You’ve probably read the recent news story about the 13 year old granddaughter who answered an online free ad from a woman saying that unless someone offered a home to her pony it would have to be put to sleep. Of course, what pony loving girl could resist. However her Nan wasn’t quite as happy to find a forlorn colt dumped in her back yard!
As a ponyless girl I would definitely have answered that advert. Not only would I have saved a pony’s life but also fulfilled my young dream and got it delivered direct to my door for FREE! But, as my Mum used to say, it’s not getting a horse that’s a problem, it’s finding the money to keep one.
Let’s face it, owning a horse is an expensive business and that’s why their fate is usually determined by money. When, they’re a dream in a new owner’s eye, the promise of a perfect partner and a future of possibilities, then, money is spent. But, when they become unrideable, due to behavioural or physical problems, aren’t up to fulfilling their owner’s ambitions or have just become too old, they often turn into a monetary burden.
The woman who put her pony in an online ad and then dumped him at a house without any apparent care for his welfare has been quite rightly criticised. But, whilst everyone is raging about her behaviour maybe we should scrutinise our own.
Unfortunately horses often get treated like cars. When they’re troublesome they’re sold to someone else because there’s no room for a ‘vehicle’ that’s not useful. And when selling both cars and horses, honesty very often falls by the wayside. So, do those people who ‘shift’ their problem horse onto someone else, usually with the help of some creative ad writing, really care about their horse’s welfare? They’d like to think so, because what’s the alternative? They can’t afford to keep a horse that they can’t ride.....hopefully it will go to a good home....anyway it’s better than having it put down isn’t it?
What about the person with an elderly horse who just gives it away, and will deliver it too. They feel good about themselves because they’re sending it to a good home.....well, actually they don't’ know the people but they sounded nice and it sounds like a good home.
Of course, most people really do want to do well by their horse and argue that it would be better off with someone else. But, this horse could end up being shifted from pillar to post and be cruelly treated along the way. This can be blinkered kindness.
And what about the elderly horse? Maybe it’s just better to have him or her put to sleep. What a terrible thing to suggest some of you are probably thinking, but surely if we love our horses we should have the courage to end their lives rather than leave them to a fate that we can’t control. Or is it easier to leave that difficult decision to someone else and kid ourselves that we’re being kind?
So, before we start ranting about what this woman has done, maybe we should ask some awkward questions closer to our own stable yard.