By - carvedfromjade
If your vet told you that the horse is in chronic pain is miserable etc then that is something to consider. A bunch of catty girls at a barn? Their opinion doesn’t matter. But also - I’d consider getting your house out of a place that is not well taken care of.
I just find that if I got her out of that barn she’d be able to thrive. My plan is to do a sort of “reset” for her. I’m just sick of paying so much money for a place that has terrible footing, dust storms in the arena every day (not being able to breathe or see isn’t the best when you’re trying to ride) and just all around doesn’t care about how I would want her to be taken care of.
I’m glad you’re doing the right thing for your horse and yourself! Wishing you luck.
Nippy Hedren?? My horses name is Tippi Hedren! Lol
Love! Names a play on a nickname of mine.
Horses don't need to be ridden to have value. It sounds like you value her even if you don't ride her right now. She's lucky to have you and you're lucky to have her. I think finding a new barn or place for her that is more understanding and empathetic is appropriate.
unfortunately I'm noticing that for a vocal portion of the equestrian communities, horses are tools more so then companions. They see horses are tools that can be companions, but as tools. When a hammer is broken, you throw it away.
As a new member of this community, I am really struggling with encountering this mindset. I can't imagine how hard it is to see your companion treated and talked about as if she's a broken tool.
if she's able to enjoy her life, she should get to keep that life.
As someone who's been in the horse community my entire life, the horses as a tool view is something I also struggle with. I thought I'd have a life working in the equine industry, but I can't handle seeing horses disregarded as living beings and being seen as a tool/thing/means to an end. I don't understand why people don't question having other pets that aren't "used", but as soon as you have a horse you don't use it's weird?
There's many of us who love our horses for who they are. My horses will all be with me until they die, they're part of my family, I truly love them.
Don't give up on having horses in your life because there's people out there who don't respect them as sentient beings.
Look up groups for non ridden horses/equines, positive reinforcement training, and TTouch. You might find people you relate with more in those spaces.
I’m in the same boat. I did polo grooming for 6mo but could never get past treating horses like machines. The head groom (and only other groom) never understood the point of horses without jobs.
On the flip side, I have a 9yo mare who is perfectly sound but is mostly unridden. I’ve had her for almost 2yr and we’ve done plenty of ridden work but the truth is she’s extremely sensitive and anxious, and she doesn’t enjoy it unless the conditions are perfect. She has lots of off days. I am not willing to “ride her through” her issues because she doesn’t actually owe me anything. Hardly anyone seems to understand why I’d keep a young, fit horse as a companion. I couldn’t imagine getting rid of her.
thanks. Don't worry, I'm not giving up but rather coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably never quite fit in in these spaces.
I work with a mule for my lessons who's in her 30s and who's owner hasn't actually been out to see her in well over a year. He signs the check and she's cared for but it's been a treat to see her begin to light up with regular one on one interaction and care beyond what the stable owner can do while caring for over two dozen horses day to day and while giving lessons full time.
it's certainly shaping what I want my relationship with the community to be, how I want to participate and my goals
As someone else who has and has had a number of non ridden horses, it's always nice to hear of other people who love their horses for who they are and not only what the horse can do for them. The only reason I'd euthanize is over poor quality of life, especially if there's no or limited recovery in sight. If your horse can live happily in the pasture, there's no reason you should euthanize.
My horses are part of my family, and just because they can't carry me will never mean I'll send them away. Non ridden horses all too often end up in really sad situations with less than ideal care. I couldn't forgive myself if that ever happened to anyone in my herd.
If you use FB, there's some non ridden equine groups, for other people who can't or chose not to ride their horses. It's nice to see some updates of what other people do with their "pasture pets", and just because you don't ride doesn't mean you can't have fun with your horse!
I really want to just have her be relaxed and happy. Time will only tell if that involves riding or not. What I really want to do with her which wasn’t possible at the barn I’m at right now is working on some liberty work. I want her to be able to truly trust me and for me to trust her. If I wanted to continue riding there’s other horses out there, doesn’t mean I have to get rid of my heart horse because she has MILD arthritis you know?
