The inconvenient heart horse

Sorry for the long essay. This may be a TL;DR for some.

I have had to take a deep breath and compose myself… and hold off posting this topic for a couple of days. Just to make sure it did not come across as an irate stream-of-consciousness raging rant. I may have still failed in that attempt.

A friend of a friend (I know her from showing but we are not BFFs - let’s call her B) sold her little farm and advised our mutual friend that she was going to have her 3 remaining horses (these are minis) put down as opposed to having the inconvenience of trying to find them new homes. Needless to say, C (the mutual friend and my farrier) was upset and said that she would take them - and NOT to do that. B said okay but they needed to be gone by Nov. 10 … or else. Yes, she pulled the old The Truck Is Coming excuse/threat.

C scrambled to rearrange her very tight schedule - trailer brakes needed to be fixed and then the truck had some minor issues… all that was being taken care of and B was made aware of the delay. B now moved the Absolutely Last Possible Day to Nov. 15. C worked to get the truck and trailer sorted out (because it never rains but it pours), rearranged farrier appointments… and B advised her that the Absolutely Last Date was now the 20th. She and her husband were leaving on the 30th.

C was feeling happy to get the horses out of there. We were annoyed with B - these are not old minis. Two very sweet mares - retired show horses - pinto (17) who drives and silver bay (19). One chestnut gelding (15) who had colic surgery a couple of years ago but has been doing well. The gelding is/was B’s heart horse that she constantly raved about and allegedly adored - out of my BO’s breeding when she still had minis. He was a stallion until after the colic surgery. He drives, he won many halter championships - finding him a great home would be a no-brainer. C knew he would be amazing with her 4Hers. He was stunning with a temperament to match. Horses’ paperwork was in order - Coggins and health certs done.

Monday (the 15th) morning, C called B to say she would be leaving the next morning (16th) and would be there to pick them up by late afternoon/early evening. B said great - and went on and on about her heart horse and how she loved him and would miss him but he would still be loved and appreciated yada yada yada. Oh, and the mares too.

Late Monday night (deep breath) B texts C and tell her not to bother coming - the gate will be locked if she tries and the horses are being put down at 9:30 the next morning.

All hell broke loose.

C was upset and crying on the phone - I had the opposite reaction and wanted to call B and let her have it. I held off - hoping she had just overacted to something that maybe her husband had whined about - and would change her mind. So much for her heart horse. It seems that after all these years he was just an inconvenience and an accessory to be discarded whenever it suited her. Those horses had a place to go - a soft landing. They would be loved despite being older and shaggy. They would not be accessories. They would be family.

I cooled off enough to call B and urged her to reconsider and told her they would be loved etc. She told me to eff off and hung up on me. C called her and tearfully pleaded/begged for the horses again … she noted that the deadline was still a few days away - what difference would ONE DAY make!!! She could be there later on Tuesday!!

B hung up. Then texted that we were not to tell anyone about this. C called one more time to plead. B’s husband answered the phone and said B was in the barn and never wanted to speak to C again. I should point out that C showed B’s horses in the past and started them in harness and taught B to drive… and considered her a friend.

So here it is - Thursday afternoon. Not a word from B. C is extremely upset. I am LIVID.

B has one horse left - a 4 year old colt (out of the heart horse and the silver bay mare) who is boarded at another barn. That BO had also offered to take the other 3 in and care for them. How long until that colt is an inconvenience?

I am heartbroken and very angry. C is still very upset - at the betrayal of a friend and the loss of those 3 horses. They deserved better. They did nothing wrong. They were not trinkets in a shelf that you can toss in the garbage when you tire of them.

Are we overreacting? Not our horses, not our call, right? Except it was agreed that they were leaving with C… WTF is wrong with people!!!

Thoughts and opinions are welcome. If I was out of line - please let me know.

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B certainly handled the situation very poorly in the back and forth of what is to happen, and shutting out people who were just trying to help, but I very much empathize with her wish to euthanize the horses, and don’t see it as discarding them at all.

I have horses that aren’t really worth anything to anyone. They’re pets to me, and I love them, but they have their quirks and challenges, and I’d really not expect anyone else to love & accommodate them like I would. If I were unable to keep them, I would put them down. Both because I think it would be incredibly challenging to find an appropriate home, but also because change is very difficult for them. The world is pretty risky and potentially unkind to useless horses.

Horses live today. A kind end is very rarely a wrong choice. Yes, C was willing to take them. But perhaps B decided that they wouldn’t take the move well, or that she had reservations in the end with the care C could provide, or B just decided that not making decisions for them was a broken promise.

At the very least, a narrative exists where B really is taking care of her horses with this action, and not “throwing them in the trash.”

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I think that was a really sh__y thing to do. The horses had guaranteed homes with people who knew them. It didn’t sound like any of them had major personality quirks that made them unlikely to find a good home. If any were dangerous, then okay, maybe I would that one, but it does sound like she’s discarding them.

I have a horse (Spud) that has so many quirks and is very spooky and could be intimidating for someone else. He has forever home with me but if the occasion arises where I need to rehome, I’d put him down rather than have him fall into the wrong hands and be mistreated.

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None of the minis had any quirks - the few minor ones that Heart Horse had evaporated when he was gelded. Each of these horses was well known to C.

B had expressed that finding them a home was too much of a bother and she did not have time for it - back when the topic first came up. Everything was hunky-dory until in the space of a few hours, a switch went off and she changed her mind. She had been to C’s place and knew what it was like. Happy, retired minis and ponies.

