I hate the term "forever home".
One thing that really bothers me is when I see ads for horses "looking for a forever home".
Even if we ignore the blindingly obvious "why does someone else have to keep a nag forever when you've clearly decided they're not worth it", that transitions on to a bigger problem:
You aren't guaranteed forever.
You see this horse?
|about a half a second before I got rodeo bucked off and broke 3 bones|
So I sold her.
And that's one of the easier stories. Possibly even more common in my age group (late twenties) is having a horse, but then having life commitments crop up. Marriage. Home ownership. Children. It's one thing if you can afford it all, but most of us have to make choices and hopefully most people choose their spawn over their livestock. Seems like a pretty serious moral issue and all.
And those scenarios are overlooking things like chronic illness in yourself or a loved one. Bankruptcy. Job transfers. Economic fluctuations. The fact of the matter with horses is that they are a large luxury animal requiring a lot of time and care and money. Lives change and sometimes what we thought would be forever, isn't.
No one's fault. Life happens.
What's more, different people want horses to do different things. I know SO MANY people who have horses with atrocious or borderline-dangerous ground manners that are passed off as "oh, I shouldn't let him, but I don't mind X behavior".
But here's the thing: if something happens to you and horsiekins needs a new home, will that behavior be the thing that ends him up at a low end auction bound for a double decker and Mexico? You think it's cute that he bolts off on the lunge line. Someone else gets scared, he gets passed around, and things go from bad to worse.
A horse's life insurance is its' job. Plain and simple. We as owners have an obligation to our horses to teach them the job they excel in to the best of our abilities SO THAT should the unforeseen happen, the horse isn't reliant on the mercy on strangers.
|knew job inside and out|
There's no guarantee of forever, not for you, and not for your horse. Instead of trying to create more and more ironclad legal documents that are completely unenforceable, it makes more sense to focus on creating a horse that a reasonable person would actually want to keep.
|not a jumper, hard to ride. impeccable ground manners, hacks on the buckle.|
Right on, sister. I plan on keeping the wonderpony until his last day, but God forbid something should happen to me, I know he can be very useful as a trail horse or leadline pony, and practically takes care of himself around the barn.ReplyDelete
Exactly! I have no intentions of selling Stinker but at the same time I want him to be a horse that other people can enjoy. I want him to be a great trail horse. Basically I want him to be a horse anyone can love vs a horse only a select few like much less love.ReplyDelete
The only thing that makes me crazier than "please provide a forever home for my decrepit, used up equine that I don't want to keep" is "no slaughter contract required". Now, I have not and will not send a horse to slaughter, nor do I support it, but if you sold me a horse, it is MINE now. If you want an opinion, you keep it and foot the bills. This was a very long, roundabout way to say I completely agree with you.ReplyDelete
Yup. If you want to control it, own it. It's that simple.Delete
Yes! Basically why Pig has had dressage beaten into him, and why my husband has a list of my horse friends he can call to figure out how/where to place him. A horse that hacks out alone, has great ground manners, and can teach up to 2nd level dressage? Even if he's old and kinda broken, he has a chance at a future.ReplyDelete
I agree 100%. It is also why any horse I own gets some sort of registration papers, even if its just the USEF's PHR. Any horse can get their PHR registration. Why do this? It makes the horse seem more valuable to future owners and more traceable (I also microchip my horses). But also, it is proof of age. As a buyer, I have seen too many poorly/untrained horses horses that people try to pass off as green 5 year olds when they are clearly 11-15 years in age and messed up. Unless it is a young horse who's breeder can certify vet/breeding records so I can get it registered, I never buy, or sell, anything without somesort of papers.ReplyDelete
That's crazy that someone would try to pass off crazy and old as young and green. Curses on them!Delete
There's a reason I only lease.ReplyDelete
Mine is a former school horse. He now jumps 2', is decent at barrels and poles, and attempting to school training level dressage. He's great on the trail, as long as he's not dead last behind the kickers in a group that's only ever going to walk. And if he is, I'm not afraid to leg yield down the trail, work on bending or haunches in or something.
