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Horse I gave to a friend being starved...advice please

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    Horse I gave to a friend being starved...advice please

    I need helpful advice. About a year ago I rehomed one of my mustangs with who I thought was a friend. This was a hard to place mare, and she honestly would have never left me had she not begged me for her, and offered what I thought was the perfect home. I was visiting her regularly up until about 4 months ago, and have been so busy I haven’t been able to swing by. Again, I thought she was in a good place, so I didn’t feel the urgent need to go check up on her, as 4 months ago she was happy and healthy.

    I just got a phone call from a friend who got a phone call from two local horse people, because one of them recognized her from where I used to board (right down the road), as she was known as “the horse with the numbers on the butt” (she was slated for long term holding with the BLM and was hip branded). So basically, my friend realized it was her, got more details, and then called me. Three people are ready to call animal control on her because she is apparently starving. They said her other two horses look fine, but her hip bones are sticking out, you can see her ribs, and she has rubbed off half the skin off the front of her body from some sort of allergy. They also said her feet hadn’t been done in months from what they could see (they were not on the property, but right next door).

    I am beside myself. No one that gave me the information wants to be involved, and do not want it getting back to her that animal control is going to be called. They wanted to give me a chance to try and get her out of there before it comes to that. I have always told her I will take the mare back, but she says she loves her and she will never leave her. But with this new information, there is no way I want her to stay there. I have not seen her yet for myself, but I do know two of the three people thinking of turning her in are good horsewomen, and they can tell the difference between a horse that is slightly thin and a horse needing animal control intervention.

    I reached out to the friend who has her and asked her if I could come see her tonight. I used the excuse to bring her a piece of tack that I know she loves, a bosal I had planned on giving her. I could tell immediately she was acting “off” and she kept trying to meet me in town. Finally, I insisted on coming to check on her, and she finally agreed. So tonight I am going to check on her.

    I know I have no legal rights to the mare currently, she has her coggins and title, she owns her. I also have to be delicate about the situation because I don’t want to be excommunicated to where I can’t come check on the mare. If the mare is in as bad of condition as I have been told, how would you handle the situation? I want to be blunt, but I also don’t want to be thrown off the property without access to check on her. I guess if I get thrown off the property (trust me I plan on broaching the subject as nicely as possible, but its going to be hard..she’s just the type that is very reactive and I have a feeling I’m going to get a not nice reaction even by broaching it “nicely”) then I will have to call animal control myself.

    I really do not want her confiscated because she is not going to end up in a home that is appropriate for her. She is a quirky mare with soundness issues, but I’m sure someone will see her brand and think it will be cool to own a mustang, and won’t know what they are doing, or try and ride her when she isn’t rideable, and end up dead or passing her along to the next person down the road. I don’t want her to go through that. I could demand that she let me take the mare back, or I will call animal control, but I still have a feeling she won’t give her back, and then I can’t check on her. At that point it will be in animal controls hands.

    My other option is to offer to transport the mare to the barn down the road I used to board at, and offer to pay for a month or two board for her so she can be turned out on the 30 acres of grass to help gain weight, and feed her myself twice a day on my dime. I have absolutely no problem doing that, but again, she will end up back with this friend at the end of it all and I’m afraid she will end up in the same condition. This is a mare that has always been sleek, fat, and shiny on next to nothing. She is only 8, and she has never had any health issues (or allergies for that matter). So, the mare either needs a vet out, or she’s not feeding her…like at all. The people who contacted my friend said she has lost so much weight over the last month they are truly fearful for her life.

    What would you do? Has anyone gone through this, if so, what did you do? I just want to approach this in the best way so I can have the most favorable outcome for the mare. I’ve been in tears all day at work since I got the phone call from my friend. I know I have no legal rights, but I want to push her back against a wall to get her to relinquish her back to me. I’m livid, as this was a very special mare to me, and the ONLY reason I let her go was because I thought this was a good home. Advice? Now I really wish I would have just leased her to her, because I would have the legal right to pick her up.


