In my last post I covered the frequently asked questions that we get in regards to starting a retirement farm. We have another set of questions that we are asked multiple times per week as well, not in regards to starting a retirement farm, but in regards to what someone can do with a completely unrideable but otherwise healthy horse.
1. Are you a rescue? No, we are not a rescue. All of the horses retired with us are here because they have a loving owner who is willing to step up and pay for them to enjoy retirement. Before you start sending me hate mail I'm not saying any horse owner who chooses not to retire their unrideable horse is a bad person so calm down. I am saying we are not a rescue, we are not a non-profit, all of the horses here have an owner who pays their bills and we will not support your horse for free. If you want your horse to be retired at our lovely facility with excellent care you will have to make the choice to pay the board bill.
2. What happens if someone does not pay the board bill? We screen our clients carefully, as carefully as they screen us, and have never been faced with this decision. However, if someone ever decided to stop paying the board bill for their retiree we would not continue to support the horse at our expense. That is a foolish decision on our part that could potentially affect our ability to care for the other horses retired with us. If someone ever did abandon a horse in our care the horse would be euthanized.
I am fully aware that the hate mail will start rolling in now that I have made that statement. I would not enjoy it, I would cry a lot, and I would hate being forced into that decision by the horse's owner, but at the end of the day it is the most fair decision to us and the horse. I am thankful none of our clients would ever dream of abandoning their horse. There are only two other options in this scenario, and they are attempt to place the horse with a rescue or try to find someone willing to take the horse. I think both of those options have the potential to have far worse outcomes for the horse than euthanasia.
3. I love my horse but he can no longer be ridden. I cannot afford to pay retirement board, would you consider retiring him for free? This is another variation on question 1 above. The answer is no, we will not retire your horse for free or for a discounted rate. For further explanation see my answer to question 1 above.
4. I cannot afford to retire my horse and he can no longer be ridden, do you know of any potential homes for a companion horse? My answer is always that I don't know of any potential companion homes because that is the truth. People ask me all the time if I know of someone looking for a companion horse. As of yet I've never had a single person ask me if I know of any free companion horses available.
This question in itself does not bother me. From time to time you can be the lucky person that finds a good companion home for your unrideable horse. The part that kills me is that it is usually followed up with: must be an excellent home, must have excellent vet and farrier references, must sign a contract that they will not sell or give away the horse away, blah blah. It is all of these "must do" items that really make me shake me head.
OK, let's cut to the chase here. You could afford the horse when you could ride him, but now that you cannot ride the horse you can no longer afford him. The reason is because you are planning to get another horse you can ride. I absolutely do not blame anyone for wanting to get a horse they can ride. However, if you don't want to pay the bill for the permanently broken horse any longer you need to man up and euthanize the horse. There are fates much worse than a peaceful passing. I cannot respect the fact that someone else MUST be willing to provide an EXCELLENT home of which you approve, agree to do it for the life of the horse, sign a contract in blood, pass all of your background checks . . . yet you yourself are unwilling to do all of these things. In other words promise to do everything I'm not willing to do for the horse, and promise to do it until he dies.
Slinky, Walden, Lightning and Fabrizzio
O'Reilly and Merlin
Duesy and Lucky
O'Reilly, Walden, Fabrizzio, Merlin and Hesse
Lightning, Bruno, Slinky and Duesy
Merlin in the lead followed by Bruno
Norman and Traveller
Kennedy was getting groomed by both Stormy and Clayton
Johnny and Murphy
Taco and Nemo
Alex and Blu
foggy morning view