Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Really Love Him But . . .

Just as a warning this post has turned into a bit of a rant from me, and if I've offended you I don't really care. You probably deserved it. This is my blog and therefore MY opinion is the one that counts here!

Please do not call me, e-mail me, or contact me in any way about retiring your horse for free. The answer is NO. I can't afford to retire your horse for you. I have my own retirees that I am supporting.

And while we're on the subject I've got a news flash for you. If your horse is truly unrideable and pasture sound only, no one else is going to want him. Look at the thousands and thousands of horses that are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter every month. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those horses could have used a companion home like the one you are seeking for your horse. Do you know how many truly good "companion" homes there are out there? VERY FEW in case you are truly interested. There are lots and lots of horses out there that have lost their "value" as far as riding horses. There are a few people out there who will take these horses as they feel sorry for them but the ratio of horses needing kind people who will assume the responsibility vs. people who are trying to dump their liabilities on someone else is pretty dramatically skewed, and not in the horses' favor.

Does it really make you feel better to go on and on about how much you love Dobbin and how great he is and what a wonderful horse he is as you are trying to dump him? And for the love of all that is holy please don't tell me how you can't afford him anymore since you now have a new horse to ride. The issue here is not that you can't afford him it, is that you won't afford him now that he is no longer rideable. If you could afford him when he was rideable, and you can now afford another rideable horse, the only problem here is that you don't want to pay the bills now that things aren't perfect anymore. I think my favorite part about these predictable conversations is that you will be checking references and a good home is a must. So you will be demanding that someone else step up and do what you aren't willing to do, and apparently they need to be willing to give a lot more than you are!!!

Since I'm on a roll now I have a few other tidbits for you to think about. The therapeutic riding facilities are not on the hunt for unsound horses. They need horses that can work in their programs. The horse rescues aren't standing around going "gosh, I really hope someone brings us another horse to take in today. We have all this space, time and money but no horses to take care of." The university equestrian teams need horses that are suitable for riding and showing.

To summarize things here, the bottom line is if you really care about Dobbin as much as you claim to, suck it up and do the right thing. Either cough up the money to continue to support him, and if you are absolutely unwilling or unable to do that then euthanize the horse. Trust me when I say there are far, FAR worse fates for a horse than euthanasia. I've had more than one horse show up here after it was given away as a companion, only to be given away again and again and finally wound up starving somewhere. These two horses were lucky because in each case a good Samaritan was willing to take the time and effort to track down the horse's story and find the old owners.

Oh, and in case you are wondering I have walked in your shoes. I had to retire my horse young due to injury and I basically didn't ride for a few years. I wasn't in a position to replace her and support another one at the time that it happened. So yes, as a matter of fact I do know what it feels like to be dealt a bad hand of cards. I chose to support my horse because I wasn't stupid enough to think that someone was going to do it for me. Or maybe it was just that my parents taught me about this thing in life called responsibility. Or maybe it is just that I really do love my horse. Bridget gave me everything she had when I was riding and showing her and I couldn't have looked myself in the mirror knowing I had dumped her to an uncertain fate. She is still with me today at the ripe old age of 16 years young and I smile every day when I see her.
Bridget in September of this year
Bridget packing a friend's sister around in short stirrup. I don't actually have any pictures of me showing her saved on my computer. She's jumping the snot out of this tiny little jump, she jumped the kid loose!
Bridget napping with her roomies in October 2007. Bridget is the one in the middle lifting her head, I disturbed her nap when I walked up with the camera.

Bridget under the lights in my arena; I think I took this in 2001

December 2002; Bridget letting me know she wasn't too happy about being kept in for a few days due to weather. She has never lacked for opinions! This picture was actually published in the Chronicle of the Horse a few years ago, Bridget rearing with a mouth full of hay!


Suzanne said...


ezra_pandora said...

People will never learn in this throw away society.

Awesome picture of your girl rearing, WITH food in mouth. lol

Sport's Mom said...

Amen Sister! I have a 36 year old useless spooky pasture puff with overshot knees and locked ankle joints who was given to me because his owner (who had him since he was four) did not want to pay board for him. It makes me so angry!

Jason said...