    #2
    Originally posted by WildLittleWren View Post
    I need helpful advice. About a year ago I rehomed one of my mustangs with who I thought was a friend. This was a hard to place mare, and she honestly would have never left me had she not begged me for her, and offered what I thought was the perfect home. I was visiting her regularly up until about 4 months ago, and have been so busy I haven’t been able to swing by. Again, I thought she was in a good place, so I didn’t feel the urgent need to go check up on her, as 4 months ago she was happy and healthy.

    I just got a phone call from a friend who got a phone call from two local horse people, because one of them recognized her from where I used to board (right down the road), as she was known as “the horse with the numbers on the butt” (she was slated for long term holding with the BLM and was hip branded). So basically, my friend realized it was her, got more details, and then called me. Three people are ready to call animal control on her because she is apparently starving. They said her other two horses look fine, but her hip bones are sticking out, you can see her ribs, and she has rubbed off half the skin off the front of her body from some sort of allergy. They also said her feet hadn’t been done in months from what they could see (they were not on the property, but right next door).

    I am beside myself. No one that gave me the information wants to be involved, and do not want it getting back to her that animal control is going to be called. They wanted to give me a chance to try and get her out of there before it comes to that. I have always told her I will take the mare back, but she says she loves her and she will never leave her. But with this new information, there is no way I want her to stay there. I have not seen her yet for myself, but I do know two of the three people thinking of turning her in are good horsewomen, and they can tell the difference between a horse that is slightly thin and a horse needing animal control intervention.

    I reached out to the friend who has her and asked her if I could come see her tonight. I used the excuse to bring her a piece of tack that I know she loves, a bosal I had planned on giving her. I could tell immediately she was acting “off” and she kept trying to meet me in town. Finally, I insisted on coming to check on her, and she finally agreed. So tonight I am going to check on her.

    I know I have no legal rights to the mare currently, she has her coggins and title, she owns her. I also have to be delicate about the situation because I don’t want to be excommunicated to where I can’t come check on the mare. If the mare is in as bad of condition as I have been told, how would you handle the situation? I want to be blunt, but I also don’t want to be thrown off the property without access to check on her. I guess if I get thrown off the property (trust me I plan on broaching the subject as nicely as possible, but its going to be hard..she’s just the type that is very reactive and I have a feeling I’m going to get a not nice reaction even by broaching it “nicely”) then I will have to call animal control myself.

    I really do not want her confiscated because she is not going to end up in a home that is appropriate for her. She is a quirky mare with soundness issues, but I’m sure someone will see her brand and think it will be cool to own a mustang, and won’t know what they are doing, or try and ride her when she isn’t rideable, and end up dead or passing her along to the next person down the road. I don’t want her to go through that. I could demand that she let me take the mare back, or I will call animal control, but I still have a feeling she won’t give her back, and then I can’t check on her. At that point it will be in animal controls hands.

    My other option is to offer to transport the mare to the barn down the road I used to board at, and offer to pay for a month or two board for her so she can be turned out on the 30 acres of grass to help gain weight, and feed her myself twice a day on my dime. I have absolutely no problem doing that, but again, she will end up back with this friend at the end of it all and I’m afraid she will end up in the same condition. This is a mare that has always been sleek, fat, and shiny on next to nothing. She is only 8, and she has never had any health issues (or allergies for that matter). So, the mare either needs a vet out, or she’s not feeding her…like at all. The people who contacted my friend said she has lost so much weight over the last month they are truly fearful for her life.

    What would you do? Has anyone gone through this, if so, what did you do? I just want to approach this in the best way so I can have the most favorable outcome for the mare. I’ve been in tears all day at work since I got the phone call from my friend. I know I have no legal rights, but I want to push her back against a wall to get her to relinquish her back to me. I’m livid, as this was a very special mare to me, and the ONLY reason I let her go was because I thought this was a good home. Advice? Now I really wish I would have just leased her to her, because I would have the legal right to pick her up.
    Not knowing the "friend" makes it hard to guess how to deal with this.

