Does anybody else have this problem? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-02-2015, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Does anybody else have this problem?

I would love to have a horse one day but the ONLY thing keeping me back is the worry that my horse is going to colic, get really sick, or have something tragic happen to it, also the time when it would eventually die of old age. I don't know how I would deal with it. Does anybody else have this problem? How do you deal with it? I'm getting emotional just thinking about it
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 12:17 AM
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Location: Southern Indiana
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Those kind of thoughts have never kept me from owning a pet or horse. Everything that lives eventually dies and life wouldn't be much fun if we only worried about the end. When an animal or person we love dies we spend time grieving but eventually you have to pick yourself up by your boot straps and get on with living. It's kinda like the saying "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never known love at all". My animals enrich my life so much that I'd much rather know the hurt when they pass on than to live without the joy they bring.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
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It can be pretty scary to think about. I have had two horses now who had kind of chronic colicy problems- probably due to not having good feeding options where I live. It's pretty upsetting. I've been fortunate so far that, knock on wood, nobody has had a terribly serious problem yet, but it happens and unfortunately that risk is part of the package.
I have lost two horses I have loved now, due to old age, and it's not easy. But at least when they begin to grow old you can begin to prepare yourself and it will be clear when it is the right time for them, whether you make the call or they do.

To be honest it just kind of seems to me that the best way to not get caught up in worrying is to push the thought out of your mind. Just like any other person or animal you love, anything could happen to take somebody from your life at any time, but you can't focus on that too much or you won't enjoy them while they are in your life. With both people and animals, what's important is that they had somebody in their life that cared for them enough to mourn them after they're gone.

When you start to think about the bad things that can happen, try to consciously think about the good things that will happen. Think about how you can give a good home to a horse who otherwise may not have had one, think about how you can share a bond together and have great times together. And even after they're gone, you will have wonderful memories to reflect on, and you will be able to give your love and compassion to another horse.

Trust me, it's more than worth it.

"Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!"
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 12:41 AM
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Although I had been involved with horse for several years, I had something happen that completely changed my outlook. Please bear with me.


I picked him up at an auction for $35 because no one else wanted him and the auction barn manager wouldn't let the owner "no sale" him. I also bought 8 other nice geldings to work with.

I just felt terribly sorry for this horse whose every bone stuck out. I could put my fist between his hind legs. He didn't object. He didn't have the energy.

I worked with a good friend and vet and started putting weight on T-bone. Then a lot of his hair fell out. Vet donated tests, assessments, adjusted the feed. T-bone became perky even.

But, one day I got to work and T-Bone was down. He had had such a worm load that his intestines could not absorb nutrients effectively. There was no chance. No hope. Yes, we had been treating for worms. Things don't always work out well with living things.

I asked my boss to put T-Bone down by bullet. The most ethical way, IMO. Boss said "No. Your horse. You make sure it's done right." I couldn't. I cleaned the barn and did other chores, making poor T-Bone languish while I nursed my cowardice and sorrow.

Finally boss called me on my selfishness.

I went and put T-Bone down myself. I buried him myself. I honored that horse. Finally.

Now, I enjoy each day I have with each horse, whether I own it or not. I know that if I need to, I will do right by the horse and honor it in memory and deed.

I now recognize that we don't know how much time we have with each other. Enjoy what you do have and do the right thing when you need to.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Central Western NSW, Australia
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Honestly, it's best not to think about those things. In the end, something will get your horse, be it time, sickness, or an accident.

I do know how you feel though. Both of my horses are leases and, in that sense, I have no control over when and how their lives are ended. My old QH, Dozer, is a particularly emotional case for me.

I've had him on lease for two years, though I've known him since 2010. He's a very special horse to me, and in two years I've thought of any number of tragic endings. Only recently, I had to seriously consider speaking to his owner about his longevity. It was thought that he had a sarcoid carcinoma in his hoof which, if it became too large, could have been reason to put him down, or at least send him back to his owner.