We get several calls or emails every week from people who mistake us for a rescue (or maybe not!!) and who are looking to dump their unsound/unrideable/dangerous horse(s) on us or on somebody else. I'm not going to say that there are never legitimate reasons to need to get out of a horse, but I have yet to hear one from the people who have contacted us about this matter.

Frankly, it would bother me a whole lot less if they were forthright about what they were trying to do, but they never are.

The conversation usually ends pretty quickly when after several minutes of listening to how much they love their horse we break in and explain that (a) we are a boarding facility and this is what we do for our LIVING, and (b) we are FULL (!!) of paying customers at present, but would be happy to put their names on a waiting list, should anything open up in the future.

If they haven't hung up at this point, they almost certainly have after we've explained that in our eyes responsible horse ownership means either looking after your problem horse until it dies naturally, or euthanizing it if you can't. It certainly does NOT mean dumping it on someone else.

~*~Amy~*~ said...

Gosh....I didn't realize that Bridgette is only 16! I feel so lucky that Dezi has been sound for so long. (Knocking on wood!) And he will always have a home no matter how decrepid he gets! I am decrepid & my hubby is not putting me down or getting rid of me! :D

I get calls all the time from idiot pet owners & people who are leaving for the holidays the next day & call me last minute b/c they "forgot" about their pets! WTF???

The Barn Bitch said...


I love listening to the gush of "love" these people spew all while trying to shove the leadline into whoever's hands will take it. GAH!

I've had the HONOR to have two old mares to care for and I wouldn't have changed a thing. One was my old pushbutton show horse who carted me and my kids around for 12 years (she's the one on the right in my picture-her daughter, who I also have, on the left). I retired her when it was time and I loved and cared for her until the day she died at 27. I then took in a foster horse, who at 18 was "donated" to a rescue after years of racing and broodmare service for her "family". When she stopped pulling her own weight they tossed her to the wolves. Although she's not technically "mine", she will stay with me until the day she dies. I will do for her what her owners should have done ....a peaceful, quiet, well-earned retirement.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Like I always say, if you do not love your old/broken horse enough to provide for him/her, WHY on EARTH would you think someone ELSE, who has never MET your horse, would?

The thing that frosts me is thinking about what these horse-dumpers DO see fit to spend $300-$400 a month on. Vacations? Shoes? Handbags? Video games? You know the list of total non-necessities goes on and on and on...

Catherine said...

I couldn't agree more

And I think your mare is really something! Good for you for doing the right thing by her!

AliFromNY said...

I always felt that when purchasing a horse, you have to consider that at some point the horse will grow old or maybe become lame and have to be retired. You have to prepare for that, it comes with the responsibility of owning a horse. Of course there will always be instances where people fall on hard times, lose their jobs, ect and can no longer afford their horse. And that's a shame and a reality. But your horse growing old is something that should not come as a surprise.

My personal story with Sebastian is as follows. I've owned him for, gosh, 13 years. The year before I retired him he was at the barn I ride at doing pony camp and being ridden by beginners. As a 23 years old, he seemed to love this job and did it quite well. The following October, I decided to retire him. Not because he was lame or too old to be ridden anymore (he would still try and buck me off if he was frisky) but because he had been the most amazing horse I had ever known and he deserved a nice, long retirement. I could have kept him around through the winter, and he could have done beginner lessons again the next summer (and I was paying a very reduced board because he was a lesson horse), but he got so bored in the indoor ring, and the grass in the paddocks died in the winter, I decided it was time. And I'm so happy that I found Paradigm and could provide Sebi with a wonderful retirement.

These animals give us so much, and try so hard for us everyday, it is the least we can do to give them comfort in their last years.

And, on a lighter note, perhaps, the board at Paradigm is so incredibly reasonable vis a vie the services and care that Melissa and Jason provide, I just have to say, "Give me a break!" to anyone who is looking for a free ride.

Sorry for the long post, but this is a topic that I feel quite strongly about.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Well Ali, my post was about 10x longer than yours so don't feel too bad! You are one of the good guys, it is just shocking to me how many people go on and on about not being able to afford him anymore now that they have a new horse. Well why did you buy another horse knowing you couldn't support two????? And I just find the whole reference checking speech just irritating. You are going to check references on someone to make sure they are willing to do for your horse what you aren't willing to do. Give me a break.

I'm getting wound up again, better stop now!