Saturday, July 26, 2008

The hard part of boarding retired horses

When I talk to people about what I do for a living, they often have a very romanticized idea about everything. They have these visions that you spend your days looking at the pretty horses out in the pasture. And I do spend a lot of time doing just that! And I also enjoy getting to know the residents, grooming them, feeding them, and just generally interacting with them. Of course their is also stall cleaning, pasture maintenance, fence repair, messing around with blankets, but that is all another post for another day! All in all it is a very satisfying feeling to look around and see a farm full of happy horses, grazing on gorgeous pasture, very content with their life.

Their is one major downside to all of that perfection though. Eventually, they cross the rainbow bridge and are no longer with us. Since I am the primary caretaker of these horses I view each and every one of them as my horse. I become as attached to them as if they were my horse. So every time one passes away it is like losing your horse. It isn't like this happens every day obviously, but it does happen.

Just last week, on Wednesday 7/23, we lost a wonderful mare named Mable. Mable was one of the sweetest horses with an adorable personality. Most of Mable's life was sub-par, to put it lightly. Mable was a Quarter Horse/Saddlebred cross, and I imagine very little, if any, thought was put into her breeding. Probably about as much as thought and effort as was put into her care for a long time. If you want to read about the many reasons why backyard, indiscriminate breeding of horses is a bad idea, you should visit the fugly horse blog. Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying Mable was a worthless horse or a mistake, but I am saying her life was pretty rotten for a really long time, and she is very lucky that she didn't wind up on a slaughter truck.


Mable in spring 2007 (photo above)

The best thing that ever happened to Mable was when a very loving person named Miranda rescued her. Mable was 18 years old when that happened, and I might be off by a year or two as my memory is a bit fuzzy. For 18 years Mable was half starved (sometimes more than half) and physically abused. She had her teeth floated for the first time in her life at 18 years old after Miranda rescued her from her breeders/owners. Miranda told me stories about just sitting in her stall with her for hours, hoping for the chance to simply touch Mable.


Mable and Harmony grazing


Miranda's patience, kindness and love paid off as Mable transformed into a happy, healthy, and mostly trusting horse. I say mostly simply as she would definitely keep an eye on you at first, especially strange men, but would quickly let her guard down. One of the things I miss the most about Mable are her big, soft eyes. Her eyes said so much, especially when you met her the first time. They said they desperately wanted to trust you and for you to show her kindness, but history had taught her this did not always happen. She truly loved her life on our retirement farm and was a joy to be around every day. She was such a gentle, reassuring presence, and always so appreciative of anything you did for her.


I am very appreciative and thankful to Miranda that we were able to be a part of Mable's life for almost two years. I am glad that we were part of her special group of people that Mable allowed into her inner circle. My only regret is that she had to live such a rotten life for almost 20 years. Rest in peace Mable, you are greatly missed by all of us here at Paradigm Farms.



Mable in October 2007


One of my favorite Mable expressions: the pointed nose while
receiving a vigorous wither scratching.



2 comments:

amykevin said...

Ohhhh....I am so sad! I loved Mable! She was such a sweetheart!

verylargecolt said...

I loved her pictures! Poor Harmony, she keeps outliving her best friends. Hope she has another buddy now!