has gotten tired of being banged around on and is coming home. I'm having to sell a very nice OTTB mare I had just acquired last fall to make room for him. She has no limits to her potential and is getting a great home. We make plans and god laughs.

          If you go the lease option, PUT IT IN WRITING! Make it clear that you still own the horse. Even so, go visit him and inquire about him often. Too many people just suck. Completely trust NO ONE.
          Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
          Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


          • #45
            OP, have you read this recent CotH blog? It's the story of a sound horse sold with the promise he would go to a therapeutic riding program. That's not what ended up happening, and he got very lucky. Think about that happening with your serviceably lame horse, and if he doesn't get lucky.


            I gave up up all my riding goals when my older eventer started slowing down, until his full retirement and passing. Because unless you know you can guarantee what happens after you sell them, which newsflash if you sell them, you cannot guarantee them anything; it's only the lucky ones that get pulled out of the pipeline.
            Last edited by WNT; May. 18, 2018, 02:21 PM. Reason: Forgot the story link, derp.
            Leap, and the net will appear


            • #46
              Originally posted by WNT View Post
              I gave up up all my riding goals when my older eventer started slowing down, until his full retirement and passing. Because unless you know you can guarantee what happens after you sell them, which newsflash if you sell them, you cannot guarantee them anything; it's only the lucky ones that get pulled out of the pipeline.
              I really admire this. It is a tough decision, and as I get older I know there are not that many more riding years left, so putting goals on hold is esp. difficult...

              Absurdly improbable things are quite as liable to happen in real life as in weak literature. -- Ada Leverson


              • #47
                Originally posted by sascha View Post
                If you don't love the horse enough to adjust your riding style to fill his unfortunately limited needs, then at least love him enough to put him to sleep.

                There is no shame in that. There is one hell of a lot of shame in re-homing a horse, losing track of it and finding out it met a fate worse than death.
                Thank you for being brave enough to say this. Where do all these unwanted horses come from? Homes where people decide that the horse just doesn't meet someone's purpose anymore. Is that fair to do to our companions? Most of us are not professionals, this is a hobby. We need to stop viewing horses as a piece of equipment needed for our sport and rather a partner that we have made a commitment to for the rest of their life.
                Last edited by Hopeless; May. 20, 2018, 11:26 AM.


                • #48
                  I recently went through the same thing, a bit different scenario. Jackpot is my first horse. He came to me in rough shape, had been through a few different homes after being captured as a 'feral' horse. The first people who had him, used him as bear bait. An older man rescued him, broke him and sold him to a young man, who eventually could not afford to keep him. I paid $400 for the best horse I could have asked for. After several months of training and working with him the first year, I realized I had hit the 'Jackpot'. Jack is a kind, easy-going, albeit lazy dude. Perfect first horse for a timid rider. A year ago, he started dropping weight, and was obviously not feeling well. We'd already dealt with several bouts of colic, so of course I was very concerned. Suspicions were confirmed, Jack had Cushings. He has been doing well on his meds. This last year I hurt my back, and have chosen to no longer ride. I battled with the 'he needs a job' issue, and only recently came to the decision, that we would retire together. Jack is 17, I am almost 50. Never had any aspirations to show, etc, etc. It was difficult for me to make peace with the fact that he is probably still okay to ride, have a job, but I don't trust anyone to care for him like I do. He is my heart horse, and I love him dearly.
                  I believe he may have some new issues creeping up lately, that we are keeping an eye on.
                  I felt a lot of peace when I was able to just say to him, 'Be a horse. Be what you were born to be.' There are times I wish he could go back to running with his herd, where I know he'd be happiest, but he has a huge pen, along with an acre of turnout where he can wander and explore everyday, and his buddy, Bean to keep him company. I know he is safe and cared for with me.
                  If the day ever came where I could no longer care for him, I would put him down. I couldn't send him to an unknown fate after all he has done for me. I feel that I owe him the best years of his life however long that may be.


                  • #49
                    It's not something I would do. I rehomed a perfectly sound horse last year to a woman who came highly recommended with many happy photos, glowing reviews, etc. He was there for about 5 months and I had to buy him back for over $500 because "that is what he would get at auction"...the local kill buyer auction. I'm lucky she gave me the chance to get him back at all, but she totally took advantage of the fact that I cared about the horse and would've done just about anything to make sure he was in a good place. I will NEVER rehome a horse with issues again. If I could not afford my unsound qh gelding or my nutty draft x that I just mentioned, I would euthanize. They might end up in a situation with "one of the good owners" but they probably won't, and people are sneaky. Even checking up on a regular basis, getting the best contract, promising to take the horse back, etc, does not guarantee anything.
                    come what may

                    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                    • #50
                      My guy went to my daughter in law's parents farm about two hours away. I maintain all expenses for vet, farrier, dewormkng, feed etc. I had an appointment to PTS when they offered to take him. I'm forever grateful he's still with us and is ridden lightly around the farm. He's a ham and keep everyone smiling. I hope you can find a family member or friend who can help. Otherwise since you have your own place I'd keep him there. I boarded and that was hard.


                      • #51
                        I have a 11 year old gelding who has also gone lame... he is going to a good friend of mines who has two little girls who love to brush him and sit on him so glad that he has found a nice home! I would recommend seeing if you have any friends who would like to take him for their kids... or just retire him.. I would also recommend getting him shoes? Or boots?