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WWYD when its your family not feeding their horses?

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  • WWYD when its your family not feeding their horses?

    Not sure what I'm really looking for here, but here it goes anyway.

    My uncle passed away on Sunday. He had been in very poor health since his first stroke over a year ago. After the funeral we went over to his home and property where I spotted one very very skinny horse. The others looked ok, maybe a couple ribs here and there but not terribly concerning. Apparently the skinny horse is old but it looks very bad.

    I did not talk to any of his sons about it. It was definitely not a good time being a funeral and all and since I don't know them well at all, I felt things would not go well with that conversation.

    What I did do was tell a friend of mine who is a representative for a large rescue and she is going to stop by and check things out.

    But now I'm terrified that my family will find out that it was me who sent her out. I'm wishing now that I had had the guts to at least mention something to them at the funeral so that they wouldn't feel completely blindsided and I feel terrible to have gone about it in such a round about way. I don't know these people well but this side of the family is extremely close and loyal and I'm nervous about becoming the family outcast.

    Obviously the horse is most important and I'm confident that my friend will handle things tactfully and hopefully the horse will get the help it needs. But I'm still anxious.

    It's so easy when its someone else. I've always been able to be outspoken about horse care when it's someone else. But now that it's my own family, I'm completely lost. Anyone ever been in a similar situation? What did you do ?

  • #2
    I am truly sorry about your uncle, and I agree that a funeral is neither time nor place to bring the subject of *possibily* skinny ponies up. If you really believe that your friend can broach the subject tactfully and anonymously, then that may well be the best way to go.

    If she is a truly reputable rescue in thr area there is no reason for anyone to believe that you made this happen.

    Good Luck to all

    LBF
    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed

    Comment


    • #3
      This is the perfect time for a heartfelt "OMG, I had no idea how bad things were for you all around here! Don't worry about Dobbin, I'll go out and see to him. Is there anything else I can do?"

      If there were ever a time you could get away with fussing about and hovering, now is it. Take advantage and get the poor horse the help it needs NOW.

      SCFarm
      The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

      www.southern-cross-farm.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Sometimes a good blindsiding is exactly what it takes.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's ok. Perhaps they simply need to be educated on how to feed a horse. If they're not horse people, maybe they think throwing two flakes a day at them is enough? You never know.

          Comment


          • #6
            My two cents- I'm not sugar coating

            As somebody who has lost my husband- I agree the day of the funeral is not a time to make a statement about the care of the horses.

            Also, if one horse is skinny and the rest are okay... what is the story on the horse... Is it bottom of the totem pole? Is it not getting feed? Does it need it's teeth done? Is it wormy? Is it old? Is it time for the horse to join it's owner up in Heaven? Has it been a rough winter and it's lost weight- if so can you get a blanket on it if it's still cold? Is it a hard keeper?

            Do you know what kind of horseman your uncle was? Some people have horses but really aren't horseman and don't know how to take good care of them. Are we looking at a matter where they've gotten vaccinations annually- or where once a year they get a saddle thrown on them and go for a ride....

            Are the relatives horse people? Do they need education? It's possible they've been feeding the horses "cow hay" not knowing any better. They may think all horses need ___ amount. Maybe they've even been taken advantage of- ex- sold bad hay.

            Do they need help finding homes for the horses? What are they going to do with the horses? I know of several horses (Camelot) that ended up in the kill pen because owners died and the family sent the horses to auction. Would you be able to live with yourself if your family disposed of his horses that way? At a funeral, I found out that the deceased's beloved cat was taken to a shelter because "we didn't know what to do with it?" Now is the time to ask before you find out later that they were sold to slaughter.

            Was your uncle sick for a long time? If he was, it's quite possible that they were overwhelmed with trying to save a life/ make him more comfortable and may not have paid attention to horses dropping condition. It's also possible that they thought he was taking care of the horses and he wasn't, so they've been 'neglected' for quite a while.

            The family is probably pretty overwhelmed right now- if you haven't experienced a close loss you will NEVER understand what grief does to you- it's mental, it's physical, it's exhausting and overwhelming. I don't wish it on anybody, but most of us will go through it sometime.

            It's also possible that the horses could be part of the estate depending on ownership and laws dividing property. They may have to sell them as part of the estate. Is there value to the horses monetarily... or are they just run of the mill horses? It's possible that they might have to hold onto them till the estate gets more settled or they may be wanting to offload them quickly. Or they could be planning to keep them. Outside of the legal issue there is an emotional issue- some people want to get rid of the old memories... others cling on (sometimes irrationally (and yes, I've been there)) to everything that is left.

