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choices (was horse slaughter)

Reflecting upon this subject is not fun. I recall
a decision I made several years ago. I had to
retire my horse that I had used for 7 years. He
had arthritic hocks and could no longer work at
the fast pace I required. I was not in a position
to 'retire' him (though he certainly had earned
it!) and he was not totally I sold
him to a couple of young girls that lived on an
island and would only ride him lightly. I
inspected their facility - it put mine to shame!
Board fences, spacious run ins, grassy
paddocks......I was quite comfortable in thinking
that my horse would truly have a 'heaven on
earth'! And of course I reminded them that if they
EVER needed to sell him they should contact me
first and if I did not want him back I would help
them sell him.

Well - the intentions were good but I soon learned
the following:

On the day I delivered the horse I mentioned his
shoes were due for reset and left them the number
of the farrier I used. A month later the mother
called me and asked why the horse's shoes were
falling off and would I come and 'fix' them?? I
reminded her that she was to have scheduled a
reset with the farrier.....oh, she 'forgot'....and
did that cost very much??

A week later another call - the daughter had seen
'worms' crawling in the dirt of the horse's
stool......the mother was adamant that I come and
worm the horse! ( I made no such promise to do
that prior to sale) I did come out with a tube of
wormer with the intent of instructing them in how
to administer it. The daughter showed me the
'worms' - they were common red wrigglers~! They
certainly DID NOT come out of the horse!!

Another month passed and the weather was getting
nicer. The girls wanted to ride more, but
everytime they tried to go the old horse would
only WALK. The mother called me because her
'friend' was convinced the horse was not
sound......I had a friend's daughter about the
same age as these girls accompany me out to see
the horse...Michelle saddled the horse and warmed
him up. Then she put him through his paces -
walk,trot, canter, all with precision. Conclusion
- the girls could not ride and the horse was being
'protective' of them by not going faster than a
walk (this horse taught my kids to ride - and
until they proved to him they had a secure seat
they could never get him to go faster than a

Well, I think that incident formed quite a brick
wall between us. I would drive past the house a
couple of times a year, my old horse was fat and
well cared for in his grassy paddock. But after
the third year I found out the girls had lost
interest and they were offering him for sale
again....I called and was told he was out on
trial. The mother seemed evasive when I reminded
her I was to have first option. The price they
were asking was certainly within my current
budget. I called around and finally got the full
horror story from the woman's brother:

My good old horse had been loaned out to a family
friend to take hunting. The horses had been
spooked in the night and my old horse ran through
a barb wire fence, suffering severe laceration of
both front shoulders. The 'friend' didn't want to
pay a vet so him and his buddys healed the horse
as best they could. Then they returned him three
months later with the scars - of course the girls
lost interest!! My final call was to plea bargain
for the return of the horse to me - then the
mother admitted that they had sent him to
slaughter. I still cry thinking about it.

So perhaps you can see how 'the right choice' can
become the wrong one? Unless you retain 100%
control of your old horses, you have no guarantee
how they will end I wish I had just had
him put down at my own expense long before !!


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