    I suppose I would start with offering them a landing spot for the mare. A non-judgment landing spot. Clearly something is going on, be the person willing to help the horse and not judge the human.

    If nothing else works then be the person who goes to animal control with all the details on how the horse is an easy keeper, blah blah blah, starving now.
    Last edited by trubandloki; Sep. 23, 2020, 02:58 PM.

    Comment

      Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
      Not knowing the "friend" makes it hard to guess how to deal with this.

      I suppose I would start with offering them a landing spot for the mare. A non-judgment landing spot. Clearly something is going on, be the person willing to help the horse and not judge the human.

      If nothing else works then be the person who goes to animal control with all the details on how the horse is an easy keeper, blah blah blah, starving now.
      She already knows that this mare can always come back to me. I feel she should have come to me with the deteriorating condition...we message on facebook several times a week and communicate. So this has been hidden from me, purposely. She never once mentioned that she was not doing well, or losing weight, or anything. I also feel if it were a financial issue she would have reached out to me...but that was why maybe I suggest just moving the mare to the boarding barn and helping put the weight on myself.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by WildLittleWren View Post

        She already knows that this mare can always come back to me. I feel she should have come to me with the deteriorating condition...we message on facebook several times a week and communicate. So this has been hidden from me, purposely. She never once mentioned that she was not doing well, or losing weight, or anything. I also feel if it were a financial issue she would have reached out to me...but that was why maybe I suggest just moving the mare to the boarding barn and helping put the weight on myself.
        Asking for help is not easy for some people.
        Knowing she can send the mare back is different than saying "I can't handle this, I have to give up and admit I failed".

        But really, if you want to go in guns blazing then do it. I was just offering a good first step that was, in my opinion, most likely to end with the results you wanted. I know you want to be screaming in her face, but holding that in and being sympathetic might actually help the mare more quickly.

        Comment


          #5
          I have been through this. The people who had our former pony thought she was just getting old, and skinny because of her age. They didn’t understand what to do. I brought them a few bales of Dengie and a heated water bucket, along with instructions as to where to buy more Dengie. They asked questions and then dutifully followed my feeding plan. I wormed the pony, and checked on her regularly. She gained weight and looked good until her death at age 36. Her owners are good people, but had busy lives, and limited time and money to figure out a plan for an aging pony.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by trubandloki View Post

            Asking for help is not easy for some people.
            Knowing she can send the mare back is different than saying "I can't handle this, I have to give up and admit I failed".

            But really, if you want to go in guns blazing then do it. I was just offering a good first step that was, in my opinion, most likely to end with the results you wanted. I know you want to be screaming in her face, but holding that in and being sympathetic might actually help the mare more quickly.
            I plan on being kind and sympathetic. I would never be anything but, I'm actually a very nonconfrontational person, and don't like uncomfortable conversations, but this is a conversation that needs to be had. I am actually glad I have a few hours to calm down, and think things through, before I get there. I will offer to take her back, offer her help (financial or otherwise if that's the issue), and offer to take the mare to the boarding barn down the road (even though I don't board there anymore) to turn her out on grass and feed her myself.

            Comment


              #7
              If she's losing weight and hair that quickly then I would probably add a vet visit to the list of things to mention/offer. Especially if the other horses look ok.

              Comment


                #8
                Is it possible that she is feeding the mare, but there may be a medical issue involved that she is trying to fix on her own? I hope you can put your emotions aside and maybe find out what has been happening since the mare started the downhill slide. She may be getting run off from the food or if she has soundness issues it could be she is in really bad pain somewhere and we all know that sometimes pain = weight loss.

                Could the skin issue be the cause of her drastic weight loss?

                Best wishes tonight and I pray you have a favorable outcome and can get this mare some immediate help. Keep us posted.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                  Is it possible that she is feeding the mare, but there may be a medical issue involved that she is trying to fix on her own? I hope you can put your emotions aside and maybe find out what has been happening since the mare started the downhill slide. She may be getting run off from the food or if she has soundness issues it could be she is in really bad pain somewhere and we all know that sometimes pain = weight loss.

