Monday, June 20, 2011


There is a situation at my place that has me in a pickle about what to do.

Furry Husband and I go walking many mornings with the dogs... we walk to the South and if we go far enough we pass this house.  Last fall this house added a horse to it's little paddock/pasture and we noticed because there are metal t-posts with no caps on top, barb wire, scrap metal, a camper and a snow mobile in this enclosure. 

Not that I'm judging - people do all sorts of different things with animals that I don't choose to do.  But as we walked past we made a comment that our horses would surely kill themselves in an enclosure like that... they are hotter and Rosso is a huge drama queen who's run himself into and through a fence at least 3 or 4 times since we've owned him.  The metal and barb wire would have ended his drama pretty abruptly.  This horse however seemed calm, older, quiet and has been fine in this pen without any injury to itself.

This spring we went walking in that direction far enough to pass this house.  This horse has lost a dramatic amount of weight - he's lost the winter coat and we hadn't been down that way in a while.  I looked online and he's probably a 3 on the Henneke body scoring system.  He was in good weight when he arrived in the fall.  His hooves are very long and beginning to dish up which makes me think "neglect".

There isn't enough grass or weeds for a horse to live on in the pen.  Right now there isn't any grass or plant matter at all - he's eaten everything.  I don't see any signs of hay bales or tarps that might be covering hay anywhere.  I could be wrong - I'm not on their property. 

Maybe these people brought this horse home as weed/grass control.  He could be ill.  Tho', he seems bright eyed, isn't cushionoid, walks normally... he looks o.k.  He is older - but he isn't as old as Brandon or Jess were... he just doesn't have that super ancient horse look about him. 

Furry Husband and I discussed going up to the house to talk to the people... I hesitate to do it because I would expect a lot of anger if we did.  A neighbor suggested we offer $ for the horse to save it.  Someone else told me I should be prepared to take it if I talk to the people.

Only I don't want another horse right now.  And while I care, why does it fall on us to pay for someone elses lack of responsibility? 

Horses aren't cheap... vet, farrier, vaccinations, feed... and they live a long time.  I think most of the animals we have are rescue.... 2 dogs from animal shelters.... 5 cats we found that were stray/feral/sick - we trap and spay/neuter any other cats that show up and try to re-home them or if they are feral, we release them back where we found them (google Trap, Neuter, Release for feral cats) .... I've had 2 free horses cuz no one else wanted them... I feel like we do our part to help give a home to unwanted animals.   We spend a lot of money on our animals to give them good vet care, food, training.... our financial situation isn't great but we do o.k.   We don't have unlimited funds, time or space to keep bringing home animals in need.

At the same time, it's not right that this animal could be starving and we are supposed to turn a blind eye?

I submitted 2 reports to the Larimer County Humane Society, asking for a home visit and education to this address... the horse may or may not be in a neglect situation.  I've been leaving messages for a horse rescue near Ft. Collins.   I've offered a donation to the horse rescue if someone can come out to evaluate/educate the situation.  I'm trying not to make assumptions but trying to get help from an organization who's job it is to do this sort of thing if it's needed....

I'm thinking about dropping off some bales of hay for these people to feed... I don't want judge or be holier than thou and I would really rather not even be IN this situation thinking about getting into these people's business..... I also don't want to see an animal that might need real help and ignore it either.


Heather said...

Is the pen close enough to the road to do a 'drive by' feeding? Maybe you could toss a few bales out there for the guy and see what happens?

You could also just stop by and ask them about the horse without any judgement or expectation. Just ask 'how is your horse? do you ride? how old is he?' type questions. Perhaps they took in a relative's horse and have no knowledge. If they seem put out by the horse or uneducated, you could offer info or even just say something like "it is getting to be that time of year when the grass dies off and we have to feed our horses baled hay'. You could also ask if they have found a good trimmer yet or if they want the number of the guy you use.

I don't know... It is a tough situation, but I think you owe it to the horse to try your best.

Shanster said...

Yeah - he's right on the road which is why we see him... I've thought about a drive by feeding... but could it induce colic and make a bad situation really bad? Those are the conversation starters I have going on in my head... and whose to say they won't just get pissed and haul the horse to the sale barn for slaughter....

No good answers.

But yes, we will try something to get them to notice and/or act. Just don't know what that is yet.

Shanster said...

Update: Rescue called me back, they will stop by the place and have a look today or tomorrow to evaluate.

Humane Society is going out there today for a home visit.

We will keep watch and if the situation doesn't improve there is a plan B which of course may or may not work.... keep your fingers crossed!

DebH said...

good move on your part. I've aquired many of my own animals that way..make myself known and then I offer. I couldn't take on another animal at this point but if I had to, I would figure out something. I only do what I can afford and anything that looks neglected, I call the law enforcement. We have a small community and they follow up on those things quickly. Horses are cared for well in this area for the most part. But I think its because everyone in our area is in each others business....which is a pain occassionally. I sure hope they can move the horse easily somewhere that will care for him. A few years ago I was noticing a horse down the road from me and how skin and bones it was. I asked about it and found out it was 36yrs old and her owner was a vet who took exceptional care of her. She was just old. and if you keep a secret...I actually have stolen a couple horses in my days. HA! Seriously, I was 14 and our neighbors horse had wandered onto our property and stayed for about a year before they noticed he was missing. He found a good home at our house...and when they came to get him...they tied him to the car door and dragged him home. My friend and I hopped on a little Honda 90 and snuck down to their farm and released him after they left for the day. We still laugh about that horse ran all the way back home to my house and stayed for the next 12 years. They never came back to get him. We were smart though and my girlfriend rode backwards on the motorcyle behind me with a tree branch covering our tracks. Scarey thing is that friend is the one who does everything to this day with me. And she will steal a horse if I tell her its right! You do what you gotta do!!

Shanster said...

DebH you kill me! You are crazy, fun and so goodhearted! Yes, Jess looked horrible before we put her down she was into her 30's.

She was given mash 2x a day, all day knee deep pasture but she wasn't doing well and often times didn't want to eat. The vet had been out to see her and run blood tests to see if anything obvious was going on... nothing black and white showed up tho' things didn't come back normal either.

We all agreed to put her down but gave her some last sunny days with the rest of the horses before we did it. Tho' her feet always looked good and if anyone asked I felt comfortable explaining the situation.

I know it can be that way toward the end and if that is the case, fine... think it's good that people know others are noticing when an animal begins to look like it needs help...

I get mad about it... as I'm sure we all do. Why take an animal if you don't know or care enough to take care of it? Doesn't have to be fancy or perfect. Food, shelter, water...