I normally love chatting about horses. There’s something about sharing that love of an animal and lifestyle that makes it feel like connecting with good family. I’m a life long student of horses and self proclaimed horse geek. Pair that with being a “fixer”, I love to help where I can and have a heart for what many may see as the “less fortunate” in the horse world.
Lately however, I had to step away from the horse groups, especially on Facebook because of all the judgemental comments that seem to crop up any time someone asks for help or had an issue they were trying to fix themselves.
One comment that seemed to crop up often was that if they couldn’t afford a vet they didn’t need a horse. The same sentiment was also shared in hoof groups as well about muddy footing.
While I do believe that you need to be able to keep one fed decently, and not necessarily in show shape, I have to wonder about the comments about affording a vet bill. I mean just exactly what kind of vet bill are we talking about? Money for x-rays? Money for surgery? Where do you draw the limit?
I’ll be honest, building back from scratch and living in a camper for last 2 and half years, there’s no way I would have the finances for colic surgery. Only one of mine would be worth that much anyhow, but does that mean I shouldn’t own a horse?
I also don’t have the ideal set up right now in my paddock and there’s a lot of mud with the relentless rain. My horses also have very little shelter (but have done fine). So does that also mean I shouldn’t own a horse? I mean really, I’m two for two here! By the way, my horses stay if good shape if you’re picking up the phone to call animal control.
So really, what IS the deciding factor of whether or not a person should own a horse?
Before you step up to judge and answer that off your high horse, I give you the story of Snowman. Harry de Leyer purchased Snowball off of a kill truck with literally his last $80. His last $80!
He didn’t have money for a vet, or for feed, or really enough room and resources for another horse. If that was today, and he had asked the best way to treat a wound, or dry up a foot issue he would have been told he didn’t have the finances so he shouldn’t own a horse! Yet the pair went on to make jumping history.
The world needs a little more kindness and a little more help. Just because something isn’t ideal doesn’t mean an animal is in a neglectful or abusive situation, or that their owner shouldn’t have them. Maybe instead of jumping on the judgemental bandwagon, we need to see how we can help. You never know, that person not in the ideal situation might just be the next Harry and Snowball!