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I am asking this because about 7 years ago my sister bought a little red and white paint foal. She didn't really understand that just because you buy a baby, doesn't mean it will grow up well mannered and sweet like in the movies. She already had an Arabian who was about 3, and this foal was just so cute she kinda bought it as a pasture mate for the Arabian. Well the foal grew up and was not so nice, she would try to bite, was an escape artist and had a multitude of other little quirks that made her a little harder to handle and my sister who didn't have that much experience with horses started to question owning that horse. Well anyways there were some people who lived out the road who professed to be very knowledgeable in horses and they had a little girl who just fell in love with the paint. My sister being the soft hearted soul that she is decided to give the little girl the paint as a Christmas present. So in her mind she was doing a good deed, and sending her on to a better place with people who could actually handle her "quirks"...sounds lovely...

But then something went wrong...the little girl broke the paint...and she started to ride her frequently. But they didn't feed her. My sister would drive by thier house and watch the condition of this horse grow worse and worse. She became so boney and malnurished she started to eat the barn. My sister asked if the horse maybe could come back to the house and help keep the pastures down with the Arabian...trying to offer up a polite reason for the removal of the horse in the conditions it was being kept. That was met with a "no thank you" she is fine. The horse then developed a sore on it's back because the little girl rode it without a pad under the saddle....a huge horrible sore.

My sister repeatedly asked to have the horse back...the answer was always a no. She contacted the vet who also stopped to talk to the man about the horse...he pointed out the sore...I think at that point the man got turned into the authorities...I am not sure if it was from the vet or perhaps other people who saw the condition of the horse...but all of a sudden the horse dissapeared...he moved it to a pasture you could only get to with a four wheeler...deep down in the woods on a horrible road. My sister asked to come and see the horse...he kept putting her off saying the roads were too bad in the winter. She kept asking and asking...he told her as soon as spring came he would take her down. Then all of a sudden when the weather broke he says the horse died from a fall on the ice...that he discovered her dead with a broken neck...my sister feels like she made such a horrible mistake, and that there is nothing she can do to make it right. She holds a tremendous amount of guilt towards that decision to let the paint go to those people. She tried everything to get it back, she even offered to buy it back, even though she had freely gave it to them.

Has anyone else made a mistake like this in letting their horse go only to find it is being horribly neglected?
 

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Has anyone else made a mistake like this in letting their horse go only to find it is being horribly neglected?
No.

If you're going to sell or give a horse away, you need to do due diligence and get vet and farrier references. If people aren't willing to provide that information, then pass.

Poor horse. Your sister didn't do anything with her, and then she was given to a bunch of neglectful asshats who let her starve, get hurt, and then ultimately die.

The animal was the real loser in all of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know. The poor thing. I think that is what hurts my sister the most, that hindsight is 20/20. The thing is that she just felt sorry for the little girl, she thought she was doing a nice thing. Trust me it is something she truly regrets with all of her heart.
 

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What a crappy thing to happen. Not to thread jack but I wrote to someone on craigslist today about just that subject.

This girl posted her horse for sale. Totally adorable 22year old QH gelding who I have had my eye on for a week. I love him. I want him bad. My finances are in the crapper right now so I cannot afford a horse...especially since I just sold my horse a few weeks ago. I heard through the neighborhood that the people right down the road from us are going to buy this horse. They are nice people but take terrible care of their animals. They were given a horse by my BO because the daughter has been pressured into riding. She is terrified and nothing we could do could help her. She visited that horse 3 times in a year and only rode her once. They live a half mile away from the barn. When her horse got sick...they didn't visit. When she got hurt...nope. Finally my BO made a move and rehomed her off the farm. Legally wrong but the best thing for a sweet horse who needed a home. Not to mention they didn't pay the board on her which was a condition of their contract with the BO.

Long story longer...I wrote to the woman on craigslist and warned her about them. They have a donkey in their field right now and he has no shade or shelter and only 1/4 acre fenced in. It might be enough for a mini donkey but it certainly isnt enough for a full grown older horse.

I acknowledge that it was a snarky move on my part. He's just a nice old horse looking for a place to live out his days. He would die cold, hungry, thirsty and neglected there.

Its a tough thing to sell a horse. You never know what is going to happen. When you sell a horse, you take that chance. You must get references...and not just vet and farrier. I like personal references best. My vet could tell you nothing about me. They may be able to tell you that I get my horses shots once a year.
 

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I don't trust very many people with my animals, so you could bet your *** I'd be asking a lot of questions IF I ever was to sell a horse.

My parents bred/raised Labs for many years and we were very careful about the people we sold our dogs too. There were only a couple instances in which we regretted selling the dog to a person, but overall we found good homes for them. It's like SR said, if you sell an animal you need to get references and research the home it's going to.

I probably won't ever sell one anyways. That's what worries me about getting a summer/winter project pony! I'll just end up with another horse for 20 years.
 

