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So, another WWCD thread; concerned about a friend and her horse's well being

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  • So, another WWCD thread; concerned about a friend and her horse's well being

    I have a long time family friend "Jane". She is late middle age, and recently finally got to learn to ride. (last year she started) She's at what seems to be a good barn, and even more recently acquired a horse that she now owns after leasing him on farm.

    "Dobbin" is a nice enough old boy. He was a rescue of some sort, so his back history was unknown. He is older too (late twenties) and creaky. She was doing all low impact stuff, walk, trot, so he was okay for what she is doing.

    I rode "Dobbin" before she did the initial lease on him. He was a basic backyard trained horse, more of a large pony, maybe 14.2. No lateral movement, forward on the bit, really not the greatest brakes. OK for starting on, not a horse who was going to try to get crafty on you, but someone you would outgrow if you wanted to do anything more than basics.

    He also feels pretty creaky, hits the ground fairly hard. Given the age on him, that's understandable. At the time, after riding him for her, I told her my assessment of him was that while he was fine for starting out, he would eventually be limiting if she progressed. I actually warned her not to buy him, at least not right away, but to ride him a year or so and then see.

    Well, she fell in love with him and bought him about a month after she leased him. Ok, not what I would have done, but hey, that's cool, he is a nice boy, and as long as he is working for her, and she is working for him, it's all good. And I am happy for him that he has a doting owner.

    And she has been sounding pretty happy about riding. Remember: this is a woman nearing retirement age herself and had never ridden before. More power to her.

    So she rode from late last winter to now. And this is where the issue that concerns me begins. She started reposting on FB stories about psychic experiences with animals, and stuff like that. Then she posted that she had hired an animal communicator to "read" him.

    I will state this right here: I don't believe in animal communicators, at all. I've heard several, and what comes through has been a lot of ability to read the owner's and the animal's body language and be vague enough to make sweeping comments. I'm sure there will be many people on here who disagree with that, or had different experiences, that's fine. Belief actually isn't the issue here. It's what this communicator told her her horse "wants" to do.

    The communicator told "Jane" that this horse wants to start in a pretty physically demanding discipline,(a western one) a horse who is late twenties, has not done anything this physically demanding since arriving at this barn several years ago, who is already creaky and sore going, and with an unknown history about his past use. And my friend, who has only done w/t, is jumping on it with both feet.

    This just smells like a disaster in the making.

    I live a couple of hours away, and I'm hoping that the trainer she is riding under is wiser than this. I don't know the woman though, only met her the one time I was down there to ride "Dobbin".

    I am also not too thrilled that she is spending lots of money on psychic readings that might get her or her horse hurt. It feels like she is getting taken for a ride (pardon the pun) For all her worldly experience, she is new to this whole scene, and at times is sounding like a green teenager about it.

    So - would this situation concern you if it was someone you knew? Would you stay quiet and wait, hoping the horse flat out can't or won't do it? Speak up? Or wait for the photos of the wreck to be posted on FB?

  • #2
    Yes, I'd say something, and probably get blown off and have to stand back and watch the wreck anyway.

    I have no mercy on the pony, who is about 13 and not creaky at all yet, but the old guy is 26 with Cushing's and chronic founder issues as a result. If somebody told me he "really wants" to take up jumping I'd toss a ground pole out in the field and let him show me how much he wants to take up jumping - betcha he goes around the ground pole like any sensible old man.

    I don't know about your relationship with this gal so I don't know how to approach either the animal communicator business or beating up on a horse with known physical issues. Let's just hope nobody gets hurt too bad if she tries it.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

    Comment


    • #3
      How close are you to this person and how much do you value your friendship with her?

      If you are close enough then I'd tell her that you are concerned about her horse's well being, that he is getting on in years, has creaky joints, and probably isn't up to anything beyond W/T and easy trail rides. You may even want to consider telling her that you think her money is best spent on doing things to help her horse be comfortable in his older years. Perhaps that could mean acupuncture, chiropractor or massage therapy. While those things are expensive, at least they've been well known to have a beneficial effect on the horse's physical well being.

      I wouldn't go further than this regarding your feelings about animal "communicators" only because she's likely to get upset or defensive. If you did feel it was important to tell her you think she's being taken for a ride, you might have to choose between friendship with her and doing what's best for her horse.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. I learned the bottom line was that the person was going to do what the person was going to do, regardless of how advisable it was. I can only imagine how gung-ho she would have been if she thought the horse was telling her to get involved!

        I voiced my concern, and the person went ahead any way. The cross country lessons didn't last long, and the pair was soon back to simple walk/trot patterns in the arena.

        If I had it to do over again, I think I would still speak up. But maybe couch my comment in terms of encouraging a vet visit to check for physical capability before the first lesson. Sometimes hearing a vet say the horse isn't suited physically for a particular discipline is all it takes to dissuade an owner from further exploration.
        Sheilah

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd say something like "What a typical male having a midlife crisis thing for him to think. He's gonna be like one of those guys in his 50's who joins the office basketball games at lunch. They always blow out a knee trying to keep up with the 20 year olds from the mail room. Give him a dope slap and tell him to wise up."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by carp View Post
            I'd say something like "What a typical male having a midlife crisis thing for him to think. He's gonna be like one of those guys in his 50's who joins the office basketball games at lunch. They always blow out a knee trying to keep up with the 20 year olds from the mail room. Give him a dope slap and tell him to wise up."

