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 people start up with the 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 simply saying we are not a rescue, we are not a non-profit, 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, but 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 beyond 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. Undoubtedly my inbox will be blown up with all the hate mail I will get for making 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.
3. Another variation of question number one is "I love my horse dearly but he can no longer be ridden. I cannot afford to pay retirement board, would you consider retiring him for free?" No. 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 but 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. That is the part that really irritates me.
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 just man up and euthanize the horse. I can respect that decision. 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. Do people seriously not see the massive double standard in this, or am I simply being judgemental and cranky?
Well, that is it for this round of FAQs. It turned a bit into Melissa getting on her soapbox and ranting at the end, but when you are asked this stuff several times a week it starts to get old, and I'm only human.
Johnny and Lighty
Cinnamon and MyLight
Largo and Rocky
Murphy and Sam (we're in that blankets on, blankets off time of year)
Noble and Merlin
Thomas, Moe and Homer
View of the front 1/2 of the farm that you can only get when the leaves are off the trees (there are 2 barns and 3 run-in sheds in this picture)
Tony, Leo and Chance highlight this view of the buildings at the back of the farm; another barn and 3 more run-in sheds