How We Can Help

It’s tough when you hear about horses who need help. I struggle with it all the time – the ones that really get me are the senior Miniature Horses that someone is offering “free to a good home” and I know how much care senior horses need to stay healthy, and how unlikely it is that anyone who takes that offer is equipped with the knowledge or willing to spend the money to give a senior horse the care they need.

It’s hard. It’s so hard to walk away from that, but I do.

And the reason I do is the horses that are already in my care.

My current horses have to be my priority, and making sure I have the time, energy and resources to keep them healthy and happy means that I have to make the tough decision not to help other horses. Bringing in another horse from a questionable situation would also put them at risk of contracting diseases, and given my population of geriatric horses, minimizing their exposure to disease is important too.

It’s tough though, to not bring home a horse that needs someone to love them. I tell myself that the best thing I can do is make sure my own horses are cared for as well as I possibly can.

And I do my best to educate, to share what I’ve learned, so that other people have the tools to look after their horses well, and hopefully fewer horses end up in a situation where they need help.

Don’t feel bad that you can’t help all the horses – I think, too often, people get in over their head this way, “saving” every horse that crosses their path. But you only have so much time, energy and money, and overstretching yourself isn’t going to do any of your horses any favours. Focus on your own horses first, and then, when you do have the bandwidth, you can add a horse that needs you. But prioritize the horses lucky enough to already be in your care. By keeping them happy and healthy you are doing your part for all horses.

For now, my little online business barely pays my own bills. But I keep working hard, because if, one day, I could build it into something bigger, then I would have the resources to start the “Senior Miniature Horse Sanctuary” that currently lives only in my daydreams. I could answer those “free to a good home ads”, I could go to auctions, and I could bring home all the old horses that have no value to anyone else, and give them the long, healthy, happy retirement they all deserve.

For now, though, I look after my own senior horses, the ones who were our breeding stock, our show horses, our parade horses. They owe us nothing, and by making sure they never end up somewhere they aren’t appreciated, I’m doing my own small part.

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4 thoughts on “How We Can Help”

  1. I think this is an awesome way to look at this issue as I often feel like I need to save them all. I believe this is where many rescue groups fail. They just surpass their resources and then all of the horses suffer. I truly believe Kendra that you will achieve your Senior Miniature Horse Sanctuary someday. Great article and perspective on caring for the horses that we have now!

  2. I struggle with this issue so much. I admin a group that networks at-risk Haflingers. The horses we follow, post, share, raise funds for etc keep me awake at night. If they don’t get bailed they die. I know this is a hot topic, but I am one of “those” that people say keep the business going. But, I’m not. If horses weren’t dumped and discarded kill buyers would go out of business, not the other way around. No supply…no demand. Of course, minis are my passion, as well. Contrary to popular belief, they do ship to slaughter. All of this haunts me. That’s why I have nine horses and one in quarantine that I have to find a home for. I do agree with you, though. When the horses we have suffer from our lack of time and energy we need to step back. I’m at my limit. I don’t work outside the farm and I have a gracious husband who works hard so I can focus on our animals.

  3. I now have 4 minis, ranging in age from 16-18. Mostly their health is pretty good (knock on wood!) but one has allergies to bugs that requires cortisone shots/prednisolone tabs (allergy shots after 5 years just didn’t help much any more.). The 18 year old is my driving horse and has some arthritis in his hips but supplements have helped. They are outside on dry lot with access to shelter 24/7. Like many folks, I started with one, and it just grew.

    One thing I was not cognizant of when I bought them was really how long they are likely to live versus my physical health and ability to do the work to care for them. I am now 68 and have had a hip replacement. They could likely be around another 15 or more years, but I’m not sure I would be able to do all of the care work by that time. When I bought them, I was still under the misconception that horses only lived into their early 20s; now I realize that 30s would be more likely for minis. I just didn’t think of that at the time. This is something that horse buyers should be aware of–the likely lifetime commitment.

    (This herd has been together for 8 years, and two have been together for 15 years–not something I would like to break up.)

  4. Thank you for this post Kendra…I see so many posts offering seniors, etc. and I think that ‘maybe I could take in one, just one.’ I have to keep reminding myself that I have to take care of the ones I have. We’ve had major health issues with two of them for the past 5 years and now we are healthy! Now I need to focus on doing more with them other than just doing what I can to keep them healthy. It’s still hard when it pulls on the heart.

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