How do you let go?
I am training my friend's gelding, and for the most part it has been a rewarding experience. But at this point I almost view it as a rescue. This was a mishandled horse, who was afraid of having his feet touched and ambles around without using his brain. He wasn't allowed to. I've gotten in his head, and finally know what he is thinking, and boy, was I delighted to find a pretty decent horse. He still is flaky by nature, but he is a natural born follower and wants to please. Not only does he think now, he also looks much better. Since being here he's had his feet trimmed twice, and been wormed twice. (He hadn't had his feet trimmed since being a weanling, so years, and when that happened it was fairly traumatic.) I love him, but he isn't the kind of horse I want. My horses are all notoriously difficult due to being so smart and wanting to test their boundaries. My gelding is the worst of them all, but that is why I love him. They have so much potential. Get them working with you, and it is a dream.
It isn't really a matter of me wanting to keep him, it is more of me not wanting him to go back to being neglected. I visited my friend the other day, and all three of her horses were in pretty rough shape. Two of them are 20+ and just racks of bones, and one is in her late teens and has a breathing disorder. (You can hear it from quite a distance away.) I understand money is tight for them, but that is when you get rid of horses. They've had all their horses as pets, for a very long time. I think my main motivation for training her horse was to give him a chance if they had to sell him. But their is a worse alternative - them keeping him even though they can't afford it. I would never want to have a horse in that environment if I could prevent it.
When it comes down to it, I will send him back. I'm not going to be that way, and I certainly can't afford to keep him forever on a whim. He was given to them for free because he was a paint without any color. If he had color, he'd probably be a stud, which is disturbing to me considering his typical halter build. We both like horses, but to her they are just animals in her backyard that she has mild interest, to me, they are what my word revolves around. (Similar to my interest in chickens; they are there, I love them, and I have big plans for them, but yet have to train any of them to do tricks.) Her parents don't help much, and don't get the vet out. My parents are certainly more understanding, and I know my horses better than anyone. I know when something is wrong, and usually what it is. If I don't, I know what isn't characteristic for my animals and my parents trust that it is serious enough the vet needs to come. They don't have a vet, or a farrier. The gelding got his shots before coming over, and that was the only vet out for the horses in years. To add to it all, the thin, geriatric horses are being limited on food.
I'm sorry for ranting, but it bothers me when people so blatantly ignore problems that are right in front of their noses. They are accustomed to having horses, whether they care for them or not. I love these people, but they are stubborn and believe what they will. I do my best to teach my friend more and more with every lesson, and she has started listening to me since she has seen what I can get that horse to do. She has started to get her own money to pay for some stuff, but she will not be able to care for four horses on her own. Right now we pay for this horse completely, which we did willingly. Perhaps when she gets a job I could propose she continue to board him here on a rate enough to pay for hay; that way she could ride him more often when the time comes?
When a situation has deteriorated to the point where the animals are emaciated and they aren't getting even basic care, sh** needs to change. Like, yesterday.
Can you sit them down and have a heart-to-heart with them? Make them understand that, as their friend, you're very concerned about the shape their animals are in and you're worried that they're overwhelmed. Give the overall impression that you're only trying to help them and that you're not there to judge. Maybe try to talk them into parting with some horses and offer to help find homes for them.
If that don't work, it's time to stop being nice. Those animals can't call for help. Alert the Humane Society or whatever animal control you have in the area. Your friends don't have to know who reported them. I know that's probably the last thing you want to do and it's easier said than done, but you gotta do what you gotta do. When it comes down to it, the animals' welfare is more important than your friends' feelings.
PS, stubborn ignorance does not excuse them.
PPS, a big round of applause to you for helping them as much as you already have. :thumbsup:
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