Thursday, July 16, 2015

More FAQs

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

pretty sunset


jeninmn said...

Thank you for this post. I applaud you on your frankness discussing the issues of horses who have lived past their usefulness to their owners. I see so few people willing to come out and say that euthanization may just be the kinder option. I almost think some folks are so afraid of having to make that call that they try to find someone else who has to do it for them. Sad.

RuckusButt said...

No hate mail here, I agree 100%. I get pretty irritated at those "must be forever home" ads for companion horses. Of course I hope this decision is still a long way off for me but my horse is my responsibility, for life.

EvenSong said...

We're just starting to get those "retire my horse for free?" inquiries. And the local rescue wants us to "foster" for them as well. I need paying residents so I can pay the bills.
Your last point, about owners who want THE BEST for their retired horses, but want someone ELSE to provide it, is majorly irksome for me! See it all the time on local horse sites...
I don't see that your post should elicite any hate mail--you speak the truth. But then, I think you're "singing to the choir." Those who follow your blog know the value of owners who care enough for their retired competitor or beloved family critter to provide for their "golden years."

2 Punk Dogs said...

I had a former friend try to stick me with a 30 year old horse that was so lame it would start to fall over on you when you tried to pick the other foot. It was fine as long as it had regular hock injections, daily meds, supplements, senior feed and special bagged hay. The person stopped paying board and said that I was mean because we wouldn't let it stay "for free" on the farm. The hay, grain, vet and farrier bills weren't free, I was paying them & it wasn't cheap. The property taxes aren't cheap either.
It is so frustrating when someone gets the benefit of having a great riding horse for years and then expects others, who did not get the benefit of riding and showing that horse, to take care of it with no compensation.

Vivian Vetere said...

I agree with your comments completely. People are just so unrealistic about things. I sacrifice to be able to pay for my horse's retirement- that is my choice. If I could no longer pay, I agree with euthanization. Better that than a beloved horse winding up starving in rescue or dumped somewhere. Horse ownership equals responsibility, as I said to my husband the other day when he complained that I was on my way to the barn where I board my dressage horse who is still rideable.