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When is it time to let go?

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  • When is it time to let go?

    I don't want to be attacked for this please, it is hard enough as it is.
    I am still in high school, and I have a mare who I've had for 5 years now. She has become unrideable, it has been progressing slowly to this stage for the past year. She is only 10, but is now unrideable due to reasons unknown, but she has always been a bit of a wild child. I have spent all the money I can on her, but being in school there just not enough hours in the day to make enough money to fix her. Nothing abnormal has been noted so far. That being said, she has always been a "typical" mare, very dominant, field-bully type of horse. She is spooky, reactive and has little to no steering. Known to bolt and kick out. She is hard to handle (bucks, rears, bolts, bites when being led) and is often uncontrollable even for me, who she trusts more than anyone else. For these reasons, I don't think she would be a suitable companion for anyone elses horses, she would not be suited to a ridden home and probably can't be used as a broodmare (shes a standardbred, very looked down upon here). The last thing I want is to find a home for her and then later find out she is being neglected or abused. I would rather have her PTS here.
    To add to that, even if she was in optimal health and rideable, she would only be worth a few hundred dollars (if that) due to being a standardbred (worth nothing here in NZ).
    And to top it all off, I am going to college next year, so it will become even harder for me to afford her.
    Is it fair to try find a home for this sort of horse? Or am I better to bite the bullet and have her PTS?

  • #2
    The Golden Rule of Equine Husbandry is that you give the horse what it needs, when it needs it, and in appropriate quantity and quality.

    Note that the standard is the needs of the HORSE, not the needs (especially the emotional needs) of the owner or others looking on.

    As part of your progression to responsible adulthood you should do what YOU believe to morally and ethically correct in your circumstances. The voices of the crowd around you are but "tinkling bells and sounding cymbals." If it is your considered opinion that you cannot reliably provide what the horse needs then you either sell it, donate it, or euthanize it. This is a completely morally and ethically sound decision. It will also likely be a painful one for you as you suffer the both loss of the horse and cruelty of people who condemn you for your decision.

    Does this really "suck?" It does. But sometimes being an adult means you make decisions that are painful. Do what you know is right for you and the horse.

    Best of luck to you as you go forward with your decision.

    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


    • #3
      ^ This....

      No condemnation here
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      • #4
        If you don't think her behavior is due to a lack of training/poor handling, then there's clearly something going on with the mare that is unfortunately most likely going to be expensive to treat -- if there's any treatment available. It's anyone's best guess what her problem. She's also probably not a good candidate to be a mom.

        Definitely nothing wrong with making the choice to euthanize if she's this violent. She could hurt someone! She could hurt you!


        • #5
          Agree with the above posters. Also, know that you don’t have to announce to the world your decision. Tell trusted friends who will support you, and no one else needs to know your business.


          • #6
            What G said, couldn't be said better. Love can be letting go the kindest way possible, and in your case PTS done with love and respect is a viable option I would choose if I were in your shoes. Life is full of hard and easy choices. I'm sorry you have this one put in front of you at such a young age.


            • #7
              How long have you had her? 5 years? What was done with her before you got her?

              How often do you exercise her or work with her? Is she stalled or on pasture?

              Does she have lameness or health issues or is she unrideable due to behaviors?

              What experience do you have with horses? How do you discipline her for misbehavior?

              She sounds like a typical horse that is turned out on pasture with minimal handling. A very dominant horse that has been allowed to do whatever she pleases. My paint mare was not handled the first 2 years of her life. She was pushy and excitable. She would bolt off, buck, rear, and act like a wild animal. With a consistent investment in time and daily handling, she turned into a lovely riding horse. I ride bareback in a halter - take her swimming, go camping, and ride by myself on trails. She could have been a monster. We had some major battles over trailer loading, but now she self loads. She has a great deal of sass and attitude and isn't afraid to throw her weight around if you don't let her get her way. I'm as strict as i need to be and once we established boundaries, she turned out to be a really nice horse. But I'm not afraid to yell at her when she is being a brat, as she will still test you. "Oh look at that gelding, let me drag you off and go squeal and kick at him..." Thankfully she isn't really malicious , just a bit headstrong. She taught me a great deal about dealing with dominant horses because they need a much stricter approach. My mild mannered mare is miss perfect and never steps a foot out of line or needs a correction for anything. The worst thing she might do is grab grass. Literally the nicest mare i have ever met. She absolutely loves people, even more than horses, so she will do anything you ask.

              Timing on your release is critical, as is using the correct amount of discipline. If you get too aggressive, you end up with a fearful or fear aggressive animal.

              Once you establish boundaries, most horses don't try to bite or kick you. If your horse is trying to bite you, then she thinks she is boss over you. My horses would not dream of biting anyone. I don't let them shove people with their noses either- that is a big no-no for me. I've had other people's horses nearly shove me over with their nose and I hate that.

              The problem may be you, especially if you have limited time and resources to deal with a dominant horse. Ten years old is still young enough to have a useful life. I would re-home.


              • #8
                I too have a Paint mate who was dumped at auction as a 2 year old because she ran people over, and while she still tests you, she is now a big sweety.

                I read this post as: 13 year old child given 5 year old OTSB that never got properly trained, now kid is 18, horse has been allowed to go feral, decision needs to be made.

                The humans here have failed this horse. My first suggestion would be to try to rehome her to someone with a few training skills, especially groundwork. Do you have rescues in NZ?

                I doubt this is a "bad" horse. She wouldn't have lasted 5 years in SB world if that were so. It's just she was given to a child with no training skills and allowed to sit in a pasture 5 years after she scared and defeated the child.

                I would really try to find a giveaway home to someone who likes a project.

                I say this knowing a number of OTSB. They can be a handful for children or newbies but have a lot of good qualities once you retrain them for saddle.



                • #9
                  Ok I did a fast Google. There are several SB rescues in NZ on FB. I suggest your reach out to them for advice and see if you can rehome through them. I am sure your situation is not unique.


                  • #10
                    OP, I've been where you are. No advice because every situation is different. Big hugs. It's obvious you care about this mare. She's lucky, regardless of what you decide to do.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                      Ok I did a fast Google. There are several SB rescues in NZ on FB. I suggest your reach out to them for advice and see if you can rehome through them. I am sure your situation is not unique.
                      If it was me, I'd check out the rescues first (and note: not just whether they will take the horse, but what will happen to it once they have it -- because rescues, like everything else in the horse world, can go terribly wrong.)

                      If no rescue will/can take her, I see absolutely nothing wrong with euthanizing her.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by quietann View Post

                        If it was me, I'd check out the rescues first (and note: not just whether they will take the horse, but what will happen to it once they have it -- because rescues, like everything else in the horse world, can go terribly wrong.)

                        If no rescue will/can take her, I see absolutely nothing wrong with euthanizing her.
                        Don't euthanize without at least contacting the breed rescues. They will have a soft spot for their breed of choice. I suspect that the case of an OTSB given to an inappropriate home (no saddle training, child rider) and then stuck in a pasture to go feral is not uncommon and will not faze them much. They will have the skills to come out and evaluate her.


                        • #13
                          I don't know if the vet will euthanize over a training/handling issues alone, unless she is dangerous. Here in the states it can be difficult to get a dog or cat euthanized sometimes depending on the vet.

                          I see no reason why you shouldn't consider euthanasia and that is up to you because you know her situation in full.

                          If it is a reliable breed rescue (not one who just takes any horse offered) who can evaluate her and her ability to be successfully retrained and re homed then I would at least look into that before euthanasia.

                          You are being very responsible and mature in your thinking. I agree that you rehoming her yourself to some individual is not a good idea.