"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Something to Ponder - Horse Owners

*sigh* I am tired. Who cares right? We are all tired.

Anyways, I thought I would do up a post on something to ponder for horse people considering having their horses at home with them. I have come across this situation a lot lately and I want to state, for the record, that this is by no means a rant/vent/complaining session! It just got me thinking....again.

I truly love having my horses at home with me; I wouldn't have it any other way. It was my goal and I achieved it! However, there are lots of others around me who don't understand it. Part of the educating we do at the rescue for new horse owners considering moving horses onto their own property is drilling this into their heads - YOU HAVE TO/MUST/WILL WORK/LIVE/EAT/SLEEP/BREATH and make plans around your horses schedule! Sorry, that's life...that is the way it is! (Unless you are lucky enough to have a trusting, horse friendly neighbor to cover for you when you need to be elsewhere.)

So, horses have to be kept on a strict regime. They aren't like us where they can forgo a dinner and/or be fed 2 hours past dinner time - this is a big no-no! They can be fed a little earlier than usual, but not late. You will have very upset horses; and, depending on your horse, you could end up having a colic case on your hands too. And for non-horsey people, sometimes they just cannot comprehend this! (Note: our families have learned to understand this now! Whew) And when I say "we" while I write this, it is because I have a right hand, my hubs, who can help me out. For those who are solely on their own, there is even more to have to consider.

What does this mean? This means when we have to be somewhere at 4 or 5pm, we say, "Sorry, we'll probably see you around 6pm, we have to feed the horses first". This means when you are celebrating a holiday, for example, and you are all enjoying dinner with family at a family members house, someone is going to have to leave to go home and feed the horses. If you live 5 minutes down the road, no biggie. If you live 30 minutes away, you better learn to compromise.

This means when your mother calls to tell you she is having Sunday dinner at 2pm, you say "Ok, we can stay for 2 hours, then we have to leave so we can get home to feed the horses". Maybe for some, 2 hours is much longer than you can stand spending with family - lol - and in your case, you are home free! You have a built in excuse ;)

This means, as I am facing tomorrow, when you have a fundraiser to go to for the horse rescue you volunteer with, and it starts at 6pm on a Friday....and you have to be there early to help set up....and your husband cannot get off work early and won't be home until 5pm and the event is at least a good hour drive for you....this means YOU have to take a half day of vacation from your paying job so that you can get home, get the horses (and dogs) fed and (potty walked) and stalls cleaned so you can get to the event early for set up and your husband can get there at a decent time because it will all be done for him when he gets home. All he needs to do is shower, put on some decent clothes and head out! Reminder: Not ranting, just stating the facts :)

This means when you have to go out of town overnight for work, your other half has to be sure he will be home from work on time. This means YOU have to come home from work on time every day, unless you have a other half to be there to do the chores and feed for you, or you don't feed until hours after you get home from work.

This means when your family wants to go on vacation or you and your other half just want to go on vacation, you cannot join in or go unless you a.) Have loads of money to spend on a pet-sitter that you truly, truly, TRULY trust with your animals or b.) as I said, a horse friendly neighbor that you truly, truly, TRULY trust with your animals. (For the record, LOL, I have neither! haha)

This means if you and your other half want to take a day trip somewhere, you plan that around being home to feed, or, default to my previous suggestions in the paragraph above.

Ok, ok, I think you get the point I am trying to make here! This is not an inconvenience for us because our horses are our family. We've taken on the responsibility of caring for them and they look to us to make sure they are fed, groomed, turned out, exercised, loved on and have a warm stall at night. We made the decision to bring them home with us and knew the extra time and planning that would be involved in our daily decisions in doing so. But it is sad because there are so many out there that view animals in general as disposable and not as important....and that is not fair to the animal. So for anyone considering bringing your horse home with you - please consider this!


Hannah said...

:) My parents live in a neighborhood where a lot of the families have their horses on their property. She horse-sits all the time and loves it but I have definitely got the "I can't meet you till ___ because I have to feed the horses!"

Pony Girl said...

Yes, it is an issue. It's a good thing my sister and her OH are homebodies, they never go anywhere! When they had a horse and a few goats they would take their dogs and the neighbor girl would feed, but now with four horses, 3 goats, and dogs that don't travel as well, it's trickier to ask someone to manage all that feeding and dog-letting out. It is hard to find people to stay and care for the pets. I am a pet sitter on the side, I would love to horse sit but don't have any horse clients as I'm in the city.

Shirley said...

Very good post!! I board my 3 horses which is extremely expensive but you're right you have to really think about your life being "for the horses" if you have them at home with you. I'm constantly looking for a horse property and have almost given up. I probably wouldn't have much trouble adjusting as I don't really go anywhere! But for now and maybe forever, they are in a facility who takes care of most of their needs. I still go there almost daily though just to make sure!! Horses are a lifelong commitment.

Unknown said...

Amen Shirley! Don't give up looking; I searched for 2.5 years before we found our place!

Amy said...

Great post! So many people do NOT know the HUGE amount of work that is involved in caring for horses. It's 24/7, 365 days a year!