If something happens and I have to give him up, he'll go back to the lesson program. I don't want that for him, but at least he has a future without me.
I love this post. This is the excruciating part of horse ownership. My last 3 horses had major soundness issues and it would keep me up at night trying to figure out what to do because I couldn't afford to bankroll an unsound horse (& all of mine weren't pasture sound, go figure). I prayed like crazy and everything worked out for everyone with true forever homes and new jobs as a fancy schoolie, sweet pasture puff companion and well, Pongo had a new home lined up too except he didn't make it there :(ReplyDelete
Word sister. I too loathe the term "forever home". Who exactly has their life written in stone? Make the horse the best horse it can be! Also I second what Austen said...everyone close to me knows the order in which my horses will be shuffled if something were to happen to me.ReplyDelete
These are all fabulous points. Although compared to a lot of the kids I've met, I might choose my horse.ReplyDelete
I was not and would never imply that one should spawn. Only that if one did, raising said spawn should be a high priority. ;-) I definitely prefer my horse to most/all children.Delete
Yeah, they tend to take priority over the 4-leggeds, especially in the beginning when they're new and fresh ;) I preferred my horse to EVERYONE ELSES kids until I had my own, so that's very normal, haha!Delete
This is how Fi was able to pick up a job as a dressage schoolmaster and therapy pony when I needed to step away. Impeccable ground manners that I enforced like a drill sergeant and making sure she had a marketable skill. I meant for her to be forever, but when it didn't happen, she could easily move on with her career, unlike the half broke wild thing I bought for nothing because she had nowhere to go.ReplyDelete
I agree with this post, but there are horses that just wouldn't be suitable to many people. I don't think Stampede is at all sellable and I have no friends who would want him, despite my love for him and the skills he does have. Due to this, my life insurance is his back up plan for retirement in my absence and he will never be sold.ReplyDelete
P has a million people who love him and I wouldn't worry about him at all - between my parents, husband, and barn family he is assured a safe landing. Since he's already 27 retirement would be just fine for him too.
I definitely buy a horse with a plan to give them a lifetime home and I plan accordingly to make it happen but a back up plan is always necessary.
This reminded me of a trainer I knew who had a horse that was unsuitable for others and she didn't feel comfortable with any retirement options (horse could also be quite dangerous on the ground) so her will actually specified that the horse would be put down.Delete
Her will was executed as requested and many people judged the decision, but I think it is really responsible to know your horse, think it through, and have a plan in case you aren't there to make it happen. I need to get on that myself.
There are far worse things than a humane end.Delete
You totally hit on one of my pet peeves. I hate when horses don't have a job. Hate it.ReplyDelete
There are a number of older women riders at my barn that bought horses they can't ride. They're afraid of them and now they are just big pets. They are the proverbial "15 yo OTTB gelding, hasn't been worked in 5 years, probably not sound, no papers, no training".
It sucks for the horse, and it sucks for the rider. But they WUV THEM.
literally half the boarders at my barn *eye roll*Delete
A neighbor has two 15+ Arab geldings she has had since they were yearlings, they are unstarted, wild, and she can barely catch them to put a halter on, much less anything else! It always makes my heart sad, where they would go if anything happened to her...ReplyDelete
Absolutely!!! I think this all the time!! Good horses fall softly as it were and the only way to make good horses is with work and boundariesReplyDelete
This. I recently had to downsize because as my young horses got to riding age, I had more than I could keep in work. Now my two geriatric boys hang out and do light hacks and my two young girls have age appropriate training and are marketable if something happens to me.ReplyDelete
The two mares I sold when I downsized came to me as barely halterbroke (at 3 and 6 years old, respectively), and left me six years later as very solid citizens with both excellent ground manners and extensive riding/show experience -- new owner just recently posted a video of one of them schooling that was taken by someone flying a DRONE over her as they rode.
