Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is a Horse Just a Horse? Or is Your Horse a Family Member?

I am one of those horse people who some horse people think is a nut. When a horse comes into my family, he/she becomes family. I don't take horse ownership and responsibility lightly. This is a philosophy instilled in me since I was a kid. All of the horses I grew up with (all 5 of them) are buried on my parents' property under trees marking them.

Recently I was heart broken when given the news that my mare Krissy is a wobbler. Her diagnosis from the get go was difficult because for a year she would present lameness issues, yet we couldn't quite figure it all out until one day she was pretty ataxic and I knew right then that there was a real problem. There are some options with her, one includes surgery--but as far as I am concerned none of the options make a lot of sense. The one option that I have had a few people suggest to me is euthanizing her. To me, that is a horrifying thought. This is a horse who is all heart. She is kind, she is intelligent and she has a strong work ethic. She is family. I've had to wrap my brain around the fact that my dream horse is done with her job--at least her initial job. Trust me, I have cried, I have been completely frustrated and angry, and I have found myself in her stall asking her and God, or anyone who might answer me as to why? The answer I have settled on is that Krissy has a new job to do now. With her big heart, she provides me a place of respite at the end of a long day. I can talk to her and she listens (and she never talks back. I have 3 kids and they all have the ability to talk back). Is she expensive? Yes. Has it been an emotional toll? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely 100%. This horse is an animal that when I bought her, I made a comittment to her. And, just because the job I had intended for her hasn't worked out, her worth has not diminished in my eyes. I don't view her as a lawn ornament either. As I mentioned already, I view her as family. Call me a horse crazy nut...whatever...Krissy is a keeper and I've even found another job for her. She gets to try on any new Professional's Choice product design first. I have officially coined her as The Professional's Choice Super Model. Now if she could only bring in some super model type of pay check, we'd be even that much better.

The picture above is of her telling me a joke about the dumb cow who lives next door.

How about you? Do you view your horse(s) as family? If they couldn't do the job they were acquired to do, how would you handle it? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.


Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President


  1. im a horse crazy nut then to my horses are not only family but my best friends and i also spend time sitting in the stalls talking to them about my day

  2. They make the best listeners, don't they? And they never judge.

  3. Our horses, just like the rest of our four-legged buddies, are family. Ok, they don't get to live with us because we don't have horse property, but they're still a part of our crew. We even include them in the Christmas picture. I've only euthanized one horse, and not because he was unrideable. He was having reverse founder in a front leg - we watched the x-rays show the progression of the bones over a very few months. There was no way to fix it (we kept him sound for as long as we could), and I couldn't bear to have him in excrutiating pain. He deserved better.

  4. I firmly believe that God gives us the animals we are suppossed to have for specific reasons and or life lessons. This horse came to you because you WOULD NOT euthanize because she can't perform her "job" any more. You are her gaurdian angel! I know what you mean when you say family, my fiance thinks it's funny that I have a huge concern for animals I no longer own. I feel a sense of responsibility for an animal that was once in my possession to make sure they have a long fulfilling life. I always tell someone that if it doesn't work out, LET ME KNOW! Dog, cat, horse whatever it may be. I have 5 cats, 4 dogs and 4 horses. One of my cats is blind from a cruelty situation I rescued him from and 2 of my dogs are rescues. Animals are the most consistant things in my life except my fiance and daughter. They always need and love you on the good and bad days, they have no sence of holding a grudge and always forgive you no matter what..... look at fighting dogs for example..... they are treated horridly and 9 times out of 10 they are absolutly loyal and love people reguardless.

    Horses are the most amazing and relentless creatures that deserve the best! The story of A American Rose, a young horse that was extremly talented and showed huge potential in the barrel horse world that was found in the terrible condition. She is still a loving mare that bounced back and now is a proud mother. (article in Barrel Horse News Magazine March 2010)

  5. I've had my current horse for 13 years, and I have no intention of ever selling him. We're still showing together, although this is the last year I'm keeping him in training full time...after the fall I'm going to find a nice spot for his retirement while I save money to purchase a new prospect. When someone asked me about selling him this year, I simply said, "You don't sell your family." He's been there through it all. I actually wrote a little blog post about him last month for his 15th birthday if any of you would like to read:

  6. Was searching for an answer to my colts diagnosis of wobbler. I chose the nutritional route and after a year he seemed to be almost 85 percent improved. His growth was catching up and I let him out daily in back pasture where he could finally be a colt that could run and buck and frolick...Then one day I noticed he is over reaching....My husband who chastises me almost daily about my horses wanted me to put him down. He is such a good minded guy and as I waited 5 years to breed my mare due to fighting cancer...he is all the msore special to me. A beautiful Palamino paint that makes me feel good just to look out window and see him...He has good manners and because my horses are like my family your article struck a cord with me....almost like
    An Oprah AHa Moment. No longer will I feel bad about keeping him ...By the way, after reading your article I ordered his first pair of Professionl's Choice boots. He will use them when turned out.. and who knows as he is only 2 perhaps I will get to train him for walk trot classes for my great grandchildren.
    Just a note: Sometimes horses are MORE than family. Thanks for a great article and good luck with Krissy. Will send you a pic of my "little man" with his new boots on. Didn't get a choice of color

  7. I am the same, once a horse comes to us, and even if, for whatever reason, we can no longer ride it, it has earnt the right to stay here. From ponies outgrown, to one's with back problems, they did their best for us and will not be comprimised by being sold, and ending up God knows where. I feel your frustration at having the perfect horse that is no longer rideable, and applaude & salute you for giving it sanctuary and realising it's usefullness as a companion. I wish more people really thought about "buying" and then just "selling" horses (and randomly breeding them too!). They aren't just a tool, or a ribbon winner, they are FAMILY.