We have two horses here who would not do well in a new home at their age and with their issues. The bigger gelding is fine if he knows you and has his routine… but the smallest thing can set him off. We know him and understand him and accommodate him - but moving Somewhere Else is simply not a safe option for him. The 29 year old blind mini mare knows every inch of her paddock by distance and feel… knows when to turn to come into the barn and where to carefully find her open stall door. She would be lost if she had to move. Fortunately none of that is on the horizon.

I hope she at least had the gumption to hold them while they were put down. To look into their happy, trusting eyes… but I am sure that would be an uncomfortable inconvenience.

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There is a special place in Hell for someone who would do this when the horses all had a good place to go. I’m sorry you and your farrier had to go through this. I would be livid and heartbroken also.

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Do you know that the horses were definitely put down and that she didn’t, say, have someone offer to buy the horses and she took the money over the guaranteed good home?

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Gosh that sucks. I would feel terrible.

As someone who has had to ‘rescue’ a few horses, I learned very quickly when someone says ‘come get these horses’ you do it that day. ASAP. Because people who abandon horses aren’t rational people. They will do really weird shit. So no matter what, I drop everything and go. I’m sorry your friend had to learn that lesson in such a difficult and hard way. Let her know that she did what she could, and she isn’t responsible for other peoples’ actions.

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B sounds unstable. I’m sorry that you had to go through this. Maybe it’s because I’m a mini owner and I hear more about minis than the big horses but it seems to me minis are always getting a rough deal when they become unwanted. Bought like toys and discarded like toys.

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If I were B I would be checking my back every. hour. of. every. day. Because I’m coming for you. And if I don’t take care of it, I pray someone else will. Or we can all hope for karma. What a miserable bitch.

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Without knowing the whole story, I would tend to agree with this:

However while reading, I couldn’t help but think - man, C doesn’t have her shit together at all, the truck and trailer are both in such disrepair that she can’t go get three little horses that together might weigh 700 pounds and B had to keep extending the deadline, who doesn’t know of a trailer they can borrow (mine is going out Sunday to help someone go get Xmas pictures made) or a friend who will haul, does C have it together enough to take on three more ongoing maintenance expenses?

Anyway, the whole situation sucks, no one smells good. Sorry for the little minis too.

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But she told B she was coming to get them. She had a definite date and a good window. It’s not like C called her and flaked. In the end B decided to do what suited her and not the horses which proves - at least to me - that they were, in the end, an inconvenience. B waited all that time - what was 1 more day or a few more hours going to mean?

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I am admittedly Devil’s Advocate here, but on B’s behalf, I too plan to euth my horses: now 21yo Hackney Pony & 18yo TWH, if I can no longer care for them.
I’m 71 now, and healthy, caring for them at my farm, but that could still happen sooner than later.
I’d feel better doing that than sending aged horses to uncertain futures.
No guarantee C in this scenario will be able to care for the 3 until their natural endtimes.

My (now) 7yo mini will go to a theraputic riding/driving facility near me. A fellow Carriage Club member works there. The program could make good use of him as he drives & is great with kids.

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I don’t blame you, I’d be pissed too. They weren’t your horses but doing something like that can make you all respect for a person. I’m in a similarish boat with a friend. Her horse is heading for euthanasia and it absolutely doesn’t have to be. She’s been offered help and she’s had people offer to take the horse but I honestly think her mindset is if she can’t have the horse nobody can. It’s really frustrating. I’ve seen this happen before though where somebody steps up and says “hey, I’ll take dobbins” but the owner would still rather euth. I’m convinced it’s an ego thing.

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I agree B sounds unstable. Does B have health issues or early onset dementia? It’s not just the decision to euth middle aged horses but the jacking around other people who offered to take them. Sounds like she went out of her way for maximum drama and maximum upset.

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What a sad situation. I’m sorry you all went through this. I can’t really weigh in on the actions of anyone without being there, but I can tell it was emotional and sh*tty for everyone, especially you and C.

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Is B’s husband abusive?

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I think this is a really valuable question. This seems like very irrational behavior for a horse person. There is likely more to the story than the OP may ever learn.

Horses live in the moment. There are worse endings than a humane euthanasia on a home farm. I’d keep an eye on Craigslist and local auction postings though as I wouldn’t be shocked if they got dumped.

I too find it odd that C being a horse person needed more than 24 hours to get a rig and trailer together for a single trip. Ten days was a long day to push a deadline on someone acting irrationally.

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I agree with some others. I think there is something else going on here , beyond two women and some ponies.

I think I would allow some grace and thought that there may be some other issue that the pony owner is caught up in and is powerless to solve.

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This, right here, tells us that B knows exactly how f*cked up this is. If I were you & C, I’d reply to that text with a “you think you can kill healthy animals that had homes waiting for them and no one will find out? Lady, this is going ALL OVER my FB page unless you hand the horses over”

Yeah, I’d threaten her and I’d follow through with it. Let EVERYONE in the mini world know what she did so no one is foolish enough to give/sell her more horses down the road. Consider it a public service announcement. Put the entire story out there and if she refutes it, put up screen captures of the texts.

People don’t ask you to hide their actions unless they are ashamed of them.

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Especially odd that it would have been a lot more convenient (and cheaper) to have someone take the minis rather than euthanizing. Makes me wonder if she felt C was jerking her around and she either sold them elsewhere, or was angry and twisted enough to go to the trouble and expense to put them down.

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