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I was forced to sell my horse last year and the guy i sold him to promised he would keep in contact with me so i can see how hes doing and if he ever needed to rehome him i would be contacted first. Well i have tryed and tryed and he will no longer answer any of my calls or emails and he lives about 2 states away so i cant go find him. Its a hard lesson i learned and one mistake i wont make again. =(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The sad thing is that often the people who do the neglecting really feel they are not doing anything wrong. That is the insane part. It is like they go nuts or sick in the head and can't see the state they are causing in the animal.
 

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I haven't, but I looked at buying a horse from a lady who had to rescue him twice. His name is Monogram, he's a HAnoverian, probably well-bred, and was originally owned by John Walsh's (from America's Most Wanted) wife. This trainer bought him in Florida, because the owners couldn't afford him anymore, kept him for a while then sold him to a student she thought would be a good owner. The woman bought him in Feb. and must never have fed him grain because he lost ALL his muscle and so much weight. The trainer was furious, and took him back when the lady said she couldn't afford him, and now has to sell him AGAIN, but I think she'd only sell him to a barn whose trainer she knows so she can make sure he gets proper care. He's this stunning horse, a total sweetheart, trained to 3rd level dressage. The only reason I didn't snatch him up is because I can only afford pasture board and Monogram needs to not have any competition for food so he can get healthy. Seeing horses like him and hearing stories like yours absolutely infuriates me, how can someone do that to such a trusting and innocent animal? It especially freaks me out since I have to sell Jasper, but I'm just praying God will help me find the right home.
 

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all I can say is if you sell a horse put absolutely everything in writing. I did not get it all in writing and decided the new owner was a bad owner for my horse and she had outright lied about her situation. I took her to court and did get the horse back, even though everyone assured me I did not have a leg to stand on, since it was my word against hers. Perseverance can pay off even against impossible odds. It was a lot of work but paid off and the horse has since gone to the perfect home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sometimes we think everyone thinks like we do and unfortunately they don't. I am a pretty honest person so I assume others are honest too. I wouldn't stand and bold face lie to someone, but in the horse business, there are a lot of BSers. There are people we ALL know who probably have horses and shouldn't. I know that sounds crappy but some people just get them without the means to care for them. The free horse is NEVER free, sometimes it's the most expensive one in the long run.

When I was a little girl I dreamed about having a horse, I really believed with all my heart that I could get a horse and it could live in the house with me. I thought all I needed was to get the horse, and everything would fall in place. Well flash forward 20 years and now I understand that the horse isn't the big deal, it's the maintenance of the horse & all the gear you need to even ride the horse. It is the MASSIVE responsibility of having something totally dependant on you for it's life. Some people still think like I did when I was a child, get the horse first, and all will be fine. The rule is you have to have extra money in your budget, maybe it already exists, or maybe you have to make some cuts on other stuff you want to do without so you can enjoy the horse and provide for it. Most of the time it all boils down to money.

Right now I know of some people who can't afford 1 horse, and they have 10...they are always picking up these "free" horses. Their horses suffer the consequences and it is so sad. Of all those "newbie" lessons we learn along the way of horse ownership the hardest ones are the ones that end up with the horse suffering from our human errors...and especially when the suffering ends like it did for my sister. It is irepairable...there is nothing she can do at all to make it better. I wanted to post this thread because I hoped it would shed some light on the fact that people can lie, and they can be far different than what they appear. Once the horse leaves your custody and it goes on to the new home, well it is out of your control. I think it is far better to sell the horse for a fair amount than to give it away. A person who pays for an animal is more likely to care for it. "Free" things are often thought of as less wothy and they attract people who can't afford a horse in the first place. That isn't to say everytime, but sometimes it is true. There are people who search out free horses and then BS their way into getting them with talk of living out their years on some glorious farm. And yes they even use thier children to get them. Just be aware that your animal could be going someplace deplorable if taken by the wrong person, and I don't think anyone wants to drive by and see something they love starving to death and eating it's barn.

There have been studies done that show that "free" animals are often the ones most neglected when they are adopted by new people. Free kittens, puppies, and other small animals are even taken to be used as food for snakes and other reptiles. I say it is always best to place some sort of moey in the equation no matter what the animal is...not for a profit to yourself...just to make sure the people TRULY want the animal and value it's life.
 

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herbound, is your sister certain that her paint has died? They could have lied to her to get her off their backs? I dunno.

I agree that there should be some sort of fee associated with buying/adopting an animal.

I know that hindsight is 20/20 and all... but I might have chosen to give a "free care lease" on the horse rather than to give away ownership. In that case you've got a heck of a lot more legal justification for reclaiming the horse at any time if necessary.

