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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Casualties of Recession
Last weekend, I learned what the stagnant economy does to our equine friends. On Friday, we got a call from Kim, an acquaintance, asking if she could get our help in transporting a pair of Quarter Horse mares she found for sale. Kim has a small place with a garage that has been converted to a barn for the roan pony gelding and Appaloosa mare she owns, with a decent size paddock. I have no idea what led her to these mares--best of my knowledge she wasn't actually looking for more horses, since her Appy is expecting--but she found them in fairly tough conditions. In happier times, they would be a mother-daughter matched set, flaxen chestnuts with wide white blazes and white socks (mother is 12, daughter 4). Purebred Quarter Horses with papers and everything, but when Kim found them they were pathetic shadows of what a QH should be. They were housed together in a small stall, which hadn't been cleaned in a while--long enough that Kim couldn't ascertain what the floor was made of. When she saw them, they had no food in sight and were drinking brackish water, and their owner (an animal broker who deals mostly in sheep) hadn't had them out of the stall in about 2 months. They were stiff and had poor muscle tone from being cooped up so long, and their feet were (ARE) nightmarish--the 4-year-old is still teetering on the brink of founder. Not much info is available about their origins but no matter how poorly the broker handled them, they couldn't have gotten into that bad shape in just two months. Even so: Kim bought them and we got a trailer from our neighbor, and Mark, THomas, and our neighbor Benny all went with Kim to collect them. The filly clearly hasn't been handled much, but once she and her mama knew they were going outside, sore feet or no, they stepped lively. Mark and I gave Kim a big bale of hay to get these girls started on the road to recovery, but I'm heartsick. How much of their plight is due to the economy? Were they in a good home that fell on hard times? Did their original owner sell them to the broker because he/she couldn't afford them anymore? I wonder about these things, I truly do... because I'm sure similar stories are happening and will continue to happen as finances grow tighter thanks to the high price of fuel and the prevalence everywhere of economic uncertainty. Horses are completely dependent upon people, and we all know they're not cheap--so it's agonizing to see what happens when there's a downturn. I give Kim credit, she stepped up to the plate and took on a couple of horses in great need--our own contribution of transport and hay doesn't begin to match the good deed she's done. As horse owners, we need to all do our share to help the ones who fall through the cracks when times are hard.
10:38 pm edt 

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