I relate with what you're saying, and you're not alone in viewing your horse and your relationship with her that way. My main priority is the health and happiness of my horses, in whatever form that needs to take for them as individuals. I still enjoy riding, but it's not a dealbreaker for keeping my horses. At the moment I have 4 horses, 3 are not ridden, though one of those because he's young so the plan is to lightly start him under saddle in 2024 when he turns 4. If for some reason something ever prevented him from being ridden, he'll still live out his days with me, and we'll do different fun things together.
I will never relate with selling/getting rid of horses because they're physically not "perfect" and can't do exactly what we want of them. I sure wouldn't want someone to treat me in that way if the tables were reversed.
I retired my 20yo gelding from riding a couple of years ago due to kissing spines. We do ground/liberty work most days and he loves it. He salivates without a bit in his mouth; his eyes glow and he moves with grace and power. Our partnership has deepened SO much. He will be my horse for the rest of his life. Just cuz some people view horses as tools or accessories or a means to an end doesn’t mean you have to. You’re lucky to have each other! 🐴💗
Look for a barn that is less 'show' and more casual riding, and also has a good percentage of retired horses. In a place like this, you are much more likely to find people who treat their horses like beloved pets first and riding animals second. I am lucky enough to have my horse at such a barn. There are horses there that are fox hunting, driving, showing and trail riding, and there are pasture puffs. They are all treated with the same care, and no one is disparaged for not riding their horse, whatever their reason is. The only real shade I see is towards people who never come out to care for their horses; The barn only provides feeding so fly spray, grooming, hoof care, etc are up to the owner. You and your horse would be welcome at such a barn!
Imo the reason to put down a horse should be that they will otherwise be miserable. You know your horse best, so do what is right for you and don’t listen to those other people!
Your horse. Your decision.
That said, for some conditions, death is certainly a better option. If your horse can’t keep up with the herd, or is chronically lame, putting them down is not a wrong answer.
Never give a lame horse away, if you’re not willing to keep it and pay for it’s well-being then nobody else will be either. But if you’re willing to keep and pay for it, then it’s not their concern.
There are some horses that keeping them forever is something they earned or deserve. And some get dangerous, or haven’t earned cost.
I never look down on someone putting down a horse who costs a lot to keep, and isn’t sound. It’s a far better fate than I’ve seen horses end up in, and I wish the horse community didn’t act like horses “given away to good homes” didn’t end up in starving situations with no care.
Horses are expensive and unhealthy ones become more expensive. Take care of your horse and ignore the gossip. If your vet starts talking about quality of life, listen up. Septic joints and soft tissue injuries in combination isn’t set up for a high quality of life. Animals value quality over quantity.
I think it's because a lot of people can't afford two horses, so when you have to choose between riding or not for 10 or so years, euth makes more sense. The horse doesn't know any difference.
And having dealt with similar injuries, they tend to get much worse before they get better. I'm still struggling with my decision to keep my horse alive. I know she's in pain, but it isn't interfering with her life.
She's bright looking but I wonder if I'm keeping her alive for myself. She's only 20 but she has arthritis, she bowed a tendon, which led to her bowing the other tendon. She caught systemic pigeon fever and barely survived that. She's clearly lame. But she's keeping her weight on well and roams about the pasture. It's a hard decision.
I’m sorry you are going through this. My horse was diagnosed with dsld in 2019 and I get how hurtful others judgements are, especially when they really have no clue what the condition entails, the horse’s limitations or ability. I’ve tried educating them and sadly, no one wants to actually listen, which just points out how irrelevant and uneducated their opinions and judgements actually are.
I think you have the right idea by finding a new place for her, but also, in this scenario, I wouldn’t be opposed to standing up for yourself. Tell them that if they have an opinion, to say it to your face so that you can then educate them on why you made your decision *with* the vet’s approval. Tell them that gossip has it’s way of getting around to the topic of the gossip… these are things that 13 year olds learn, but frankly, some horse people take a decade or more to mature 🤷♀️
I used to work at a farm where all the horses were unrideable but that didn’t matter cause it was a therapeutic horse barn where they did non-riding therapy with women, children, veterans, etc. Horses were well taken care of and also participated in the sessions for like an hour or two a week. A barn like this might be something worth looking into! Some of the horses used to be rideable and owners would come out and ride but it was much more relaxed and no mean barn girls.
