I have a friend, acquaintance, I am not really sure where we stand right now who owns a ten year old silver dapple grey gelding that she was boarding at this really AWFUL place. Rickety old barn, the horse was kept stalled nearly 24/7. Never got out and got any exercise, the boarders would steal her feed to feed their 11 other horses. It was a bad situation. So, without really thinking of it I told her she could bring him and put him in my pasture and he could stay in my barn. She was ecstatic. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal so we made a verbal agreement that as long as she took care of him I wouldn't charge her anything.
So, when she brings him out she tells me a sad story about this 18 month old palomino stallion that they have there that was supposedly this horse's buddy that is emaciated and needs to be rescued. She says the owner will sell the horse for a fair price and he has papers. My husband and I decided it couldn't hurt to load up the trailer and go look at him. Well, from the second I laid eyes on him I was SMITTEN. He is BEAUTIFUL and oh so sweet. We loaded him that minute and brought him home. (of course stopping at the feed store on the way home.)
Well, that was 3 weeks ago almost. Things have been getting both awesome and awful ever since.
I started reading every book and message board I could find on horse care. The two horses seemed to get along great except for at feeding time. One morning when I went down to the barn to try to feed the horses the big one charged me and BIT my pony really badly on one of his back legs. I was so furious. (And also pretty terrified.) I immediately put the feed buckets away and walked back to the house shaking in my boots.
Well, the next day the lady came out to bring me my pony's papers and asked me how they were doing together, I told her they seemed fine except for the biting incident. She told me that they had never really liked each other and had been kept separated for that very same reason at the boarding place. So basically my friend LIED to me that they were buddies. The Big horse had a history of biting the smaller one and stealing all of his food at feeding times. Great.
We immediately got a Farrier out to do my pony's feet because they had NEVER been done since he was born. He literally looked like he had duck bills for hooves. Poor thing. I asked my friend if she was going to have her horse's feet done and she said she would, he had been limping on one of his back legs because his feet were so bad and days and days went by and no farrier ever came for her horse. She would tell me she had called the guy and hadn't gotten a call back and I let a whole week go by. Finally I called him and asked him if he had heard from her. NOPE. So I had him come out and do the big horse's feet and I paid for it. I couldn't stand to see that baby suffer, and even if he was a bully I knew that he could be cranky from being in pain. It made a HUGE difference in his disposition. HUGE. Victory there. I thought. Now his owner is PISSED at me for taking it upon myself to do that to HER horse.
I confronted her for not taking care of her animal like she said she would. She never comes but 3 times a week to see him. We have to do all of the feeding, mucking, etc. And she gets FREE boarding??
I'm starting to fee like an idiot. She has let her horse's feed run out numerous times and I have had to buy more. I am not going to let an animal go hungry or without care, I'm just not. However I feel very taken advantage of. I have developed a bond with BOTH horses over the past few weeks. The big horse and I are doing much better now and now that we have them on a regular feeding schedule the big horse has calmed down immensely at feeding times.
I can't believe how RELAXING it is to be down there with them. I brush them both every day, I give them both little horsey massages on their backs and legs. My pony has literally fallen asleep during one. Basically I love both of them. I love their smell, I love working with them. ( I have some Clinton Anderson DVD's a friend loaned me. I LOVE that guy.)
So, the other day the owner of the big horse and my self and my husband were in the barn during one of her visits and my husband smacked her horse on the hind quarters to get him to move through a gate. Not hard, just a little slap to get him through the gate. Well, she didn't say anything at all at that moment. BUT yesterday morning I wake up to a nasty email accusing us of horse abuse and demanding that we NOT touch her animal anymore. Are you kidding me?? This is a chick who almost NEVER comes to feed her animal, who has essentially dumped ALL Of his care on me, who I paid to have his feet done, who I have a vet coming out to see next week because he is rubbing his ears on everything he can touch and she "doesn't have the money to have him seen."
I told her that I would not touch him again if she kept to OUR feeding schedules of 6:30am and 6:30pm. She would have to come out, catch him in the pasture, put him at his trough, feed him, and groom him TWICE a day. Just like I do. She said that was ridiculous and I was spoiling him. Umm. Ok crazy lady.
So, she still hasn't come out.
I'm in a situation where I don't know what to do. I really care more about this horse than I do our friendship at this point. I keep a log of every feeding in a notebook with date, time, amount fed. I have wormed both horses and recorded that as well.
So, does anyone have any suggestions?? My husband and I would like to ask her if we can just buy her horse and tell her to never come see us again. I know that sounds unreasonable but obviously she has NO BUSINESS owning this horse. If you could see the way his disposition has changed in three weeks you would be shocked. He has become a big sweet teddy bear.
Anyways, that's my novel and introduction. I hope to see a lot of you around here!