Oh, yes, lovely Donald -- intent -- I was just rabbiting on about intent in another thread a few days ago!
You're so right.
I love the term "fortnight equestrian" -- much better than weekend warrior!
And I think it's possible to be a caring steward for your horse even if you're not spending time with him/her every day -- I didn't mean to suggest that only those who went every day to see their horses cared about them.
Sorry if it came off that way!
But I have seen that there tends to be a different level of commitment and, indeed, relationship that comes from regular time investment. Many of the fortnight equestrian horses stand daily in stalls or paddocks -- a few in larger pastures, but most not -- and that's all they do. A handful of people have set up regular turnout by ranch staff for their horses, but not many. There is a lot of neglect by owners -- the horses are certainly getting watched and fed and watered by staff, and owners get called when there are medical emergencies, but far too many horses spend the vast majority of their lives with no attention, nothing to do, and not enough space to move out. They're sad and lonely, and some quite bonkers from the boredom.
And there are several owners who just have lost interest -- there are at least half a dozen horses at my ranch right now that haven't been out of their paddocks in months. And one poor old guy who had a horrible case of Cushings (basically unmanaged, except for another boarder who couldn't stand his pain and gave him bute regularly) who went down and couldn't get back up. The ranch owner had to plead with his owner to sell him to her for a dollar so she could call the vet and release him from his misery -- his owner (who also has two other neglected horses there and hasn't been there in months) refused to pay for the vet's fees and was willing to let this horse die slowly.
I know this will surprise all of you, but I'm seen as something of a nut at my ranch
-- for a number of reasons, but not the least being that if it's pouring down rain or thundering at two in the morning, I'm over there making sure the creek isn't going to flood and/or my guys aren't losing their marbles. I don't feel any sense of superiority about this -- I just can't stand to think of them being frightened or hurt without my paying attention, so it's really a compulsion to be over there if something is going on.
Part of that is that I am, perhaps, overly protective
but part of it is that I know my horses well enough to have a sense of what is likely to upset them, and know that if I show up that will help. They are my friends, my family, and I couldn't leave them to fend for themselves even if it's not convenient.
A few years ago at this ranch (before I'd moved there) they had a horrendous 100 year flood that came up very fast and they were trying to get horses out of paddocks that were flooded in a couple of feet of fast-moving, debris-laden water. Really scary. Folks who were there regularly were there that day, having paid close attention to the weather and the creek level, helping to get everyone moved. Those folks who came every couple of weeks or once a month in general weren't there -- not because they're horrible people, but, I think, because of an "out of sight out of mind" kind of energy.
So I don't know that their intent, even if it was basically good, was conscious or clear? I see a lot of people who like the idea of having a horse more than the actuality. And I think there is a problem with how their initial intent and their ongoing intent don't mesh.
And Donald, thank you -- the back does seem to still function, albeit a bit creakily today!
Oh, and yes, that would be me sleeping in the loft...anyone else from my house invited, of course...I spend most nights in a lovely pretzel shape because Mark has his side of the bed, and two cats, a dog, and Leigh have our side of the bed...but when I first got Stardust, Mark's comment was, "oh, great, are we going to have the horse in bed, now, too?"
(Errr...is that a problem???)