            HOWEVER after the funeral 99% of people disappear... people you thought would be there... death is ugly and not fun... people gravitate away from it and away from those involved.

            Step up to the plate and offer to help!

            Don't send some stranger (to them) in there. The family has just been through a major crisis... lost a life- for crying out loud... and you're going to send a stranger in there who will tell them who knows what.

            Be family and help. Don't blame. Don't broadside them with a stranger turning things more upside down than they already are.

            The horse is skinny. (problem)

            Find a solution by helping your family. Don't make a problem worse. Use this as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds... to be the person there when so many people deserted... to do something good in this crazy, messed up world... and ultimately, to do something good for the horses.

            Some potential conversation starters- not all at once.

            "Hey, ______, I know Uncle ____ really loved his horses. As a horseperson, I'd be honored if I can help out with his beloved horses. I know he really cared about them. Which one was his favorite (icebreaker and information finder)?

            What can I do to help? Did you have any plans of what you were going to do with the horses? If you decide not to keep them, I have some contacts and we can find them good homes.

            You have been through so much... let me give you a break... what time do you feed... who gets what... just show me where everything is and I'll take care of feeding the horses for a few weeks. I know it has to be difficult... I'll be over (set a time).

            Do you need help with feeding or cleaning stalls? Horses are a lot of work, trust me, I know, but I'd love to help out. When could I come out?

            Where do you get your grain from? What kind? I know how much the horses meant to my uncle and I'd like to buy a few bags for his buddies.

            I over-calculated on my hay this year, I have some extra alfalfa, would you be interested in it? I think it really might help ____ put some weight on.

            Do you know if Uncle ____ kept any records for deworming or vaccinations? Did he do their teeth every year? What vet did he use, would you mind if I gave them a call (could always ask the vet and might find out history- if the vet is willing to share info). (I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to ask my husband some of the most trivial questions because he took care of something and I now have NO clue what it needs/ how to fix it/ where the manual is/ or sometimes- what is that?)

            Boy, it's been a really rough winter, I have some extra blankets, would it be okay if I brought one over for Dobbin?

            Who is this one? How old is he?

            If after you've tried and they turn you down THEN call in your friend. NOT NOW.

            I hope I haven't hurt feelings- it just hurts to lose a loved one and then it hurts more to find yourself alone and deserted because you lost a loved one. I can't imagine how I would have reacted if a "professional" had been sent in to inform me of how I was lacking in _____ after losing my husband. Be part of the helping and healing... STEP UP TO THE PLATE... communicate- people don't communicate effectively anymore- don't have a stranger do the dirty work... HELP your family... HELP the horses!!!
            http://www.leakycreek.com/
            http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
            John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
            Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by M.K.Smith View Post
              If after you've tried and they turn you down THEN call in your friend. NOT NOW.
              Well, it's too late as she already called, which is too bad.

              But perhaps OP could call her friend and ask her to hold off indefinitely on checking up on these horses. Then OP can employ some of the good tactics listed above.

              But if OP can not get her friend to agree to leave it alone then it's probably best, for family peace, to leave it alone. Maybe follow up in a week or two and ask if they were planning on keeping the horses as you might be interested in one of them (or some conversation along those lines to start the communication).
              And if OP is able to, take on the skinny one and fatten it up then place it or euthanize (depending on the situation) if the other family members are willing to give him up.

              Hopefully, OP's friend is someone who will regard her wishes and not think it is now her Purpose In Life to save these horses, regardless of what the OP requests.

              Comment


              • #8
                Without a doubt, this will be handled tactfully. A rescues job is first to educate and offer assistance, not make accusations and since the rescue is privvy to the situation, rest assured, they will deal with this in a very caring considerate way.

                You did the right thing but very valid points were made. I would bet my bottom dollar that whomever is in charge needs assistance. Often, people hang on to the animals of the terminally ill, or passed on family in an effort to hang on to them. Its going to be ok because, people care.
                Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

                Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by snkstacres View Post
                  Without a doubt, this will be handled tactfully. A rescues job is first to educate and offer assistance, not make accusations and since the rescue is privvy to the situation, rest assured, they will deal with this in a very caring considerate way.

