Love Is Not A Feeling
Especially when it comes to horses. Animals in general.
Love is ACTIONS.
Granted, I'm not old. I do not have a smidgeon of the experience of some horse people. Yet, I am constantly mystified by the amount of ignorance that goes on in the horse world.
I believe everyone here loves their horses, and would never want any harm done to them, ever. They want to protect them. However, sometimes that just aint so, for lack of a better phrase.
I have not been on this forum for long at all, and so far I love it here. Its so interesting to see other peoples horses, learn about new techniques etc. And its great to have a sanctuary where one can go on about horses and people will understand.
Still, I have, so far seen quite a few examples of extreme irresponsibility, selfishness and greed.
Heres the thing.
Horses are EXPENSIVE. To buy, to feed, and to care for. Yes, it is very understandable that money is tight right now, and not everyone can have a 5 star facility with endless green paddocks. But IMO, your horse comes first. Why? Because having a horse is optional.
For the horse, being owned by you is not optional.
If you get to the point where you cannot afford to offer your horse basic care- shelter, bedding, feed and vet care (Note; I don't mean vet care as in expensive colic surgery etc. I mean, getting the vet out to check out a cough/limp/possible pregnancy) its time to let your horse go. I can only speak for myself of course, but I would NEVER judge someone for selling their horse due to tight money/putting it down. You'd also get a lot more support from me by starting a thread titled "I had to sell my horse" than "Is it okay to lower my horses feed ration to xyz" or "I think my horse has affliction x. What do I do/what do you think" and I'm sure others feel the same.
This is a fantastic forum, full of knowledgeable, friendly people that LOVE horses. Feel free to ask anything, there are no stupid questions. But be prepared for responses that will be triggered. Many people will get aggressive when it comes to responsibility around horses (myself included). Why? As stated you do not need a horse. Your horse DOES needs food, shelter and vet care when required. Being the owner, YOU are responsible for providing these things. Also, it doesn't hurt to remember that the horse riding community is one of the most opinionated.
Again- love is actions. Love is calling a vet. Love is selling your horse when you cant afford it. Love is putting a horse that is in chronic pain down. Love is taking a good, long and very hard look at your horse and saying "No, this horse does not need to reproduce".
Ultimately, you are responsible for pretty much everything that happens to your horse. The good, like winning a prestigious competition, and the bad, like if your horse strangles itself because it had a halter on in the paddock.
Consider the following quote: "Consider not what your intentions were, but rather what you did"
It doesn't matter if you didn't mean for your horse to jump into the stallions paddock and get pregnant.
Now, your mare is pregnant, and you are responsible for another life.
An instructor of mine used to tell me "Always look at the if's". How true. Lets say, I want my horse to have a baby, because I love my horse and believe she is a good horse. Lets say she's a grade horse. That doesn't matter to me though because she's such a calm, great trail mare. It doesn't matter if the foal isn't worth much at birth, right? Because I'm going to keep it for ever and ever.
WRONG. Anything could happen. You could die in a car crash on your way to the stables. Then what? Then who's going to take care of your adorable grade foal?
We like to think that we will always be together with our horses.
Sometimes that happens. Other times, not. As an animal owner, one needs to be prepared for ALL possibilities.
It's not only about pregnant mares though. Its everything from responsible horse keeping (eg. not using barbed wire) to responsible feeding (Feeding your horse enough. If its skinny, find out why. Respond) to responsible breeding (No, he is not stallion material because he is grulla).
So, next time you say 'I love my horses, and they love me', think about it. Do you act on those feelings? Or are you using your 'feelings' as to defend your actions?
Apologies for the very long rant. I just really needed to get that out.