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.