I'm a huge proponent of not breeding anything that can't be registered (preferably with a legit registry, but that's a matter of opinion) and TRAINING, training and more training. We owe it to our horses to do our best to turn them into something someone else would want, because things happen and life changes. I never thought I'd sell the two mares I sold and I cried like a baby for weeks over it but they are happier and more productive with their new owner than they were sitting in my field letting all their training go to waste.
A-fricken-men. There are so many bad habits in horses out there that the owners don't correct, I fixed one just 2 weeks ago. One 30 minute session to fix a confirmed biter's attitude and the owner is already so much happier. They must have a job and they must agree that us nekkid creatures are the boss. End of story.ReplyDelete
*standing ovation* I've already found a home for Brantley if something happened to me, but if that person couldn't keep him, I want him to be well prepared for the person who can. There's so much sh*t that he does that I can deal with, but like hell I'm going to leave that for someone else! That's just unfair for that person AND him.ReplyDelete
More reasons why I have yet to commit to ownership.ReplyDelete
its smart, even tho leasing sucks sometimes. its a lot of responsibility if youre a conscientious person!Delete
Yay! One of my biggest pet peeves with "rescue organizations". So many of them require a forever home which is so unrealistic.ReplyDelete
I've had horses who I didn't get along with that I got rid of (through reputable means). I also had a childhood horse who lived out his days in retirement in the pasture.
You have a responsibility to give your horses the best life--sometimes that life doesn't involve you.
Preachin' to the chior!ReplyDelete
Papers are one thing and maybe the names on them and the horses conformation *could* land a mare in a good spot as a broodie if nothing else, but sans that-> there may not be any hope. Also, papers don't do crap for a gelding. The one thing that makes finding them a good home is the horse having a job, doing it well and having good manners. Even still bad things can (and sometimes do) happen to good horses. Its our job to lessen the odds of that and hopefully stack the deck in their favor, should anything happen to us.
really good post. just was talking to someone last night about how I dont want my horse to be a 'one woman' kinda guyReplyDelete
My comment on this discussion is always this: how can I ever get a new horse if they're all in forever homes? I keep mine as long as the horse is happy doing his job, and I am happy with how he's doing his job. If either one of us is not fine with the relationship, I do my utmost to place them in a good home. And my horses ALWAYS leave me better than when they arrived because they are much easier to place if their manners are solid, their feet look good, and they trailer easily.ReplyDelete
YES. Love this. My guy will most likely never leave my place, but just in case...I do my best to make sure he is well behaved, well trained, and moving forward. I won't let him act dangerously or do something bad or get away with things or just sit and not be worked because I never know when or how things will change.ReplyDelete
I agree, there is no guarantee of forever with any animal. And I agree that before anyone buys a horse, they should know they are in it for what could potentially be a 20-30 year partnership. (If all works out). But then what about when the horse is done? Then what? I think that's the bigger problem. What do you do with your retired horse? Euthanasia and burial or cremation can be really expensive. But maybe that's a hot topic for another day.ReplyDelete
That is a heavy topic.Delete
This is a hot topic for me, esp since I have a recently retired mare who is no longer rideable and requires additional care.ReplyDelete
I intend to keep her until her last day - she deserves that much. I do have a "back up" plan if something happened to me, she'd go back to her old owner to live out the rest of her days.
It's good to have a back-up plan, esp for those retired horses.
This. I 100% agree with everything you say. It's really the best thing we can do for our horses - not a forever home, which we have no control over, but the one thing that we do have control over is how we train them and how we teach them to be good citizen. A good horse is worth it's weight in gold and will always be loved. If it's not possible to train it to be a good horse, then backup plans need to be made. And like you said, there are way worse options out there than a humane ending...ReplyDelete
bonita of A Riding Habit
Agreed. Really good post. I wrote up a related post in EventingSaddlebred's blog hop on the subject. It's something we all need to think aboutReplyDelete