I try hard not to judge other horse owners...really I do. Sometimes I just can't help myself.
Twice today I found myself thinking, "That lady has no business owning horses"
The first gal, a tad younger, has a mare the same age as Sassy. The mare tore a ligament in her knee. She is so swollen and in a ton of pain. My vet went over and treated her last Wednesday, he x-rayed and wrapped and gave her a shot for the pain. He said to keep her on Bute, but not too much, until he is back down next week. Well she hasn't been able to give her horse any Bute because if she touches the mares halter, the mare throws her head, and the girl immediately lets go and says, "Oh she doesn't like it." (On the bright side she doesn't keep the halter on all the time)
I went over this morning with Tom to show the gal how to do it. I ended up never getting the chance. They decided that they didn't want me stressing her out. They opted to remove all the food except for some Jr. Feed with some Bute mixed in it. I spent some time trying to show her, and explain to her that it is ok if the mare doesn't like it, she just needs to be persistent and firm. By time I left I was holding the mare by the halter and moving her head all around. But still they wouldn't let me have a shot at it. Poor horse has been standing on 3 legs for 5 days. She is exhausted.
The reason I say she should not have horses is because to her they are "babies." I explained to her that her horse has taken the roll as leader and unless she takes it back, she is going to end up getting hurt. I'm pretty sure she didn't hear a word I said. this gals brain goes 90 MPH and very little info goes in. Lots of stuff comes out though...really crazy stuff. She was a nice gal, and she does care for her horses. They are in wonderful condition, (better than most of the horses at that barn) but she is a classic case of all love and no discipline. There is still hope for her at least and at least her horses are cared for.
Interestingly enough, she won this particular mare in a raffle. A raffle that I spent $100.00. She is beautiful, well balanced, relatively nice temperament, even with the whole leader follower role reversal. I could have done a lot with that mare....oh well.
The second time I found myself passing judgement on a horse owner was much later in the day. It actually started this morning but my judgement wasn't issued out until a few minutes ago. My neighbor down the road with a bunch of horses called me at 6 am to tell me two of my horses were out. (My kind of neighbor!)
But I looked right out my bedroom window and saw all four of mine in their pens. Check for the Arabian Brothers next door, they were also home. The minute it was semi- light out I started looking for the runaways. I found them right next door to the neighbor's who had called me. They were staying put in this lady's back pasture (which no longer has animals) so I did not go after them. No sense chasing them out into traffic if I didn't have too.
Then I started making phone calls, and those people made phone calls, who made more phone calls. I was back and forth down my road all day, always checking to see where they were. They stayed there, so I still did not go after them. The last time I went by I did not see them so I assumed that one of the calls had reached the owner and they were home safely. I was wrong.
About 30 min ago, I was in my front yard, I saw them again and saw people out there so I went over to see if they needed help. They caught one horse easily, but the other was being elusive. They kept chasing him from behind and he kept running off. (well duh) Finally he stopped by a fence I took a few steps forward, he started to move forward, I stepped in front. He started to move back, I took a step back. I held my hand out for him to sniff, he sort of did from a distance. Then I slowly moved towards his side. When he let me pet his side, I knew I had him. I just reached up and grabbed his halter. (This one wears his halter 24/7)
Now here is why she should not own horses. It has nothing to do with them getting out, or her inability to catch the one. It was what I saw as I started looking at these two. They were both covered in big scaly lesions of some kind. The geldings hind leg was all swollen from it. The mare had it all over. The gelding mostly had it on his legs. The lady says, "Do you have any idea what this is? Some one told me it was bots so I wormed them but it didn't go away"
I'll be honest, I don't know for sure what it is but I'm guessing mange, or rain rot. It might be ring worm but I really don't think so. What ever it is, it is obviously contagious. I told her what I thought. I looked at it as closely as I could (thank goodness I was wearing gloves), but told her it darn sure isn't bots. That is when she told me that they have had it since summer time.
So let me get this straight, since last summer your horses have had this, it is obviously contagious, the only thing you tried didn't work so you just gave up?
The next thing she said was, "Well we get our tax return back soon, so I'll be able to call the vet then."
That is when the fateful words went through my head and almost out my mouth. "If you cannot afford to have a vet look at your horses for something as simple as a skin condition until you get your income tax...you do not need to be owning them."
I wished her luck, while biting me tongue, came home and threw my new gloves in the trash.
Forgive me lord for passing judgement, and please, if I ever get so financially strapped that I cannot properly care for my animals, give me the strength and the insight to let them go to someone who can.