Saturday, September 1, 2012

Responsibility & Horse Prices

Well, I finally did it.  I think I finally managed to cut the cord and do something I should have done a year ago.  Pending a test-ride tomorrow, I think my oh-so-fabulous buckskin mare will be heading north to Ludington and to a new luxury-filled life as a show horse again.  She deserves it, its what she had before she came to Michigan, and she needs go to back to that life.  That mare is FAR better than I deserve and I'll finally be able to go to the barn without that pang of guilt and the itty bitty voice in my head saying "Why do even you have this mare?  You don't do anything with her.  She's been to the worlds, you take her to a fun show and are thrilled with a trail class win. WTF." (yes, the voice in my head uses text-abbreviation-slang).

I'll be down to two geldings, my hellion of a 3 year old, and Pat's "vintage" ranch horse, and as every good horse owner knows, two is never enough.  Since I'm anticipating a neat little wad of cash in my hand on Sunday, and nothing soothes a mourning soul like buying something new, I've been horse shopping.  A little premature, yes, I know, but I'm going to be a mess when that trailer leaves on Sunday and shopping makes for an excellent distraction.  I want a shiny new toy with hooves.

Now, I'll admit, I've spent a combined total of approximately 35 hours in the last 2 days screwing around on horse classified sites and Facebook pages dedicated to horses and ponies for sale.  When I shop, I shop hard.  Food, sleep, showers, everything takes a backseat to the all-important task of finding something to blow my money on.  The boyfriend has taken this opportunity to truck-shop and take advantage of the fact that the only real response he can get out of me when asking for anything is a "Mhmm, yep.  Whatever you want, babe, as long as it'll pull the horse trailer." I was informed this morning that I apparently gave the permissive "okay" last night to drive to southern Illinois and buy a $12k F-350.  It's green.  I sincerely dislike green pickups.  I really should start paying attention when he talks to me....

Anyway, in my searching, I've realized that I've apparently missed the point when the horse world collectively lost their damned minds.  Please, could someone tell me how horse owners can realistically expect to collect $2000 for an unregistered, "husband-safe-prospect" two year old?  I know your ad says "Or best offer, MUST SELL!!!!" but you and I both know your horse isn't worth $350, so don't tell me you'd "really like to get $1500" and then get offended when I laugh.  Well, dumbass, I'd really like to be 5'10" and model for Victoria's Secret as a side job, but that's not going to happen either!

Hay is skyrocketing, and fuel is right behind it.  In case no one selling their horse owns a calendar, IT'S SEPTEMBER 1st!  And here in Michigan, it SNOWS in the winter!  Your gem of an equine isn't worth a third of what it was worth six months ago, I don't care how many ads you put up.

To those people claiming to be "running out of hay" in hopes that guilt will entice someone to pay 10x what your horse is really worth: Really?  You had all year to know hay prices were going to be insane.  They were high in June and they're even higher now.  Sorry to say, but the hay fairies forgot to drop a few loads on Michigan this year, so deal with it.  All your ad tells me is that you're hoping there's someone out there with disposable income that could possibly be dumber than you are.  In the spring, yes, you'll find people like this (especially if the horse is a flashy pinto).  Going into winter?  Forget it.  Even stupid people know they have to get bundled up in the cold to go feed a horse when it snows.  Granted, not everyone actually DOES it, but they all know they should.  Man up, take some responsibility and either drop the price to next to nothing so someone with the money to feed it might buy it, or put the horse down yourself if you're not going to put out the cash for winter hay.

As for the group of you that wants to send out the "poor me" emails to the area rescues and beg them to take in your unwanted horse, please consider something for me for a minute.  Rescues don't get their hay for free, they pay for it just like you should be doing.  Why in God's name should a rescue take in your 25+ year old horse because you "can't afford it anymore"?  You had to have that horse, it's YOUR problem now.  If you don't want the responsibility, don't take the damned horse to an auction.  Be a responsible owner and euthanize.  Yes, I said it.  PUT. YOUR. HORSE. DOWN.  Get as pissed off as you want at me, and tell me how heartless and insensitive I am, but there is absolutely NO MARKET WHATSOEVER for a 20+ year old horse at an auction, and as much as you want to feel good when you pull out of the parking lot and think that some little girl bought your old horse, they didn't.  One person WILL be buying it, and it's going to get on a trailer for a one-way trip to Canada.  Now look out your window at those great big eyes of your "best friend" and tell me you'll feel better at night sending that horse to its death via auction rather than an IV injection at home and a peaceful ending.

"But the vet bill is so expensive!  I can't afford it."  Fine, find a gun.  There are plenty of helpful forums online to tell you how to do it quickly and painlessly for the horse.  If you can't work up the guts to do it yourself (and I don't blame you there, it's tough), find a hunter-friend that will.  You owe it to your four-legged friend to give them peace & dignity in the end, not send them through an auction ring to be packed into a truck.

Moral of the story: The horse market sucks.  Badly.  It's not going to get any better any time soon.  Take some responsibility for your horses and make plans NOW (and I don't mean go plastering websites with ads, no one is going to buy your junk right now!), not in January when your horse is skin and bones.  There's nothing worse than having to watch and bet whether the horse down the road will starve or freeze to death first.  If you go the euthanasia route, MSU will cremate for $140 (at last check).  Also, remember: you can't dig a hole with a backhoe when the ground is frozen.

Common sense statements, I know.  But sometimes these things have to be pointed out.

See everyone when I get back from Illinois.  God, I hate green trucks....

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