Yesterday I saw an advert on a local equine social media group advertising a horse free to a good home because he had a splint and the owner could not afford to treat it and didn’t have time to let the horse rest and see if he recovered naturally.  The final option was to put him to sleep.

Regardless of all the nasty comments she received absolutely slating her decision, it got me thinking about when “enough is enough” in term of lameness and ongoing problems.

The post also made me worry about the amount of people who could potentially exploit this poor horse. The owner is clearly at her wits end if she is offering to give him away for free.

People have commented that she shouldn’t have a horse if she can’t look after it, but who are we to judge? Without knowing the details, for all we know she could have just lost her job and can no longer afford to pay. There have been comments saying that she should turn him away and let him rest. I’m sure in an ideal would she would love to do this, but what if grass livery isn’t an option where she is? What if she’s paying £600+ per month for full livery and turning him away for a few months will cost her nearly £2000 in livery fees without knowing whether he will even get better. Not to mention the vet checks to assess his progress along the way. What if riding is her career rather than her hobby and she has to be more ruthless in order to make a living?

Now I’m not saying that I agree with her decision; I can’t comment as I have never been in that situation. But I do worry that dealers or people who think they can make a quick buck from this horse would be on the lookout. Anyone could take this horse on, put him in a field for a few months until he becomes sound and sell him on to an unsuspecting buyer who has no idea of his previous ailments. I worry that the horse could get passed on from home to home and have a really unstable future. I hope for his sake that she will thoroughly vet the new owners’ place and not be tempted to give him to the first people who offer him a home.

On the other hand, it’s also concerning that the new potential owners won’t be able to try the horse out, will take him on and nurse him back to health, only to discover that he could be completely manic or even dangerous to ride. This could be disastrous if a less experienced person is lured in by the offer of a “free horse”.

The whole situation has really mind-boggled me and I can’t imagine how confused she must feel. I think it also highlights the importance of good insurance – but hindsight is a valuable lesson and I’m sure she’s thinking about that right now.

Some of my family and closest friends have experienced the agony of ongoing lameness and it’s always been such a hard decision for them to make when it gets to the breaking point of whether to keep going and throwing time, money and heartache after illness, or whether to cut and run and sell their beloved animals or even put them to sleep.

What are your thoughts on the above? Has anyone here tackled ongoing lameness and where did you draw the line?

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