                  Could the skin issue be the cause of her drastic weight loss?

                  Best wishes tonight and I pray you have a favorable outcome and can get this mare some immediate help. Keep us posted.
                  Thank you. I'm trying my best to approach this from a friend point of view. We talk several times a week, perhaps she has had her vet out and not said anything to me about it, because she didn't want me to see her condition, whether that be from embarrassment or whatever. I just feel we were on a friendship level where we shared a lot about both of our lives, and I'm perplexed why she hasn't mentioned this. She knows I have rehabbed rescue horses and I'm very well versed on proper hay and feed etc. All she had to do was pm me or give me a call and say hey...mare is dropping weight...do you have any suggestions? But again, like you mentioned, perhaps she had her vet out. After I see her condition tonight that will be one of the questions I ask.

                  I do know she feeds the horses separately in stalls, so she isn't being chased off of her food..if she is getting any. Her other two horses look fine according to the people who saw the condition of my old mare, aside from some slight skin allergies. I'm going to ask her what she's feeding her, offer suggestions, anything to try to help this mare. She was a very special horse for me, she was a challenging one that I spent three years on. I love her dearly. I know she does too, but ask for some help before it gets to the point of people wanting to call animal control! If she hasn't had a vet out, I may offer to pay for her to get one out. I don't mind helping her out. But I have to know in order to help. I still wouldn't know had I not gotten that phone call today.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Well, firstly I would try to remain calm and non judgmental until you see the horse yourself. Pretend you have not heard any negative comments regarding the horse’s condition. IF the mare is truly in poor shape ACT surprised and gush offers for help / home.

                    Best of luck for you and horsey!

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by lenapesadie View Post
                      Well, firstly I would try to remain calm and non judgmental until you see the horse yourself. Pretend you have not heard any negative comments regarding the horse’s condition. IF the mare is truly in poor shape ACT surprised and gush offers for help / home.

                      Best of luck for you and horsey!
                      Yes my plan was to act surprised. The people that are planning on calling animal control want to stay completely anonymous and unfortunately there are some identifying things that she could easily figure out who it was, if I told her I received a call. Very few people go back to her property, so she will know it was them, and they want their names out of it, which I completely understand.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        See the horse before you go ballistic. It's possible it's not as bad as the grapevine makes it out to be. If Animal Control is involved, you might want to approach them with the back story and offer to take the horse. Especially if you have the BLM paperwork and the friend has no bill of sale.

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                          See the horse before you go ballistic. It's possible it's not as bad as the grapevine makes it out to be. If Animal Control is involved, you might want to approach them with the back story and offer to take the horse. Especially if you have the BLM paperwork and the friend has no bill of sale.
                          She has the title (she wanted to frame it, which I get), and the current coggins. However, the Title is still in my name, she never sent in for a transfer I do believe......

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I can't imagine the position you're in. It must feel so helpless to see a mare you loved but currently have no control over to be going through such a sudden and sharp decline. To have this happen under your friend's care and not have her say a peep would be very upsetting.

                            I think the most important thing you can do this evening is to show up with your emotions in check, kindness foremost among your priorities, and an open mind. Ultimately you have zero standing in this mare's care, and will get to opine upon/participate in her return to health only at the discretion of her new owner. You *do not know* whether she is being starved, and to show up with that as your primary assumption will not shake out to the mare's benefit, or to you continuing to be in the loop on her care.

                            What you do know - from seemingly reliable second hand information - is that she has had a substantial recent weight drop. There are many things that can cause this, though of course being starved by your friend is one of those things. You have mentioned calling animal control in your OP. Perhaps take a look into your local animal welfare legislation. Often times if there is food and water on the property, there is very little they can do. By which I mean you do not necessarily have the leverage you think you have in being prepared to call them. This isn't a situation where either she does as you say, or you call animal control and they force her to do as you say. You are going to need to listen and persuade.

