How can I help this horse out of neglect?
I board at a barn near my home, and there is this one gelding there. His name is Duke.
The thing is, he has some sort of eating problem, so he isn't allowed outside to graze with the other horses and ponies, and his owner never comes to ride him, so he's always in his stall. It makes me want to cry, because he is obviously lonely and full of energy that he can never let out, so he's turned into a weaver, and is very shy of humans.
I've gotten to know him over the six or so months I've been there, and he will even let me touch his head through the bars. I see him lifting his forelegs up in turn, and whether that is a habit developed out of boredom, or because no one ever cleans his hooves (apart from the farrier - at least, I think the farrier sees him).
He has a blanket on, but his neck is always drenched in sweat, and since the temperature is generally below 30f here, it steams off of him, and I see him shaking.
It isn't legally called animal cruelty, but I think it is. You have no idea how many times I've wanted to call the owner up and ask to buy him, but of course, my parents would kill me. :-)
Any suggestions on what I can do? Should I ask the owner to ride him? Lunge him? LOVE HIM!?!?!?!!?! (Which I do already, actually :-o ). Do you know of anything to treat weaving? He could be damaging his neck, and no one would be the wiser. :evil:
Sorry, it just makes me so sad to see him....
Unfortunatly, there really isn't much you can do. I def wouldn't get him or do anything more than pet him thru the bars b/c of liability reasons. The owner could blame you for something happening and that can turn into a big mess.
I would have a talk with the baarn owner/manager about your concerns.
It's definitely not an abuse in any way. If you really want to mess with him I'd just ask the owner (nicely) if the owner doesn't mind you to take care of the horse. I was in situation once when the owner (who was very sick) was very happy I was taking care of his horse and gave him lots of attention, brushing, and riding.
I'm not sure why people call a horse who has a blanket, gets fed and has a roof over his head "neglected". Sounds better then what a lot of horses get.
Yes, he may not have much attention paid to him, but thats up to the owner, not you, to decide.
The most you can do is talk to the owner and BO to see if they'll let you do anything even if it is just turning him out in an arena to get some energy out. He may not be allowed to graze but that doesn't mean turn out in an arena is out of the question. If the owner and BO say they don't want you working with him then there is nothing you can do but you will never know until you ask. Like KV said the owner my be in a position that prevents them from riding right now and may welcome the help with open arms.
My old QH was a weaver and a blanket sweater. He was just a jerk.
If you see the owner, you could ask. If not, I would stay clear. Don't get attached.
Are you there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Perhaps his owner has a tight schedule, or doesn't come out during "normal" hours, or perhaps doesn't get out as much as s/he would like to.
It sounds like something might be wrong with him - if he can't go out and graze with other horses, what else might be wrong? Would it be wrong of the owner to let him out in a potentially dangerous situation? Perhaps the horse simply cannot be let out to run in the arena or with other horses. It sounds like you aren't completely sure of the back-story.
While I can understand your concerns, they aren't really your business. I'm not saying that to be mean, it is simply the truth. The horse is cared for, and that's that. It certainly doesn't sound like neglect or abuse.
I don't know it sounds like abuse to me. Yes he's fed etc but if he's not getting turned out then I would say that his needs are not being met especially from you're saying. Sweating, shaking, weaving - that sounds terrible. I would definitely try to talk to the owner and see if you can "help". Maybe you could even find him a better home especially if the owner doesn't come out to see him.
"Sounds like" is very different from being proven true. How are we to know that this horse physically cannot be out with other horses, or has a condition that means he cannot be turned out? How do we know the shaking isn't a condition? How do we know, without being in front of the horse's stall 24/7, that the horse is never taken out?
We cannot say with any certainty that this horse is suffering abuse. If anything, I would stray from using the word "abuse" at all with this horse.
Obviously the owner cares for this horse - if the owner didn't care, they wouldn't be paying for stall board. Horses are expensive. You don't just buy one to be able to say "hey. I have a horse." The cost money up the wazoo, especially to have a horse stalled. If the owner didn't care, or didn't want to spend money on the horse, they would toss said horse out in the pasture so it wouldn't cost as much money, or truly neglect the horse and not be up with board, farrier, and the horse certainly wouldn't have cozy blankets on.
I would not advise asking the owner about finding a better home for the horse - that is very insulting. If I were the horse's owner, and I had a busy schedule because I'm trying to pay a mortgage and for my horse, I would be very very unhappy if someone came up to me and said "your horse is neglected, and I want to find a new home for him," I would be mad beyond words, and hurt.
Talk to the owner if you see them, sure, and ask non-provoking questions (such as "I adore Duke! Can you tell me a bit about him? I admire him all the time.. what's his story? What do you do with him?"), but don't assume things.
I would likely refuse to have anyone handle or work any horse I owned, especially if I didn't know them very well. Why would I risk that?
My advice is to leave well enough alone. If you see the owner, ask a few open-ended questions, but be prepared for the owner to not really invite you into their world.
I completely agree with JDI's advice. This is not the OP's responsibility in the slightest. If s/he is concerned, it would be best to take it up with the Barn Owner/Manager.
Like said above me, this horse is clearly getting more than a lot out there... doesn't sound like neglect to me.
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