            Comment


            • #7
              Middle aged woman + new to horses = Anthropomorphism. She is ripe to become injured by her saint of a horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think you could head this off without coming across as a bossy friend ( I have one of these and it is annoying). Since both she and the horse would be new to this discipline, why don't you suggest she find a top notch trainer to teach it to her first on one of their horses. Maybe she would get a clue that her horse would not be in any way suitable for it. Or suggest that before she gives it a try with the old man, maybe a vet could evaluate him first to see how he would hold up.

                However, I think everyone is right, she will do what she will do but hopefully, the old guy will not get harmed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If Dobbin is as creaky & physically compromised as your ride told you, how much chance is there of him being able to exert the effort to do whatever Newbie thinks he "wants" to?

                  Barrels? He'll never make the turns at speed.
                  Reining? He won't have the hocks for slides.
                  Cutting? The cows will fall over laughing.
                  Endurance? The 1st vet check will sideline them.

                  If she just piddles around at whatever it is then noone gets hurt.

                  IMO you are worried about nothing.
                  Unless Newb magically overnight becomes expert in whatever the discipline is she won't have the skill to force her horse to do enough to get hurt.

                  If she intends on having a trainer ride then hopefully the pro will tactfully steer her away.

                  I have a friend whose idea of dressage lacks only the pole coming from pony's shoulders to make a carousel.
                  But she's happy, pony's happy.
                  What's the harm?
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I roped and team penned on my old gelding til he was about 27 years old, rode him til he was 31. He had some arthritis--most do by that age. If treated so they're comfortable, I really don't think there's anything wrong with working them as long as possible. As long as she brings him in to work slowly and methodically, I honestly think it keeps them happy and healthy LONGER. Another friend of mine bought a horse that we were told was 17. We were jumping him and she was doing dressage and all was well. Then we found out he was actually about 10 years older than that! Ha! He showed us!

                    I think that he will self limit activity. And if she uses a trainer, there will be a pro watching over this.

                    I'd keep my mouth shut unless it's simply to ask questions like, "What's your plan?"

                    As for the animal communicator, to each their own. I used one at one point--Toni Trimble--and it was a pretty neat experience. I was taking it more as an entertainment value thing, but she did hit on some things that helped me.

                    It sounds like your friend is immersing herself in the horse stuff and maybe has kind of a fluffy world view right now but is having fun, is excited, and has a mount that is safe and her speed.

                    I wouldn't worry about it.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                      If Dobbin is as creaky & physically compromised as your ride told you, how much chance is there of him being able to exert the effort to do whatever Newbie thinks he "wants" to?

                      Barrels? He'll never make the turns at speed.
                      Reining? He won't have the hocks for slides.
                      Cutting? The cows will fall over laughing.
                      Endurance? The 1st vet check will sideline them.

                      If she just piddles around at whatever it is then noone gets hurt.

                      IMO you are worried about nothing.
                      Unless Newb magically overnight becomes expert in whatever the discipline is she won't have the skill to force her horse to do enough to get hurt.

                      If she intends on having a trainer ride then hopefully the pro will tactfully steer her away.

                      I have a friend whose idea of dressage lacks only the pole coming from pony's shoulders to make a carousel.
                      But she's happy, pony's happy.
                      What's the harm?
                      I agree with this completely. She's approaching retirement age so she really isn't very likely to do anything at any kind of fast speed that would injure the horse. If you really feel you must say something to her, leave out your feelings about animal communicators and make a friendly enquiry along the lines of how she feels her horse will do physically with such a taxing new job.
                      My blog: Crackerdog Farm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with 2Dogs. Very likely your older friend's version of "barrel racing" will be creaking around the barrels about as slowly as she currently creaks around on the flat. Which should be fine. No harm in that. It seems unlikely that between her own limitations and her oldster horse, she's going to do anything approaching a really athletic endeavour. What harm is there in calling yourself a team penner even if all you do is walk and jog a little in the pen with the cows?
                        ~Veronica
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ask her how she'd feel if her husband told her he wanted to take up aying yackle football... just because the old man wants to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Say something like "That sounds interesting. Just make sure your vet clears him for your new activity"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alter-ego View Post
                              I will state this right here: I don't believe in animal communicators, at all. I've heard several, and what comes through has been a lot of ability to read the owner's and the animal's body language and be vague enough to make sweeping comments.
                              I wonder what the animal communicator saw in your elderly friend and infirm old gelding that would lead her to suggest starting such an enthusiastic endeavor? Is it possible that your friend mentioned she has always wanted to do it? Or maybe the bumper sticker on her car was Cowgurl?

                              Maybe the communicator did indeed say that Dobbin would love to take up ultra competitive cow sorting. Maybe Dobbin even did say that. Maybe Dobbin's dream is to do just that.

                              Unless your friend is planning on beating Dobbin to a pulp trying to pursue the new skill, it sounds pretty harmless to support it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have to say that his thread is giving me quite the chuckle.

                                I'm sure my old TB would tell an animal communicater that he would like to be back on the track...oh wait, he tells ME that everyday! Difference is that I'm "tuned in" to his limitations.

                                You could also gently tell your friend that while he may "want" to do that, he is past middle aged and it probably wont be a very good idea.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I haven’t read all of the responses yet. Like you, I think animal communicators are hooey – that said, it sounds like she believes this stuff.

                                  Maybe approach her with “well I know that is what Dobbin SAYS he wants to do, but horses do not always know their limitations, and what is best for them” – MY horse would LOVE to chow down on 30 pounds of sweet feed – but I know that really wouldn’t be good for him.

                                  While Dobbin told the snake oil lady that he would just LOVE to run barrels – its really probably not best for his body at this point in his life. Perhaps you can spice things up by doing some low speed patterns – play with barrels but not race around them?
                                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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