                  You did the right thing but very valid points were made. I would bet my bottom dollar that whomever is in charge needs assistance. Often, people hang on to the animals of the terminally ill, or passed on family in an effort to hang on to them. Its going to be ok because, people care.
                  www.Somermistfarm.com
                  Quality Hunter Ponies

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by M.K.Smith View Post
                    My two cents- I'm not sugar coating

                    As somebody who has lost my husband- I agree the day of the funeral is not a time to make a statement about the care of the horses.

                    Also, if one horse is skinny and the rest are okay... what is the story on the horse... Is it bottom of the totem pole? Is it not getting feed? Does it need it's teeth done? Is it wormy? Is it old? Is it time for the horse to join it's owner up in Heaven? Has it been a rough winter and it's lost weight- if so can you get a blanket on it if it's still cold? Is it a hard keeper?

                    Do you know what kind of horseman your uncle was? Some people have horses but really aren't horseman and don't know how to take good care of them. Are we looking at a matter where they've gotten vaccinations annually- or where once a year they get a saddle thrown on them and go for a ride....

                    Are the relatives horse people? Do they need education? It's possible they've been feeding the horses "cow hay" not knowing any better. They may think all horses need ___ amount. Maybe they've even been taken advantage of- ex- sold bad hay.

                    Do they need help finding homes for the horses? What are they going to do with the horses? I know of several horses (Camelot) that ended up in the kill pen because owners died and the family sent the horses to auction. Would you be able to live with yourself if your family disposed of his horses that way? At a funeral, I found out that the deceased's beloved cat was taken to a shelter because "we didn't know what to do with it?" Now is the time to ask before you find out later that they were sold to slaughter.

                    Was your uncle sick for a long time? If he was, it's quite possible that they were overwhelmed with trying to save a life/ make him more comfortable and may not have paid attention to horses dropping condition. It's also possible that they thought he was taking care of the horses and he wasn't, so they've been 'neglected' for quite a while.

                    The family is probably pretty overwhelmed right now- if you haven't experienced a close loss you will NEVER understand what grief does to you- it's mental, it's physical, it's exhausting and overwhelming. I don't wish it on anybody, but most of us will go through it sometime.

                    It's also possible that the horses could be part of the estate depending on ownership and laws dividing property. They may have to sell them as part of the estate. Is there value to the horses monetarily... or are they just run of the mill horses? It's possible that they might have to hold onto them till the estate gets more settled or they may be wanting to offload them quickly. Or they could be planning to keep them. Outside of the legal issue there is an emotional issue- some people want to get rid of the old memories... others cling on (sometimes irrationally (and yes, I've been there)) to everything that is left.

                    HOWEVER after the funeral 99% of people disappear... people you thought would be there... death is ugly and not fun... people gravitate away from it and away from those involved.

                    Step up to the plate and offer to help!

                    Don't send some stranger (to them) in there. The family has just been through a major crisis... lost a life- for crying out loud... and you're going to send a stranger in there who will tell them who knows what.

                    Be family and help. Don't blame. Don't broadside them with a stranger turning things more upside down than they already are.

                    The horse is skinny. (problem)

                    Find a solution by helping your family. Don't make a problem worse. Use this as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds... to be the person there when so many people deserted... to do something good in this crazy, messed up world... and ultimately, to do something good for the horses.

                    Some potential conversation starters- not all at once.

                    "Hey, ______, I know Uncle ____ really loved his horses. As a horseperson, I'd be honored if I can help out with his beloved horses. I know he really cared about them. Which one was his favorite (icebreaker and information finder)?

                    What can I do to help? Did you have any plans of what you were going to do with the horses? If you decide not to keep them, I have some contacts and we can find them good homes.

                    You have been through so much... let me give you a break... what time do you feed... who gets what... just show me where everything is and I'll take care of feeding the horses for a few weeks. I know it has to be difficult... I'll be over (set a time).

                    Do you need help with feeding or cleaning stalls? Horses are a lot of work, trust me, I know, but I'd love to help out. When could I come out?

                    Where do you get your grain from? What kind? I know how much the horses meant to my uncle and I'd like to buy a few bags for his buddies.

                    I over-calculated on my hay this year, I have some extra alfalfa, would you be interested in it? I think it really might help ____ put some weight on.

                    Do you know if Uncle ____ kept any records for deworming or vaccinations? Did he do their teeth every year? What vet did he use, would you mind if I gave them a call (could always ask the vet and might find out history- if the vet is willing to share info). (I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to ask my husband some of the most trivial questions because he took care of something and I now have NO clue what it needs/ how to fix it/ where the manual is/ or sometimes- what is that?)