I had a horse with severe navicular issues that through osphos shots, orthopedic shoes and lots of love, care and maintenance had a bunch of great years for us where he got to relax in comfort. Eventually the damage got too severe, arthritis showed up, and he was in tons of pain, though hiding it, and we had to put him to rest for his sake. He would have fought to the bitter end and until his legs collapsed, but I would not let that happen to him.
They are companions and proud animals that are worthy of life. If your vet, farrier, and your gut all agree that the horse has great quality of life and is enjoying their time, fuck everyone else. Let the horse prosper. Only when it becomes the humane thing to do, do you put a horse to sleep. Not before.
Someone will always find an issue with someone else's actions.
On the opposite spectrum, I gave my mare to a retirement hobby farm with three little girls to love on her and brush her, because I knew that my idea for her life and her idea for her life were very different. I've loved that mare for 7 years now, and will continue to love her. I'm at peace knowing she's happier with what I decided to do for her.
We each individually need to reach down and make our own decisions. If you think your horse is happy as a pasture pet, you make peace with that and you don't owe anyone an explanation.
If you euthanized her or sent her to pasture, I'm sure there would be someone accusing you of abandoning her.
So like I said, you make your own peace, and you don't owe anyone an explanation.
I went through a similar situation with my now 30yo mare. She’s been my best friend for 15 years. At 28, she bucked in the field and landed funny destroying all the tendons and ligaments in her hock. The vet surprisingly had a great prognosis with 6mo of stall rest, so we did it. Those 6mo were the longest of my life as I listened to the entire barn tell me I was abusing my horse and I should just put her down bc she’ll never be riding sound again. My mare fought like hell with all the support I could offer her and is now not only full sound, but CLEARED TO RIDE! She’s 30, so we won’t do anything more than a wander up the driveway but she’s sound and happy. Listen to your gut, they will tell you when they are ready to throw in the towel!
I work in a racing stable and when we deal with injured horses our rule of thumb is if they’re not “paddock sound” then euthanasia is the best option for the horses well being. If he’s in constant pain then I agree it’s something to consider. How ever if he’s happy and healthy and can have a little trot around the pasture then I can’t see why he couldn’t live out his life with his best friend. Best of luck ❤️
It sounds like these people see horses as an object and not a living, breathing creature with a soul. That’s so sad for them and their horses. If your horse is on stall rest, make sure to stimulate her mind. Puzzle feeders, hanging treats/salt licks, hanging toy, etc. Otherwise she might pick up some boredom habits like cribbing, swaying, chewing wood etc
I mean a year of stall rest isnt worth it to me to put a horse through personally, but tahts between you and a vet. Ignore those girls since it really is none of their business
I shouldn’t say a year of stallrest. It was more like a couple of months, then integrating her slowly to turn out, then back to stall rest then back to turn out just as we figured out her arthritis
Lol, they would absolutely love me then. I bought my horse back in April, nothing wrong with him save for a touch of arthritis in one of his back hocks, he’s sound and capable of being ridden.
But you know what, I don’t ride him all that often.
Not because I can’t or he won’t let me, but because I didn’t buy him just to be ridden. I bought him because he is a super horse with an amazing personality who everyone at our yard adores.
So I’m sure your toxic barn bitches would have more than a few things to say about me and Winston lol. Not sure how they would take my hard “fuck off and mind your own business instead of interfering in mine” would go down though….
Sounds to me like your doing everything you can for Echo, and that’s what’s important, not a bunch of busy bodies who think they know best about everything.
Carry on doing what’s best for you and Echo, riding, not riding, who cares? Echo I’m certain doesn’t. You sound like a great owner, don’t let others get under your skin.
Fuck em I say.
Good luck finding a new barn for Echo, I hope she recovers enough to continue enjoying life, and maybe one day you guys may even be able to enjoy pottering about together out on the trails 🙂
I bought my (first) horse knowing he would never be sat on. He’s 11 and had a tear in his DDFT and over time his fetlocks have dropped. The thing is I love him with my whole heart, three years later he’s cleared for 9 hours a day turn out and every penny I’ve spent on him is worth it when he trots over to me.
My second horse I bought solely to ride and unfortunately it wasn’t possible. She was sound and passed a 5* vetting but I couldn’t sit on her without her rearing. One day she managed to break my ribs. I did choose to sell her on because she could be ridden by others.
