The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:04 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 8
Location: New Zealand
Just looking for opinions on how you would approach this situation.

There is a new grazer with two horses in Ra's paddock. I met her yesterday and she is a nice lady, but seems totally oblivious, or unwilling to see the state of her horses.

They both have shoes on and look like they haven't seen the farrier for two months or more. One of them has shoes all round and fairly upright feet, I could literally trim an inch off them. His shoes jingle and rattle as he walks, they are so loose. They are sitting right inside his feet with some nails sticking out. The other just has front shoes, and very flat pancake feet with similar shoes. Both horses were tripping over their own feet.

She is keeping covers on them and when she took the covers off I was quite shocked. Both horses were sweating in their rugs, but they were also very thin. I would have given them a body score of 2. Thin and malnourished with a significant amount of muscle wastage.

She put a saddle on, which did not fit at all and was sitting right on his spine. She longed him and then rode him in the arena. She was a larger lady and not too balanced.

I introduced myself and just explained that I had been concerned about them as last night they had been chasing/chased around the paddock and I was worried about them with their shoes flapping around ( i hadn't seen what was under their rugs or anything at that stage.

What concerned me most was her response to all this. When I mentioned their shoes she just said "oh, the farriers coming out next week to fix them up". Next WEEK?? They needed a farrier a month ago and you're making them wait another week?? When she took their rugs off and I saw all their bones sticking out; "winter has been hard on them, but they're picking up now, we're all in the same boat aren't we?" -ahhhh no? Have you looked at all these other horses who are in great condition? And she didn't seem concerned about them running around either, I mentioned that one of them had over reached and cut himself - she didn't even look.

So how would others approach this? Should I try and talk to her? When does it become an actual welfare issue? (I feel it definitely is, but its still sort of in that "frowned upon but these things happen" sort of realm). Or is it actually just none of my business?

Well at least having a bit of a vent makes me feel better...

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 am
Posts: 94
Location: America
It the horses are suffering, then yes, of course it's your business. I think that she does love having horses, but has no idea how to care for them, or even what a well-cared-for horse should look like. I feel like she likes the idea of having a horse, but doesn't really bother to know anything about them, which is just cruel to the horses and ignorant on her part. I would maybe start by casually asking her about what she feeds the horses, then suggest for her to switch to a better feed or give the horses more. I really don't know what to do about the shoes, though. She thinks that she's taking care of that right now! If she doesn't seem to listen, then I would either tell her how to care for her horse properly (not so delicately), and if she still doesn't listen, ask some of your friends that take care of their horses to help you.
It kind of reminds me of a friend's rescue horse: a boyfriend bought his girlfriend a horse, who had always wanted one but just didn't know anything about them. She literally didn't know what they ate, and never bothered to look it up. The horse was left in a field with no food and a loose, rusty, barbed-wire fence around it. The horse tried to step over it to get some food, but it cut up it's back leg really badly. Animal control was about to put it down when my friend heard about it. It's not that the girl was trying to be abusive, but her lack of knowledge ended up hurting her horse really badly. (BTW, the horse is healed up, and is now a trail horse that's gone all over the country and loves it!)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 8
Location: New Zealand
Hi Rose, thank you for our reply :smile:

It is always such an awkward situation as you don't want to just totally offend them and make the whole thing worse! I think I will just keep having conversations with her, keep quietly asking questions and trying to get her to think about things...

Good news for the horses is at least they have now moved to good grass, so they should pick up condition despite how little or how much shes feeding them. The feet will get done, just not as soon as they should and hopefully as the farrier comes regularly to the Pony Club they will get done when everyone else's horses get done. I was going to offer to her that I would pull their shoes and give them a trim free of charge, but I couldn't bring myself to be that pushy about the situation :blush:

What to do about the saddle and riding situation I don't know... Many of the things I think are so wrong are just seen as the bad side of "normal" to many others.

Anyway, just the move to the Pony Club has been a good improvement for these horses :f:

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6253
Location: Dresden, Germany
AnnaNZ wrote:
It is always such an awkward situation as you don't want to just totally offend them and make the whole thing worse! I think I will just keep having conversations with her, keep quietly asking questions and trying to get her to think about things...

Great, Anna! :f: That's what I was going to suggest as well, because this is the way I would want someone else to deal with me if he was concerned about my horse keeping. And I think that at times people might be concerned, for example when Titum refuses to eat hay in spring as soon as the grass starts growing, and then he gets very skinny. He has access to hay 24/7, but if he does not eat it, there is not so much you can do. Probably the situation is a bit different in the case of the woman at your place, but what I just wanted to say is that sometimes there are reasons that are not immediately visible for someone who is looking from outside, and then it does not feel so nice to get accused of neglecting your horse when actually you are doing all you can, or at least everything you think is normal. I guess she does consider the situation to be quite normal, so indeed, trying to understand her view and then perhaps help her modify it seems like a good strategy. :)

Anyway, just wanted to say that I think it's wonderful that you are so helpful and at the same time not intrusive. In other forums I have see the most awkward scenarios, with one person describing such a situation and then several other people jumping in and making conclusions about the condition of the horses (which of course they had never seen), the personality of their owner, and all kinds of other things. I am so glad that this place isn't like that. :smile:

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