That is my biggest fear. I love this horse, and my biggest fear is I will be unable to care for him once he 'retires' (which looks to be in the near future) and will have to send him back, where his owner will deem him useless and have him put down, which they have every right to do. Hell, a lot of people I know think I should have already let that happen, because I'm paying $500 three times a year on arthritis injections.

Thinking about all of this, I always get teary. You just can't let yourself get hung up on those kinds of things. In my case, rather than think that his owner could have him put down if I send him back, I need to think of these years I have given him that he may not have had otherwise. Would his owner be willing to pay the upkeep on his arthritis? Maybe, maybe not.
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan, USA
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My Grandmother, who really wanted a dog in her retirement years was denied the pleasure by my Grandfather who didn't want to deal with a dog getting old, sick and dying eventually. He said it was just too hard.My Grandmother loved dogs. She was denied that and I believe her life would have been so much richer had she had a dog.

That is life. Things aren't perfect. Stuff happens, good stuff and bad stuff. Learning to deal with it instead of avoiding it is the process of maturing. Maybe you could start small with a pet that you care for?
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 10:27 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana
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I just lost one of my mares, Ragtime from colic a month ago. In 8 years was my first time experiencing a really sick horse, and then losing one. I had always thought about when the day would come that I would lose her, and honestly...nothing prepares you for it. After I lost her I very much got into the mindset, "I don't want to do this anymore, I can't handle losing another." I'm not going to lie to you...the grief I have felt, and am still feeling is just as strong as losing a family member. I have cried every single day since it happened. It's not easy. But I've noticed that on the days I feel like giving it all up, my other mare becomes a little more needy. She forces me to spend time in the barn. She forces me to interact with her- and in the past month I've almost gotten MORE fulfillment from horses than I ever have. Like Whinnie said, learning to deal with it instead of avoiding it...I miss my mare more than I thought possible, but I wouldn't give back the memories I have with her for ANYTHING. And I don't want to let fear hold me back from growing with my other mare. Instead I will take the the things Ragtime taught me and grow on them and become an even better team with my other mare.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by kaitlyn76 View Post
I would love to have a horse one day but the ONLY thing keeping me back is the worry that my horse is going to colic, get really sick, or have something tragic happen to it, also the time when it would eventually die of old age. I don't know how I would deal with it. Does anybody else have this problem? How do you deal with it? I'm getting emotional just thinking about it
Life is full of risk.

Every time you get into your car, you could crash and die.

When you walk up/down a flight of stairs, you could trip and fall down them and break your neck.

Whenever you go out to eat, there's a risk the food wasn't prepared properly and you can get food poisoning.

Assuming your parents are alive and well, there will someday come a day where they are going to get old and die.


I could continue to come up with what may seem as far-fetched ideas; but the truth is that these things happen to people every single day.

Why live your life in constant worry?

Instead of living in worry, live your life and enjoy it.

∞•*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*•∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Palmer Lake CO
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Hi All!

Some of my animals will probably out-live me. I worry about who will provide for them when the time comes that I am no longer able to do so.
But I don't obsess about it.
One of my horses, Banjo, is an elderly paint gelding. When I first met him, he was lame and could hardly walk. His owners were moving out of state, and were considering having him put down. I begged them to let me try to rehab him. Now, several years later, Banj is fit for light duty again, but has Cushings :-( I begged his owners to give him to me, so that I could comfortably make life decisions for him. They were agreeable.
I have come to love the old fellow, and personally take comfort in knowing that when his time comes, the decision rests in my hands.

Steve (and Banjo, who will be 32 this spring, and _still_loves to go out)
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Steve Jernigan KG0MB
Microelectronics Research
University of Colorado
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-03-2015, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central Hill Country Texas
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One of my horses is an old man. When I bought him he was already 20 something as best we could tell. It was love at first ride. He filled an empty niche at our home.

The flip side of worrying that you don’t have a whole lot of time left with them is that you become painfully aware that every day counts and so you make the extra effort to spend time with them. You live each day to the fullest and help them to do the same. That little awareness can make you into a better owner than you otherwise might be.

If you have the finances, the time and knowledge to own, care and maintain a horse then I think there would be a lot of horses that would be better off for having known you. Don’t let the fear of loss scare you off.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer

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