                    Boy, it's been a really rough winter, I have some extra blankets, would it be okay if I brought one over for Dobbin?

                    Who is this one? How old is he?

                    If after you've tried and they turn you down THEN call in your friend. NOT NOW.

                    I hope I haven't hurt feelings- it just hurts to lose a loved one and then it hurts more to find yourself alone and deserted because you lost a loved one. I can't imagine how I would have reacted if a "professional" had been sent in to inform me of how I was lacking in _____ after losing my husband. Be part of the helping and healing... STEP UP TO THE PLATE... communicate- people don't communicate effectively anymore- don't have a stranger do the dirty work... HELP your family... HELP the horses!!!
                    Yes!!! This post offers what I think is the best way to handle this situation!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are a lot of good suggestions here, but there is a lot of information missing as well. For instance, OP could offer to help with feeding the horses since her uncle has passed away, but we don't know how close the OP lives or what is going on in the OP's life. There could be things that kept the OP from going that route - she could live really far away, she could have time limitations, etc.
                      Since there has been a death in the family and it is one horse in particular, I think it would be nice to offer to help with the feeding and see if, by making some feed adjustments, he would put some more weight on. The OP may not be able to do that, though. I, too, wonder if things will stay the same or change for these horses. The family may be planning on selling them, in which case the rescue could be helpful.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks for the replies everyone. Friend has not yet gone over and will not be able to for a little while (their road is so obscure that I cannot give her directions so it's going to have to wait a little bit.) Unfortunately I live about 4 hours away so I cannot give them any hands on help. In addition I am not close to these people at all. I have met them only a handful of time so casually calling them up would probably be even more awkward than having my friend do a drive by.

                        My suspicion is that the horse is old and I doubt it's ever seen a dentist so I'm guessing that it's just having a lot of trouble living off the grass. They are extremely poor. The horses live off of the pasture and thats it. They know that the horse is skinny. My mom told me that she mentioned that the horse looked skinny and they just replied that it's old and that they're going to put it down. They have casually mentioned getting rid of some of the horses before. I cannot take any of them. I am a college student and already have two to take care of

                        My friend is very tactful and practical, and she planned on just trying educate and possibly offering to have the rescue take the horse.

                        I am not really sure who owns the horses. My uncle and all of his adult sons have lived on the same property. I believe that my cousin is the one that's responsible for the horses. I just think that they have understandably been so wrapped up in my uncles ill health over the past year that the horses got put on the back burner. Of course there's enough time for the 10-15 dogs that they breed. Sigh. They truly are good people and mean well. My intentions here are to help without judgement. I have just never been in a situation like this and am a bit overwhelmed with trying to do right by the horse without upsetting my family.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sillymoose View Post
                          Thanks for the replies everyone. Friend has not yet gone over and will not be able to for a little while (their road is so obscure that I cannot give her directions so it's going to have to wait a little bit.) Unfortunately I live about 4 hours away so I cannot give them any hands on help. In addition I am not close to these people at all. I have met them only a handful of time so casually calling them up would probably be even more awkward than having my friend do a drive by.

                          My suspicion is that the horse is old and I doubt it's ever seen a dentist so I'm guessing that it's just having a lot of trouble living off the grass. They are extremely poor. The horses live off of the pasture and thats it. They know that the horse is skinny. My mom told me that she mentioned that the horse looked skinny and they just replied that it's old and that they're going to put it down. They have casually mentioned getting rid of some of the horses before. I cannot take any of them. I am a college student and already have two to take care of

                          My friend is very tactful and practical, and she planned on just trying educate and possibly offering to have the rescue take the horse.

                          I am not really sure who owns the horses. My uncle and all of his adult sons have lived on the same property. I believe that my cousin is the one that's responsible for the horses. I just think that they have understandably been so wrapped up in my uncles ill health over the past year that the horses got put on the back burner. Of course there's enough time for the 10-15 dogs that they breed. Sigh. They truly are good people and mean well. My intentions here are to help without judgement. I have just never been in a situation like this and am a bit overwhelmed with trying to do right by the horse without upsetting my family.
                          Considering your situation and location, as well as the adult sons' attitudes/ignorance regarding the horses, I firmly believe you did the best thing!
                          Beth

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