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[RC] Horse death - Heidi Smith

Well, the whole topic got put back in perspective for me this morning.  Beautiful fall morning here, and a herd of antelope went through the pasture and really got the horses running.  They run for the joy of living.  They were poetry to watch.  They were not tired, unhealthy, stressed, or pushed by humans--they were simply exulting in being free horses on a nice morning, reveling in the exhilaration of being what God made them to be.  In my group of fillies, I saw one stumble and go down, but she popped right back up.  Didn't appear at first that anything was wrong.  But then I noticed she was standing oddly a few minutes later, and that her buddies were gathered around her.  There she stood--a gorgeous, healthy, wonderful 2-year-old filly, with a cannon bone shattered, bone sticking out, and the lower part more like a bag of marbles than a bone.  Nothing for it but to put her down.  I sweat blood to breed and raise this filly--her dam is 5 generations of breeding with which I've been involved in one way or another, and I personally knew two more generations down the dam line from that.  I foaled her out in a snow storm.  I did everything in my power to keep her safe and healthy.  In the end, I had to end her life, even though it had hardly begun.  No sport is to blame.  No person is to blame.  She could just as easily have stepped in a hole on the trail 5 years from now and come to the same end. 
 
If we own horses, we will have heartbreak.  They will die.  Certainly we need to do all in our power to keep them from dying prematurely.  But honestly, if I hear one more person proclaiming that the figurative sky is falling, or pointing fingers trying to blame AERC or insinuating that no one cares, when nearly everyone in this sport is doing their utmost to provide top-notch care for the horses we love, I think I will go out behind the barn and quietly throw up.  Statistics have their place, but in the end, it is one on one, and the death rate will always be one apiece.
 
Meanwhile, Godspeed, SH Aur Christi--I loved you, and I'm at least glad I was here to end your pain quickly, even if there was no other way in the end to express my devotion.
 
Heidi
 
PS:  Pardon me for venting, but really, what would be of use here is data from autopsies (not hearsay), actual observations of the ride vets involved, etc.--and those things do come out in time.  Meanwhile the screeching and caterwauling and breast-beating about "how bad it is" are more likely to INVITE the PETA sorts to the feast than to turn them away.  In the quest for knowledge, there is no such thing as instant gratification, even though internet lists always make it sound like there oughta be.  Just my nickel's worth...