The same has happened to a woman I know who trains and finds homes for mustangs. She halter trained a two year old and he was adopted (as all mustangs can be) for a small fee of $125. The poor guy was then left to sit around in his paddock for two years with no further training or work. He wasn't completely neglected, but was somewhat underweight and definitely far behind on his training. Eventually his paddock flooded and the mustang trainer I mentioned was asked to take him back and rescue him from the flood.

A few months later he's looking handsome as can be and has been advancing in his training... but he's still waiting for that person who really wants to take him home and give him a job.
 

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herbound, is your sister certain that her paint has died? They could have lied to her to get her off their backs?
This is entirely possible. They could have done any number of things with the horse that didn't entail its death. At least, at first. The animal may very well have been sent to auction or sold to a KB.

I agree that there should be some sort of fee associated with buying/adopting an animal.
I'm going to say 'not always' to a rehoming fee. I got JJ for free and I've given one horse away in my lifetime, as well as sold one.

Acquiring an animal for nothing does not mean it's going to be neglected or abused. JJ is living like a king, and the two I let go have been cherished their entire lives.

It's all about running reference checks and listening to your gut. If you think something might be whonky, don't ignore that little voice.
 

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In all the years we've been in the horse business, this has happened once. Several years ago, we sold Flipper to a local guy who was just looking for a horse that he could ride occasionally and that's the type Flipper is. Anyway, he is a pretty hard keeper TB and if you even think about changing his feed, he'll drop weight. Anyway a few weeks after this guy took him home, we were driving past and noticed that he seemed a little thin. After that, we would check up on him often and found out that they guy was feeding like half a ration of crappy grass hay to him every other day. Needless to say, Dad confronted the guy (I was living in Amarillo at the time) and said that if you aren't going to feed the horse, we're taking him back. So Flipper came back home in our trailer and got to enjoy all the good food he could eat after that. He still isn't fat, probably never will be, but he is slick, shiny, and healthy in his forever home. It would just be cruel to risk putting him through something like that again so he can live out the remainder of his retirement in our pasture.
 

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I may be looking at this from a completely different point of view but...

I gave a horse away once, it was a very sweet horse and I wanted a very specific type of home for it. By giving it away, I felt I had the right to CHOOSE the home it went to. I made a good decision. The horse is happy, safe and well care for.

If you sell a horse, then you've given up all rights to it. You've handed over ownership and responsibility to that person. Unless otherwise statet in a binding legal document, you have no rights to the horses whereabouts or any other information related to said animal.

It was a very sad situation in deed but I think your only recourse for this situation would have been to involve animal control.
 

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This could be a lesson for every one. Maybe instead of giving a horse away you let them use the horse with rights to inspect and check on it. If it is not being cared for you take it back no questions asked. After they provide good care for a year then gift them the horse with 1st right of refusal if they choose to get rid of the horse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
well my sister thought maybe they said that because they still had the horse and were hiding it's condition so she sent her husband down in there after the weather was better and it wasn't there. She asked around to see if maybe they had sold it, it doesn't appear to have been sold. Every time she sees a paint that is red and white she stops to check it out and make sure it isn't marked like her's...I think deep down she clings to the hope that the poor thing did somehow survive and make it out of that hell whole.
 

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We "gave" away our old pony Buddy, and he's living like a king now. He's got a little girl that mauls and pets and brushes and loves him daily, he's getting regular exercise with someone who doesn't weigh too much for him (I was always worried I would hurt him-I'm 125, and he's a fairly small boy), and I couldn't be happier for him and the little girl. Technically we could demand to have him back at any time-there was nothing legal signed, no money passed, but me and my dad haven't brought up the issue, and don't plan on it. Not every "free" horse is going to neglectful, abusive owners, but you really do have to know the person and get some references to diminish that risk.
 

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farmpony 84, technically, if you sell a horse you have given up all rights to it, but I am proof that sometimes you can get around that with enough research and persistence and get the horse back, even with nothing in writing. so my advice is at least try.
 

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I dunno. I got a horse for free, and he was one of the best trail horses I ever had (he's 30 and arthritic and retired from riding now). I definitely didn't think of him any less because he was free. As a matter of fact, I consider him sent to me by God. :)

I would try to never sell a horse I cared about, because you don't know where they are going. That's why I still have the 30yr old. At some point I will have to put him down, but I am not giving him away because you just don't know what will happen after that. What happened to your sister would be a big fear of mine. :-( Luckily I haven't been forced to sell one yet.
 

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hi there, sorry im new to the horse forum and im not to sure on how to use it yet...

if anyone cud help me with my question it would be much appreciated thanks.

Basically i sold my 13.2hh in 2008 the people had him on trial then bought him and i have stayed in contact, visting now and again, he was sold to them as they gave me their word he'd be there till the end of his days, today i went up to see him and was shocked and upset to learn he was sold a month ago... does anyone know how i could find out where he is now as the people we sold him to won't tell us... i really want to find him and make sure he is ok :( can u find out through passports etc ??please help if u can. thanks
 
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