We all make choices with our horses and you seem to know what’s best for Echo. So definitely keep going and just love her no matter what they say.
Unfortuantely it's a really common view that if you can't ride your horse = useless. When there's so many lovely things you can do from the ground. Your view is very lovely, horses owe use nothing - *we* owe them the best care we can offer!
Sounds to me like the catty girls aren't as horse-experienced as they pretend to be. Horses being off work for months is hardly irregular or unusual.
Ignore the barn bit$$s
This upsets me. Not everybody wants their horse to be a world beater, and sometimes (I stress sometimes) those that do don't care as much as they should about their horses. As long as your horse is comfortable and happy then you can rest assured you are doing the right thing by her. There is nothing wrong with keeping a horse that cannot be ridden.
I respect the hell out of you if you are looking to the horses quality of life first and foremost. Currently dealing with the same type of situation. Mare that I purchased last December with a clean PPE has recurrent colonic displacement, recurrent glandular ulcers, flashed hugely positive on an allergy test for all kinds of supposed allergens. All making me think something is wrong with or triggering her immune system. My gut says something is going on in her G.I. tract, but infuriatingly, all ultrasound and x-rays come back fine. New Bolton Center has floated the idea of exploratory surgery, meaning I am staring down a $10,000 gamble on a horse that I have barely ridden.
I also know this horse well after months of hand walking and nursing and I can’t just put her down. Because between flareups she is happy and sassy and someone that I want to spend time with. Right now I struggle more with the idea of putting her through three months of recovery after surgery and I’m not finding anything in there than I do with the cost, which is not insignificant by any means.
They built the world as we know it. We need a few people to pay them back a little. If your mayor is unhappy, then you know what to do. But if she is happy, feel free to PM anytime you need to vent bc yeah, horses can suck sometimes too, and sometimes you fall in love with the lemon.
Listen, we all have our own set of beliefs. Some of us are really good at treating beliefs as facts. They aren't.
What I've learned with older age is that no one really knows. We are all just swinging in the dark. Personally, I wouldn't want to die over a little pain or struggle. So my belief is that I will try to make my pets as comfortable as possible. But I won't kill them, and I won't let anyone else kill them, over a little presumed pain. Life is to precious and short.
Perhaps you believe otherwise. But this is your life, and that is your horse. So it is up to you to decide what is best.
I’m so glad Echo has you to love her even when she’s not rideable. My childhood horse was a pasture ornament for most of his life and I adored him all the same. He was a good boy, he just hated the trail and that’s all there was at the time.
Im gonna be straight Im new to the horse world ( and i really mean that ) but the one thing that kinda freaked me out was the larger then it should be mindset that your horse is like a an "item" like a car or a boat maybe even like a bat in some situations . now luckily there doesn’t seem to be that many of these people on my colleges team but still . i remember back in 10th grade i worked all summer to buy myself a sailboat and because of that i treated it like my friend and remember this one day i met this guy ( he was like 20 or something definitely older than me ) and he had his mom buy him this sweet Boston whaler for em saw him all the time for the summer by the end of it the boat broke and he had it scrapped . just watching it getting taken away hurt knowing how much work that thing must put in and i wonder why he didn’t try and fix it and then it hit me he never had to work for it so when it stopped preforming at peak performance it was like throwing away a toy " this ones broken i want a new one" . now i will say i dont own a horse (yet) but if i had one or got one i couldn’t even imagine that thought processes going towards an animal that eats and drinks sleeps and breathes ( and crapes a lot but whatever ) . i mean at least they didn’t say it should be "scrapped" if thats even possible ( the glue factory i dont know ) but what do know is you gotta stand by your horse you own em and its your friend even if ya cant ride it you still got a friend .
So recently there’s a horse at our barn where we board that has been pretty sick. Like twice to the hospital admitted sick. And had surgery to save him (or attempt to) this week. I made a comment that I’m not sure I’d put my horse through all that. And a fellow boarder said something to me that resonated deeply….
When you love something you do every single thing you can to try and save them. Period.
And I was brought down a few notches and realized - it’s true.
Guess it’s a good thing she isn’t their horse. Feel bad for their horses though