Monday, September 29, 2008

The argument for euthing a dangerous horse

I've argued frequently with people who don't think it's right to put a horse to sleep merely because it's dangerous or, shall we say, too hard to ride for 99% of the population. These folks argue that everything somehow has a right to live and be supported by someone (though it's almost never them!) despite having a disposition that makes Rosanne Barr with PMS look like a sweetie pie.

Unless you are going to keep the horse for the rest of it's life, here's why you should do the right thing, suck it up, and euthanize them:

This site details the story of novice riders who made it very clear they were looking for an easy, beginner friendly horse. They already owned one easy, beginner friendly horse. A disreputable breeder,Stella Manburg-Wise, sold them an ex-breeding stallion with a LONG history of rank behavior. As one former owner told the new owner, "I wish I had put that horse in the GROUND here. Never, never in my wildest dreams, did I think that he would end up as a "trail" horse sold to a beginner." And to be fair, this woman would not have sold him that way. But she let him out of her hands to someone who did, and it is really rather a miracle reading the story that no one was hurt or killed.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will lie to beginner buyers like this. This woman got $3000 from these folks for a totally unsuitable horse. They should have been able to pay half that and find exactly what they were seeking - a deadhead light use trail horse. They got a judgment against the breeder (and good for them!) but what a sad and disappointing experience to have to go through. They also learned some valuable lessons about how to buy a horse and I'd recommend reading their advice page if you're a novice horse buyer. They admit they should have tried out the horse on the trails and not just in the arena, for example. This is a big and important piece of advice. I'd go so far as to say that if you're buying a show horse, try to work it out to try him out at a show, even a schooling show. So many horses are Jekyll-and-Hyde about riding in the safe home arena and riding somewhere else. At least try to watch him at a show. Sad but true, a lot of horses are for sale for a reason and the sellers aren't always honest about what that reason is!

Now, do I think every horse who isn't beginner safe should be euthanized? Of course not. But this horse had a lot of issues both on his back and in hand. He was aggressive toward other horses. If you put everything together, the decision to euth made a lot of sense. Honestly, the people who could have handled his aggression, bucking and bolting weren't interested in a teenaged, swaybacked, green broke, non-show-quality horse, so his odds of getting an appropriate home were nearly nonexistant. These are the kind of factors you have to look at whether you're a rescue or a private party. I don't think it's at all wrong to euth a horse like this.

The story has a happy ending - they found a Paso mare who was perfect for them (and damn cute!) and the unfortunate ex-stallion was laid to rest humanely (a few years after he was nearly shipped to kill by someone else who had no qualms about canning a dangerous horse).