                            In short, perhaps the owner's behaviour has been wretched toward this mare, or perhaps there's a much more complex back story than what the neighbours could see over the fence. Approaching the owner with kindness and diplomacy is your best bet toward being able to positively influence the outcome of this situation for the mare. Good luck!
                            The plural of anecdote is not data

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by SecondInCommand View Post
                              I can't imagine the position you're in. It must feel so helpless to see a mare you loved but currently have no control over to be going through such a sudden and sharp decline. To have this happen under your friend's care and not have her say a peep would be very upsetting.

                              I think the most important thing you can do this evening is to show up with your emotions in check, kindness foremost among your priorities, and an open mind. Ultimately you have zero standing in this mare's care, and will get to opine upon/participate in her return to health only at the discretion of her new owner. You *do not know* whether she is being starved, and to show up with that as your primary assumption will not shake out to the mare's benefit, or to you continuing to be in the loop on her care.

                              What you do know - from seemingly reliable second hand information - is that she has had a substantial recent weight drop. There are many things that can cause this, though of course being starved by your friend is one of those things. You have mentioned calling animal control in your OP. Perhaps take a look into your local animal welfare legislation. Often times if there is food and water on the property, there is very little they can do. By which I mean you do not necessarily have the leverage you think you have in being prepared to call them. This isn't a situation where either she does as you say, or you call animal control and they force her to do as you say. You are going to need to listen and persuade.

                              In short, perhaps the owner's behaviour has been wretched toward this mare, or perhaps there's a much more complex back story than what the neighbours could see over the fence. Approaching the owner with kindness and diplomacy is your best bet toward being able to positively influence the outcome of this situation for the mare. Good luck!
                              Thank you. I agree, I jumped to the worst conclusions, but the way they described her doesn't even sound like her I'm sort of scared to see what condition she is in. I'll be there in about 2 hours, so I'm just trying to stay calm, take deep breaths, and pray it isn't as bad as everyone is saying it is. I do know animal control in our area sucks. There was a lady who had 19 horses on 5 acres and they kept escaping, they were all starving, but because she had hay in her garage (which, by the way, was never fed to the horses, just sat there..probably to keep animal control at bay), they wouldn't do anything. Two horses died before they would intervene. So unless she is a 1 on the scale I don't see them helping much, but one can always hope. It is my last choice to call animal control, but I also can't sit by and watch her decline if she is doing nothing to remedy it (which I hope she already is, or will, once we meet tonight and I gently suggest a vet, or different feed etc).

                              The hardest part is knowing I will be moving in January all the way from FL to TN. Who will check in on her then?

                              Comment


                                #16
                                The mare may have dental issues. I have seen two skulls of mustangs found on the range. The teeth were a death sentence.

                                Best of luck, OP. Whatever you do, at least you are doing something.

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Brown Derby View Post
                                  The mare may have dental issues. I have seen two skulls of mustangs found on the range. The teeth were a death sentence.

                                  Best of luck, OP. Whatever you do, at least you are doing something.
                                  Could be. I had her floated a year ago right before she went to her but she definitely could have something going on in there. I will mention the possibility to her.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Good luck! I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you to be in this situation. Please keep us updated.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Jingles for this mare! Hoping that she is not near as bad as people are saying and the solution for what is wrong is a quick and easy fix.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Wow, that is really horrible! Why the other horses would be in decent shape and not this mare is strange. I hope it isn't as dramatic as it sounds.

                                        Please check on her, but don't offer to save her without you getting her back. You don't want her selling the mare as soon as she's in decent weight, right out from under you. I did something quite similar and that's exactly how it turned out. They sold the mare and one day she was just gone. I found out later the mare was dead from neglect at the new home.

                                        If your help is refused, I would just walk away and call AC. It's not true the mare will end up anywhere bad. In fact, you might be able to bid on her if they do public auction at the end of rehab. Or, find out what rescue she goes to.

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