It sucks to be writing this so soon after the new year with all those ambitious goals, but I’m at an impasse with my horse’s current facility. I’ve had several care issues in the past few months (mainly centered around how much hay has been fed lately) and unfortunately it has gotten to the point where I can’t keep waiting it out and giving chances in the hope that it will improve. The health and well-being of the horse comes first, so it’s time to pack our things and go.
On one hand it will remove me from current trainer’s “umbrella”, which isn’t ideal considering our goals for the year. But I will still have some access to her at the new facility, plus a really good dressage trainer. The care at the new place is EXCELLENT (basically exactly what I would do if I was taking care of my own horse), and it’s a really small place with several other eventers. I know a few of them already and we get along great. The facilities are not quite as vast, obviously, as the big barn I’m at now, but they’re absolutely more than adequate and the footing is good. Getting to shows could potentially be more difficult but hopefully I’ll be able to work it out. The drive is a little further, but the board is lower. There are some trade offs but I think we’ll both be really happy there so I’m excited for the change.
My once chubby horse is chubby no longer, so he will have to gain some weight back. I’m sad and extremely disappointed by the turn things took in the past few months, and to be frank I feel like I waited a month longer than I should have… I’m definitely carrying guilt about it. I was really hoping to find a way through this and resolve the problem but in retrospect that was pretty futile and naive. To be clear: he’s fine. He’s certainly not starving or anything, I’ve had him on rice bran for a month and I’ve been giving him as much extra hay as I can possibly sneak, but despite that he’s gotten thin and his coat looks dull and he doesn’t seem as happy in general as he did a few months ago. There are really several care issues I’ve had but the main one is that there is very little hay being fed, and that does not work for this horse. When the vet was out a couple weeks ago I asked him what he thought and he half-frowned and said “I liked him better with more weight”. Sigh. Me too, man. Me too. I really really don’t like my horse losing condition, physically or mentally.
I debated about just how much to say about this here, but I feel like it’s important to speak my mind and tell the whole story. It makes me angry, if I’m being totally honest. It makes me even more angry when I present my concerns and they are brushed aside. But ultimately the deepest feeling is of extreme disappointment. As horse owners we put A LOT of trust into the people that care for our animals. They are the ones that see them all day every day. They are the ones in charge of their general well-being. When I sign that board contract and give you my board check every month, it’s me saying “I trust you to take care of something that is very very important to me. Irreplaceable even. Please take that as seriously as I do.”. And when that trust is violated, it really sucks. Because at the end of the day those horses rely on us – the people around it – to care for it properly, and when we don’t, the horses are the ones that suffer. That’s a very serious thing, and if you can’t care for them properly you shouldn’t offer to do it at all.
There are a lot of things I like about the current barn, and I really appreciate the opportunities I have had there, but my horse’s health is a non-negotiable. I also ordered him a course of Omeprazole because I’m pretty suspicious of ulcers, especially with how little turnout and hay he’s gotten lately, and it sure can’t hurt. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes anything or not. He’s naturally kind of a tight tense creature so maybe he’s long overdue for some ulcer treatment anyway. I’ll ride him just enough to keep him loose and keep some condition, but for the most part he’s getting a really light next month or two until everything gets sorted out.
Counting down the days to a new beginning and a happier Henry, and looking forward to new opportunities with a great new group of people.